Frontrunning: September 21

  • Europe’s crisis will be followed by a more devastating one, likely beginning in Japan. (Simon Johnson)
  • Porsche, Daimler Indicate Europe’s Car Crisis Spreading (Bloomberg)
  • No progress in Catalonia-Madrid talks (FT)
  • Hilsenrath speaks: Fed's Kocherlakota Shifts on Unemployment (WSJ) - luckily QEternity made both obsolete
  • Lenders Reportedly Consider New Greek Haircut (Spiegel)
  • Fed Officials Highlight Benefits of Bond-Buying (WSJ)
  • ESM to Launch without Leverage Vehicle Options (WSJ)
  • Japanese companies report China delays (FT)
  • Borg Says Swedish Taxes Can’t Go Into Ill-Managed European Banks (Bloomberg)
  • Greek Leaders Struggle With Spending Reductions (Bloomberg)
  • Asian Stocks Rise as iPhone 5 Debut Boosts Tech Shares (Bloomberg)
  • China government's hand seen in anti-Japan protests (LA Times)
  • IMF Chief: Spain Banks' Recapitalization Needs Close to IMF Projections (WSJ)
  • Senate JPMorgan Probe Said to Seek Tougher Volcker Rule (Bloomberg)
  • King gives green light to break debt rule (FT)
  • S. Korea Growth Estimate Cut by IMF as Europe Caps Exports (Bloomberg)
  • ECB's Coeure sees no signs that euro zone needs QE (Reuters)

Overnight Media Digest


* Apple Inc's move to replace Google Inc's mapping software with its own on its mobile devices sparked a world-wide consumer backlash, marking a rare strategic blunder by a company more accustomed to rave reviews from users.

* Glencore International Plc's seven-month quest to seal a merger deal with Xstrata Plc is nearing a climax, with expectations building that Xstrata's board will endorse Glencore's latest proposal and pave the way for the creation of a $75 billion mining and commodity-trading colossus.

* An interest-rate-fixing scandal this summer felled a number of Barclays Plc executives. But a top Barclays compliance official, who was notified in 2008 about problems brewing within the bank, is now in a similar senior position at another major bank.

* The global economic slowdown is ensnaring two of Germany's luxury auto makers with Daimler AG on Thursday warning that its Mercedes-Benz division would miss its profit target for the year and Porsche preparing for weaker demand next year.

* A federal judge ordered Taiwan-based AU Optronics Corp to pay $500 million for participating in a conspiracy to fix prices on liquid-crystal-display panels.




Bank of England governor Mervyn King has given the coalition government a green light to break its self-imposed deadline to start lowering the nation's debt within three years.


EU authorities are working behind the scenes to pave the way for a new Spanish rescue programme and unlimited bond buying by the ECB, by helping Madrid craft an economic reform programme that will be unveiled next week.


James Murdoch is being lined up to take direct responsibility for News Corp's US television businesses, even as his record in the UK was attacked by media regulator Ofcom.


Guido Mantega, Brazil's finance minister, has warned that the US Federal Reserve's "protectionist" move to roll out more qe will reignite the currency wars with potentially drastic consequences for the rest of the world.


The broadcasting regulator has ruled that James Murdoch's shortcomings in dealing with the phone-hacking scandal did not warrant stripping BSkyB of its broadcast licence.


The boards of Glencore and Xstrata were holding last-minute meetings on Thursday to review the final details of the planned $80 billion combination of the resources companies.


Apple stands accused of putting competitive differences with Google ahead of its customers, as complaints about the iPhone's new Maps app threaten to overshadow its launch.


Crest Nicholson, the housebuilder that collapsed during the credit crisis, is weighing a return to the stock market, underscoring the resurgence of investor confidence in its sector.



* Wal-Mart Stores, the nation's largest retailer, said on Thursday it was dropping Amazon's Kindle tablets and e-readers, a sign of how seriously it views Amazon as a competitor in the consumer goods market.

* European regulators are set to approve a reduced version of the Universal Music Group's $1.9 billion takeover of EMI Music, people involved in the talks said.

* The desires of the British prime minister to cut the budget deficit are running up against a situation created over decades: the large number of public entitlements.

* Business software maker Oracle Corp reported quarterly earnings on Thursday that matched Wall Street's estimates, but a revenue decline signaled that the company was having a tougher time closing deals.




* While Canadians publicly debate allowing a state-owned Chinese firm to buy a piece of the oil sands, federal officials are privately concerned about security risks to Ottawa's computer networks from China's telecom equipment giant, Huawei Technologies Co Ltd.

* Ontario's cash-strapped government is considering the creation of two massive pension funds to manage the retirement savings of public-sector workers - everyone from nuclear engineers and university professors to hospital custodians.

Report in the business section:

* A number of foreign companies are flocking to Canada's oil patch in search of acquisitions and investments as Ottawa weighs the $15.1 billion takeover of energy company Nexen Inc by China's CNOOC Ltd.


* The government of Eritrea has agreed to stop collecting a controversial "diaspora tax" at its consulate in Toronto after the Department of Foreign Affairs threatened to send home the repressive African regime's only diplomat in Canada.


* The Canadian Auto Workers hammered out a four-year tentative agreement with General Motors Thursday under the threat of a strike if a deal wasn't reached by the end of the day.


Fly On The Wall: 7:00 am Market Snapshot



Altria Group (MO) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Citigroup
Autonation (AN) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at BofA/Merrill
ConAgra (CAG) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at UBS
Expedia (EXPE) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Deutsche Bank
International Paper (IP) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Deutsche Bank
KapStone (KS) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Deutsche Bank
MasterCard (MA) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Citigroup
Molina Healthcare (MOH) upgraded to Positive from Neutral at Susquehanna
Packaging Corp. (PKG) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Deutsche Bank
Rock-Tenn (RKT) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Deutsche Bank
Time Warner Cable (TWC) upgraded to Overweight from Equal Weight at Evercore
Wet Seal (WTSLA) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Roth Capital
Zions Bancorp (ZION) upgraded to Neutral from Underperform at Sterne Agee


Celanese (CE) downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at Wells Fargo
Charles Schwab (SCHW) downgraded to Underweight from Equal Weight at Evercore
Cooper Tire (CTB) downgraded to Hold from Buy at KeyBanc
E-Trade (ETFC) downgraded to Underweight from Equal Weight at Evercore
Goodyear Tire (GT) downgraded to Hold from Buy at KeyBanc
IHS Inc. (IHS) downgraded to Neutral from Outperform at RW Baird
MakeMyTrip (MMYT) downgraded to Hold from Buy at Deutsche Bank
National Grid (NGG) downgraded to Underweight from Neutral at JPMorgan


AOL (AOL) initiated with a Buy at Deutsche Bank
Angie's List (ANGI) initiated with a Hold at Deutsche Bank
Burger King (BKW) initiated with a Neutral at UBS
CECO Environmental (CECE) initiated with an Outperform at JMP Securities
EMC (EMC) initiated with a Buy at Jefferies
Facebook (FB) initiated with a Hold at Deutsche Bank
GasLog (GLOG) initiated with a Buy at Jefferies
Golar LNG (GLNG) initiated with a Buy at Jefferies
IBM (IBM) initiated with a Hold at Jefferies
Liquidity Services (LQDT) initiated with a Buy at Deutsche Bank
NetApp (NTAP) initiated with a Hold at Jefferies
Nordstrom (JWN) initiated with an Outperform at William Blair
NuVasive (NUVA) initiated with a Buy at Brean Murray
Panera Bread (PNRA) initiated with a Market Perform at Wells Fargo
Radware (RDWR) initiated with a Buy at Needham
TripAdvisor (TRIP) initiated with a Hold at Deutsche Bank
Vical (VICL) initiated with a Buy at Canaccord
Wright Medical (WMGI) initiated with a Buy at Brean Murray
Zimmer (ZMH) initiated with a Buy at Brean Murray


Moody's placed U.S. Bancorp (USB) ratings on review for possible downgrade, Bloomberg reported
Oracle (ORCL) sees 2Q hardware revenue decline of 8%-18%
Sees Q2 new software license, cloud subscription revenue up 55-15%
Texas Instruments (TXN) to raise quarterly dividend 24% to 21c
McDonald's (MCD) raised quarterly dividend 10% to 77c
CoreSite (COR), RiverMeadow Software and Violin Memory form alliance
Loral Space (LORL) and MDA received approval for SS/L sale from CFIUS
Daimler (DDAIF) planning EUR1B savings program for Mercedes-Benz unit, DJ reported
Amgen (AMGN) announced FDA approval of new indication for Prolia
Clear System Recycling (CLSR) announced MOU to acquire CI Holdings
Shutterfly (SFLY) to open new art production facility in Fort Mill, SC
Peugeot (PEUGY) entered into exclusive negotiations with JSC Russian Railways


Companies that beat consensus earnings expectations last night and today include:
Park Electrochemical (PKE), KB Home (KBH), Cintas (CTAS), TIBCO (TIBX)

Companies that missed consensus earnings expectations include:
DynaVox (DVOX)

Companies that matched consensus earnings expectations include:
Oracle (ORCL)


Following the significant decline in oil production after the Deepwater Horizon disaster, the U.S. Gulf of Mexico is set for an energy boom (XOM, CVX, RDS.A). Gulf oil flows will increase by about 28% by 2022 to 1.8M barrels per day, according to consulting firm Bentek Energy, the Wall Street Journal reports
Wal-Mart Stores (WMT) hopes to open its first retail stores in India within two years after the government opened the way for international supermarket chains to enter the country through joint ventures, the Wall Street Journal reports
Amid concerns about the state of the U.S. economy, Minneapolis Fed President Narayana Kocherlakota, who has argued that pushing too hard to get Americans back to work risks inflation, proposes to keep interest rates low until unemployment falls sharply, Reuters reports
Honda Motor (HMC) looks to nearly double its car sales to at least 6M vehicles worldwide in four years, said CEO Takanobu Ito, Reuters reports
The SEC wants to determine if some private-equity firms are taking more profits from investments than they should under agreements with fund clients, sources say, Bloomberg reports
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao pressed the EU not to put up trade barriers amid a EU threat to impose tariffs on solar panels from China, Bloomberg reports


Arlington Asset Investment (AI) commences offering of 2M shares of common stock
Pacific Ethanol (PEIX) announces offering of common stock, warrants
Smith Electric Vehicles (SMTH) withdraws plans for initial public offering
Thermon Group (THR) 10M share Secondary priced at $22.00