Frontrunning: August 8

  • Regulators irate at NY action against Standard Chartered (Reuters)
  • Recession Generation Opts To Rent Not Buy Houses To Cars (Bloomberg)
  • Egypt launches air strikes on militants in Sinai (Reuters)
  • Loan-Shark Lending Surge Feared In Japan (Bloomberg)
  • US seeks $3bn for Sudan oil deal (FT)
  • Home Prices Climb as Supply Dwindles (WSJ)... not really- just money laundering in the form of ultra luxury home purchases soars
  • A lifeline is thrown to the periphery - Smaghi (FT)
  • Standard and Who? Greece Credit-Rating Outlook Lowered by S&P as Economy Weakens (Bloomberg)
  • BOE Cuts Growth Forecast, Sees Inflation Below Goal in Two Years (Bloomberg)
  • S&P Takes CreditWatch Actions On Four Spanish Banks (Reuters)
  • Japan Gets Reprieve as Drop in Oil Eases Trade Impact (Bloomberg)
  • Bank of Thailand’s Virabongsa Says Inflation Target Ineffective (Bloomberg)
  • South Korea set to overhaul key lending rate (FT)

Overnight Media Digest


* Apple Inc continued its push to convince a jury that Samsung Electronics Co Ltd copied its products, turning to a graphical designer, Susan Kare, who once worked at Apple.

* The Carlyle Group LP has outbid private-equity rivals for the performance-coatings unit of DuPont Co with a $4.8 billion offer, according to people familiar with the matter.

* The most recent cause for concern for the Taiwanese cellphone maker HTC Corp was its discouraging earnings report. Investors reacted harshly this week, sending HTC's shares to a new low on Tuesday and knocking about $1 billion off its market value.

* Walt Disney Co reported a 24 percent rise in its fiscal third-quarter profit thanks to strong performances from its parks and resorts division, its cable-television channels and its blockbuster film "The Avengers."

* A large fire at Chevron Corp Richmond, California, refinery has been extinguished, even as traders, bracing for a lengthy outage, are bidding up regional fuel prices.

* Dutch brewer Heineken NV may face a battle for control of Asia Pacific Breweries Ltd after a Thai company, Kindest Place Groups Ltd, made a bid for a stake in the maker of Tiger beer.

* Best Buy Co Inc founder Richard Schulze envisions a turnaround plan for the electronics retailer that involves cutting prices to better compete against Inc and other online retailers according to people familiar with the matter.

* Drug maker Pfizer Inc will pay $60.2 million to resolve U.S. allegations that it used illegal payoffs to win business overseas.

* AT&T Inc reached three-year agreements with unions covering more than 22,000 workers, but groups representing another 20,000 have formed picket lines out of frustration over talks with the giant telecom company.

* South Korea's biggest auto makers face a potential blow to quarterly earnings as workers at Hyundai Motor Co and affiliate Kia Motors Corp go on strike this week seeking higher wages and better working conditions.

* In a sign of the growing interest in mobile payments, start-up Square Inc said Starbucks Corp will use its technology to process some customer payments in 7,000 of its U.S. stores, and that the coffee chain will invest $25 million in the company.




Standard Chartered hit back hard on Tuesday against U.S. regulatory attempts to cast it as a "rogue institution".


Britain won four more gold medals at the London Olympics on Tuesday, surging past the modern record of 19 set in Beijing.


Xstrata on Tuesday sought to underline its standalone growth prospects and pledged to prune capital spending.


The price of tea has reached a 2 1/2-year high as poor crops in some of the world's most important producers strain supplies.


Demand for U.S. junk-rated debt has propelled yields towards new low.


Shares in Standard Chartered plunged by as much as 24 percent on Tuesday after a probe found it laundered funds for Iran.


Several senior British MPs on Tuesday accused U.S. regulators of pursuing an anti-City of London agenda.


British coalition leaders David Cameron and Nick Clegg launch a "midterm review" of the coalition when MPs return in the the autumn.


The U.S. wants China and Arab states to help foot the $3 billion bill for a deal designed to unlock oil production in Sudan and South Sudan.

AMAZON LAUNCHES TEXTBOOK RENTAL SERVICE has launched a textbook rental service, allowing U.S. students to borrow print editions for a school term at up to 70 percent off the price of new titles.



* The Italian economy shrank again in the second quarter, official data showed on Tuesday, and orders for German machinery declined sharply, a reminder that flagging growth continued to complicate European leaders' quest to restore confidence in the euro zone.

* Over objections from consumer groups and New York officials, a federal judge approved a $4.8 million settlement between the Justice Department and Morgan Stanley over accusations of price fixing in the electricity market.

* Top executives at Standard Chartered Plc said they were surprised when New York's banking regulator accused them of scheming with the Iranian government to launder billions of dollars to potentially support terrorist activities.

* The Securities and Exchange Commission said that it had reached a $45 million settlement with Pfizer Inc to resolve charges that subsidiaries of Pfizer and Wyeth, which it acquired in 2009, bribed overseas doctors and other health care workers to increase sales of their drugs.

* The success of the film "Marvel's The Avengers" and the "Cars"-related expansion of a theme park powered the Walt Disney Co to a 24 percent increase in quarterly profit, well ahead of expectations, the company reported.

* Square Inc, the mobile payments start-up, will form a partnership with the coffee company Starbucks Corp. This fall, Square will begin processing all credit and debit card transactions at Starbucks stores in the United States.

* According to data released by the Audit Bureau of Circulations, newsstand sales - often seen as the best barometer of a magazine's appeal - were down nearly 10 percent




* The Coalition Avenir Québec is promising to lower taxes for middle-class families by a total of C$1,000 ($1,000) over the next five years.

The measure was quickly condemned as fiscally irresponsible by Quebec Liberal Leader Jean Charest, highlighting the growing tensions between the two parties in the early portion of the Quebec election campaign.

Report in the business section:

* A Rona Inc store that opens on Wednesday in Edmonton is key to the retailer's counterattack against U.S. rival Lowe's Cos Inc's C$1.8-billion offer to take over the Quebec-based home-improvement chain.

Nestled among big-box stores such as Wal-Mart Stores Inc , the new Rona outlet is a prototype of the retailer's store of the future.

* Canadian magazine publishers want taxpayers to help them reinvent themselves, asking the federal government for money to develop digital products they hope will compensate for falling print subscriptions.

The trade association that represents Canadian publishers has been quietly lobbying federal officials in an attempt to win funding to develop multimedia-rich digital editions that go beyond the capabilities of print.


* Canadian soccer coach John Herdman is preparing for the biggest game of his career, unsure whether he'll have captain Christine Sinclair in his lineup.

World football's governing body and Supreme Court of law announced Tuesday it is investigating explosive comments made after Monday's women's soccer quarter-final. While no reason has been announced officially - and no one implicated - the immensely influential Sinclair was particularly critical of Norwegian referee Christiana Pedersen following the controversial 4-3 loss to the United States at Manchester's Old Trafford, now to be forevermore known to Canadians as the Theatre of Shattered Dreams.


* While politicians argue over the risks and benefits of proposed oil sands pipelines crossing British Columbia, the market has tuned into a different fight. It's about control of the province's natural gas assets and could involve two oil heavy weights - Exxon Mobil Corp and Royal Dutch Shell PLC

Analysts say there are telltale signs the race to capture B.C.'s natural gas resources and to own liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals on the northern coast is heating up.




-- Companies that voluntarily delist in B share market can re-list in China's A-share stock market or Hongkong stock market, said a senior industry expert.


-- China will shut down about one-fifth of its rare earths production capacity under new industry rules. According to the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, mixed-type rare earths mines will need to have a minimum annual production capacity of 20,000 tonnes a year and smelting companies will have to ensure an annual output of at least 2,000 tonnes.

-- The government of the northeastern city of Shenyang called for businesses to reopen, after an increasing number of private shops and restaurants suspended operations, fearing of what they heard of harsh inspections and large fines on counterfeit products or poor hygienic conditions. The situation has caused local residents' life in trouble.

-- DreamWorks Animation, the US film company that made the third Kung Fu Panda movie, has announced plans to build a $3.14 billion theme park in Shanghai. The theme park is scheduled to open in 2016.

European Economic Update

  • Switzerland SECO Consumer Confidence -17 – lower than expected. Consensus -4. Previous -8.
  • Spain Industrial Output -6.3% wda y/y -6.9% nsa y/y – lower than expected. Consensus -6.2% wda y/y. Previous  -6.1% wda y/y -5.4% nsa y/y. Revised -6.5% wda y/y -5.7% nsa y/y.
  • Germany Trade Balance 17.9B – higher than expected. Consensus 14.6B. Previous 15.3B. Revised 15.6B.
  • Germany Current Account 16.5B – higher than expected. Consensus 11.9B. Previous 9.0B. Revised 8.1B.
  • France Trade Balance -5990M – lower than expected. Consensus -5000M. Previous -5325M. Revised -5471M.
  • Turkey Industrial Production 2.7% nsa y/y – lower than expected. Consensus 2.8% nsa y/y. Previous 5.9% nsa y/y.
  • Hungary Trade Balance 761.7M – higher than expected. Consensus 580.0M. Previous 701.0M.
  • Czech Republic Unemployment Rate 8.3% – in line with expectations. Consensus 8.3%. Previous 8.1%.