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Frontrunning: October 29

  • Fed set to end one crisis chapter even as global risks rise (Reuters)... you mean, for the third time?
  • Insider-Trading Probe Focuses on Medicare Agency (WSJ)
  • He's sorry: Rajoy Apologizes as New Wave of Graft Allegations Hits Spain (BBG)
  • China could 'punish' Hong Kong over protests, says ex-HK central bank chief (Reuters)
  • Dubai Insists the Boom is Not a Bubble This Time Around (BBG)
  • Bank-Data Sharing Accord Expands Push to Find Tax Cheats (BBG)
  • Deutsche Bank Sinks to Third-Quarter Loss on Legal Costs (BBG)
  • Kim Jong Un Executes 10 Officials for Watching Soap Operas (BBG)
  • French drugmaker Sanofi sacks CEO Viehbacher (Reuters)
  • Norway Oil Fund Has Weakest Return Since 2013 on European Losses (BBG)
  • The FTC is suing AT&T for throttling its unlimited data customers (WaPo)
  • Iraqi peshmerga poised to join battle against Islamic State in Syria (Reuters)
  • German Potholes Risk Growth Prospects in Land of Autobahn (BBG)
  • Sanctions bind Russia's energy elite to Putin (Reuters)
  • Zambia's president, 'King Cobra' Sata, dies in London (Reuters)

 

Overnight Media Digest

WSJ

* In a significant shift, business groups gave more money in aggregate to Republican candidates than to Democrats in seven of the most competitive Senate races in recent months, in some cases taking the unusual step of betting against sitting senators. (http://on.wsj.com/1zHduVR)

* Federal agencies are probing exploring whether employees of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the agency that oversees billions in health spending, have leaked news that ended up in the hands of Wall Street traders, according to people with direct knowledge of the investigations. (http://on.wsj.com/1zH3NXj)

* An unmanned Orbital Sciences Corp's rocket suffered a catastrophic failure seconds after liftoff Tuesday, dealing a potential setback to NASA's program to privatize such missions. (http://on.wsj.com/1wbJSMp)

* Hedge funds and other rapid-fire investors can get access to market-moving documents ahead of other users of the Securities and Exchange Commission's system for distributing company filings, giving them a potential edge on the rest of the market. (http://on.wsj.com/135V9mM)

* Facebook Inc chief Mark Zuckerberg vowed to continue spending abundantly on new technologies in the coming years, explaining away a quarterly profit that took a hit from megadeals such as WhatsApp. (http://on.wsj.com/137yxCg)

* The Federal Trade Commission sued AT&T Inc, alleging that the company misled millions of cellphone subscribers by selling them unlimited data plans and then effectively capping those plans. (http://on.wsj.com/ZYsoGP)

* The first rule of IPOs is: You don't talk about IPOs. It is a lesson highlighted by RBC Capital Market's decision to relinquish a coveted role underwriting the record-breaking initial public offering of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd last month because of public comments by one of its executives. (http://on.wsj.com/1yHbFnw)

 

FT

Lloyds Banking Group Plc will cut more than 9,000 jobs and shut 200 of its 2,253 branches, it revealed on Tuesday as it seeks to strengthen its future as Britain's leading retail bank with a major digital transformation focussing on slashing costs and closing branches.

Britain's skills and equalities minister Nick Boles has become the first conservative minister to suggest the government's immigration approach is damaging Britain's global competitiveness.

Another member of the Bank of England's monetary policy committee, Jon Cunliffe argued on Tuesday for rates to remain at their record low indicating lower possibility of the UK interest rate to rise in the near future.

The number of British children who live in poverty has shot up to more than one in four since the start of the recession, following government austerity measures and benefit cuts, an UNICEF report said.

 

NYT

* General Motors Co hopes to invigorate sales of its slow-selling Chevrolet Volt by introducing a new version of the plug-in hybrid sedan next year, with more of its parts production taking place in Michigan. (http://nyti.ms/1nOIyxo)

* Arthur Levitt Jr., the longest-serving chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, will serve as an adviser to BitPay, the Bitcoin payment processor, and Vaurum, an exchange for institutional investors. The moves were announced on Tuesday (http://nyti.ms/ZYoCx0)

* The possibility that JPMorgan Chase & Co would build a two-towered, $6.5 billion headquarters on the Far West Side of Manhattan streaked across the skyline in recent weeks, only to die quietly on Tuesday. Jamie Dimon, chairman of Chase, called Mayor Bill de Blasio and Governor Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday to say that the country's largest bank had decided to stay put on the East Side. (http://nyti.ms/1FU29Cj)

* Three years ago, AT&T Inc warned smartphone customers with "unlimited" data plans that their connections might be slowed if they used a lot of data. On Tuesday, the Federal Trade Commission said AT&T's disclosure was deceptive because it was not specific enough. (http://nyti.ms/1sAZl2E)

* The German lender Deutsche Bank announced a management shakeup Tuesday that will move the chief financial officer, Stefan Krause, to a newly created post and give his duties to a Goldman Sachs Group partner, Marcus Schenck. Deutsche Bank also named Christian Sewing to the management board with responsibility for legal affairs. In addition, Henry Ritchotte, Deutsche Bank's chief operating officer, will retain that title while overseeing an effort to improve the bank's information technology, including internet and mobile banking services. (http://nyti.ms/1wEd1Qm)

 

Canada

THE GLOBE AND MAIL

** Police in Canada will soon have new tools to track terror suspects through online records, bank accounts and other means - powers the Royal Canadian Mounted Police commissioner called for this week, but which are already moving through Parliament. (http://bit.ly/1sDhEEc)

** As North American and global crude oil prices hit the skids, falling this week to four-year lows, producers in northern Alberta are benefiting from strengthening prices for Western Canada Select heavy oil and a weaker Canadian dollar. (http://bit.ly/1wFh1QL)

** Doug Ford, who said good riddance to political life just a few months ago before he stepped into the mayor's race for his brother, has his sights set on a new target - leader of Ontario's Progressive Conservative Party.(http://bit.ly/1E0jB6h)

NATIONAL POST

** The new chief executive of Cliffs Natural Resources Inc doubts that Ontario's "Ring of Fire" will be developed for decades to come, or that anyone will buy his company's rich chromite assets in the region in the near future. (http://bit.ly/1wFhyCe)

** Canada's threat assessment agency warned last year of the potential for a terrorist attack in Ottawa, calling the capital region "a rich environment" and noting that "active shooter" terror attacks had taken place in the United States and Europe. (http://bit.ly/1tgG7EQ)

** The soldier commanding Canadian CF-18 fighter jets and other aircraft deployed to the Middle East says these forces are "on target" to launch operations against Islamic State of Iraq & Al-Sham jihadists by Saturday. (http://bit.ly/139l90u)

 

China

CHINA SECURITIES JOURNAL

- Ni Hong, spokesperson from the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development of China said at a press conference on Tuesday that property market problems should be solved by market-based instruments.

- Li Daokui, a professor at Tsinghua University, said at an industry meeting that the third-quarter GDP was dragged down 0.3 percent by the property sector, according to the newspaper.

SECURITIES TIMES

- The State Council, China's cabinet, said it would increase the scale of its science service sector to 8 trillion yuan ($1.31 trillion) by 2020, according to a guideline released on Tuesday.

CHINA DAILY

- A new regulation taking effect on Saturday that makes private clubs in public venues, like parks and historical buildings, forbidden zones to officials shows that the Communist Party leadership seems determined not to give in to corrupt and self-gratifying officials.

PEOPLE'S DAILY

- The vitality and authority of the law is in its implementation, an editorial said. Leading officials at all levels must not talk their way around the law nor use their power to suppress the law or exhibit favouritism, but instead they should lead the way in compliance with, and respect for, the law.

Britain

The Times

AGGRIEVED CUSTOMERS TURN UP THE HEAT ON RBS

Lawyers acting for businesses affected by Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc's turnaround division have demanded that the bank preserve "critical evidence" before a planned group legal action. Quinn Emanuel, an American law firm, has written to RBS highlighting concerns that a decision to close the global restructuring group could lead to key evidence being lost. (http://thetim.es/1wE9ik4)

TORY DONOR MICHAEL FARMER'S FUND IN COPPER 'SQUEEZE'

A hedge fund run by a prominent Conservative donor is believed to control more than 80 percent of the copper in London Metal Exchange warehouses. Information at the LME, the world's largest exchange for metals and whose prices are used as benchmarks in contracts around the world, showed that on Tuesday and Wednesday last week a single owner held between 80 and 90 percent of the copper in stock in its system. Red Kite Group, a hedge fund led by Michael Farmer, has been identified by brokers and traders as the dominant holder of copper. (http://thetim.es/1wEDVHL)

The Guardian

INTEREST RATES CAN STAY LOW FOR LONGER, SAYS BANK OF ENGLAND DEPUTY CHIEF The Bank of England can afford to keep interest rates low for longer than previously thought, Deputy Governor Jon Cunliffe has said, in comments that will reinforce the market view that rates will remain at 0.5 percent until at least the middle of next year. (http://bit.ly/1tfkBhY)

The Telegraph

VODAFONE ACCUSED OF ILLEGALLY WITHOLDING REPORT ON 6 BLN STG GERMAN TAKEOVER

Vodafone has been accused of illegally withholding a report on its 6 billion pounds ($9.68 billion) takeover of Kabel Deutschland as part of a "pattern of obstructing" efforts by shareholders to uncover the details of the deal. (http://bit.ly/1wEaBzj)

RETAILERS WANT CHANCELLOR TO EXTEND BUSINESS RATES DISCOUNTS

The retail industry is pressing the Chancellor to extend the 1.1 billion pound discount on business rates he announced in last year's Autumn Statement. Business rates are due to rise by another 2.3 percent next April, an increase set by the rate of RPI inflation in September, but the British Retail Consortium want George Osborne to cap this increase at 2 percent. (http://bit.ly/1sBGNPH)

LACK OF WIND OR NUCLEAR PROBLEMS 'COULD WIPE OUT BRITAIN'S SPARE POWER CAPACITY'

A cold and windless day could result in households' lights being dimmed this winter, despite new emergency measures to prevent blackouts, experts have warned. Britain's spare capacity, the safety buffer between electricity supplies and peak demand,has fallen to just 4 percent, the lowest level in seven years, following a series of power plant fires and closures, analysis from National Grid revealed. (http://bit.ly/1wADJbN)

LABOUR STEPS UP RAIL RE-NATIONALISATION CAMPAIGN

Labour will on Wednesday call for a change to the law that could lead to the re-nationalisation of Britain's railways. Andy Sawford, member of parliament for Corby and East Northamptonshire, will propose a bill that would allow a train operator owned by the British taxpayer to compete against private companies for lucrative contracts to run rail lines. (http://bit.ly/1wEHayX)

Sky News

RYANAIR FACES 6.5 MLN STG FRENCH LABOUR LAW PENALTY

Ryanair Holdings Plc is facing a 6.5 million pound penalty after losing an appeal against a decision that it broke French labour laws. The no-frills carrier was found guilty of paying workers under Irish contracts to save money on payroll and other taxes. (http://bit.ly/1tCfsC1)

The Independent

LIFE AFTER LIBOR: BANKERS TO FACE PERSONAL FINES FOR RIGGING PRICES

Banks could face a significant new regulatory crackdown on their wholesale market activities as the financial authorities seek to prevent a repeat of the scandals that have destroyed the reputation of the sector in recent years. The Bank of England, in conjunction with the Financial Conduct Authority and the Treasury, yesterday published a wide-ranging consultation document which holds out the possibility of a radical tightening of the supervisory regime for financial institutions that trade in the foreign exchange, interest rate derivatives, commodities and also bond and equity markets. (http://ind.pn/1wEbec6)

MPS DEMAND SCRUTINY OF MINING FIRMS' ETHICS

The Government must take action to prevent British mining companies avoiding tax in some of the poorest parts of the world where they operate, MPs demanded on Tuesday. Miners have been repeatedly accused of using sophisticated networks of anonymous shell companies and bribery of local officials to avoid paying their fair share of local taxes in return for the minerals and oil they remove from the land. (http://ind.pn/ZX9S1b)

Fly On The Wall Pre-Market Buzz

ECONOMIC REPORTS
Domestic economic reports scheduled for today include:
FOMC meeting announcement and funds rate at 14:00

ANALYST RESEARCH

Upgrades

Abbott (ABT) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Deutsche Bank
Ambev (ABEV) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Goldman
Amgen (AMGN) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Nomura
C.H. Robinson (CHRW) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at BofA/Merrill
Hannon Armstrong (HASI) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at BofA/Merrill
Midway Gold (MDW) upgraded to Speculative Buy from Hold at Canaccord
PG&E (PCG) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Deutsche Bank
PG&E (PCG) upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform at Wells Fargo

Downgrades

AmTrust Financial (AFSI) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Compass Point
Artisan Partners (APAM) downgraded to Underperform from Neutral at BofA/Merrill
Aspen Technology (AZPN) downgraded to Hold from Buy at Canaccord
Cliffs Natural (CLF) downgraded to Sell from Hold at Brean Capital
DTE Energy (DTE) downgraded to Hold from Buy at ISI Group
Emerson (EMR) downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at Wells Fargo
G&K Services (GK) downgraded to Hold from Buy at KeyBanc
InvenSense (INVN) downgraded to Neutral from Overweight at Piper Jaffray
InvenSense (INVN) downgraded to Sector Perform from Outperform at Pacific Crest
MSC Industrial (MSM) downgraded to Equal Weight from Overweight at Stephens
MSC Industrial (MSM) downgraded to Sell from Hold at Deutsche Bank
Michael Kors (KORS) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Janney Capital
Nippon Telegraph (NTT) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Goldman
Parker-Hannifin (PH) downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at BMO Capital
PartnerRe (PRE) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at BofA/Merrill
Saia, Inc. (SAIA) downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at Cowen
Sanofi (SNY) downgraded to Equal Weight from Overweight at Barclays
Sanofi (SNY) downgraded to Hold from Buy at Deutsche Bank
Sanofi (SNY) downgraded to Hold from Buy at Jefferies
Sanofi (SNY) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at BofA/Merrill
South State (SSB) downgraded to Outperform from Strong Buy at Raymond James
Synchronoss (SNCR) downgraded to Outperform from Strong Buy at Raymond James
Whirlpool (WHR) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Sterne Agee

Initiations

Alibaba (BABA) initiated with a Buy at Citigroup
Alibaba (BABA) initiated with a Buy at Deutsche Bank
Alibaba (BABA) initiated with a Buy at Evercore
Alibaba (BABA) initiated with a Buy at Nomura
Alibaba (BABA) initiated with a Buy at SunTrust
Alibaba (BABA) initiated with a Buy at Topeka
Alibaba (BABA) initiated with a Neutral at Goldman
Alibaba (BABA) initiated with an Outperform at Pacific Crest
Alibaba (BABA) initiated with an Outperform at RBC Capital
Alibaba (BABA) initiated with an Outperform at Raymond James
Alibaba (BABA) initiated with an Outperform at Wells Fargo
Alibaba (BABA) initiated with an Overweight at JPMorgan
Alibaba (BABA) initiated with an Overweight at Morgan Stanley
Cedar Realty Trust (CDR) initiated with a Buy at MLV & Co.
ClubCorp (MYCC) initiated with a Buy at CRT Capital
Cogent (CCOI) initiated with a Buy at BTIG
Insys Therapeutics (INSY) initiated with an Overweight at Piper Jaffray
Neovasc (NVCN) initiated with an Outperform at JMP Securities
ValueVision (VVTV) initiated with a Buy at Topeka
Yahoo (YHOO) resumed with a Buy, $63 price target at Citigroup
Zayo Group (ZAYO) initiated with a Buy at BTIG

COMPANY NEWS

Facebook (FB) sees Q4 revenue growth 40%-47% YoY
Deutsche Bank (DB) confirms Marcus Schenck as deputy CFO, said in talks with authorities over LIBOR
SPX Corp. (SPW) announced plan for tax-free spin-off of Flow business
Sanofi (SNY) board removed Christopher Viehbacher as CEO
T-Mobile (TMUS) CEO said growth continued in October
Western Gas Partners (WES) to acquire Nuevo Midstream for $1.5B

EARNINGS

Companies that beat consensus earnings expectations last night and today include:

Facebook (FB), Wi-LAN (WILN), SP Plus Corp. (SP), Prosperity Bancshares (PB), Provident Financial (PROV), EverBank (EVER), TE Connectivity (TEL), WellPoint (WLP), Nova Measuring (NVMI), STMicroelectronics (STM), TrueCar (TRUE), SolarWinds (SWI), Pulaski Financial (PULB), First NBC Bank (NBCB), UMB Financial (UMBF), Newfield Exploration (NFX), Western Gas Partners (WES), American Financial Group (AFG), U.S. Steel (X), First Community (FCBC), USANA (USNA), Meridian Interstate Bancorp (EBSB), iCAD (ICAD), National Interstate (NATL), Trustmark (TRMK), Watts Water (WTS), HCC Insurance (HCC), Cabot (CBT), Quaker Chemical (KWR), Inphi (IPHI), Panera Bread (PNRA), Green Plains (GPRE), Dun & Bradstreet (DNB), Marriott (MAR), Nanometrics (NANO), McKesson (MCK), CNO Financial (CNO), Trinity Industries (TRN), FARO Technologies (FARO), Cascade Microtech (CSCD), C.H. Robinson (CHRW), Corporate Executive Board (CEB), Western Digital (WDC), Pericom (PSEM), Wynn Resorts (WYNN), Owens-Illinois (OI), Kona Grill (KONA), ZELTIQ (ZLTQ), Edison International (EIX), Vertex (VRTX), Aspen Technology (AZPN), Cray (CRAY), Big 5 Sporting (BGFV), Cincinnati Financial (CINF), Harmonic (HLIT), Xoom (XOOM), Engility Holdings (EGL), Mercury Systems (mrcy), Kforce (KFRC), Aflac (AFL), TriQuint (TQNT), Dyax (DYAX), Fiserv (FISV), Total System (TSS), Rogers Corp (ROG), CAI International (CAP), Plantronics (PLT), Electronic Arts (EA), Ultimate Software (ULTI)

Companies that missed consensus earnings expectations include:

Applied Industrial (AIT), Universal American (UAM), Praxair (PX), ClickSoftware (cksw), Ballard Power (BLDP), SM Energy (SM), Myers Industries (mye), Black Box (BBOX), KEYW (KEYW), Wabash (WNC), Chemtura  (CHMT), Willis Group (WSH), Arthur J. Gallagher (AJG), EXCO Resources (XCO), Internap (INAP), Applied Micro Circuits (AMCC), Dynamic Materials (BOOM), Cascade Bancorp (CACB), Huron (HURN), Anadarko (APC), ARI Network (ARIS), Gilead (GILD), Epiq Systems (EPIQ), PriceSmart (PSMT)

Companies that matched consensus earnings expectations include:

Littelfuse (LFUS), First Bank (FRBA), Timmins Gold (TGD), Republic Airways (RJET), Mueller Water (MWA), Gladstone Investment (GAIN), Eagle Materials (EXP), GFI Group (GFIG), Cleco (CNL), MidSouth Bancorp (MSL), FEI Company (FEIC), Verisk Analytics (VRSK), LeMaitre (LMAT), Blackstone Mortgage (BXMT), Extreme Networks (EXTR), Express Scripts (ESRX), AMC Entertainment (AMC)

NEWSPAPERS/WEBSITES
Groupon's (GRPN) head of product exits after less than two months, Re/code reports
The retail group behind Walmart (WMT), Best Buy (BBY) and Gap (GPS) threatened its retailers with steep fines if they introduce Apple Pay (AAPL), NY Times reports
Lloyds Banking (LYG) looks to resume dividend payouts in 2015, Daily Mail reports
Trinity Industries (TRIN) ordered to hold mediation talks, NY Times says
BAE (BAESY) says U.S. Air Force stopped South Korea F-16 improvements, Reuters reports

SYNDICATE
AtheroNova (AHRO) 4M share Secondary priced at 75c
eGain (EGAN) files to sell 1.21M shares for holders
Regulus Therapeutics (RGLS) 5.294M share Secondary priced at $17.00
RiceBran (RIBT) files to sell 2.36M shares for holders
Shell Midstream Partners (SHLX) 40M share IPO priced at $23.00
Sientra (SIEN) 5M share IPO priced at $15.00
Sun Bancorp (SNBC) files to sell 1.13M shares for selling stockholders
TrueCar (TRUE) files to sell 1M shares for holders
Urstadt Biddle Properties (UBA) files to sell 2.5M shares of common stock
Vanda (VNDA) files to sell common stock