Frontrunning: January 10

  • China May Halt Purchases of U.S. Treasuries (BBG)
  • Berkshire Hathaway Expands Board Size (WSJ)
  • Gundlach Says S&P 500 Will Have Negative Return for 2018 (BBG)
  • Judge blocks Trump move to end DACA (Reuters)
  • Bitcoin Powers Big Returns for a Pair of ETFs (WSJ)
  • U.S. oil hits highest since 2014, worries grow of overheated market (Reuters)
  • With U.S. Aid Cut, Pakistan Drifts Closer to China (WSJ)
  • Taxes, Trading and Bitcoin: What to Watch For in Wall Street’s 2017 Numbers (BBG)
  • Iran could greatly increase uranium enrichment, says spokesman (Reuters)
  • What the Tax Law Will Do to Bank Earnings (WSJ)
  • Breitbart-Bannon Rift Gives Conservative Rivals an Opening (BBG)
  • Catalan parties propose self-exiled former leader as president (Reuters)
  • ‘Bad Brexit’ Would Hurt the U.K. Economy for More Than a Decade (BBG)
  • Marijuana taxes and a surplus expected to boost California budget (Reuters)
  • Michael R. Bloomberg: A Seven-Step Plan for Ending the Opioid Crisis (BBG)
  • Saudi Aramco working to raise cheap loans before IPO - banking sources (Reuters)
  • Traders Aren’t Falling for Crypto Name Changes But Love Them Anyway (BBG)
  • Explosion on Iranian oil tanker forces rescue team to retreat (Reuters)
  • Mohammed bin Salman’s Next Saudi Challenge: Curtailing Ultraconservative Islam (WSJ)


Overnight Media Digest


- Apple Inc is facing new questions from government officials in the U.S. and France about its handling of battery-related performance issues on iPhones, a sign that controversy over the problem continues despite the technology giant's apology last month.

- Wag Labs Inc, the startup behind a popular dog-walking smartphone app, inadvertently exposed webpages showing customer information including addresses and lockbox codes that could have enabled thieves to break into homes.

- The Trump administration told Florida's governor it won't consider new oil and gas drilling off the state's coast, backtracking on plans to expand offshore drilling all around the U.S. and bowing to pressure from fellow Republicans in the state.

- Boeing Co said it delivered a record 763 jetliners in 2017 and secured net orders for 912 planes, as surging airline traffic continues to fuel a multi year boom for the airline and aerospace industries.



Apple Inc has been forced to pay an extra 136 million pounds tax bill in the United Kingdom after “an extensive audit” by HM Revenue & Customs in the latest crackdown affecting the U.S. tech giant. The payment was shown in the accounts of Apple Europe, one of the group’s UK subsidiaries, which said “this payment of additional tax and interest reflects the company’s increased activity”.

Burger chain Byron said on Tuesday 20 of its 67 outlets across the UK, which employ about 1,800 people, could be closed as part of a sweeping restructuring plan, known as a company voluntary agreement.

Britain’s counter-terrorism police chief Mark Rowley was to step down, in a move that risks complicating the struggle against extremist violence amid a sharp upturn in the threat. Rowley, Assistant Commissioner for Specialist Operations of the Metropolitan Police, was leaving policing to “pursue other challenges,” the Metropolitan Police Service said.

British retailer Marks and Spencer Group Plc, which is battling to turn itself around, said it would cut its technology bill by reducing suppliers and focus its IT business on India’s Tata Consultancy Services Ltd as principal technology partner.

Rio Tinto has accepted an offer for its Dunkerque aluminium smelter, Europe’s biggest producer of the lightweight metal, from acquisitive UK industrialist Sanjeev Gupta. The planned purchase, which could be announced as soon as Wednesday, is the latest in a spree of deals by Gupta.



- Toyota Motor Corp and Mazda Motor Corp are expected to announce on Wednesday that they have chosen a location in northern Alabama, near Huntsville, for the $1.6 billion car plant the Japanese automakers are planning to build together.

- AT&T Inc walked away from a deal to sell the Huawei smartphone, the Mate 10, to customers in the United States just before the partnership was set to be unveiled, two people familiar with the plans said on Tuesday.

- President Trump's longtime lawyer, Michael Cohen, filed a defamation lawsuit on Tuesday in federal court against Fusion GPS, the firm behind a salacious and largely unsubstantiated dossier that purported to lay out how Russia had aided the Trump campaign.



** The federal ethics commissioner has dismissed opposition accusations that Bill Morneau benefited from insider trading, but has yet to rule on whether the finance minister was in a conflict of interest when he introduced pension legislation.

** Ontario is investigating reports of businesses that have allegedly violated workplace rules after the hike to the minimum wage, and the province's Labour Minister says he's hiring up to 175 new inspectors to enforce the law.

** Loblaw Companies Ltd offer of free $25 gift cards to make amends for fixing bread prices over 14 years is "a misleading and deceitful public relations" campaign designed to benefit the grocer, says a complainant seeking to launch a class-action lawsuit against the retailer.

** In an email, the Department of National Defence told Postmedia the decision to hold off on the $20 million military spending. Construction on the vessels, at Seaspan Shipyards in Vancouver, is supposed to start this year, but the project's timing now appears uncertain.



The Times

- The chief executive of Persimmon Plc, Jeff Fairburn, has defended a bonus scheme that is set to pay him more than 110 million pounds ($148.83 million) amid a row that prompted the chairman to resign and sparked condemnation from parliamentarians.

- Companies are facing skill shortages at critical levels that will restrain economic activity this year unless the issue is addressed, the British Chambers of Commerce has warned.

The Guardian

- British chancellor Philip Hammond and Brexit secretary David Davis have made a direct appeal to German business leaders to help them forge a Brexit deal to secure the future of Britain's financial services.

- Financial markets are complacent about the risks of sharply higher interest rates that could be triggered by better than expected growth in the global economy this year, the World Bank has warned.

The Telegraph

- British Taxpayers may be on the hook for tens of millions of pounds a year in extra payments to underperforming rail operator Govia even though older trains will now be used for longer. The National Audit Office said a delay to the delivery of new Class 700 trains for Govia's Thameslink services meant the company would be unlikely to have the amount of new trains which had been planned when the contract was first struck.

- The energy industry's largest suppliers should be forced to sell off a slice of their customer base to new entrants in order to reset competition in the market, according to a veteran industry regulator Stephen Littlechild.

Sky News

- Tesco Plc was named the best major supermarket performer in the run-up to Christmas as shoppers splashed out an extra 1 billion pounds ($1.35 billion) across the sector, according to industry data from Kantar Worldpanel.

- The European Union has said it is "surprised" Brexit Secretary David Davis complained the bloc is planning for a no-deal Brexit.

The Independent

- UK drivers were hit with a 4 percent price hike on their car insurance premiums in the last three months of 2017 compared with the previous quarter, research by MoneySuperMarket has revealed.