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Frontrunning: September 24

  • Stocks slip for fifth straight day, euro holds steady (Reuters)
  • VW recall letters in April warned of an emissions glitch (Reuters)
  • VW Cheating Scandal Threatens to Ensnare BMW as Probe Widens (BBG)
  • Pope Francis set to address fractious U.S. Congress (Reuters)
  • Norway Cuts Rates to Record Low to Save Economy From Oil Slump (BBG)
  • Taiwan Cuts Rate for First Time Since 2009 as Exports Falter (BBG)
  • Janet Yellen to speak at UMass on Thursday (Daily Collegian)
  • A Big Bet That China’s Currency Will Devalue Further (NYT)
  • Debt Relief for Students Snarls Market for Their Loans (WSJ)
  • Wal-Mart presses suppliers to share benefits of cheaper yuan (Reuters)
  • Flash-Crash Trader Faces Fight to Stop Extradition to the U.S. (BBG)
  • More than 300 pilgrims die in stampede in worst haj disaster since 2006 (Reuters)
  • China's 'fake' Apple stores thrive ahead of new iPhone launch (Reuters)
  • Cyber Sleuths Track Hacker to China’s Military (WSJ)
  • Don't worry, it won't last: German business morale rises unexpectedly in September (Reuters)
  • VW admits emissions manipulation in Europe (Local)
  • China Is Sitting on an Ocean of Diesel Fuel (BBG)
  • We Still Aren’t Sure What Will Cause Janet Yellen to Pull the Trigger (BBG)
  • Towers Watson CEO Sold Stock Before Big Deal (WSJ)

 

Overnight Media Digest

WSJ

- The story of a Chinese military staffer's alleged involvement in hacking provides a detailed look into Beijing's sprawling state-controlled cyberespionage machinery. The growing reach of China's army of cyberwarriors has become a flash point in relations between Beijing and Washington that President Barack Obama said will be a focus during Chinese President Xi Jinping's state visit to the United States this week. (http://on.wsj.com/1YC5tvf)

- Microsoft Corp unveiled new partnerships with politically connected Chinese companies in an effort to open doors to more sensitive and official business in the vast China technology market. (http://on.wsj.com/1KAU2JG)

- Volkswagen AG raced to contain the widening scandal threatening Germany's most important company, ousting its chief executive and pledging to prosecute those involved in a scheme to cheat U.S. auto-pollution tests. (http://on.wsj.com/1ix2KCj)

- The Chinese government is committed to addressing U.S. concerns over market access and intellectual property, Chinese President Xi Jinping said, in the first of a series of meetings designed to highlight the benefits of commercial relations. (http://on.wsj.com/1gPFmP8)

- At a canonization Mass for the United States' first Hispanic saint, Pope Francis praised Father Junípero Serra, the friar who is considered the father of California's missions. (http://on.wsj.com/1Mr4Td9)

- Hundreds of top-ranked positions have been eliminated by South Korea's biggest companies over the past 18 months, as an export dip slowed growth rates. (http://on.wsj.com/1KCGsqc)

- Banks are clashing with regulators over loan reviews that could crimp the flow of new credit to oil and gas firms. The dispute is focused on the relatively narrow issue of loans secured by oil and gas company's reserves, but it highlights the much broader point of how post-crisis regulation of the financial industry is affecting sectors far from Wall Street. (http://on.wsj.com/1OTEPK2)

 

FT

Reinsurer Swiss Re AG has agreed to buy Guardian Financial Services for 1.6 billion pounds ($2.44 billion), the Swiss group said on Wednesday, bolstering the British business of its unit which buys and manages closed life insurance policies.

Volkswagen Chief Executive Martin Winterkorn resigned on Wednesday, succumbing to pressure for change at the German carmaker, which is reeling from the admission that it deceived U.S. regulators about how much its diesel cars pollute.

British finance minister George Osborne will open bidding during a visit to China on Thursday on 12 billion pounds ($18.29 billion) of contracts to build a high-speed rail line, the latest effort to bring Chinese cash to Britain.

 

NYT

- Chinese president, Xi Jinping, heard criticism of his government's laws and practices that discriminate against American corporate operations in China on his visit to Microsoft Corp's headquarters. (http://nyti.ms/1FvoMjr)

- A legal position published in Luxembourg on Wednesday by a senior adviser to Europe's highest court said that a trans-Atlantic "safe harbor" agreement allowing companies to ship people's data between both regions did not provide sufficient checks. The nonbinding but influential opinion could restrict how American companies like Facebook Inc and Google Inc move European data around the world. (http://nyti.ms/1Mr7cwK)

- Martin Winterkorn resigned as chief executive of Volkswagen AG on Wednesday, taking responsibility for an emissions cheating scandal that has gravely damaged the carmaker's reputation. (http://nyti.ms/1NNJCMh)

- Investors like Mark Hart are making a high-stakes gamble that China's currency devaluation last month was not a one-time event and there could be a 50 percent currency implosion that will come when foreign investors pull their money out of China. (http://nyti.ms/1Kwp0G2)

- Ever since governments began regulating cars, automakers have been finding ways to cheat to improve data on emissions, gas mileage and safety. (http://nyti.ms/1jcSwYg)

-International Business Machines Corp plans to open a second headquarters for Watson, its artificial-intelligence system, in San Francisco in 2016 and eventually employ several hundred people. (http://nyti.ms/1VbBN3s)

 

Canada

THE GLOBE AND MAIL

** Bombardier Inc is anticipating a bounce back in orders for new business jets after a weak first half of the year as a pickup in demand in the United States and elsewhere offsets softness in emerging markets. "Lots of good conversations with customers, good activity," David Coleal, Bombardier's president for business aircraft, said in an interview on Wednesday.(http://bit.ly/1NVODE7)

** The Canadian Broadcasting Corp is open to selling any and all of its real estate as it plans to move away from owning bricks and mortar, while its main union, Canadian Media Guild, argues the public broadcaster is in danger of making "irreversible" cuts under financial duress. (http://bit.ly/1L7VidP)

** President of Rogers Communications Inc's enterprise business unit, Nitin Kawale, on Thursday said it would offer its own managed services to replace a number of IT functions, including enterprise-level WiFi that the company will manage for its customers in the cloud. Kawale said in an interview the aim is to deliver IT and communications services in the same fashion as a utility would sell a company power or running water. (http://bit.ly/1R29TXf)

NATIONAL POST

** One of the biggest backers of the Keystone XL pipeline is acknowledging that the project is likely doomed to fail. The Saskatchewan government is expecting Keystone's demise after American Democratic presidential contender Hillary Clinton said she opposed it. Clinton said on Tuesday that the project had been a distraction and she doesn't believe it's in the best interests of what needs to do be done to combat climate change. (http://bit.ly/1YCXuy1)

** Canadian Tire Corp has worked hard to become a more technology-focused retailer in recent years and is now aiming to spark loyalty-fatigued consumers' creative interest with a new app that serves as a mobile credit card, a loyalty card and a hockey game, all in one. The app is available to all holders of the retailer's Canadian Tire Options MasterCard and allows users to pay for all of their Canadian Tire store purchases, redeem loyalty points and unlock "badges" to collect bonus digital Canadian Tire money. (http://bit.ly/1YCXCgS)

China

CHINA SECURITIES JOURNAL

- Euronext said it was cooperating with the Shanghai Stock Exchange to promote its spot, derivatives and commercial indexes and data.

SHANGHAI SECURITIES NEWS

- The China Insurance Regulatory Commission said it plans to rank and supervise insurance companies according to their risk profile.

- Chen Zhixin, president of carmaker SAIC Motor Corp said the company is working towards becoming an integrated supplier to provide all-round products and services.

21st CENTURY BUSINESS HERALD

- Donghai Airlines said it plans to list on Shanghai's A-share stock market in May 2016.

CHINA DAILY

- A majority of Japanese firms in China are willing to expand their operations, signalling improved business sentiment, Yoshihisa Tabata, director-general of the Beijing office of the Japan External Trade Organization was quoted as saying.

 

Britain

The Times

EDF is working on an improved design for its nuclear reactor that is easier and cheaper to build, but it will not be ready in time to be used at Hinkley Point or Sizewell, according to Chief Executive Officer Jean-Bernard Lévy. (http://thetim.es/1KvZxfR)

An aggressive activist hedge fund Elliott Capital Advisers has gatecrashed Lone Star's proposed 700 million pound takeover of Quintain, claiming that the offer "substantially undervalues" the property developer. (http://thetim.es/1KvZPDw)

The Guardian

Low-skilled migration and a reluctance to invest have been cited by a leading Bank of England official as possible factors depressing wage growth and harming Britain's productivity since the deep recession of 2008-09. (http://bit.ly/1Kw0c0T)

United Utilities Group Plc will take a 25 million pound hit to profits to compensate hundreds of thousands of customers affected by a parasitic bug in water supplies. (http://bit.ly/1Kw0hS6)

The Telegraph

A U.S. mobile operator offering a free 4G service has crossed the Atlantic to challenge budget providers such as TalkTalk and Tesco Mobile. Freedompop has set up in the UK as the first phase of a venture capital-backed international expansion plan. (http://bit.ly/1Kw0yVo)

The crisis at Volkswagen AG that has sparked fears hundreds of thousands of British cars could be flouting emissions controls laws has sent shockwaves through the motor dealer industry. (http://bit.ly/1Kw0EfH)

Sky News

Sky News has learnt that the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) will discuss the merits of a so-called time-bar exercise as part of a scheduled board meeting. (http://bit.ly/1Kw0Knw)

In an exclusive interview with Sky News, UK's Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, revealed that companies would now be able to bid for the right to build the rail routes and tunnels for the first phase of High Speed Two, linking London and Birmingham. (http://bit.ly/1Kw0Prb)

The Independent

The BBC has confirmed it will broadcast a delayed Panorama investigation into allegations of a VIP paedophile ring next month. (http://ind.pn/1OT827N)