Frontrunning: May 4

  • Japan has 54 nuclear reactors, but as of Saturday, not one of them will be in operation (Guardian)
  • US Readies Proposal to Clamp Down on Fracking (Reuters)
  • California pension fund (CALSTRS) sues Wal-Mart, alleges bribery (Reuters)
  • New Ripples for Gupta Case: Goldman Share Price, Volume Began Climbing Even Before Rajaratnam Trades (WSJ)
  • China says blind dissident can apply to study abroad (Reuters)
  • China paper calls Chen a U.S. pawn; envoy is a "troublemaker" (Reuters)
  • Samsung’s New Galaxy S Phone Raises Heat on Apple Iphone (Bloomberg)
  • BofA Talks Deal on Ex-Broker Pay (WSJ)
  • Draghi predicts 2012 eurozone recovery  (FT)
  • It's official - Argentina nationalizes oil company YPF (Reuters)
  • Tumbling Home Ownership Marks a Return to Normal (Bloomberg)
  • Zuckerberg Facebook IPO to Make Him Richer Than Ballmer (Bloomberg)
  • SEC probes Chesapeake and its chief (FT)
  • Fat guarantees helped weaken Dewey & LeBoeuf (Reuters)
  • For Job Gauges, Never the Twain Shall Meet (WSJ)
  • Goldman Takes Steps to Protect Bond Turf (WSJ)

Overnight Media Digest

WSJ


* Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng asked for passage to the U.S. and a meeting with Hillary Clinton, in a dramatic phone call to a U.S. congressional panel after a day of negotiations.

* A quick run-up in Goldman stock that preceded trades by Galleon's Raj Rajaratnam in 2008 could emerge as a key point in the coming insider-trading trial of Rajat Gupta.

* Goldman Sachs is preparing to roll out a lower-cost electronic bond-trading platform, a move that could help retain customers tempted by rival trading venues being set up by BlackRock and others.

* Bank of America Corp has held talks with lawyers for more than 1,000 former Merrill Lynch & Co brokers that could lead to a settlement costing the bank hundreds of millions of dollars, according to people familiar with the matter.

* U.S. bank regulators are turning up the heat on the financial industry to reduce risk in an obscure but massive corner of the credit market known as triparty repos, where many large institutions get funding for their trading businesses.

* About 150 airline pilots, mostly from the United unit of now-merged United Continental Holdings Inc on Thursday protested slow-going negotiations over a new contract by marching to the carrier's downtown Chicago headquarters building.

* Canadians on Friday will bid farewell to their penny-the copper-colored, one-cent coin that looks and feels just like the American version but features Queen Elizabeth II, not Abraham Lincoln.

* Bright Food Group of China agreed to acquire a majority stake in U.K.-based cereal maker Weetabix in a deal that shifts an iconic British breakfast brand to a state-owned Chinese business.

FT

UBS INVESTORS PROTEST AGAINST PAY PLAN

UBS shareholders fired a warning shot to Axel Weber, the incoming chairman, as they voted heavily against proposals by the board and top management on pay and corporate governance.

BANKS LOOK TO FARM OUT SME LENDING

Several large European banks are weighing the idea of outsourcing a portion of their core small business lending to a new crop of loan funds, in a further sign of the growth of the "shadow banking" industry in Europe.

FACEBOOK SEES VALUATION OF UP TO $95.9 BILLION

Facebook said it expected to hit a valuation of up to $95.9 billion when it debuts on Wall Street later this month, as the social networking company moved into the final stages of its hotly anticipated initial public offering.

BANKS FACE TOUGHER TRADING CAPITAL RULES

Bank trading desks face a new threat to their profitability after global regulators unveiled proposals on Thursday to force them to hold more capital against the risk of heavy losses when markets freeze.

DENIS O'BRIEN EXTENDS HOLDING IN INM

Denis O'Brien, Ireland's richest man, has bought a further 5 percent stake in Independent News & Media, pushing his shareholding close to the level at which he would have to make an outright bid for the company.

RBS REPAYS BILLIONS IN FUNDING TO SCHEME

Royal Bank of Scotland will on Friday announce that it has repaid 75 billion pound ($121.52 billion) of funding that was underwritten by a government credit scheme set up during the 2008 financial crisis.

NYT

* After a steady stream of criticism since the financial crisis, Goldman Sachs is trying to burnish its image.

Last week, the company's Chief Executive Lloyd Blankfein gave rare back-to-back televised interviews to CNBC and Bloomberg Television, in which he emphasized the company's focus on clients.

* American officials said early Friday that their annual summit meeting on strategic and economic issues with China had resulted in tangible economic concessions, despite the unprecedented diplomatic furor over a Chinese human-rights advocate seeking aid from American officials.

* On Thursday, Facebook set the estimated price for its initial public offering at $28 to $35 a share, according to a revised prospectus. At the midpoint of the range, the social networking company is on track to raise $10.6 billion, in a debut that could value the company at $86 billion.

* One of the nation's largest pension plans, California State Teachers' Retirement System, filed a lawsuit Thursday accusing Wal-Mart's leadership of breaching its fiduciary duty in connection with a bribery scandal at the retailer's Mexican subsidiary.

Canada

THE GLOBE AND MAIL

- The Canadian Forces will merge the separate military commands that direct missions overseas and operations at home in a bid to cut headquarters overhead now that the military is refocusing after wars in Afghanistan and Libya.

Reports in the business section:

- Bill Ackman, the activist shareholder pushing for an overhaul of Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd now armed with a powerful endorsement, is pushing ever closer to victory in a looming board showdown rarely seen in Canada.

- The interim Chief Executive of SNC Lavalin Group Inc expects police to uncover more improprieties in the engineering giant's construction division, which is already reeling after the discovery of $56-million in payments to agents that has gone missing.

- Alberta is suing the partners of Canada's second-largest oil sands project for $100-million over a dispute tied to royalty payments. The provincial government filed a lawsuit against Syncrude Canada Ltd and its six joint venture partners Monday.

NATIONAL POST

- Rob Ford is not denying Toronto Star reporter Daniel Dale's allegations that the Toronto Mayor charged at him with his fist raised during a Wednesday night confrontation on public property behind Ford's home.

FINANCIAL POST

- As Research In Motion Ltd struggles to maintain its place in the highly competitive wireless space, investors appear fed up with its delay in getting new BlackBerrys into customers' hands.

European Summary