Frontrunning: February 23

  • China seizes control of Anbang Insurance as chairman prosecuted (Reuters)
  • How Deal-Hungry Anbang Went From Waldorf to Woe (BBG)
  • Anbang and the Financialization of China’s Economy (WSJ)
  • Trump’s Stance on Gun Laws Raises Pressure on Congress (WSJ)
  • Chance of halting Brexit now close to 50:50, says leading campaigner (Reuters)
  • May’s Cabinet Backs the Brexit Plan the EU Is Poised to Reject (BBG)
  • VIX Funds Face Fresh Scrutiny From U.S. Regulators (BBG)
  • ‘There was a mistake made’: No. 2 FBI official addresses criticism over fumbled tip on Nikolas Cruz (WaPo)
  • How Tesla and Google Jets Could Enrich a Money-Losing Gold Miner (BBG)
  • Trump to announce new sanctions against North Korea as South prepares for talks (Reuters)
  • Walmart’s Big Bet on Home Delivery Hasn’t Paid Off Yet (BBG)
  • Wall Street May Be Rethinking Its Relationship With Guns (BBG)
  • Numbers starting to add up for Tesla trucks (Reuters)
  • When ‘Married, Filing Separately’ Lowers Your Tax Bill (WSJ)
  • Turkish forces shell convoy headed to Syria's Afrin region (Reuters)
  • Watch Wall Street Analysts Lose Their Mind Over Free Candy (BBG)
  • Global watchdog to put Pakistan back on terrorist financing watchlist (Reuters)
  • Trump calls meeting on biofuels policy after refiner bankruptcy (Reuters)
  • General Mills to buy pet food maker Blue Buffalo for $8 billion (BBG)
  • Figure skating: Zagitova gives OAR first Pyeongchang gold (Reuters)

Overnight Media Digest


- China's insurance regulatory agency Friday took control of hard-charging, acquisitive Anbang Insurance Group, saying the action is needed to avoid a collapse of the firm following suspected illegal activity and the downfall of its once-highflying chairman.

- Securities regulators plan to pare back Obama-era requirements that would require mutual funds to tell shareholders about large holdings of hard-to-sell assets, in what would be a significant concession to the industry.

- Dina Powell, who until recently served as a top national-security adviser in the White House, is talking to Goldman Sachs Group Inc about returning to the firm.

- President Donald Trump's calls for changes to gun laws in the wake of last week's Florida school shooting push Congress toward a new politically fraught debate just months before the midterm elections.

- Airbnb Inc looking to solidify sales ahead of an initial public offering expected as soon as next year, is adding more hotels to its site, along with a loyalty program and new tiers of listings that include luxury and more budget-friendly offerings.



Members of parliament were critical of senior partners at KPMG and Deloitte in a hearing on Thursday for their work for collapsed outsourcing firm Carillion Plc.

British Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit inner cabinet broke up following talks that lasted for eight hours on Thursday with claims from Brexiters that Britain was on track to make a clean break with the European Union.

Channel 4 has been given a March 12 deadline to present a plan to move out of London, in the absence of which the government will intervene, according to people familiar with the talks.



- After a barrage of customer complaints this week, the First National Bank of Omaha said on Thursday that it would withdraw its National Rifle Association-branded Visa credit card. "Customer feedback has caused us to review our relationship with the N.R.A.," Kevin C. Langin, a bank spokesman, said in a statement.

- President Donald Trump on Thursday enthusiastically embraced a National Rifle Association position to arm highly trained teachers to fortify schools against mass shootings like the one last week. Trump, who said the armed teachers should receive extra pay as an incentive, promoted his idea as demands for stronger gun control intensified across the country.

- The Chinese government said on Friday it had seized control of Anbang Insurance Group, the troubled Chinese company that owns the Waldorf Astoria hotel and other marquee properties around the world, and it had charged the company's former chairman with economic crimes.

- Returns for college and university endowments in the United States for the 2017 fiscal year are in, and while they averaged a respectable 12.2 percent for the year, over the last decade they have underperformed funds offering a simple 60-40 or 70-30 stock-fixed income allocation.



** Ontario's real estate regulatory body, the Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO), is raising serious concerns about whether brokerages should be allowed to facilitate transactions in cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin.

** New housing taxes in the B.C. NDP's provincial budget have left municipal officials in the Okanagan confused and worried about the impact on their region, which has some cities - but not others - designated for both levies.

** Export Development Canada says it is facing "enormous" risk of "serious and potentially irremediable harm" because the controversial Gupta family is refusing to return a Bombardier Inc luxury jet that could be used in criminal activity.

** Defence department bureaucrats rejected a plan to outfit the navy's new supply ship with high-tech guns needed for its protection because they wanted to save money, officials with a Quebec shipyard say.



The Times

- EU citizens who arrive in Britain during the post-Brexit transition period will be allowed to stay permanently under a U-turn planned by Prime Minister Theresa May.

- Euro-zone rate setters have accused Washington of trying to talk down the dollar and start a currency war, in a rare attack from the European Central Bank that comes after the U.S. Treasury secretary, Steven Mnuchin, said that a weak dollar was good for the U.S. economy.

The Guardian

- Carillion Plc’s former finance director considered putting cash into the firm’s pension deficit a “waste of money”, according to the minutes of a meeting written by the pension scheme trustees.

- Men working for Barclays Plc's international division got paid bonuses that were more than double those of their female colleagues last year, with far fewer women occupying senior roles, the bank's 2017 gender pay gap report shows.

The Telegraph

- Tech giants could face sweeping new taxes in the UK as the Treasury is considering taking a share of their revenues, with politicians claiming the current level of payments to the Exchequer is not fair.

- Southern Rail operator Go-Ahead Group Plc will bid to run the contract again after its chief executive said his company had achieved everything asked of it by the government.

Sky News

- British Gas owner Centrica Plc said it will shed 4,000 jobs by 2020 following a big fall in operating profits.

- The chairman of Standard Life Aberdeen Plc is to step down within two years of helping to create one of Britain's biggest fund managers in an 11 billion pound ($15.35 billion)merger.

The Independent

Millions of Sky TV and broadband customers are set to pay more from April as the telecoms giant introduces a hike in prices, but can avoid doing so if they leave outside of the minimum term of their contracts – penalty free.