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Frontrunning: October 6

  • Ebola Patient Fights for Life as Contacts are Monitored (BBG)
  • GPIF Unlikely To Announce New Portfolio Until November: Delay Could Rattle Investors Hoping Fund Will Invest More in Stocks (WSJ)
  • High risk Ebola could reach France and UK by end-October, scientists calculate (Reuters)
  • Neves to Face Rousseff in Brazil in Surprise Comeback (BBG)
  • Hong Kong democracy protests fade, face test of stamina (Reuters); A Hong Kong Protest Run on Fumes and Instant Noodles (WSJ)
  • Putin Clans Said Gridlocked Over Arrest as Sanctions Bite (BBG)
  • Surging dollar may be triple whammy for U.S. earnings (Reuters)
  • Lloyds Said to Cut Thousands of Jobs as CEO Cuts Costs (BBG)
  • S&P 500 Companies Spend Almost All Profits on Buybacks (BBG)
  • Nobel Prize for medicine goes to discoverers of brain’s inner GPS system (Reuters)
  • Greek Budget Said to Leave Creditors Unconvinced on Exit (BBG)
  • Banks Unite to Set Up One-Stop Bond Shop (WSJ)
  • Tumbling Oil Prices Punish Hedge Funds Betting on Gains (BBG)
  • Motor racing-Bianchi critical after Suzuka crash (Reuters)
  • BHP Plows Ahead on Iron-Ore Production (WSJ)

 

Overnight Media Digest

WSJ

* Hong Kong city's government met for the first time late Sunday with student leaders in an effort to resolve a political stand-off that has paralyzed three commercial districts, while fears of a crackdown eased Monday morning. (http://on.wsj.com/1s16HSH)

* Companies in more pedestrian industries are boosting Japan's economy again despite the malaise among better-known consumer players such as Sony Corp. (http://on.wsj.com/1q0vU92)

* Hewlett-Packard Co plans to separate its personal-computer and printer businesses from its corporate hardware and services operations, the latest attempt by the technology company to improve its fortunes by breaking itself in two. The company intends to announce the move on Monday, people familiar with the plan said. It is expected to make the split through a tax-free distribution of shares to stockholders next year. (http://on.wsj.com/1EiAxpG)

* Big Aluminum has spent two years shutting smelters to shrink a supply glut that has led to rotten prices. The strategy has been successful for the most part. But fresh weakness in aluminum prices remains a concern for Alcoa Inc, as some 40 percent of the company's sales in the second quarter of 2014 were still related to the production of aluminum and its raw material, alumina. (http://on.wsj.com/ZLDJKJ)

* The NBA reached long-term media rights deals with ESPN majority-owner Walt Disney Co and Time Warner Inc's Turner Broadcasting, more than doubling the fees it received under the previous contracts. (http://on.wsj.com/1pFdOu5)

* Out of office and six years after the events unfolded, former Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and other architects of the U.S. government's response to the financial crisis are likely to get their toughest grilling yet this week. The questions will come from prominent lawyer David Boies as he pursues a lawsuit brought by former American International Group Inc Chief Executive Maurice Greenberg who is challenging the terms of the 2008 bailout. (http://on.wsj.com/1s3iij5)

* Becton Dickinson Co agreed to buy CareFusion Corp in a $12.2 billion deal designed to provide a full range of medical products to hospitals, which are under pressure to cut costs and improve quality. The planned tie-up, which is expected to close in the first half of next year, reflects how medical-equipment makers are trying to adapt to major changes in the way hospitals do business. (http://on.wsj.com/1pF2IFl)

* BHP Billiton Ltd outlined plans to lift its iron-ore capacity by nearly 30 percent without building any new mines as it pledged to overtake rival Rio Tinto Plc as the world's most profitable producer of the steelmaking commodity. (http://on.wsj.com/1BHOwkR)

* Amazon was the online price leader in clothing and shoes, electronics, housewares and health and beauty, except when compared with Wal-Mart Stores and Target, according to a study by Wells Fargo and product-pricing data firm 360pi. (http://on.wsj.com/1nWuyC1)

* RadioShack Corp found the cash lifeline it needed to survive the busiest time of year. But the next few months will be no holiday. The Fort Worth, Texas, company needs to tick a series of boxes that includes improving sales, renegotiating credit lines and coming up with a business plan for next year. And even if it pulls that off, its hedge-fund lenders, rather than the retailer's shareholders, will reap most of the rewards. (http://on.wsj.com/1rQmS2u)

 

FT

* The top two foreign banks in Russia have been focussing on the rouble bond market as a means to substitute funding from their parent companies in Europe, as they try to reduce their exposure to the country.

* European Lithium intends to raise 5 million pounds(7.98 million U.S. dollars) via a UK stock market listing. The company will offer 16 percent stake through the offering to new investors.

* Commodities trader Mercuria is considering a strategic review of Henry Bath, a metals warehousing, storage and handling business, which it had bought from JPMorgan Chase & Co, the Financial times reported.

* Michel Sapin, France's finance minister, has said that the EU must change its policy to avoid the threat of low growth and low inflation, including relaxing the rate of deficit reduction.

 

NYT

* Seeking a place for itself in a digital world increasingly dominated by mobile technology, Hewlett-Packard CO is on the verge of a sweeping reorganization, according to people familiar with the matter. One will be focused on HP's traditional business in personal computers and printers and the other will have computer servers, data storage devices, networking, software and services. (http://nyti.ms/ZKYd6o)

* Shuttle drivers who get Facebook Inc employees to work are complaining that their pay is so low that they cannot afford to live in the area. They are now seeking the Teamsters union's representation. The union has written to Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook's chief executive, asking him to intervene on the drivers' behalf. (http://nyti.ms/1urhe9f)

* Becton Dickinson and Co, a medical technology firm, said on Sunday it would acquire CareFusion Corp, which provides products and services to hospitals, for $12.2 billion in cash and stock. (http://nyti.ms/1n8s3Mt)

* The price of Bitcoin fell nearly 20 percent this weekend to its lowest level of the year, prompting worries of a crash. Bitcoin was trading at about $300, up from a low of $286 on Sunday afternoon, according to CoinDesk, a virtual currency website. (http://nyti.ms/1vEIBLh)

* For American technology companies Microsoft Corp, Facebook Inc, Google Inc, China is a difficult place to operate. But the social network LinkedIn Corp, has found a way to do business - by being willing to compromise on the free expression that is the backbone of life on the Western Internet. LinkedIn's experience provides a blueprint, and perhaps a cautionary lesson, for Silicon Valley as it tries to crack the vast Chinese market. (http://nyti.ms/1s3tPPx)

* Google Inc's driverless car may still be a work in progress, but the potential for semiautonomous vehicles on American roads is no longer the stuff of science fiction. By the end of the decade, a growing number of automakers aim to offer some form of hands-off-the-wheel, feet-off-the-pedals highway driving where a driver can sit back and let the car take control. (http://nyti.ms/1Ej3IJf)

* Hong Kong's silent minority of elite tend to fall in line behind the Beijing leadership on political or economic policies that touch the city. Now, it appears to be largely the squeezed middle class, and a younger generation discovering its political voice, driving the unprecedented demonstrations that have shut down major routes in some of Hong Kong's busiest districts over the past week. (http://nyti.ms/1sYosTF)

 

Corporate Finance

* The National Basketball Association has reached long-term media rights contracts with Walt Disney Co and Time Warner Inc's Turner Broadcasting, more than doubling the fees it received under the previous contracts, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter.
 
* A group of 12 banks, including BNP Paribas SA, Credit Suisse Group AG, Goldman Sachs Group Inc , HSBC Holdings, and JP Morgan Chase & Co are working together to set up a one-stop bond shop for buyers and sellers of corporate bonds, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

* Silicon Valley stalwart Hewlett-Packard Co, which has struggled to adapt to the new era of mobile and online computing, plans to split into two companies as it looks to put more focus on the faster-growing corporate services market, according to a Wall Street Journal report on Sunday.

* Commodities trader Mercuria is considering a strategic review of Henry Bath, a metals warehousing, storage and handling business, which it had bought from JPMorgan Chase & Co, the Financial times reported.

 

Britain

The Times

UK JIHADISTS WERE TRADED BY TURKEY FOR HOSTAGES

Two British jihadists are understood to have been among scores of militant prisoners handed back to Islamic State by Turkey in return for the release of diplomats held by the group. (http://thetim.es/10CCVIs)

THOUSANDS OF JOBS TO GO IN LLOYDS REVAMP

Lloyds Banking Group PLC will cut thousands of staff and close more branches as Britain's largest retail lender embraces a "digitisation" strategy and automates its entire business. (http://thetim.es/1yGinhh)

The Guardian

LABOUR NHS FUNDING PLEDGE UNRAVELS

Labour's key election pledge to rescue the ailing NHS with an extra £2.5bn a year has begun to unravel after the party admitted that the money would not be available until halfway through the next parliament. (http://bit.ly/1vI5Ghm)

MORRISONS TO LAUNCH MORE PRICE CUTS IN FIRST SALVO OF 'TOUGH' CHRISTMAS CONTEST

WM Morrison Supermarkets PLC will launch more price cuts and promotions before Christmas, chief executive Dalton Philips promised, as part of the embattled supermarket chain's fight back against the discounters. (http://bit.ly/1uqw8ga)

The Telegraph

NO NEW COALITION WITHOUT TAX HIKES FOR MIDDLE CLASSES, NICK CLEGG WARNS DAVID CAMERON

The Liberal Democrats have told David Cameron they will refuse to form a coalition with the Conservatives unless he commits to punishing tax hikes for the middle classes, Nick Clegg has said. (http://bit.ly/1BHqHtp)

BT MOBILE NETWORK HIT BY TECHNICAL HURDLES

BT Group PLC's return to the consumer mobile market could be delayed beyond the current financial year because of technical problems that undermine its plan to undercut rival operators, the Telegraph said. (http://bit.ly/1vDmJ2V)

Sky News

JOHN LEWIS BOSS SORRY FOR 'HOPELESS' FRANCE JIBE

The boss of the John Lewis Partnership PLC has apologised to France after saying the country was "finished". He had made the critical comments at an event for entrepreneurs in London that included a competition for start-up businesses. (http://bit.ly/1pEX1at)

LABOUR PEER MCFALL JOINS DIGITAL BANK ATOM

Lord McFall, a former chairman of the Treasury Select Committee, is joining the board of Atom, the first British digital-only bank that hopes to launch next year. (http://bit.ly/1ujs29i)

The Independent

UBS BANK 'COULD FACE $6.3BN FINE' IN FRENCH TAX PROBE

France could fine Switzerland's largest bank, UBS AG , 3.9 billion stg, if it is found to have unlawfully helped rich customers avoid tax, according to reports in Geneva. (http://ind.pn/1yGnJJp)

EBOLA CRISIS: VIRUS COULD REACH THE UK AND FRANCE BY THE END OF THE MONTH, SCIENTISTS CLAIM

Scientists have claimed the Ebola virus could reach the UK and France by the end of the month. Following an analysis of disease spread patterns and airline traffic data, experts have predicted there is a 75 per cent chance the virus could be imported to France by Oct. 24, while there is a 50 per cent chance it could have also hit Britain. (http://ind.pn/1vI8bA4)

 

 

Fly On The Wall Pre-Market Buzz

ECONOMIC REPORTS

No major domestic economic reports scheduled for today.

ANALYST RESEARCH

Upgrades

Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Mizuho
Albemarle (ALB) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Deutsche Bank
Andersons (ANDE) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Janney Capital
Becton Dickinson (BDX) upgraded to Neutral from Underweight at JPMorgan
Coca-Cola Enterprises (CCE) upgraded to Neutral from Reduce at Nomura
ConocoPhillips (COP) upgraded to Neutral from Sell at UBS
FTI Consulting (FCN) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Stifel
Harley-Davidson (HOG) upgraded to Outperform from Sector Perform at RBC Capital
Intuitive Surgical (ISRG) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Goldman
Legacy Reserves (LGCY) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Wunderlich
Meritage Homes (MTH) upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform at Wells Fargo
OGE Energy (OGE) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Wunderlich
RSP Permian (RSPP) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at UBS
SkyWest (SKYW) upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform at Raymond James
Splunk (SPLK) upgraded to Overweight from Equal Weight at Morgan Stanley
Tableau (DATA) upgraded to Overweight from Equal Weight at Morgan Stanley

Downgrades

Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF) downgraded to Neutral from Overweight at Piper Jaffray
BAE Systems (BAESY) downgraded to Hold from Buy at Societe Generale
Church & Dwight (CHD) downgraded to Underweight from Equal Weight at Barclays
Colgate-Palmolive (CL) downgraded to Equal Weight from Overweight at Barclays
Deckers Outdoor (DECK) downgraded to Neutral from Overweight at Piper Jaffray
Delhaize (DEG) downgraded to Hold from Buy at Deutsche Bank
Fortinet (FTNT) downgraded to Equal Weight from Overweight at Morgan Stanley
Midcoast Energy (MEP) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at UBS
Mobileye (MBLY) downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at Raymond James
Nationstar (NSM) downgraded to Underperform from Market Perform at Keefe Bruyette
PetSmart (PETM) downgraded to Equal Weight from Overweight at Barclays
Qlik Technologies (QLIK) downgraded to Equal Weight from Overweight at Morgan Stanley
Subsea 7 (SUBCY) downgraded to Neutral from Outperform at Exane BNP Paribas
Xoom (XOOM) downgraded to Underweight from Equal-Weight at Evercore

Initiations

AudioCodes (AUDC) initiated with an Outperform at Northland
Bank of Ireland (IRE) initiated with a Neutral at JPMorgan
Cogent (CCOI) initiated with a Neutral at SunTrust
ContraFact (CFRX) initiated with a Buy at Roth Capital
Markit (MRKT) initiated with a Sector Perform at RBC Capital
Rockwood (ROC) reinstated with a Hold at Deutsche Bank

COMPANY NEWS

HP (HPQ) confirmed separation into two companies, HP Inc and Hewlett-Packard Enterprise. Meg Whitman will be president and CEO of Hewlett-Packard Enterprise, Pat Russo will be chairman of Hewlett-Packard Enterprise board. Dion Weisler will be president and CEO of HP Inc, Meg Whitman will be chairman of the HP Inc. board
Becton Dickinson (BDX) acquired CareFusion (CFN) for $58 per share in $12.2B deal
Chevron (CVX) said that its indirect, wholly-owned subsidiary, Chevron Canada, reached agreement to sell a 30% interest in its Duvernay shale play to Kuwait Foreign Petroleum Exploration Company’s wholly-owned subsidiary, KUFPEC Canada, for $1.5B
Verizon's (VZ) Redbox Instant to shut down October 7 (OUTR)
RadioShack (RSH) entered into definitive agreements to restructure debt
Sprint (S) said that on September 30 it began implementation of a workforce reduction

EARNINGS

HP (HPQ) sees FY15 EPS $3.83-$4.03, consensus $3.95
HP (HPQ) backs FY14 EPS view of $3.70-$3.74, consensus $3.73
Qumu (QUMU) sees FY15 revenue growth to exceed 60%, one estimate $34.63M
BioLife Solutions (BLFS) reports preliminary Q3 revenue $1.2M, one estimate $1.26M
Becton Dickinson (BDX) reaffirms FY14 EPS view $6.22-$6.25, consensus $6.25
CareFusion (CFN) reaffirms FY15 EPS view $2.60 to $2.75, consensus $2.68
Nortek (NTK) sees FY14 revenue $2.45B-$2.5B, consensus $2.52B

NEWSPAPERS/WEBSITES

JPMorgan (JPM) hackers hit about nine other firms, NY Times reports
Spun off HP (HPQ) companies could be takeover targets, Re/code says
Yahoo (YHOO) in talks to invest in Snapchat, WSJ reports
Two states probe JPMorgan (JPM) over theft of 83M customer records, Reuters reports
Starboard to push breakup at Yahoo (YHOO) before any asset sales, Bloomberg reports
eBay (EBAY), PayPal split could be bad for both companies, Barron's says
Kroger (KR) shares could climb 20%, Barron's says
Micron (MU) shares could jump 50%, Barron's says

SYNDICATE

New Source Energy (NSLP) files $50M equity distribution agreement with BMO Capital
Premier (PINC) files to sell 111.87M shares of Class A common stock for holders
Sino-Global (SINO) files automatic common stock shelf
TCP Capital (TCPC) enters into $100M equity distribution agreement
xG Technology (XGTI) files to sell 4.96M shares of common stock for holders