Frontrunning: August 14

  • Must be those evil speculators' fault: Oil price inflates as speculators bet on stimulus (Reuters)
  • Need moar stimulus: UK Coalition plans housebuilding stimulus (FT)
  • Paul Ryan brings fundraising prowess to Romney presidential bid (Reuters)
  • Chinese serial killer shot dead after massive manhunt (Reuters)
  • Silver Hoard Near Record As Hedge-Fund Bulls Recoil (Bloomberg)
  • World powers eye emergency food meeting; action doubted (Reuters)
  • Clegg Said to Have Role in Picking King Successor as BOE Chief (Bloomberg)
  • Standard Chartered CEO takes charge of Iran probe talks (Reuters)
  • Risks must not hide positive China trends (FT)
  • BOJ should not rule out any policy options: July minutes (Reuters)
  • India Says Growth Sacrifice Needed in Inflation Fight (Bloomberg)

Overnight Media Digest


* Google Inc said it is acquiring the Frommer's travel-guide business from publisher John Wiley & Sons Inc in a bid to attract more advertising dollars tied to online-travel bookings and local-business information.

* Apple Inc rested its case against Samsung Electronics Co Ltd following testimony focusing on talks between the companies and calculations for how much Samsung should pay if found to infringe Apple patents.

* Federal regulators are preparing to clear Verizon Wireless's $3.9 billion deal to acquire airwaves from several cable companies including Comcast Corp according to people close to the negotiations, after the companies reached broad agreement to settle antitrust concerns.

* The head of Focus Media Holding Ltd and other investors are offering to take the Shanghai-based advertising company private in a $3.66 billion deal that would remove it from the skeptical eye of U.S. investors.

* BP Plc said it has agreed to sell its Carson refinery in southern California and related assets to Tesoro Corp for $2.5 billion.

* General Motors Co is bidding for the international arm of Ally Financial Inc, a move to rebuild its own lending operations and reacquire part of a business it sold more than six years ago.

* Bank of America Corp agreed to sell its overseas wealth-management operations to Swiss private-banking specialist Julius Baer Group AG.

* Eastman Kodak Co delayed disclosing the outcome of its patent auction, a few minutes before a deadline to select winning bidders, the company said.

* HSBC Holdings Plc is hiring a former U.S. government official, Robert Werner, who policed U.S. sanctions against narcotics traffickers and terrorists, following allegations that HSBC moved funds for drug cartels and other suspicious groups.

* Toshiba Corp said that it is in talks with multiple parties to sell some of its 67 percent stake in Westinghouse Electric Co, but the Japanese technology conglomerate will keep a majority stake in the United States nuclear power subsidiary.

* Groupon Inc once-torrid daily deals business slowed in its latest quarter, fueling investor concerns about the onetime web commerce star and sending shares to a new low.

* Hedge fund Jana Partners LLC that has shaken up large players from Marathon Petroleum Corp to McGraw-Hill Companies Inc has found its next target: Agrium Inc , a $15 billion Canadian fertilizer company.




Senior EADS executives were alerted five years ago about questionable payments made to Cayman Island bank accounts and lavish gifts given to the Saudi Arabian royal family.


Britain's coalition is planning to unveil new measures next month to stimulate the construction sector.


Olympic athletes are returning from the Games hoping to extend their peak period for endorsement earnings through their increased popularity on social media.


Swiss private bank Julius Baer has agreed to acquire Bank of America's Merrill Lynch non-U.S. wealth management business.


Google has struck a deal to buy Frommer's, the travel guides for the post-backpacking generation.


BP is to sell a California oil refinery to Tesoro of the U.S. for $2.5 billion.


Japan's economy grew at an annualised 1.4 percent in the second quarter against analysts' expectations of a 2.3 percent rise.



* Google Inc made another foray into producing original content when it announced its plans to buy the Frommer's brand of travel guides from John Wiley & Sons Inc to augment its local and travel search results.

* Yang Saixin, along with tens of millions of dollars in payments the Sands China Ltd made through him in China, is a focus of a wide-ranging federal investigation into potential bribery of foreign officials and other matters in China and Macau, according to people with direct knowledge of the inquiries.

* IBM Corp is opening a research center in Nairobi, adding an African lab to its global network.

* Shares of Groupon Inc, the daily-deals Internet company, fell sharply in after-hours trading on Monday as second-quarter revenue came in below expectations and investors focused on slower growth.

* A month after confessing to stealing from clients and defrauding banks, Russell Wasendorf Sr, the chief executive of the collapsed brokerage firm Peregrine Financial Group, was indicted by a federal grand jury.

* A new release of stolen corporate e-mails by WikiLeaks has set off a flurry of concern and speculation around the world about a counterterrorist software program called TrapWire, which analyzes images from surveillance cameras and other data to try to identify terrorists planning attacks.




* This week's visit by German Chancellor Angela Merkel is further proof that Canada is making its presence felt on the global stage for the first time in years. It follows intensive efforts to advance Canada's trade agenda, and builds upon Canada gaining admission to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement negotiations in late June.

* Jean Charest is seeking to tap into Quebeckers' economic nationalism by promising a $1-billion fund to help companies finance foreign acquisitions.

But he is also promising a new law that would give Quebec companies more power to reject foreign takeovers without giving shareholders a say - a vague promise which the Quebec Liberal Leader and his finance minister described in very different terms.

Report in the business section:

* The auction of ING Bank of Canada, which could be the largest sale of retail banking assets of its kind in the country in more than a decade, presents a significant problem for the financial institutions seeking to snap up the business.

As prospective buyers submit bids, much of the value depends on a key question: How many ING Direct Canada customers will stick around if the business is swallowed up by a larger player.

* Canadian retailers are urgently moving to boost productivity amid mounting competitive pressure - and they are doing it with fewer employees.

More than 45,000 jobs were lost in the retail sector between 2008 and 2011, and modest hiring so far in 2012 has been outpaced by retail output.


* Peregrine Financial Group founder and Chief Executive Russell Wasendorf was indicted on charges of lying to regulators, a little over a month after he botched a suicide attempt and confessed to bilking customers of his brokerage for years.

Wasendorf "overstated the value of PFG's customer segregated funds by at least tens of millions of dollars" to the Commodity Futures Exchange Commission, according to the indictment, filed in federal court in Cedar Rapids, Iowa


European economic update:

  • France CPI (Harmonized) -0.5% m/m 2.2% y/y – lower than expected. Consensus -0.5% m/m 2.3% y/y. Previous 0.1% m/m 2.3% y/y.
  • France GDP (Q2) 0.0% q/q 0.3% y/y – higher than expected. Consensus -0.1% q/q 0.2% y/y. Previous 0.0% q/q 0.3% y/y.
  • Germany GDP (Q2) 0.2% q/q 1.1% y/y – in line with expectations. Consensus 0.2% q/q 1.1% y/y. Previous 0.5% q/q 1.2% y/y.
  • Sweden Industrial Production 0.4% m/m 1.1% y/y – higher than expected. Consensus -1.0% m/m -1.1% y/y. Previous 3.5% m/m -2.3% y/y.
  • Sweden CPI -0.4% m/m 0.8% y/y – lower than expected. Consensus -0.3% m/m 0.8% y/y. Previous -0.3% m/m 0.9% y/y.
  • UK CPI 0.1% m/m 2.6% y/y – higher than expected. Consensus -0.1% m/m 2.3% y/y. Previous -0.4% m/m 2.4% y/y.
  • UK RPI 0.1% m/m 3.2% y/y – higher than expected. Consensus -0.2% m/m 2.8% y/y. Previous -0.2% m/m 2.8% y/y.
  • Germany ZEW Survey (current situation) 18.2 – higher than expected. Consensus 17.5. Previous 21.1.
  • Germany ZEW Survey (econ sentiment) -25.5 – lower than expected. Consensus -19.3. Previous -19.6.
  • Euro Area GDP -0.2% q/q -0.4% y/y – in line with expectations. Consensus -0.2% q/q -0.4% y/y. Previous 0.0% q/q 0.0% y/y.
  • Euro Area Industrial Production -0.6% -2.1% y/y – higher than expected. Consensus  -0.7% -2.1% y/y. Previous 0.9% -2.6% y/y.