Frontrunning: April 23

  • A Forecast of What the Fed Will Do: Stand Pat (Hilsenrath) - they finally realized that they have to leak the opposite...
  • Draghi's ECB Rejects Geithner-IMF Push for More Crisis-Fighting (Bloomberg)
  • Wal-Mart's Mexico probe could lead to departures at the top (Reuters)
  • The Sadly Unpalatable Solution for the Eurozone (FT)
  • US Regulators Look to Ease Swaps Rules (FT)
  • Yuan, Interest Rate Reform to be Gradual: China Central Bank Chief (Reuters)
  • Run, Don't Walk (Hussman)
  • Hollande Steals Poll March on Sarkozy (FT)
  • Dutch Early Elections Likely After Wilders Opposes Budget (Bloomberg)
  • China Lauds North Korea Friendship Despite Tensions (Reuters)

Overnight Media Digest:


* French President Nicolas Sarkozy was thrust into a fight for his political survival after lagging behind Socialist candidate François Hollande in the first round of France's presidential poll.

* Beam Inc is expected to announce Monday a deal to buy Pinnacle vodka and another brand from White Rock Distilleries Inc for around $600 million, according to people familiar with the matter.

* A group of former officials from the old brokerage firm E.F. Hutton & Co plan to start a new boutique financial-advisory firm under the same name.

* Customers of MF Global Holdings Ltd are pushing regulators to get tougher on JPMorgan Chase about money that went missing from accounts just before the firm's collapse.

* Wal-Mart Stores faces significant legal risks after it disclosed that it is investigating its operations in Mexico for possible violations of the U.S. law that prohibits bribery in foreign countries, legal experts said.

* Avon Products Inc, famous for sending its representatives door to door, is losing traction in the U.S., where many time-stressed consumers are increasingly buying their cosmetics on the Web. Operating profit per representative in the U.S. has plunged 75 percent over the past decade, according to an analysis by Sanford C. Bernstein.

* US Airways Group Inc's move to garner support from three unions at AMR Corp's American Airlines for a merger between the two companies is designed to woo American Airlines workers but stop short of saddling a combined carrier with contracts that would hobble operations.

* Despite renewed fears about the euro-zone debt crisis, recent gains in U.S. Treasurys have been modest, likely owing to increasing doubt that the Federal Reserve will provide further stimulus for the U.S. economy.


* Across the television landscape, viewing for all sorts of prime-time shows is down - chiefly among 18-to-49 year olds, the most important audience for the business.

* The entertainment entrepreneur Peter Chernin has made an arrangement with investors, who are taking a stake in the future earnings of his films and television shows and channeling him the money now.

* China's prime minister is touring Europe this week, and with a recent increase in direct investment in Germany, the country will occupy a special place on his itinerary.

* The International Monetary Fund won significant pledges this weekend, but meetings ended without a consensus on how to speed up the economic recovery or stamp out the European debt crisis.

* NimbleTV is the latest example of technology companies trying to break into the closed system of television distribution in the United States. The start-up is introducing a way to move a whole subscription's worth of TV onto the Web, with or without the subscription company's permission.

* Amylin Pharmaceuticals is seeking a potential buyer, after it rebuffed an unsolicited $3.5 billion takeover offer from Bristol-Myers Squibb earlier this year, a person briefed on the matter said Sunday.



- Fiscal restraint is rippling through Canada's national statistical agency, prompting it to start slicing surveys and warn staff of cost cuts and impending layoffs in what it calls a "year of sacrifice" at the organization.

- Federal officials are considering privatizing some of VIA Rail's longest and most scenic routes - including the quintessentially Canadian journey between B.C. and Ontario, and the Rocky Mountain run between Jasper and Vancouver.

Reports in the business section:

- Canada's insurance brokers have lodged a complaint with the country's banking regulator, alleging that two big banks are flouting Ottawa's rules by promoting insurance on their websites.

- North America's largest garbage hauler, Waste Management Inc, is looking for Canadian partners to help create new technology that will convert waste to energy.


- Quebec's gun-control advocates were buoyed Friday by a strongly worded Quebec Superior Court judgment that recognized the recently abolished long-gun registry as an effective and economical crime prevention tool, laying the groundwork for a long legal battle with Ottawa.

Reports in the business section:

- In late September 2004, just three days before Air Canada emerged from bankruptcy protection, the airline's then-chief executive Robert Milton made some bold proclamations about the company's future.

- Junior miners have always brought with them a high risk-reward ratio. For every success there are easily a dozen failed firms that never see their projects go further than a few drill samples.

European Economic Summary:

  • France Own-Company Production Outlook for April -4. Previous 6. Revised 8.
  • France Production Outlook Indicator for April -14. Previous -15.
  • France Business Confidence Indicator for April 95 – lower than expected. Consensus 96. Previous 96. Revised 98.
  • France PMI Manufacturing for April 47.3 – lower than expected. Consensus 47.4. Previous 46.7.
  • France PMI Services for April 46.4 – lower than expected. Consensus 50.1. Previous 50.1.
  • Switzerland Money Supply M3 for March 6.60%y/y. Previous 6.40% y/y.
  • Switzerland Real Estate Index Family Homes for March 410.4. Previous 404.6.
  • Germany PMI Manufacturing for April 46.3 – lower than expected. Consensus 49. Previous 48.4.
  • Germany PMI Services for April 52.6. Consensus 52.3. Previous 52.1.
  • Euro Area PMI Composite for April 47.4 – lower than expected. Consensus 49.3. Previous 49.1.
  • Italy Consumer Confidence Ind. s.a. for April 89.0 – lower than expected. Consensus 96.2. Previous 96.8. Revised 96.3.
  • Euro Area PMI Manufacturing for April 46.0 – lower than expected. Consensus 48.1. Previous 47.7.
  • Euro Area PMI Services  for April 47.9 – lower than expected. Consensus 49.3. Previous 49.2.
  • Euro Area Euro-Zone Govt Debt/GDP Ratio for April 87.2%. Previous 85.40%. Revised 85.3%. Record high