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Frontrunning: April 13

  • As reported here first a month ago: The $9 Trillion Short That May Send the Dollar Even Higher (BBG)
  • As an instant target for foes, Clinton may struggle to get message heard (Reuters)
  • Emerging Stocks Rally 11th Day as Aussie Weakens on China (BBG)
  • Puerto Rico, Investors Enlist Ex-IMF Officials (WSJ)
  • Dollar’s Rise Reshuffles Global Economy (BBG)
  • Indonesia eyes regular navy exercises with U.S. in South China Sea (Reuters)
  • Banca Monte dei Paschi Breaches Exposure Limits to Nomura (WSJ)
  • European Bond Buyers Find Negative Doesn’t Necessarily Mean Bad (BBG)
  • Saudi Arabia’s Plan to Extend the Age of Oil (BBG)
  • Activist Puts Pressure on Qualcomm (WSJ) - translation: hedge fund demands company take on more debt
  • U.S. Widens Role in Saudi-led Campaign Against Houthi Rebels in Yemen (WSJ)
  • Experts blast U.S. for blocking supercomputer tech exports to China (Xinhua)
  • GE's Move Alters The Bond Market (DJN)
  • Retailers Are Under Fire for Work Schedules (WSJ)
  • Hard-Charging Uber Mixes In Softer Approach (WSJ)

 

Overnight Media Digest

WSJ

* The Puerto Rico government and the hedge funds that own its bonds are turning to former International Monetary Fund officials to help resolve a growing debt crisis that may require a restructuring more akin to Greece than a troubled city like Detroit. Puerto Rico has retained Anne Krueger, the IMF's former first deputy managing director, as a consultant, said people familiar with the matter.(http://on.wsj.com/1I5K7fL)

* New York's attorney general is scrutinizing 13 big retailers over their staffing practices and whether they require workers to show up or stay home with little notice. The office of New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman sent letters warning Target Corp, Gap Inc and 11 others that it believes the chains are using on-call scheduling and that such practices may violate a New York law. (http://on.wsj.com/1yj6o9V)

* Qualcomm Inc is under pressure from activist investor Jana Partners LLC to consider a breakup and other options to boost the giant chip maker's sagging stock price. Jana is asking Qualcomm to consider spinning off its chip unit from its patent-licensing business, which accounts for most of the company's profit. (http://on.wsj.com/1EsowPH)

* Sprint Corp is going to start hand-delivering new cellphones. The offer initially will only be available to current customers in the Kansas City area, near the company's headquarters, followed by rollouts later this month in Miami and Chicago. (http://on.wsj.com/1Hjev8d)

* Uber Technologies Inc is fighting a multi front war in the capital of India, one of the company's most important and fastest-growing overseas markets. The U.S. company is defying a ban by Delhi state authorities and competing furiously with local rivals for market share in the world's second-most populous country. (http://on.wsj.com/1amdUFw)

 

FT

Stakeholders in some of the biggest U.S. companies are set to receive a record $1 trillion in buybacks and dividends in 2015 as blue chip companies' concerns over the global economic outlook has diverted cash away from fresh investment.

The continuing power struggle at German carmaker Volkswagen escalated as a split emerged between the two controlling families Porsche and Piech, as its chief executive Martin Winterkorn refused to surrender his position.

Heineken and Diageo are bracing for their sales to go flat in Indonesia as the government imposes a ban on sales of drinks with less than 5 per cent alcohol volume - mainly beer - in convenience and other small stores from Thursday.

Oil and gas major Royal Dutch Shell is expected to maintain its status as the UK-listed company with the top dividend yield as it gives final touches to its 47 bln pound acquisition of BG Group, according to financial data co. Markit.

 

NYT

* As prosecutors put the finishing touches on the 2008 indictment of Blackwater security contractors for a deadly shooting in Iraq, the FBI agents leading the investigation became convinced that political appointees in the Justice Department were intentionally undermining the case, internal emails show. (http://nyti.ms/1ynSd3z)

* Margrethe Vestager, the European commissioner overseeing antitrust issues, on Wednesday will make her first trip to Washington to participate in two antitrust conferences. Vestager could take the one step her immediate predecessor, Joaquin Almunia, tried to avoid by filing a set of formal charges, called a statement of objections, which could raise pressure on Google Inc to settle in order to avoid a finding of wrongdoing and a potentially huge fine.(http://nyti.ms/1IF7Red)

* A Texas-born man suspected of being an operative for Al Qaeda stood before a federal judge in Brooklyn this month. The denouement in the hunt for the man, Mohanad Mahmoud Al Farekh, came after a years long debate inside the government about whether to kill an American citizen overseas without trial. (http://nyti.ms/1DAH6EJ)

* Safety deficiencies at a treatment center staffed by Partners in Health, a charity that pledged to fight Ebola in Sierra Leone and Liberia, led to the closure of the center after two clinicians were diagnosed with Ebola. (http://nyti.ms/1DAHjYq)

* A University of California study finds that taxpayers are providing not only support to the poor but also a huge subsidy for employers of low-wage workers, from giants like McDonald's Corp and Wal Mart Stores Inc to mom-and-pop businesses. (http://nyti.ms/1DWr61U)

 

Canada

THE GLOBE AND MAIL

** Finding itself in the public eye like never before, the National Energy Board is looking to persuade Canadians that the energy regulator is up to the job of protecting their safety and the environment. Board chairman Peter Watson is in the middle of a cross-country tour to meet with municipal officials, First Nations leaders and first responders, and is promising to open the pipeline safety issues to new levels of public scrutiny. (http://bit.ly/1yjE2fF)

** Canada's second spectrum auction of the year is set to begin on Tuesday, with Telus Corp expected to be the major winner of new licenses among the country's three national wireless carriers. (http://bit.ly/1GD1iYN)

** The Conservative government is expanding its code of conduct for the credit and debit card industry to cover the growing gray area of paying for items with a smartphone. (http://bit.ly/1GZV43W)

NATIONAL POST

** The Canadian Armed Forces say one of their ships helped seize more than 600 kilograms of cocaine off El Salvador. The Forces say HMCS Whitehorse helped the U.S. Coast Guard intercept a vessel, where they found 15 bales of cocaine floating in the water nearby. (http://bit.ly/1I686vw)

** A Toronto immigration consultant has been charged with 88 counts for allegedly forging employment letters to obtain visas for religious workers, the Canada Border Services Agency said on Friday. (http://bit.ly/1ciUZgy)

 

China

CHINA SECURITIES JOURNAL

- A poll of several Chinese financial institutions told the newspaper the country's GDP could average around 7 percent in the first quarter of the year.

- Trust firms which plan to list on China's stock markets must have made a profit for the last three consecutive years, according to the country's securities regulator. The combined net profit over the three-year period must be no less than 1 billion yuan ($161 million).

CHINA BUSINESS NEWS

- China's disciplinary watchdog said it was investigating the chairman of China Mobile Ltd's business in northern Shanxi province.

CHINA DAILY

- China has suspended top environmental officials in China's northwestern Gansu province after a local firm was found to have dumped 83,000 tons of waste into the region's Tengger desert.

SHANGHAI DAILY

- Shanghai authorities will extend a scheme to rein in booming prices of properties near to popular schools, education officials said on Sunday. Families will need to live longer in the property before they can get their kids into local schools.

 

Britain

The Times

TRAVELODGE'S OWNERS TO CHECK OUT FOR 1 BILLION POUNDS

Travelodge is lined up for a sale that could value the budget hotel chain at more than 1 billion pounds ($1.46 billion) only three years after its rescue from the brink of collapse. Its owners - Goldman Sachs, Avenue Capital and GoldenTree Asset Management - are understood to be preparing to appoint advisers to weigh up strategic options, including a flotation, on the back of soaring profits and a surge of interest in the hotel sector.(http://thetim.es/1OqmbaK)

MARK CARNEY 'NOT ABUSING NON-DOM STATUS'

The Bank of England has defended the non-dom status of Mark Carney, insisting that the governor has not structured his affairs to get around tax.(http://thetim.es/1OqnV3U)

The Guardian

BRITISH HOLIDAYMAKERS LOSE MILLIONS IN INTERNET SCAMS, SAYS REPORT

Fraudsters conned British holidaymakers out of 2.2 million pounds ($3.22 million) last year through a series of Internet-based scams, a report shows today.(http://bit.ly/1Oqoc70)

UK FIRMS' HIRING INTENTIONS 'SKY HIGH' BUT CONCERNS PERSIST OVER PRODUCTIVITY

Employers' hiring intentions are at a "sky high" level and stronger than in the pre-recession boom, but concerns remain about the UK's failure to grow productivity, according to a new report by accountants and business advisers BDO.(http://bit.ly/1OqooDf)

The Telegraph

ED MILIBAND'S DIRECT APPEAL TO SCEPTICAL VOTERS: 'TRUST ME ON THE ECONOMY'

Ed Miliband will today ask sceptical voters to trust him on the economy by putting a pledge to cut the deficit year on year on the first page of Labour's general election manifesto.(http://bit.ly/1Oqpajs)

Sky News

BUYOUT FIRM FLOWERS EYES BID FOR GENWORTH ARM

Genworth Financial, a troubled U.S. insurance company, is in talks with one of the financial services industry's most prolific investors, JC Flowers, about the sale of a business that includes a range of products sold to UK customers.(http://bit.ly/1z8E4lv)

CONSERVATIVES PROMISE TO CUT INHERITANCE TAX

The Conservatives have said they will take family homes out of inheritance tax by introducing a new allowance which effectively increases the threshold for tax to 1 million pounds.(http://bit.ly/1OqoE5f)

The Independent

OPEN-MINDED SHOPPERS WILLING TO TRY NEW PRODUCTS LEADING TO A BOOM IN ETHICAL SPENDING, SAYS REPORT

Shoppers who are happy to be the first to try out new products are driving a boom in ethical spending, from electric cars to DIY energy generation, according to Ethical Consumer magazine's annual report.(http://ind.pn/1OqoQRT)

GENERAL ELECTION 2015: 7.5 BLN POUNDS GAME CHANGER AS LABOUR PLEDGES TO CRACK DOWN ON TAX AVOIDANCE

A Labour government will raise 7.5 billion pounds a year by introducing a crackdown on tax avoidance, Ed Miliband says, as he pledges his premiership will herald an era-defining end to the "old assumptions" of allowing the rich to escape paying taxes.(http://ind.pn/1OqoZov)