Frontrunning: June 21

  • German court may delay ESM bailout fund ratification (Reuters)
  • New dangers lurk for rudderless Spain (Reuters)
  • SEC Said to Depose SAC’s Cohen in Insider-Trading Probe (Bloomberg)
  • With Europe broke, Asia is Wall Street's new dumb money: Riskier Bets Pitched To Asia's Rising Rich (WSJ)
  • Spain expected to request bank aid after debt test (Reuters)
  • Lawmakers Push for Overhaul of IPO Process (WSJ)
  • Israel: "all options" open after Iran talks fail (Reuters)
  • Canadian housing boom to grind to a halt (Financial Post)
  • Italians Dodge Property Tax in Test for Monti’s Austerity (Bloomberg)
  • ORCL earnings must have been good: Oracle CEO Ellison to Buy Most of Hawaiian Island Lanai (Bloomberg)

Overnight Media Summary


* A bipartisan group of lawmakers called on regulators to overhaul the way initial public offerings are conducted, concerned that last month's flubbed stock sale by Facebook Inc shows the current system unfairly punishes small investors.

* A standoff between the GOP and the administration over a botched gun-trafficking operation escalated, with a House panel voting to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt.

* Federal Reserve officials extended their efforts to boost the sluggish U.S. economy and said they were ready to do more if necessary to spur job growth.

* Johnson & Johnson and the Justice Department are close to settling probes into off-label marketing of its drugs, and discussing a payment of at least $1.5 billion.

* Procter & Gamble lowered its earnings guidance for the current quarter and the 2013 fiscal year, citing softness in developed markets and a negative impact from foreign-exchange rates.

* Conflict erupted among some of Wall Street's heaviest hitters over a proposed definition of high-frequency trading, showing rifts that divide big investment firms from the high-octane companies that specialize in the electronic trading.

* Money-market mutual funds have been rescued from financial trouble by their parent companies more than 300 times, a greater number than previously reported, according to a new SEC study.

* Italy, France and Spain are trying to take a united stand against Germany in finding new ways to fight the euro-zone debt crisis.

* The preliminary HSBC China Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index, a gauge of nationwide manufacturing activity showed that China's manufacturing activities contracted for an eighth straight month in June, which could make the case for further policy easing measures to boost growth.

* Apple Inc is raising hourly pay for employees at its U.S. retail stores by as much as 25 percent, following an internal review period earlier this year.

* The first oil- and gas-lease auction for the central Gulf of Mexico since the Deepwater Horizon spill collected $1.7 billion from energy companies, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said on Wednesday.

* The chief executive of Murphy Oil Corp, David Wood, abruptly resigned late Wednesday and was replaced by the company's former general counsel.

* Ann Curry is in talks with NBC executives to end her role at the "Today" show, two months after the morning program broke a 16-year streak at the top of the ratings, according to people familiar with the matter.




A top European Central Bank policymaker has publicly backed the rapid use of the euro zone's bailout fund to buy stressed sovereign bonds on the open market, saying such action could ease the "very severe strain" being felt by Spain and Italy.


The government's new "funding for lending" programme, designed to boost credit for British business, will cut banks' costs to as little as 1.2 percent, according to people briefed on the scheme.


The Cern particle physics research laboratory is set to become a major hedge fund investor, as it seeks bigger returns for its $4 billion pension scheme.


Mikhail Fridman, the Russian billionaire, has been meeting institutional investors in London to canvas support for his plan to buy half of BP's stake in TNK-BP, its Russian joint venture, according to people familiar with the matter.


Soaring farmland values and increased demand for central London retail outlets helped the Queen's property portfolio return a record-breaking income surplus for the year of her Diamond Jubilee.


JPMorgan Chase has sold the majority of its damaging position in a credit derivatives index that contributed to losses of more than $2 billion and prompted multiple regulatory and legal investigations.


Procter & Gamble vowed to halt its expansion into new markets and focus on the biggest emerging economies as it cut earnings and revenue forecasts and acknowledged it had overstretched.



- A move to muzzle Robert Wolf, a fund-raising banker, may be seen as another setback for President Barack Obama on Wall Street, where he is raising far less than he did in 2008.

- Antonis Samaras was sworn in as Greece's prime minister after his party agreed to form a coalition government with two other parties, ending a leadership vacuum.

- The Federal Reserve increased its efforts to revive economic growth by extending its existing asset-purchase program through the end of the year.

- The latest automotive quality survey released on Wednesday by the research firm J. D. Power & Associates showed that consumers were reporting fewer overall problems with new vehicles.

- The playlist app Songza and the digital music service called Spotify, the latest challengers to Pandora Media Inc , have prompted warnings from analysts about the possible effects these updates will have on Pandora.

- An Italian proposal to use Europe's money to reduce the borrowing costs of Italy, Spain and other countries under siege by investors has become the new hot topic on the euro zone's agenda.

- EBay plans to build a data center to handle its billions of dollars in retail transactions that will draw its power from alternative energy fuel cells rather than the national power grid, which is heavily dependent on coal plants.

- Despite changes made in the wake of the financial crisis, money market funds remain vulnerable to runs by panicked investors seeking to withdraw their money, the chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission is expected to tell a Senate committee Thursday.

- Burger King completed its latest flip on Wednesday, rejoining the public markets after closing a deal to merge with an investment vehicle whose backers include the hedge fund manager William Ackman.

- So far this year, the total value of mergers and acquisitions in Europe by foreign companies has reached $101 billion, well ahead of the combined $73 billion spent in the United States by international acquirers, according to the data provider Dealogic.

- NBC executives are making a plan to replace Ann Curry on the "Today" show, only a year after she became the co-host of the newly vulnerable morning television franchise.




- The United States, Australia and New Zealand are demanding unfettered access to Canada's highly protected dairy and poultry markets a day after inviting Ottawa to join them in the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade talks.

Report in the business section:

- The federal government is moving again to tighten the rules on mortgage lending in Canada amid growing concerns that the housing market is overheated and household debt levels are climbing to perilous levels.


- Major Canadian retailers are preparing to fight Quebec's language police in the face of threatened prosecution of English-named companies that include no French in their storefront signage


- Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce has failed in its attempt to sell its broker mortgage brand, FirstLine Mortgages, one of the rare occasions in recent history in which a bank has not been able to find a buyer for one of its assets.

As a result, the entity, which at one stage was the country's largest mortgage broker, will be gradually wound down.