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Frontrunning: April 15

  • China growth slowest in six years, more stimulus expected soon (Reuters)
  • EU charges Google over shopping searches, to probe Android (Reuters)
  • A Chinese Paradox: Slow Growth Is Good, Stock Bubbles Welcome (BBG)
  • Draghi Seen Dispelling Duration Doubts About QE Program (BBG)
  • IEA Sees OPEC Supply Jumping Most in Four Years on Saudi Surge (BBG)
  • SEC Reaches Settlement with Former Freddie Mac  (WSJ)
  • Kerry says confident Obama can get final deal on Iran (Reuters)
  • Regulators Call for Short-Term Loan Changes to Handle ‘Too-Big-to-Fail’ (WSJ)
  • Florida Doctor Linked to Sen. Robert Menendez Indicted for Medicare Fraud (WSJ)
  • Eurozone trade surplus leaps after euro drop (FT)
  • Investors twitchy as German 10-yr yield flirts with fall below zero (Reuters)
  • Castleton Emerges as Leading Bidder for Morgan Stanley Oil Business (WSJ)
  • Christie's auction house hopes to make history with $130 million price tag for ‘Pointing Man’ (WSJ)
  • In setback, Obama concedes Congress role on Iran deal (Reuters)
  • SpaceX rocket blasts off, then lands - too hard - on ocean barge (Reuters)

 

Overnight Media Digest

WSJ

* A Florida eye doctor facing corruption charges with New Jersey Sen. Robert Menendez was indicted Tuesday on health-care fraud, with prosecutors alleging he cheated the federal Medicare program while receiving payments of $105 million over six years. (http://on.wsj.com/1cuv0CP)

* The Senate cleared a bill to set a new formula for calculating payments to doctors and other providers who treat Medicare patients, representing a rare major bipartisan compromise. (http://on.wsj.com/1CYDWG3)

* Energy companies have announced plans to lay off more than 100,000 workers around the world since crude-oil prices began to tumble last year. (http://on.wsj.com/1b1JKbR)

* China's economy started the year on a downbeat note, with its slowest quarterly growth rate since 2009, pointing to a further loss of momentum for the world's second-largest economy. (http://on.wsj.com/1PKNaiW)

* Morgan Stanley is nearing a deal to sell its oil-trading and storage business, potentially bringing to a close the bank's lengthy effort to jettison the unit. Trading firm Castleton Commodities International LLC has emerged as the leading bidder and is offering more than $1 billion for the business. (http://on.wsj.com/1ypXnMn)

* Christie's will try to make auction history this spring when it asks around $130 million for a reedy bronze figure of a "Pointing Man" by Alberto Giacometti, the highest price tag ever placed on a sculpture headed for auction. (http://on.wsj.com/1FI4ey7)

* Target is close to reaching a settlement with MasterCard to reimburse financial institutions roughly $20 million for costs they incurred from the retailer's massive data breach in 2013. (http://on.wsj.com/1E0TcJb)

* Finnish telecom-equipment maker Nokia is in advanced talks to buy French rival Alcatel-Lucent in a deal that would create a new global networking behemoth. (http://on.wsj.com/1IK1iXQ)

* In one of U.S. government's highest-profile cases tied to the financial crisis, the Securities and Exchange Commission reached a settlement with former Freddie Mac executives that achieved few of the penalties the SEC had sought. (http://on.wsj.com/1FI4ey7)

* Global banking regulators are sounding the alarm that trillions of dollars worth of short-term loans could complicate their efforts to handle a failing financial institution, said people familiar with the talks. The regulators are calling for changes to terms of contracts called repurchase agreements, or repos, and securities-lending agreements. (http://on.wsj.com/1CLSwQU)

 

FT

Italian holding company Exor, which controls carmaker Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, has launched a counter bid worth $6.4 bln to buy reinsurer PartnerRe Ltd , to prevent its merger with Axis Capital Holdings Ltd .

In a surprise move, the French government has backed the deal between Nokia and Alcatel Lucent saying "it is a move for the future," Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron said.

International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, an organisation that represents recording companies, said YouTube and some other hosting services like Dailymotion and SoundCloud exploit legal loopholes to gain an unfair advantage in licensing negotiations.

London-listed coal mining company Asia Resource Minerals Plc is the subject of a possible 210 million pound ($309.81 million) bid from Asia Coal Ventures (ACE), a vehicle funded by the Indonesia's Sinarmas Group.

 

NYT

* An American drone strike has killed a top ideologue and spokesman for al Qaeda's branch in Yemen, the terrorist group said on Tuesday. (http://nyti.ms/1DGaARs)

* U.S. President Barack Obama would sign a compromise bill giving Congress a voice on the proposed nuclear accord as the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, in rare unanimous agreement, moved the legislation to the full Senate for a vote. (http://nyti.ms/1NDYEGD)

* Fukui has now emerged as a battleground for the Japanese government's effort to rebuild the nuclear industry and reverse the economic impact of the reactor shutdowns. On Tuesday, a local judge blocked the latest attempt to get atomic power back on the grid, issuing an injunction forbidding the restarting of two nuclear reactors at the Takahama power plant in the region. (http://nyti.ms/1GJ672T)

* Federal regulators proposed rules to provide greater consumer protection for retirement savings. The rules would eliminate some loopholes that allow brokers to avoid acting as fiduciaries when providing advice on retirement money held inside accounts like 401(k)'s and in individual retirement accounts. (http://nyti.ms/1IbOuWQ)

* The European Commission is said to be planning to charge Google Inc with using its dominant position in online search to favor the company's own services over others, in what would be one of the biggest antitrust cases since regulators went after Microsoft Corp. (http://nyti.ms/1DGgG4g)

 

Canada

THE GLOBE AND MAIL

** Canada and India are expected to announce on Wednesday a uranium supply deal worth hundreds of millions of dollars where Canadian producer Cameco Corp would provide fuel for Indian reactors. (http://bit.ly/1NHLicd)

** Toyota Motor Corp plans to shift production of Corolla compact cars from Cambridge, Ontario, to a new factory in Mexico, ending an era that began when the company opened its first Canadian assembly plant in 1988. (http://bit.ly/1JJe6vi)

** Digital ride-sharing service Uber is teaming up with one of Canada's most recognized brands as it faces local challengers seeking to shut it down. San Francisco-based Uber Technologies Inc announced on Tuesday a marketing promotion with Loblaw Companies Ltd to make it easier for customers without cars to pick up groceries they have ordered online. (http://bit.ly/1DhO5ky)

NATIONAL POST

** Canada's economy will grow slightly slower than forecast by the International Monetary Fund just a few months ago, with momentum remaining "solid" but constrained by the collapse of global oil prices that have weakened investment and employment. Canada's output is expected to increase by 2.2 percent this year and 2.0 percent in 2016, the Washington-based IMF said in its spring World Economic Outlook released on Tuesday. (http://bit.ly/1JJWTlf)

** Ottawa tech company Shopify has filed documents for an initial public offering of $100 million in New York and Toronto. The cloud-based commerce company, founded in 2004 by Tobias Luetke, Daniel Weinand, and Scott Lake and released in 2006, has been in the media eye for its rapid growth. (http://bit.ly/1IcL46g)

** Postmedia Network Canada Corp is aiming to complete its integration with Sun Media in six to nine months, Chief Executive Paul Godfrey said on Tuesday, a day after the Sun takeover was completed. (http://bit.ly/1CJbg4x)

 

China

CHINA SECURITIES JOURNAL

- New trading accounts opened for Shanghai and Shenzhen A-share stock market hit 168,072 last week, up 7.66 percent from a week earlier, data from China Securities Depository and Clearing Corporation Limited (CSDC) showed.

- China plans to encourage local governments on the high-risk debt list to adopt "Public-private Partnerships" to lighten the load, the Ministry of Finance said in a guidance.

CHINA DAILY

- China's agricultural authority plans to assess hybrid rice varieties after a large crop failure in the country's western province of Anhui.

- China plans to improve its national security network to counter terrorism, according to guidelines issued on Monday by China's cabinet, and will include a nationwide population information database and unified credit record systems.

 

Britain

The Times

BRUSSELS VOWS TO BLOCK CAMERON ON EU TREATY

The president of the European Commission has ruled out any treaty negotiations on Britain's relationship with Europe until two years after the referendum promised by David Cameron yesterday. Sources close to Jean-Claude Juncker told The Times that there was no prospect of formal plans for treaty change until the end of 2019 at the earliest, with negotiations beginning the following year.(http://thetim.es/1EBTPHY)

RAF WARPLANES INTERCEPT RUSSIAN BOMBERS ON APPROACH TO BRITAIN

British warplanes were scrambled today to intercept two Russian long-range bombers flying close to British airspace, The Times understands. The scramble came as a British warship monitored a Russian destroyer and two other vessels that were passing through the English Channel.(http://thetim.es/1EBY5Y2)

The Guardian

HSBC SEEKS NEW NON-EXECUTIVE DIRECTORS IN WAKE OF TAX EVASION SCANDAL

HSBC is preparing to bring in new non-executive directors to overhaul a board that has faced intense scrutiny following revelations of its Swiss arm's involvement in tax evasion.(http://bit.ly/1CXxm2B)

GREECE CONFIDENT OF REACHING AGREEMENT IN MAKE-OR-BREAK APRIL 24 DEADLINE

Greece has vigorously rebutted speculation that it will declare a debt default and leave the euro zone if it fails to strike a deal with lenders to keep its bankrupt economy afloat.(http://bit.ly/1CXT1aL)

The Telegraph

PHONES 4U BOSSES LENT 460,000 POUNDS BEFORE COLLAPSE

Five members of the board and senior management of Phones 4U lent themselves hundreds of thousands of pounds months before the retailer's collapse, administrators have revealed. The group used the 460,000 pounds ($679,328) to buy shares in Phosphorus Jersey Ltd, the Channel Islands vehicle that was Phones 4U's ultimate parent.(http://bit.ly/1CXBGi8)

Sky News

LABOUR FURY OVER TORY 'ENGLISH TAX' PLAN

The Labour Party has reacted with fury to a proposal in the Tory manifesto for "English taxes", in which Scottish MPs would be barred from voting after more Scottish devolution.(http://bit.ly/1CXOkhf)

PM PROMISES 'GOOD LIFE' FOR 'WORKING PEOPLE'

David Cameron has claimed the Conservatives are the "party of the working people" as he made pledges on homeownership, 5,000 pounds ($7,384) of free childcare and an income-tax-free minimum wage.(http://bit.ly/1CXPjhr)

The Independent

GOOGLE TO BE HIT WITH ANTITRUST CHARGES BY THE EU

The European Union is set to file formal charges against Google Inc. for allegedly violating the bloc's antitrust laws, according to people familiar with the charges.(http://ind.pn/1CXQsWf)