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Frontrunning: November 3

  • Tech boom eases world stocks to two-and-a-half-month high (Reuters)
  • S&P 500 Futures Slip as Aussie Gains on Rate Outlook; Oil Rises (BBG)
  • Xi Says China Needs at Least 6.5% Growth in Next Five Years (BBG)
  • Ben Carson Vaults to Lead in Latest Journal/NBC Poll (WSJ)
  • World's Biggest Banks Still Not `Truly Resolvable,' FSB Says (BBG)
  • TransCanada Requests Suspension of U.S. Permit for Keystone XL Pipeline (WSJ)
  • Keystone XL's builder faced darkening prospects (Reuters)
  • Merkel Says Germany Must Step Up World Role in Refugee Crisis (BBG)
  • Porsche, more Audi models pulled into VW emissions scandal (Reuters)
  • Oil Slump Weighs on Saudi, U.A.E Businesses as PMI Drops (BBG)
  • The Death Rate Is Rising for Middle-Aged Whites (WSJ)
  • Donald Trump: Don't Blame Pfizer for Corporate Inversion Problem (BBG)
  • Liberal opposition to jets at Billy Bishop airport a blow to Bombardier (G&M)
  • Morgan Stanley Accused of Misusing Data in Short Selling (BBG)
  • Valeant Critic Gets a Taste of His Own Medicine as Attack Misfires (WSJ)
  • Russia steps up push for Syria peace deal, proposes talks (Reuters)
  • African migrants can’t reach continent, but can’t go home (WSJ)
  • Three Alleged Members of Islamic State Detained in Spain (WSJ)
  • U.S., Japan push for inclusion of South China Sea in defense forum statement (Reuters)
  • Hunt for Billions Invested by 1MDB Points to Australia (WSJ)
  • Vice Media Rides Lofty Expectations (WSJ)
  • Here’s how the Chinese send billions abroad to buy homes (BBG)

 

Overnight Media Digest

WSJ

- TransCanada Corp, the company behind the Keystone XL pipeline on Monday asked the U.S. government to suspend its permit application, throwing the politically fraught project into an indefinite state of limbo. (http://on.wsj.com/1Mdooal)

- Vice Media, known for its edgy reporting on everything from war zones to hallucinogens, is poised to get its own TV channel in a deal with A+E, according to people familiar with the matter. Vice is also in talks to get an investment of roughly $200 million from Disney. (http://on.wsj.com/1iz97EY)

- As short seller Andrew Left's eagerly awaited report on Valeant Pharmaceuticals International falls flat, he faces allegations of his own. Left is facing legal action from Hong Kong securities regulators, who allege he published false information about a Chinese property developer in 2012. A Hong Kong tribunal recently dismissed Left's application to stay the proceedings against him, securities regulators said Monday. (http://on.wsj.com/1WvlrUb)

- Chinese Internet giant Tencent Holdings Ltd is near a deal to invest $1 billion in a company created by Chinese startups Meituan and Dianping, as part of a fundraising round that could value the firm at $20 billion. (http://on.wsj.com/20pjZaH)

- Russia's top aviation official dismissed an assertion by the airline involved in a passenger jet crash in Egypt that pilot error and technical defects could be ruled out as causes. (http://on.wsj.com/20pkCRm)

 

FT

Pfizer approached GlaxoSmithKline for a possible takeover in recent weeks. However, a cool reception from the UK-listed company made Pfizer approach Allergan instead. Talks with Glaxo are now dead.

New York-based insurer American International Group said it would cut $400 million in costs to deflect pressure from shareholders, notably from Carl Icahn, to break up the company.

George Soros, who invested $500 million in Janus Capital after the appointment of "bond king" Bill Gross, has withdrawn his investment from the fund.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said it has uncovered excessive emission levels in thousands of luxury Porsche and Audi cars. The revelation extends the cheating scandal to diesel sports utility vehicles which were not previously admitted by Germany's Volkswagen AG.

 

NYT

* The Environmental Protection Agency said on Monday that it had discovered emissions-cheating software on more Volkswagen AG and Audi cars than previously disclosed and, for the first time, also found the illegal software in one of the carmaker's high-end Porsche models. (http://nyti.ms/1HnTcQh)

* The billionaire hedge fund investor George Soros has withdrawn $490 million from a new investment fund set up by William Gross. (http://nyti.ms/1LNbqyD)

* WeWork, which rents out offices and desks to freelancers and budding companies, has been on a fund-raising tear. In just five years, the New York-based start-up has raised $1 billion, achieving a valuation of $10 billion. Now, WeWork is seeking a new type of capital, another $750 million in debt. (http://nyti.ms/1WsN2KM)

* The teenage-fashion retailer, American Eagle Outfitters , is set to acquire the high-end men's wear label Todd Snyder for $11 million, shifting away from the "fast fashion" wars. (http://nyti.ms/1XL3JOQ)

* Amazon.com Inc is offering better benefits to its 222,000 employees. Amazon employees on Monday learned that birth mothers would now get 20 weeks of leave and fathers would get up to six weeks. The company is also opening its first physical book store on Tuesday in the University Village mall in Seattle. (http://nyti.ms/1Pius2f)

 

Canada

THE GLOBE AND MAIL

** TransCanada Corp said it has asked the U.S. State Department to suspend the review of its $8 billion Keystone XL pipeline while it seeks clearance from regulators in Nebraska. (http://bit.ly/1Na8o5A)

** The incoming Trudeau government, already facing a tough decision on whether to offer a $1 billion bailout to Bombardier Inc, says it's standing by a different political pledge that will end up hurting the Montreal aircraft maker and its troubled C Series plane. (http://bit.ly/1SkUTEC)

** Royal Bank of Canada has completed its $5 billion acquisition of Los Angeles-based City National Corp, setting into motion RBC's ambitious strategy for building a much larger presence in the United States and Britain. (http://bit.ly/1l5NsWC)

NATIONAL POST

** TransCanada Corp asked U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry late Monday to suspend its review of the Keystone XL pipeline, pending the resolution of litigation in Nebraska over the pipeline route. (http://bit.ly/1GJcqoK)

** Moody's Investors Service has put Bank of Nova Scotia's longterm debt ratings under review for possible downgrade. The ratings agency cited significant measures taken by Canada's third-largest bank to increase its profitability over the past couple of years, which signal a "fundamental shift" in the bank's risk appetite. (http://bit.ly/1Q3b2jw)

** Despite a $1 billion cash infusion from the Quebec government, Bombardier Inc is still walking a liquidity "tightrope" and may need a second bailout soon, says Scotiabank. (http://bit.ly/1RN9448)

 

China

SECURITIES TIMES

- Trading volumes in China's futures market dropped 23 percent month-on-month to 10.9 trillion yuan ($1.72 trillion) in October, the third straight monthly decline since August, according to the China Futures Association.

NATIONAL BUSINESS DAILY

- China's State Council has approved its first national level plan about soil and water conservation, it said in a statement on its website. China will add 320,000 square kilometres of land under conservation by 2020.

21ST CENTURY BUSINESS HERALD

- Mega city Chongqing's 11 percent GDP growth makes it the strongest of all China's provinces and municipalities, according to the paper's calculation based on official data. Liaoning Province came in last with growth of 2.7 percent.

CHINA SECURITIES JOURNAL

- Sixteen A-share listed Chinese banks raked in a total net profit of 10.3 trillion yuan ($1.63 trillion) between January and September, up 2.1 percent versus the same period in 2014, according to their third-quarter financial reports.

CHINA DAILY

- China and the United States should have a "correct understanding" of each other's strategic intentions and "handle disputes properly", President Xi Jinping said on Monday. The two countries are sparring over island building in the South China Sea.

 

Britain

The Times

British banks are set to pocket well over a billion pounds in cash after UK-based Visa Europe agreed to be taken over by its American sister organisation Visa Inc for up to 21.2 billion euros ($23.35 billion). Barclays said it was booking an initial profit of 400 million pounds ($616.72 million) on the deal, which reunites the European division of the plastic card network with the U.S. body responsible for operations in the rest of the world. (http://thetim.es/1l51U1l)

Thomas Cook was more concerned with profits than looking after the family of two children who died on holiday in Corfu, according to a damning report by Justin King, the former chief executive of J Sainsbury. The report concluded that Thomas Cook allowed financial and legal considerations to cloud the way it dealt with the human side of the tragedy.(http://thetim.es/1l52Sut)

The Guardian

Four oil spill sites in Nigeria identified by the United Nations, which Shell has claimed to have had cleaned up by contractors since 2011, are still polluted, says a report by Amnesty International. Amnesty alleges that in some cases, contractors employed by Shell admit simply to burying the pollution. (http://bit.ly/1l514By)

Major companies convicted of corporate manslaughter will face fines of up to 20 million pounds under new sentencing guidelines. The guidelines, to be unveiled by the Sentencing Council on Tuesday, suggest that judges should impose fines in relation to the size of the convicted organisation. (http://bit.ly/1l53y2Y)

The Telegraph

Quindell, which is under investigation by the Serious Fraud Office, said it will give 415 million pounds - or 90 pence-a-share - back to investors pending court approval next month. The company is returning cash after it sold the bulk of its operations to Australian law firm Slater & Gordon for 637 million pounds earlier this year. (http://bit.ly/1l507cD)

Anglo-Irish pharmaceuticals giant Shire is to pay nearly $6 billion to buy U.S-listed rare disease drugs maker Dyax in the latest round of consolidation in the pharmaceuticals sector, but says it still has enough firepower for further acquisitions. (http://bit.ly/1l50tzW)

Sky News

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has told Volkswagen it is expanding its investigation into the emissions scandal. According to the regulator, the German carmaker also installed defeat devices in 2014 to 2016 models with three-litre engines. (http://bit.ly/1l4WXWe)

Ryanair reported profit after tax of 1.1 billion euros for the six months to Sept. 30. Ryanair credited the strong pound and savings on fuel alongside "adverse" weather in northern Europe. (http://bit.ly/1l4ZTlD)

The Independent

Alstom, the French electricity and rail company, has competed the $13.6 billion sale of its energy assets to General Electric, the company said on Nov. 2. The European Commission had raised fears that the deal would damage competition in the market for turbines used to generate electricity from gas-fired power stations. (http://ind.pn/1l51I25) ($1 = 0.9080 euros)