Frontrunning: March 27, 2012

  • 6.0+ Magnitude quake strikes near Tokyo (USGS)
  • Ireland Faces Legal Challenge on Bank Bailout (Reuters)
  • Bernanke says U.S. needs faster growth (Reuters)
  • Spain Promises Austere Budget Despite Poll Blow (Reuters)
  • Orban Punished by Investors as Hungary Retreats From IMF Talks (Bloomberg)
  • Obama vows to pursue further nuclear cuts with Russia (Reuters)
  • Japan's Azumi Wants Tax Issue Decided Tuesday (WSJ)
  • Australia Losing Competitive Edge, Says Dow Chemicals CEO (Australian)
  • OECD Urges ‘Ambitious’ Eurozone Reform (FT)
  • Yields Less Than Italy’s Signal Indonesia Exiting Junk (Bloomberg)

Overnight News Digest


* Ben Bernanke said that the Federal Reserve's easy money policies are still needed to confront deep problems in the nation's labor market.

* After years of touting the superiority of online ads, Google is taking a different approach to promote itself against rivals.

* The Chief Executive of BATS Global Markets has reached out to directors about his future and said the company likely will cancel bonuses related its stock floatation, which was pulled Friday.

* Abu Dhabi's sovereign-wealth fund said it would invest $2 billion to buy into the sprawling business empire of Brazil's richest man, Eike Batista.

* A House subcommittee said a top lawyer at J.P. Morgan Chase will testify at a highly anticipated hearing Wednesday into the collapse of MF Global Holdings Ltd



Goldman Sachs is considering how to roll out electronic trading technology to its fixed income business - one of its biggest revenue generators - as it prepares for new regulation.


London-listed Bumi is expected to announce changes to the board and management that will see financier Nat Rothschild step down as co-chairman of the Indonesian coal miner he created in 2010.


British Prime Minister David Cameron has been forced to reveal the names of Conservative party donors invited to dinners at his official residences as pressure grows for an independent inquiry into the "cash for access" affair.


Jefferies is looking to set up a corporate lending business in Europe as the fast-growing U.S. investment bank seeks to grab market share from retrenching rivals.


Rapid recent falls in U.S. unemployment may prove to be a one-off unless economic growth picks up, Ben Bernanke, chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve, warned on Monday.


Huawei, the world's second-largest network equipment vendor by sales, aims to convince the Australian government with generous security measures to revert a ban on the Chinese company from a large broadband project.


Embraer said it expects a cancelled U.S. Air Force contract for light attack aircraft to be re-tendered "within weeks" in a deal seen as crucial to the defence ambitions of the Brazilian aircraft producer.


Seats in the exit rows of some EasyJet flights will cost 12 pounds from April as the no-frills airline seeks to attract customers reluctant to take part in the boarding-time melee of budget flying.


* State officials and insurance executives are devising possible alternatives to the coming federal requirement that most Americans buy health insurance, even as the Supreme Court hears arguments about the constitutionality of the mandate.

* The U.S. government's chief consumer protection agency said on Monday that it intended to take direct aim at the vast industry that has grown up around the buying and selling of information about American consumers. .html?ref=business

* The European Union took a big step on Monday toward building a financial firewall strong enough to prevent the spread of fiscal contagion to major economies like Spain. The move came after Germany dropped its opposition to bringing the Continent's total bailout capacity to more than 690 billion euros ($916 billion).

* As growing numbers of baby boomers face retirement with inadequate savings, some state officials are considering a novel proposal to rebuild America's ailing retirement system - having state pension funds run retirement plans for companies.

* The Supreme Court on Monday ordered an appeals court to reconsider its decision to uphold patents held by Myriad Genetics on two genes associated with a high risk of breast and ovarian cancer.

* FX, a basic cable channel that is part of News Corporation's powerful cable division, has consciously carved a niche in the new television landscape, following a blueprint to lure younger viewers whom marketers pay a premium to reach.

* In a speech that sought by turns to deflate optimism and pessimism about the labor market, the Federal Reserve chairman, Ben Bernanke, said Monday that the Fed's efforts to stimulate growth were gradually reducing unemployment, but that the scale and duration of the problem could leave lasting scars on the economy.

* The chief executive of SNC-Lavalin, a major Canadian engineering and construction firm that had extensive business operations in Libya, left the company on Monday after the release of a report indicating that he had authorized 56 million Canadian dollars in improperly documented payments to unidentified agents, the company's chairman said Monday.

* MF Global's top lawyer will break her five-month silence on Wednesday to tell Congress that she was unaware of a gaping shortfall in customer money until hours before the brokerage firm filed for bankruptcy on Oct. 31.

* Michaels Stores, the arts and crafts retailer owned by the Blackstone Group and Bain Capital, plans to file to go public as soon as next week, in what could be one of the biggest initial public offerings of the year.

* Mega Maldives Airlines is going after a growing niche, linking the increasingly affluent China with the tiny island nation of the Maldives. The company's chief executive says his start-up is poised for expansion.



- Public-sector employees in Ontario will have to make higher contributions to their pension plans, have their benefits cut or work longer before they can collect retirement pay, as part of new austerity measures to be unveiled in Tuesday's provincial budget.

- Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver confirmed Monday that the budget will spell out the government's intention to reduce regulatory delays faced by energy and mining companies when they propose major projects in Canada.

- It was officially billed as a nuclear security summit, but trade and the economy trumped terrorism in Stephen Harper's backroom chats with other world leaders.

Reports in the business section:

- As North American crude oil prices continue to languish, pipeline builder Enbridge Inc is launching a major new round of construction to push more barrels down the centre of the continent, in hopes of easing supply gluts that have kept prices low.


- Department of National Defence officials charged with selecting Canada's next fighter jet met with Lockheed Martin - maker of the F-35 - more times than with all other bidders combined before their billion-dollar decision to select it.

- The federal government's once-feared bad-news budget is being transformed into a plan that will combine spending cuts with new measures designed to spur the economy, RBC Economics says in a research report Monday.

- The government of Alberta is expected to pocket $1.2 trillion in royalties from the oil sands in the next 35 years, as oil production rises to 5.4 million barrels a day from today's 1.6 million bpd, according to a new study by the Canadian Energy Research Institute made public Monday.

Reports in the business section:

- Engineering firm SNC-Lavalin Group Inc could face a regulatory or police probe into the US$56 million that went missing under Chief Executive Officer Pierre Duhaime and into the company's business in Libya.

European Economic Update

  • Germany GfK Consumer Confidence Survey 5.9 – lower than expected. Consensus 6.0. Previous 6.0.
  • Germany Import Price Index 1.0% m/m 3.5% y/y – higher than expected. Consensus 0.9% m/m 3.5% y/y. Previous 1.3% m/m 3.7% y/y.
  • Switzerland UBS Consumption Indicator 0.87. Previous 0.92. Revised 0.93.
  • Sweden Household Lending 5.0% y/y – in line with expectations. Consensus 5.0%. Previous 5.1%.
  • Sweden PPI 0.4% m/m 0.5% y/y – lower than expected. Consensus 0.5% m/m 0.3% y/y. Previous 0.5% m/m 0.1%. y/y.
  • Sweden Trade Balance (Kronor) 5.9B – lower than expected. Consensus 8.0B. Previous 11.3B. Revised 10.8B.
  • UK CBI Reported Sales 0 – higher than expected. Consensus -5. Previous -2.