Frontrunning: May 3

  • Chinese dissident seeks exile, strains U.S.-China ties (Reuters)
  • Sarkozy and Hollande lock horns on TV (FT)
  • UK in furious rejection of EU bank plan (FT)
  • EU Fails to Reach Deal on Capital (WSJ)
  • China energy use may be capped for 2015 (China Daily)
  • Buffett Trails S&P 500 for Third Straight Year (Bloomberg)
  • King admits failing to ‘shout’ about risk (FT)
  • Obama promises 110,000 new summer jobs for youth (Reuters)
  • China sturdy enough for reforms: Geithner (Reuters)
  • Geithner repeats call for stronger yuan (Reuters)
  • Clinton urges China to help on Iran, North Korea (Reuters)

Overnight Media Digest vis Reuters


* Energy producers are slowing natural-gas production, potentially alleviating a glut that drove prices to their lowest point in more than a decade.

* A Republican member of the House Financial Services Committee is pushing for the Justice Department to turn over its investigation of the MF Global Holdings Ltd collapse to an independent counsel, according to people familiar with the matter.

* The Northern Mariana Islands, a U.S. territory in the Pacific Ocean, managed to recover from brutal World War II battles, but its public pension fund could not recover from the financial crisis. The islands' retirement system is the first U.S. public pension fund to seek bankruptcy protection.

* Carlyle's bankers priced the private-equity firm's IPO below the original range after some fund investors pushed for a lower price.

* Officials cited "system limitations" that would prevent any possible issuance of floating-rate notes this year, while a lack of consensus on a suitable benchmark rate also proved to be a hurdle.

* Hawker Beechcraft, the struggling aircraft manufacturer, is in the final stages of preparing to file for bankruptcy protection and hand ownership to several hedge funds.

* The chairman of the world's largest futures exchange is coming to the defense of speculators.

Two weeks after President Barack Obama blamed speculators, traders who wager on the future direction of commodity prices, for driving fuel prices higher and urged regulators to be tougher on them, Terry Duffy, the executive chairman of exchange operator CME Group Inc hit back with a pointed explanation of investors' role in financial markets.

* A judge preliminarily approved a proposed class-action settlement that would resolve billions of dollars in claims against BP over the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.



Repairing the economy and regulating banks is "the biggest challenge the Bank [of England] has faced for decades," Sir Mervyn King said on Wednesday in a speech in which he conceded for the first time he should have "shouted from the rooftops" about risks before the financial crisis.


News Corp's directors on Wednesday gave Rupert Murdoch a unanimous vote of confidence quelling speculation that he might split his chairman and chief executive roles after a damning parliamentary report on the group's handling of the UK phone hacking scandal.


Hopes that infrastructure spending might boost the global economy have been hit by a sharp first-quarter slowdown in the market for project finance.


Nokia will launch a range of tablets and "hybrid" smart mobile devices as it seeks to turn round the fortunes of its ailing handset business, chairman Jorma Ollila has told the Financial Times.


Standard Chartered will inject tens of millions of dollars into its Asian and African businesses this year, extending its branch network and hiring corporate bankers after a cost-cutting exercise boosted its spending power.


Leading shareholders in Trinity Mirror are pressing the board to make last-minute changes to its chief executive's 1.7 million pound ($2.75 million) pay package to head off a showdown at the publisher's AGM next week.


* A major new rule that has drawn the ire of Wall Street is on track for completion sooner than some bankers had expected, dashing the hopes of financial industry lobbyists, who have pressed for a delay.

Regulators are making significant progress on a final draft of the regulation, the Volcker Rule, and some officials expected to complete it by September and possibly as early as this summer, people with direct knowledge of the matter said.

* Target Corp, signaling its growing irritation with its rival Amazon, announced on Wednesday that it would stop selling the online retailer's Kindle e-readers.

* After recent moves failed to lift viewership, executives of the cable news pioneer, CNN, are said to be under intense pressure from corporate leaders at Time Warner to turn things around.

* Legal and technology researchers estimate that it would take about a month for Internet users to read the privacy policies of all the Web sites they visit in a year. So in the interest of time, here is the deal: You know that dream where you suddenly realize you're stark naked? You're living it whenever you open your browser.



- Rob Ford is threatening to lay charges against a Toronto Star reporter for allegedly trespassing and taking pictures over the fence behind the Toronto mayor's Etobicoke home.

Reports in the business section:

- Activist Bill Ackman opened the door to potential peace negotiations with the board of Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd offering that he is "absolutely willing" to review candidates to lead the railway other than his favoured choice, Hunter Harrison.

- Air Canada says it has filed documents with the Quebec Superior Court asking to cancel its contracts with Aveos Fleet Performance Inc, which has shuttered its doors and filed for creditor protection.


- Some of Alberta's already handsomely paid legislators seem likely to receive a pay hike if newly re-elected Premier Alison Redford follows through on a report that attempts to simplify the legislature's Byzantine compensation system.

- Ontario Provincial Police will continue to maintain records of all firearms sales and who bought them, but say this is not an attempt to create a provincial long-gun registry.


- The Canadian government is set to meet economic goals laid out in its March budget despite a surprise drop in gross domestic product in February, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said on Wednesday.

- SNC Lavalin Group Inc will try Thursday to repudiate a damning new report from Toronto equity research firm Veritas Investment Research that warns there is a good chance the engineering giant's future prospects will be hurt by more revelations of "improper acts."

European economic update

UK PMI Services 53.3 – lower than expected. Consensus 54.1. Previous 55.3.
Eurozone PPI 0.5% m/m 3.3% y/y – lower than expected. Consensus 0.6% m/m 3.4% y/y. Previous 0.6% m/m 3.6% y/y.


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