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Frontrunning: January 26

  • Alexis Tsipras: the Syriza leader about to take charge in Greece (Guardian)
  • Tsipras to form anti-bailout Greek government after big victory (Reuters)
  • Tsipras Forges Anti-Austerity Coalition in EU Challenge (BBG)
  • East Coast braces, flights canceled as 'historic' blizzard bears down (Reuters)
  • Rebels press Ukraine offensive, Obama promises steps against Russian-backed 'aggression (Reuters)
  • Syriza Victory Brings Hope for Immigrants of EU Access (BBG)
  • For Saudis, Falling Demand for Oil Is the Biggest Concern (BBG)
  • Oil prices fall on market relief over Saudi policy (Reuters)
  • Chris Christie Joins Crowded GOP Fight for Donors (WSJ)
  • NY insider trading ruling tests prosecutors beyond Wall Street (Reuters)
  • Samaras’s Undoing Came Fast After Praise From Merkel (BBG)
  • Pimco-Led Rescue of Batista Startup Seen Faltering on Oil (BBG)
  • Packaging companies Rock-Tenn, MeadWestvaco to merge (Reuters)


Overnight Media Digest


* Coinbase Inc, a startup backed by $106 million from the New York Stock Exchange, banks and venture-capital firms, said its exchange will offer greater security for individuals and institutions to trade bitcoin and monitor real-time pricing of the cryptocurrency. (

* Google Inc's upcoming wireless service would aim to end subscribers' reliance on a single carrier, instead giving them the ability to pick the best signal from a variety of sources, people familiar with the plan said. (

* Siemens Chief Executive Joe Kaeser is expected to face tough questions from investors on Tuesday over the high price he agreed in September to pay for U.S. oil equipment maker Dresser-Rand Group Inc. (

* Axis Capital Holdings Ltd and PartnerRe Ltd said they have agreed to merge and form one of the world's biggest reinsurance and specialist insurance companies, a firm with a combined market value of $11 billion. (

* New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and his supporters have formed a political-action committee ahead of a likely bid for president, adding a third well-known Republican figure to the fight for campaign funds among the party's core donor class. (

* Cablevision Systems Corp said it will offer a Wi-Fi mobile-phone service starting next month, making it the first U.S. cable operator to take such a product to market. (



* U.S. venture capital group Andreessen Horowitz has won a bidding process to invest in money transfer group TransferWise. The group will invest $58 million in the London-based company.

* Standard Chartered is looking to replace its Chief Executive Peter Sands and has appointed Egon Zehnder to conduct the search. The move follows calls from some of the bank's largest shareholders to accelerate the plan of succession.

* A committee of MP's have called for a suspension on fracking, dealing a fresh blow to Britain's shale gas industry. They have warned that the government was using "undemocratic" laws to help the industry.

* Danish company Novo Nordisk is setting a $1 billion a year revenue target for its Saxenda medicine as it anticipates that pharmaceuticals will come to have an increasing role in helping people lose weight.



* After his term as mayor ended, Michael Bloomberg has moved quickly to reassert control at the company that he founded and that bears his name, especially in its media operation. (

* With the Federal Reserve expected to send a stronger signal on when it will raise its benchmark interest rate, three people who lost jobs in the downturn are working but not making as much as before. (

* Greece rejected the harsh economics of austerity on Sunday and sent a warning to the rest of Europe as the left-wing Syriza party won a decisive victory in national elections, positioning its tough-talking leader, Alexis Tsipras, to become the next prime minister. (

* Advertisers, and possibly other third parties, are finding ways to exploit a hidden tracking mechanism that Verizon Wireless users cannot delete. (

* In this digital age when filling a shopping cart requires little more than clicking on a screen, the printed retail catalog keeps vying for a place on the coffee table. (

* Sheldon Silver, the longtime speaker of the New York State Assembly, agreed on Sunday to relinquish his duties on a temporary basis as he fights federal corruption charges, according to people briefed on the matter. (

* London-based TransferWise has announced that it has raised $58 million in a new round of fund-raising by a consortium of investors led by the Silicon Valley firm Andreessen Horowitz. (

* The Raine Group plans to announce on Monday that it has hired Tom Freston, the former chief executive of Viacom , as a senior adviser. (

* Two big insurance companies, PartnerRe Ltd and Axis Capital Holdings, have agreed to merge, creating a new $11 billion player in the specialized field of reinsurance. (




** Canada's oil producers are being told to brace for more bad news, even as they struggle to cope with a collapse that has driven prices down by nearly 60 percent from their peak last June. Toronto-Dominion Bank economist Dina Ignjatovic said she expects WTI prices to sink below $40 as bulging inventories weigh on the market in the next few months. (

** Goldcorp Inc's quest for new mines is a matter of survival, according to the company's chairman. "The only way mining companies can grow is through acquisitions and the only way they can survive is through acquisitions. Sometimes, I'm not sure people outside the mining business appreciate that," Ian Telfer said in a recent interview. (

** The federal government will not meet the Monday deadline set by the Thalidomide Victims Association of Canada to announce a financial aid package for Canadians harmed by the drug, an emotional setback for victims anticipating help to cope with their failing health. (


** A bitter dispute over a $112 million investment in Caribbean casinos has placed Michael DeGroote, one of Canada's wealthiest businessmen, at the center of bizarre accusations of mafia exploitation, death threats and fraud. (

** Owning BlackBerry Ltd shares requires a strong stomach and over the last few months many investors have decided to say goodbye to the stock's dips and peaks. (

** While President Barack Obama's new tax proposals may never see the light of day, given the Republican majorities in both the House and Senate, they have generated discussion among cross-border tax practitioners. Dual citizens living in Canada or Canadians who own U.S. properties may wonder whether they need to reopen their estate plans in case the proposals, referred to by the White House as an attempt to close the "trust-fund loophole," ever come into law. (




- The impact of cutting the interest rate and reserve requirement ratio (RRR) was limited for the real economy and funds might flow into the stock market, said Liu Shijin, vice-director of Development Research Center of the State Council.

- The China Insurance Regulatory Commission and four other government regulators jointly released a guidance, saying they would support and encourage insurance companies to accelerate the development of credit warranty insurance.


- Anbang Insurance Group has increased its stake in China Minsheng Banking eight times in two months, and is the largest shareholder with a holding of 18.35 percent.


- China will increase visa privileges for foreign experts, the paper said. Foreign experts recruited through 55 talent programmes will be able to apply for visas, resident permits and permanent residency, a privilege previously only given to those on the 1,000 Talent Plan.

- Shanghai's decision to scrap the GDP target this year signals a shift in attention from quantity to quality of economic growth, said an editorial in the official paper. But underdeveloped regions cannot follow this example, it said.



The Times

Bentley Motors is helping to create a university technical college in Crewe as part of efforts to meet a skills shortage and to produce the home-grown talent it believes is vital to preserve its quintessential Britishness. (

Greece sent shockwaves across Europe last night as a radical left-wing party that has promised to end austerity and refuse to take orders from Berlin and Brussels triumphed in the country's election. (

The Guardian

Security procedures are being reviewed at Downing Street after a hoax caller pretending to be the head of Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) managed to get through to David Cameron. Cameron spoke to the imposter, who was claiming to be the GCHQ director Robert Hannigan, but ended the call quite quickly after he released he was being tricked. (

Philip Green has put BHS up for sale after receiving a number of approaches for the department store chain. The move comes after years of speculation that the retail tycoon was willing to part with BHS if a buyer could be found for the loss-making business. (

The Telegraph

Card Factory Plc is in the early stages of considering a bid for upmarket rival Paperchase. The retailer, which has 130 UK stores and 30 outlets overseas including the United Arab Emirates, France and Germany, has been put up for sale by its private equity owners with a price tag of around 150 million pounds. (

British companies paid out a record 97.4 billion pounds in dividends to investors last year after the bumper one-off payment from Vodafone Group Plc outweighed the drag caused by a strong pound. (

Sky News

The Post Office will this week publicly target becoming one of Britain's leading financial services providers by the end of the decade, amid ministerial support for its vast network to play a greater role in banking provision. (

The parent company of British Airways has approached Aer Lingus about a fresh takeover bid for the Irish carrier. Sky News can exclusively reveal that International Consolidated Airlines Group submitted a revised proposal to the board of Aer Lingus within the last couple of days. (


Fly On The Wall Pre-Market Buzz


Domestic economic reports scheduled for today include:
Dallas Fed manufacturing activity index for January at 10:30--consensus 4.0



American Axle (AXL) upgraded to Overweight from Neutral at JPMorgan
Bed Bath & Beyond (BBBY) upgraded to Outperform from Perform at Oppenheimer
DRDGOLD (DRD) upgraded to Neutral from Underweight at JPMorgan
DealerTrack (TRAK) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Stifel
DreamWorks Animation (DWA) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at B. Riley
First Niagara (FNFG) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Jefferies
Fortinet (FTNT) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Citigroup
Garmin (GRMN) upgraded to Outperform from Sector Perform at RBC Capital
Harmony Gold (HMY) upgraded to Overweight from Neutral at JPMorgan
McDonald's (MCD) upgraded to Overweight from Equal Weight at Stephens
Monro Muffler (MNRO) upgraded to Neutral from Reduce at SunTrust
Pier 1 Imports (PIR) upgraded to Outperform from Perform at Oppenheimer
Randgold (GOLD) upgraded to Overweight from Neutral at JPMorgan
Triumph Group (TGI) upgraded to Sector Perform from Underperform at RBC Capital


Aluminum Corp. of China (ACH) downgraded to Underweight from Neutral at JPMorgan
AmeriGas (APU) downgraded to Hold from Buy at Jefferies
B2Gold (BTG) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Goldman
CenterPoint Energy (CNP) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Citigroup
CommScope (COMM) downgraded to Sector Perform from Outperform at RBC Capital
Derma Sciences (DSCI) downgraded to Neutral from Overweight at Piper Jaffray
Fortress (FIG) downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at Keefe Bruyette
Gold Fields (GFI) downgraded to Neutral from Overweight at JPMorgan
Graco (GGG) downgraded to Perform from Outperform at Oppenheimer
Gran Tierra (GTE) downgraded to Neutral from Outperform at Credit Suisse
HCP (HCP) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Mizuho
IGM Financial (IGIFF) downgraded to Underweight from Equal Weight at Barclays
Insulet (PODD) downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at William Blair
KCG Holdings (KCG) downgraded to Sell from Neutral at Goldman
Knight Transportation (KNX) downgraded to Hold from Buy at KeyBanc
Maxim Integrated (MXIM) downgraded to Neutral from Positive at Susquehanna
Praxair (PX) downgraded to Neutral from Outperform at RW Baird
Qualys (QLYS) downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at JMP Securities
State Street (STT) downgraded to Underperform from Market Perform at Bernstein
Tandem Diabetes (TNDM) downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at William Blair
Trinseo (TSE) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Citigroup
UPS (UPS) downgraded to Equal Weight from Overweight at Barclays
UPS (UPS) downgraded to Neutral from Outperform at Credit Suisse
VeriSign (VRSN) downgraded to Underperform from Neutral at Credit Suisse


Aruba Networks (ARUN) initiated with a Neutral at Citigroup
KapStone (KS) initiated with an Outperform at RBC Capital
Lear (LEA) resumed with a Neutral at JPMorgan
Paramount Group (PGRE) initiated with a Neutral at UBS
QAD Inc (QADB) initiated with a Buy at Canaccord
Ruckus Wireless (RKUS) initiated with a Buy at Citigroup
Ubiquiti Networks (UBNT) initiated with a Neutral at Citigroup


AT&T (T) to acquire Nextel Mexico for $1.88B, less outstanding net debt
Post Holdings (POST) to acquire MOM brands for $1.15B
RockTenn (RKT) and MeadWestvaco (MWV) entered into a definitive combination agreement to create a global provider of consumer and corrugated packaging in a transaction with a combined equity value of $16B
Endo (ENDP) to replace Covidien (COV) in S&P 500 as of 1/26 close, HCA Holdings (HCA) to replace Safeway (SWY) in S&P 500 as of 1/26 close
Gilead Sciences (GILD) expanded its hepatitis C generic licensing agreements to include the investigational NS5A inhibitor GS-5816. The expanded agreements will allow Gilead’s India-based partners to manufacture GS-5816 and the single tablet regimen of sofosbuvir/GS-5816, once approved, for distribution in 91 developing countries
AXIS Capital (AXS), PartnerRe (PRE) to combine in $11B merger


Companies that beat consensus earnings expectations last night and today include:
Provident Financial (PROV), RockTenn (RKT)

Post Holdings (POST) reports preliminary Q1 sales $1.07B, consensus $1.07B
PartnerRe (PRE) sees Q4 EPS $4.20-$4.60, may not compare to consensus $3.04
AXIS Capital (AXS) sees Q4 EPS $1.15-$1.21, consensus $1.21


Apple (AAPL) to report China iPhone sales topped U.S. iPhone sales, Financial Times reports
Teva (TEVA) rebuffed Pfizer (PFE) approach late last year, Bloomberg reports
Yahoo (YHOO) may absorb Tumblr sales force, Re/code reports
FXCM (FXCM) to consider selling assets to repay rescue loan, WSJ reports
Private equity firm 'seriously' considered buying Herbalife (HLF), NY Post reports (NUS, AVP)
PepsiCo's (PEP) new director nominee could ease tensions with Trian, Barron's says
Twitter (TWTR) still has problems, Barron's says
Urban Outfitters (URBN) could be more attractive, Barron's says
Oracle (ORCL) shares could climb over 20%, Barron's says