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Frontrunning: August 17

  • Oil moves nearer six-year low on Japan data, oversupply (Reuters)
  • Commodity Slide Spurs Treasuries as Emerging Markets Extend Drop (BBG)
  • Because 7 years is "just right" - BOE Official Says Don’t Wait Too Long on Rates (WSJ)
  • How Medicare Rewards Copious Nursing-Home Therapy (WSJ)
  • Millennials Are Developing Parents’ Taste for Jaguars, Cadillacs (BBG) ... and even more debt
  • Mexican Billionaire’s Firms Swept Up in U.S. Probe of Citigroup (BBG)
  • Japan economy shrinks in second quarter in setback for 'Abenomics' (Reuters)
  • Hedge Funds Resume Flight From Oil as Prices Sink to 6-Year Lows (BBG)
  • China’s Woes Echo in U.S. Earnings (WSJ)
  • Bond Market’s $2.46 Trillion Dilemma May Not Be So Serious (BBG)
  • Yes, Donald Trump can win, but here’s what it will take (Reuters)
  • FTSE-100 Bosses Paid 183 Times More Than Average U.K. Worker (BBG)
  • Hunt for Chinese Man in U.S. Fuels Political Intrigue (WSJ)
  • Cargill Buys Salmon Feed Maker EWOS for $1.5 Billion (BBG)
  • Civilians killed as fighting flares in eastern Ukraine (Reuters)
  • The Rise of Phone Reading (WSJ)

 

Overnight Media Digestt

WSJ

* The Pentagon plans to sharply expand the number of U.S. drone flights over the next four years, giving military commanders access to more intelligence and greater firepower to keep up with a sprouting number of global hot spots, a senior defense official said. (http://on.wsj.com/1MsPU3d)

* Etsy Inc, the online marketplace for artisans, works to keep its business "mindful, transparent and humane," but that became tricky when it crafted a new tax strategy. (http://on.wsj.com/1MsQ36E)

* For U.S. nursing homes, Medicare's rules can provide a financial incentive to increase rehabilitative therapy for patients who may not benefit from extra care. (http://on.wsj.com/1MsQ76o)

* In an unusual legal battle set to begin this week, Promontory Financial Group plans to challenge a move by New York's state banking regulator to block the consulting firm from advising New York-based banks in some cases. (http://on.wsj.com/1MsQaPR)

* Donald Trump is calling for the deportation of millions of immigrants living in the United States illegally and for the end of automatic citizenship for children born to foreigners on U.S. soil, adding specifics to the hard-line immigration stance that first helped his Republican presidential campaign take flight. (http://on.wsj.com/1MsQa2e)

* Alibaba Group is fighting an aggressive ground war to keep its top e-commerce spot against a pack of rivals, suggesting China's biggest online vendor may not be as invulnerable as it seems. (http://on.wsj.com/1MsQdv1)

 

FT

John Wood Group Plc is set to announce this week that it has reduced its headcount by one in 10 during the first half of the year.

The European Central Bank has set a deadline of four years for completing the review of bank risk models, longer than the earlier target of a year or two.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has rescheduled trips to Italy and Brazil to spend more time trying to contain a major revolt from her party. This is before a vote this week on an 86 billion euro ($95.42 billion) rescue plan for Greece in the German parliament.

 

NYT

* Burdened by weaker consumer spending and exports, Japan's economy contracted in the second quarter, government data showed on Monday, the first such setback since a short but painful recession last year. The Cabinet Office said gross domestic product fell at an annualized rate of 1.6 percent in the three months through June. (http://nyti.ms/1Nch8ga)

* Chancellor Angela Merkel said she expected the International Monetary Fund to participate in the new bailout for Greece as Germany's Parliament prepared to vote on the package this week. (http://nyti.ms/1K12pmc)

* A position paper that appeared on Donald Trump's website centered on three principles: building a wall on the border and getting the Mexican government to help pay for it; enforcing the law; and making economic improvements. (http://nyti.ms/1hhfPjd)

* The National Security Agency's ability to spy on vast quantities of Internet traffic passing through the United States has relied on its extraordinary, decades-long partnership with a single company: the telecom giant AT&T Inc. While it has been long known that American telecommunications companies worked closely with the spy agency, newly disclosed NSA documents show that the relationship with AT&T has been considered unique and especially productive. (http://nyti.ms/1DYIdQT)

* When Apple Inc introduced its new streaming service, Apple Music, at the end of June, one of the big questions hanging over it was whether it could compete with outlets like Spotify to deliver blockbuster results for big new albums. In Apple Music's first major test, the answer is a qualified yes. Dr. Dre's album "Compton: A Soundtrack" had 25 million streams around the world in its first week, and also sold nearly half a million downloads through Apple's iTunes store, Apple executives said on Sunday. (http://nyti.ms/1NzTqHA)

 

Hong Kong

SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST

- Investment scams in Hong Kong have worsened, with the amount of cash lost to them in the first half of this year reaching HK$60.5 million ($7.80 million), almost three times more than last year's total, according to the Commercial Crime Bureau. (bit.ly/1Nc4y0r)

- The Consumer Council will study the opening up of the taxi services market in Hong Kong amid the rising popularity of controversial car-hailing app Uber. Council chairman Wong Yuk-shan said the watchdog would like to see more competition and better-quality services, but he also warned that there was an insurance issue involved in using car-hailing apps. (bit.ly/1IWNmG4)

THE STANDARD

- Food authorities in Hong Kong are contacting mainland authorities to see if food is imported from Tianjin amid news that deadly cyanide was stored at the warehouse devastated by giant explosions last week. The Centre for Food Safety said it is contacting mainland authorities and imports will cease if harmful products are found. (bit.ly/1PtZ1R4)

- Mainlanders looking to maintain asset value are seeking shelter in the Hong Kong property market after the yuan dropped 3 percent in a week. Centaline Property Agency managing director Louis Chan sees mainland buyers rising by 5 percent, while Cheung Kong Property's director William Kwok expects to see a rise in mainland flat buyers. (bit.ly/1PtZfYC)

HONG KONG ECONOMIC JOURNAL

- A further depreciation in the yuan of an aggregate of about 10 percent will significantly hit mainland tourist arrivals and hammer the already weak local retail market, analysts said. Hong Kong Retail Management Association chairwoman Caroline Mak said she does not expect to see any sign of improvement in the local retail segment.

- Sports consultancy service and property development firm China Viva Holdings Ltd said it would buy 29 percent of real estate developer CITIC Land Co Ltd for 320 million yuan in cash. CITIC Group will hold 71 percent of the developer on completion of the deal.

 

Britain

The Times

TUI Group is considering spinning off non-core assets with a turnover of about 3 billion euros ($3.33 billion). The travel group behind the Thomson and First Choice holiday brands could seek a separate listing for its non-mainstream operations, including brands such as hotelbeds.com, Crystal Ski Holidays and Hayes & Jarvis, while retaining a stake. (http://thetim.es/1TLGcim)

Morrisons is considering selling its M Local convenience stores to Greybull Capital, the investment firm best known for buying Monarch Airlines. Greybull is understood to be in discussions over financing a deal to back a group of industry executives who are planning to take control of about 160 M Local stores as Morrisons re-focuses on its core supermarket operation. (http://thetim.es/1TLGgOQ)

The Guardian

Young people without jobs will be sent to boot camp to prepare them for work as part of a "no excuses" approach to eradicating youth unemployment, said Matt Hancock, a Cabinet Office minister. The senior Conservative, who heads David Cameron's earn or learn taskforce, will set out plans for jobseekers aged between 18 and 21 to be placed on an intensive activity programme within the first three weeks of submitting a claim. (http://bit.ly/1TLIttI)

Homebuyers waiting for the traditional sharp summer fall in house prices are set to be disappointed, as asking prices for homes coming on to the market fell by just 0.8 percent in August, according to property website Rightmove. Rightmove found the usual summer dip of 1.5 percent was not matched as average prices of new listings on the market fell 0.8 percent, while north-east saw rise of 1.2 percent. (http://bit.ly/1TLJcLy)

The Telegraph

The rehabilitation of UK banks has taken another step forward as a prominent fund manager, Hermes, looks to buy back into the industry, even as lenders continue to deal with overhanging problems with their finances and culture. Hermes is reviewing the sector after moves by European banks to reduce their international businesses and slash balance sheet leverage. (http://bit.ly/1HQbIzi)

The devastation wrought by the oil price crash on Britain's North Sea industry is set to be laid bare when one of the region's biggest contractors, Wood Group, reveals that it has cut 4,000 jobs since the start of the year. The job losses will be detailed when the FTSE 250 company, which lays pipes for oilfields and helps staff oil rigs, announces its interim results on Tuesday. (http://bit.ly/1KqdXez)

Sky News

Fintrax Group, one of the world's leading providers of VAT refunds to international travellers, is being put up for sale amid a furious attack by government ministers on major British retailers. Exponent Private Equity, owners of Fintrax are to begin talks with prospective buyers within weeks. (http://bit.ly/1TLFcuD)

The Greek parliament has approved a three-year, 85 billion euros rescue package following a night of debate and delays. Politicians pass a bill for 85 billion euros in aid over three years - hours before eurozone ministers decide whether to approve the package. (http://bit.ly/1TLFAJk) (