Frontrunning: April 27

  • Hollande Says Germany Can’t Make Europe’s Decisions Alone (BBG)
  • Monti Hits at Eurozone Austerity Push (FT)
  • Firm that made loans to Chesapeake CEO defends them (Reuters)
  • Bo Xilai's Son Doesn't Drive a Ferrari. He drives a Porsche (WSJ)
  • Geithner Urges China to Loosen Hold on Finance System (BBG)
  • and yet... Son of Bo Xilai Says Father’s Ouster ‘Destroyed My Life’ (BBG)
  • U.S. growth slows as inventory accumulation wanes (Reuters)
  • S&P 500 Dividend Payers Climb to Highest in 12 Years (BBG)
  • Lacker Sees Fed May Need to Raise Rates in Mid-2013 (BBG)
  • Ireland Passes Latest Bailout Review (WSJ)
  • U.S. Firms Add Jobs, but Mostly Overseas (WSJ)
  • Samsung Ends Nokia’s 14-Year Run as Biggest Handset Maker (BBG)
  • And in surreal news: Nutella must pay parents who thought chocolate spread was a healthy choice  (G&M)
  • Goldman Insider Probe Grows (WSJ)

Overnight press digest via Reuters:


* The Chinese central bank guided the yuan to a fresh record high for the second straight day Friday, amid renewed pressure from Washington for Beijing to let its currency appreciate more.

* The FTC said it has enlisted a seasoned litigator to help lead its antitrust investigation into whether Google has abused its dominance in Web-search advertising.

* Health insurers are expected to rebate more than $1 billion to consumers and employers this year, under a provision of the federal health overhaul.

* U.S. officials offered new reassurances that the nation's beef-production system was safe after Indonesia on Thursday suspended imports of American beef following the first reported case of mad-cow disease in the U.S. in six years.

* News Corp CEO Rupert Murdoch said he should have been quicker to address allegations of unlawful reporting practices at the News of World tabloid, but he told a media-ethics inquiry that he blamed others for misleading him as part of a coverup.

* Kerry Carr, a group vice president at Avon, resig ned earlier this month amid scrutiny of the audit department where she had worked previously. Federal prosecutors have been examining Avon for possible bribery overseas.



Barclays and Deutsche Bank have won a chunk of complex commercial mortgage securities at the heart of the controversial government bailout of AIG.


European insurers are facing a squeeze on the amount of time they have to comply with the sector's biggest regulatory shake-up yet, as Brussels prepares to change the implementation timetable.


Job growth in the 14 states pivotal to the presidential election has advanced at a slower pace than in the rest of the U.S. over the past year, a potential source of concern for President Barack Obama's re-election campaign.


Barclays provided some welcome news for investors ahead of what is set to be a stormy annual meeting on Friday as it revealed a sharp rise in underlying first-quarter profits.


Leading shareholders of Man Group, Europe's biggest hedge fund manager, have warned Peter Clarke, chief executive, he must revive the company's fortunes in the coming months or face calls to step down.


Reformers within the Chinese Communist party are trying to exploit the recent ousting of Bo Xilai by making constitutional and political changes, say senior officials and people close to party leaders.


The incoming director of the Serious Fraud Office David Green has promised to pursue a more aggressive crime-fighting strategy.


Rupert Murdoch faces a growing threat to his British media business, after the UK communications regulator stepped up its probe into whether British Sky Broadcasting was a "fit and proper" owner of a broadcasting licence.


* Standard & Poor's downgraded Spain's credit rating on Thursday, saying that the country's sovereign debt levels were too high and that its banks would need an infusion of aid as the country's economy contracted.

* Yubari, a former coal-mining town on Japan's northernmost main island, Hokkaido, is hoping an unlikely savior can reverse its long decline: a 31-year-old rookie mayor who has come to symbolize the struggle confronting young Japanese in the world's most graying and indebted nation.

* Lockheed Martin, Starwood Hotels and Amazon posted encouraging results, while those from Dow Chemical and UPS pointed to looming problems in Europe.

* Lockheed Martin said Thursday that its chief executive, Robert Stevens, would retire in December after eight years in the job. His successor will be Christopher Kubasik, who is now Lockheed's president and chief operating officer.

* A California representative is calling for an investigation into Accretive Health, one of the nation's largest collectors of medical debt, for potentially violating a federal law that requires hospitals to provide emergency care regardless of citizenship, legal status or the ability to pay.

* President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner of Argentina has incurred the wrath of the European Union by expropriating a controlling stake in YPF S.A., the oil and gas company owned by the Spanish energy giant Repsol, prompting retaliatory salvos in a budding trans-Atlantic trade war.



A motion by a backbench Conservative MP that aims to reopen the debate on abortion has been denounced by members of the opposition as well as senior members of his own party, including Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

- The Harper government was privately concerned last fall about costs, delays and the quality of communication it was receiving on the U.S. F-35 stealth fighter project even as its chief spokesman on the file assured Canadians all was well.

Reports in the business section:

- TransAlta Corp, along with partners Enbridge Inc and Capital Power Corp, cancelled their $1.4 billion carbon capture and storage effort Thursday, opting to pay the penalties for emissions rather than cutting them.

- Global economic turbulence triggered a sharp drop in sales volumes and earnings for fertilizer giant Potash Corp of Saskatchewan as customers broke from traditional buying patterns and deferred purchases.


- As British Columbia's health minister Mike de Jong has seen it time and again - a pharmaceutical manufacturer launches an expensive new drug, brings forward a patient who desperately needs the medicine but cannot afford it, and pressures the province to cover the cost. 

- The government did away with an office mandated to oversee the activities of Canada's spies Thursday, a move critics say opens the door to abuses of power by the secretive Canadian Security Intelligence Service.

Reports in the business section:

- One of the newest board members at Research In Motion , Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd's founder Prem Watsa told investors at the annual meeting of his insurance holding company that any comeback for Canada's top technology company would take time.


European Economic Summary

  • UK GfK Consumer Confidence Survey -31 – lower than expected. Consensus -30. Previous -31.
  • Germany GfK Consumer Confidence Survey 5.6 – lower than expected. Consensus 5.9. Previous 5.9. Revised 5.8.
  • Germany Import Price Index 0.70% m/m – 3.10% y/y – lower than expected. Consensus 0.90% m/m 3.30% y/y. Previous 1.00% m/m 3.5% y/y.
  • France Producer Prices 0.50% m/m 3.70% y/y – lower than expected. Consensus 0.60% m/m 4.00% y/y. Previous 0.80% m/m 4.30% y/y. Revised 0.70% m/m 4.10% y/y.
  • France Consumer Spending -2.90% m/m -2.00% y/y – lower than expected. Consensus -1.90% m/m -0.20% y/y. Previous 3.00% m/m 0.50% y/y. Revised 2.90% m/m 0.20% y/y.
  • Spain CPI (EU Harmonised) 2.00% y/y – higher than expected. Consensus 1.80%. Previous 1.80% .
  • Adjusted Real Retail Sales -3.70% - higher than expected. Previous -6.40%. Revised -6.50%.
  • Spain Retail Sales (Real) -3.90% y/y. Previous -3.40%. Revised -3.60%.
  • Spain Unemployment Rate (Survey) 24.44% - higher than expected. Consensus 23.80%. Previous 22.85%.
  • Switzerland KOF Swiss Leading Indicator 0.4 – higher than expected. Consensus 0.2. Previous 0.08. Revised 0.09.
  • Sweden Retail Sales s.a. 0.20% m/m - higher than expected. Consensus -0.30% m/m. Previous 1.20% m/m. Revised 1.30% m/m.
  • Sweden Retail Sales n.s.a. 4.50% y/y – higher than expected. Consensus 3.40%. Previous 3.40%. Revised 3.50%.
  • Sweden Trade Balance (Kronor) 4.8B – lower than expected. Consensus 7.0B. Previous 5.9B. Revised 6.2B.
  • Italy Retail Sales s.a. 0.60% m/m 0.10% y/y - higher than expected. Consensus -0.20% m/m -1.90% y/y. Previous 0.70% m/m -0.80% y/y. Revised 1.10% m/m -1.10% y/y.
  • Norway Retail sales - vol s.a. 2.40% m/m – higher than expected. Consensus 0.00% m/m. Previous 1.10% m/m. Revised 1.50% m/m.
  • Norway Retail Sales Vol. n.s.a. 9.60% y/y. Previous 7.40% y/y.


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