Frontrunning: September 20

  • Obama, Romney tiptoe around housing morass as they woo voters (Reuters) ... just as ZH expected
  • Poll Finds Obama in Better Shape Than Any Nominee Since Clinton (Bloomberg)
  • Romney on Offense, Says Obama Can’t Help Middle Class (Bloomberg)
  • Fed’s Fisher Says U.S. Inflation Expectations Rising (Bloomberg)
  • Citigroup Warns Irish Investors to Plan for Losses (Bloomberg)
  • Central Banks Flex Muscles (WSJ)
  • China says U.S. auto trade complaint driven by election race (Reuters)
  • Brussels sidesteps China trade dispute (FT)
  • How misstep over trading fractions wounded ICAP's EBS (Reuters)
  • Ex-CME programmer pleads guilty to trade secret theft (Reuters)
  • Income squeeze will persist, says BoE (FT)
  • South African miners return to work, unrest rumbles on (Reuters)
  • Indians strike against reform plans (FT)
  • High $A puts AAA rating at risk (AFR)

Overnight Media Digest


* Bank of America Corp is accelerating a broad cost-cutting plan and has set a target of shedding 16,000 jobs by year's end - cuts that would see the company relinquish its title as U.S. banking's largest employer.

* U.S. prosecutors are seeking more time to complete their investigation of alleged interest-rate fixing, while banks ensnared in the probe are trying to turn the clock to their advantage as they battle lawsuits claiming damages from rate-rigging.

* Google Inc is expected to surpass rival Facebook Inc in selling online "display" advertisements in the U.S. this year, according to a new estimate by research firm eMarketer Inc.

* Nasdaq OMX Group Inc defended its plan to compensate firms that say they lost money in the Facebook stock-market debut, firing back at objections by UBS AG , Citigroup Inc and others to the exchange's proposal.

* Liberty Global Inc is poised to launch a tender offer for the nearly 50 percent of Telenet Group Holding NV that it doesn't already own, according to people familiar with the matter, in a deal that would value the Belgian cable company at roughly $5.2 billion.




Rosneft is seeking $15 billion in financing for a potential deal to buy a 50 per cent stake in BP's troubled Russian oil venture.


The government has won an important legal victory in its fight against stamp duty avoidance, in a blow to similar schemes used to dodge an estimated 170 million pounds ($275.79 million) of tax.


The European Union has stalled a controversial trade case against Chinese telecommunications companies, defusing a row with Beijing on the eve of Premier Wen Jiabao's last summit with European leaders.


Francois Hollande and Angela Merkel will seek to agree a joint position on Saturday on the 35 billion euro combination of EADS and BAE Systems to create the world's largest defence and aerospace company by revenue.


A push to make it easier for high-growth companies to list in London will be launched by the government on Thursday in an attempt to bolster the capital as Europe's technology hub.


Ukraine is set to sign an unusual loan-for-crops contract with China that will see Kiev access $3 billion in credit lines in exchange for supplies of corn, a commodity that Beijing has started to import in large quantities.


Banks handling the flotation of Royal Bank of Scotland's insurance arm are to charge less than normal as they seek to breathe life into a moribund market for stock market launches.


Philip Clarke, chief executive of Tesco, appeared to stand by its lossmaking U.S. business as the head of Britain's biggest retailer pledged to lead a "revolution" in online retailing.



* On Wednesday, Apple Inc released a software update for the iPhone that, among other changes, replaces the Google Inc maps that have been on the phone since 2007 with Apple's own maps.

* The chief executive of BP Plc, Robert Dudley, met with President Vladimir Putin of Russia in an effort to resolve a long-running business dispute in Russia.

* Continuing its foray into new lines of business, Starbucks Corp is introducing a single-cup coffee machine that will allow consumers to make their own lattes at home with real milk.

* The European Commission said on Wednesday that it was prepared to drop its investigation into the fixing of e-book prices by Apple and four European publishers after the companies agreed to let online retailers like Amazon.Com Inc sell e-books at a discount for two years.




* The Canadian economy may still be in the doldrums, but a three-year freeze on salaries for members of Parliament and senators is set to expire in just five months.

* A leading conservation group has recruited a phalanx of well-known Canadians to join its fight against the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline, in a bid to counter past claims by the Harper government that many pipeline opponents are "radical" activists.

Reports in the business section:

* Most Canadians have paid cash in order to avoid the sting of taxes - and they don't feel bad about it either, according to a new poll.


* The accused killer who allegedly ruined the Parti Quebecois election-night celebration surfaced again Wednesday - speaking out from his jailhouse just as the new government was being sworn in.


* Next to the debate generated across Canada by the proposed takeover of oil producer Nexen Inc by CNOOC Ltd, Thursday's special shareholders meeting in Calgary to approve the transaction is expected to be a matter of only a few words.

European Economic Summary:

  • France Flash Manufacturing PMI 42.6 – lower than expected. Consensus 46.4. Previous 46.0.
  • France Flash Services PMI 46.1 – lower than expected. Consensus 49.5. Previous 49.2.
  • Germany Flash Manufacturing PMI 47.3 – higher than expected. Consensus 45.2. Previous 44.7.
  • Germany Flash Services PMI 50.6 – higher than expected. Consensus 48.5. Previous 48.3.
  • Euro Area Flash Manufacturing PMI 42.6. Previous 46.0.
  • Euro Area Flash Services PMI 46.1 – lower than expected. Consensus 49.5.Previous 49.2.
  • UK Retail sales Ex Autos -0.3% m/m 3.1% y/y. Previous 0.0% m/m and 3.3% y/y.

Fly on the Wall 7:00 AM Market Snapshot



Adobe (ADBE) upgraded to Outperform from Sector Perform at RBC Capital
American Water (AWK) upgraded to Conviction Buy from Neutral at Goldman
Cellcom Israel (CEL) upgraded to Equal Weight from Underweight at Barclays
DreamWorks (DWA) upgraded to Neutral from Sell at Janney Capital
Limited (LTD) upgraded to Outperform from Neutral at Credit Suisse


AMCOL International (ACO) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Sterne Agee
AllianceBernstein (AB) downgraded to Underperform from Neutral at BofA/Merrill
Citigroup (C) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at UBS
Clean Harbors (CLH) downgraded to Neutral from Outperform at RW Baird
Coach (COH) downgraded to Neutral from Outperform at Credit Suisse
EnerNOC (ENOC) downgraded to Hold from Buy at Capstone
GT Advanced (GTAT) downgraded to Sector Perform from Outperform at Pacific Crest
Goldman Sachs (GS) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at UBS
Iconix Brand (ICON) downgraded to Hold from Buy at Benchmark Co.
Internap (INAP) downgraded to Sector Perform from Outperform at RBC Capital
Kenexa (KNXA) downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at Raymond James
Marriott (MAR) downgraded to Neutral from Overweight at JPMorgan
Morgan Stanley (MS) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at UBS
NV Energy (NVE) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Goldman
Norfolk Southern (NSC) downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at Wells Fargo
Questcor (QCOR) downgraded to Hold from Buy at Jefferies
St. Jude Medical (STJ) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Mizuho
U.S. Steel (X) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Nomura


Aeterna Zentaris (AEZS) initiated with a Buy at Roth Capital
Basic Energy (BAS) initiated with a Hold at Wunderlich
Generac (GNRC) initiated with an Outperform at BMO Capital
Key Energy (KEG) initiated with a Hold at Wunderlich
MethylGene (MYLGF) initiated with a Buy at Roth Capital
Palo Alto (PANW) initiated with a Sector Perform at Pacific Crest
Patterson Companies (PDCO) initiated with a Buy at WallachBeth
Patterson-UTI Energy (PTEN) initiated with a Buy at Wunderlich
Plexus (PLXS) initiated with a Hold at Stifel Nicolaus
Steris (STE) initiated with a Buy at BofA/Merrill
Tetra Technologies (TTI) initiated with a Buy at Wunderlich
Tyco (TYC) initiated with an Overweight at Barclays


Liberty Global (LBTYA) launched voluntary, conditional cash offer for Telenet Group
Northrop Grumman (NOC) increased outstanding share repurchase authorization to $2B
Adobe (ADBE): Building healthy pipeline for potential Creative Cloud paid subscribers
Genie Energy (GNE) extended expiration date for its pending exchange offer of up to 8,750,000 shares of Class B common stock for shares of Series 2012-A preferred stock on a one for one basis, to Wednesday, October 10 at 5:00 p.m., NYC time.
B&G Foods (BGS) to acquire New York Style and Old London brands from Chipita
StubHub (EBAY) said app supports Apple’s (AAPL) Passbook
Pandora (P) CEO sees "large, capable competitors" entering its market
Nidec (NJ) to acquire Kinetek Group and Avtron Industrial Automation


Companies that beat consensus earnings expectations last night and today include:
AAR Corp. (AIR), Apogee Enterprises (APOG), Steelcase (SCS)

Companies that missed consensus earnings expectations include:
IHS Inc. (IHS), Clarcor (CLC), Bed Bath & Beyond (BBBY), Herman Miller (MLHR)

Companies that matched consensus earnings expectations include:
Adobe (ADBE)


Massive injections of stimulus into financial markets by the major central banks are creating a domino effect worldwide the globe, prompting governments from Brazil to Turkey to take steps to keep easy money from flooding in and driving up their currencies, the Wall Street Journal reports
Google (GOOG) is expected to pass Facebook (FB) in selling online "display" ads in the U.S. this year, according to a new estimate by research firm eMarketer, the Wall Street Journal reports
Phil Anschutz's sports and entertainment business AEG is creating interest from a number of media firms and private equity firms, including Liberty Media Corp. (LMCA), Guggenheim Partners LLC, Thomas H. Lee Partners LP, Bain Capital LLC and Colony Capital LLC, in a deal that could be worth over $6B, sources say, Reuters reports
The Fed’s move to stimulate the economy by buying mortgage securities is proving to be a boon for three of the biggest players in the bond fund business: Pacific Investment Management Company, DoubleLine Capital and TCW, Reuters reports
Dallas Fed President Richard Fisher said the central bank’s third round of bond purchases will probably fail to create jobs while risking higher inflation. “I do not see an overall argument for letting inflation rise to levels where we might scare the market,” he said, Bloomberg reports
If the major U.S. banks aren’t forced to cut their investment units from traditional banking, they will return to behavior that led to the 2008 credit crisis, said FDIC board member Thomas Hoenig, Bloomberg reports


Approach Resources (AREX) 5M share Secondary priced at $30.50
Ascent Solar (ASTI) Technologies 9.17M share Spot Secondary priced at $1.20
Atlas Resource Partners (ARP) files to sell 7.68M common units for holders
Capital Bank Financial (CBF) 5.68M share IPO priced at $18.00
Cheniere Energy Partners (CQP) announces offering of 8M common units
Horizon Pharma (HZNP) announces proposed offering of common stock
National Bank (NBHC) 7.1M share IPO priced at $19.25
Simon Property (SPG) announces offering of 5.87M shares of common for holders
Spirit Realty (SRC) Capital 29M share IPO priced at $15.00
THL Credit (TCRD) announces public offering of 5.3M shares of common stock
Trulia (TRLA) 6M share IPO priced at $17.00