Frontrunning: May 10

  • Game Changer: China Starts Drilling It Own Rig Wells (China Daily)
  • Cisco says customers delay tech purchases (FT)
  • Greeks May Hold $510 Billion Trump Card in Renegotiation (Bloomberg)
  • Liquid heroin addicts heart Chairsatan: Bernanke Gets 75% Approval From Investors in Global Poll (Bloomberg)
  • How a Radical Greek Rescue Plan Fell Short (WSJ)
  • Spain takes 45% stake in Bankia (FT)
  • Facebook admits to mobile weakness (WSJ)
  • FDIC Would Seize Parent, Allow Units to Operate While Mess Is Cleaned Up (WSJ) - Good luck
  • AT&T Fast Network a Work in Progress in Race With Verizon (BBG)
  • Pointed Spat Over World Trade Spire (WSJ)

Overnight Media Digest:

WSJ

* President Barack Obama said Wednesday he supported gay marriage, reversing his position on a controversial social issue just six months before the November election and adopting a stance fraught with uncertain political implications.

* The Federal Reserve approved plans by three state-backed Chinese banks to expand in the U.S., including the first acquisition of a U.S. retail-banking network by a state-owned Chinese lender.

* Federal regulators this summer might propose new rules for mortgage-lending fees that would require mortgage lenders to charge a flat fee for processing a loan, and limit the amount by which borrowers can reduce their interest rate through "discount points."

* Pfizer is quietly ending an aggressive marketing campaign to retain market share for its cholesterol-fighting drug Lipitor.

* Robert Stiller, the founder of Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, defended the big loans he took out against his stock holdings to buy real estate and fund other investments.

* The European currency seems immune to the chaos that surrounds it. The euro edged lower Wednesday to $1.2930 amid rising political uncertainty sparked by elections in Greece and France.

* As questions about Facebook Inc's prospects linger ahead of an initial public offering, the social network revealed how its ad business hasn't kept pace with user growth.

Facebook said Wednesday in an amended IPO filing that more than half of its some 900 million users now access its mobile site. In March, its monthly mobile usage grew to 488 million from 425 million in December.

* Employees are often required to cede the rights to their designs and inventions to their employers. But Twitter Inc has recently upended that tradition by drafting a policy that will put control over how such patents are enforced into the hands of its engineers and employees.

 

FT

SPAIN SET TO TAKE BIG STAKE IN BANKIA

Spain is expected to announce the partial nationalisation of Bankia after the troubled bank's new chairman called for state intervention at a board meeting on Wednesday evening, people familiar with the situation said.

HK SEEKS CLAMPDOWN ON IPO PROSPECTUSES

Hong Kong's market watchdog threatened to make it easier to prosecute investment banks and their staff if they allow false information to appear in the prospectuses of companies that float on the local stock exchange.

FANNIE MAE PROFITS TO COVER US DIVIDEND

Fannie Mae will not need funds from the U.S. Treasury for the first quarter since its 2008 bailout, stoking hopes of an end to the property market downturn.

CLINTON CARDS TO ENTER ADMINISTRATION

Clinton Cards was forced into administration by its biggest supplier on Wednesday, threatening 350 stores and thousands of jobs as the greeting card retailer became the latest casualty on the UK high street.

COTY OWNER TO RAISE $2 BILLION IN AVON BATTLE

Coty strengthened its hand in the $10 billion battle for fellow cosmetics group Avon after its parent unveiled plans to tap the markets for some $2 billion.

METROPCS TIE-UP EYED FOR T-MOBILE USA

Deutsche Telekom is considering a deal that would combine its T-Mobile USA business with MetroPCS Communications, a U.S. wireless provider.

UK OPTS FOR F-35 JUMP-JET VERSION

The government will on Thursday reverse plans regarding the fast jets that it is buying for future aircraft carriers, abandoning the conventional take-off version of the F-35 and instead purchasing a version with vertical take-off and landing.

 

NYT

* The Securities and Exchange Commission disclosed Wednesday that it was investigating another Chinese client of the Shanghai affiliate of Deloitte, the large accounting group, on suspicion of accounting fraud. It did not identify the company, but an official said the investigation, which began in 2010, was continuing.

* Despite noisy protests inside and outside Bank of America's annual meeting here Wednesday, shareholders signed off on the $7 million 2011 pay package for the Chief Executive, Brian Moynihan.

* The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau said it planned to propose tighter mortgage lending regulations that would limit the ability of banks and mortgage brokers to charge certain transaction fees, possibly ending one of the most abusive costs levied on consumers when they buy a house.

* The Obama administration and the nation's chief privacy regulator pressed Congress on Wednesday to enact online privacy legislation, saying new laws would level the playing field between companies that already had privacy policies and those that lacked them, and thus escape regulatory oversight.

 

Canada

THE GLOBE AND MAIL

- Inmates in Canada's federal prisons have been sleeping in trailers, interview rooms, family visiting spaces and gymnasiums, while the percentage of prisoners sharing cells built for one has nearly doubled in under three years, according to documents obtained by The Globe and Mail.

- Alberta's highest court is siding with two University of Calgary students who say their Charter rights were violated when the school punished them for criticizing a professor on Facebook.

Reports in the business section:

- First Uranium Corp was the talk of the mining sector five years ago, enjoying record-high uranium prices and a $1.4-billion market capitalization. Today, battered by shifting industry dynamics, operational mishaps and a cooler uranium market, First Uranium has a plan to break itself up to help pay back its debts. If only shareholders would let it.

NATIONAL POST

- The government is expected to launch a search for Canada's next top soldier to replace Chief of Defence Staff Gen Walter Natynczyk in the coming weeks.

- The NDP stepped up their attacks on the government's green credentials in question period on Wednesday, accusing the Tories of using a 421-page budget bill to sneak through legislation that will dismantle the nation's environmental protections.

FINANCIAL POST

- Embattled engineering giant SNC Lavalin is facing its second-class action lawsuit in months after a Toronto firm said it is seeking C$1.5 billion on behalf of investors outside of Quebec who saw the value of their asset plummet.