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Frontrunning: April 19

  • As Trump warned N. Korea, 'armada' headed to Australia (Reuters)
  • Threat of Carrier Heading to Koreas Wasn’t All It Seemed (WSJ)
  • Markets Start to Ponder the $13 Trillion Asset Gorilla in the Room (BBG)
  • Investors’ Nightmare Scenario Takes Shape in French Election (WSJ)
  • Venezuelan opposition to hold 'mother of all marches' against Maduro (Reuters)
  • U.S. says Iran complies with nuke deal but orders review on lifting sanctions (Reuters)
  • Ryan’s Best Hope to Avoid a Shutdown: Making Friends With Pelosi (BBG)
  • Pence says working with allies to put pressure on North Korea (Reuters)
  • Fox News Is Preparing to Cut Ties With Bill O’Reilly (WSJ)
  • China gathers state-led consortium for Aramco IPO (Reuters)
  • Le Pen Tries to Steer Far-Right Party Into Mainstream (WSJ)
  • Ferrari Roars Back in China as Rich Snub Xi's Austerity Push (BBG)
  • U.S. states considering alternative execution methods face legal hurdles (Reuters)
  • Homebuilders Could Be Losers in Early Test of Trump Trade Policy (BBG)
  • Missing Billionaire Has Ties to China’s Military (WSJ)
  • China sees higher risk of mass unemployment, pledges more support (Reuters)
  • The Life of an Apple Supplier Is Getting Even Tougher (BBG)
  • Barkindo says OPEC, non-OPEC committed to restore market stability (Reuters)
  • Insurance Customers Will Have to Get Used to Talking to Machines (BBG)


Overnight Media Digest


- The Trump administration notified Congress on Tuesday that Iran is compliant with the landmark nuclear agreement reached in 2015, but also cast doubt on the United State's continued support for the deal.

- Fox News is preparing to cut ties with star anchor Bill O'Reilly, according to people close to the situation, after revelations that he and Fox parent 21st Century Fox settled multiple sexual harassment complaints led to an exodus of advertisers from his show and mounting pressure on the network.

- Baidu Inc will share software technology it is developing for self-driving cars in a bid to catch up with competitors including General Motors Co and Waymo, the self-driving unit of Google parent Alphabet Inc.

- Private-equity firms KKR & Co LP and Stone Point Capital, in a bet that more investors will want advice from independent financial advisers and less from Wall Street's traditional brokers, will acquire a majority stake in Focus Financial Partners Llc in a $2 billion deal.

- The unusual attention paid to a special election in Georgia on Tuesday, as well as recent protests around the country over President Donald Trump's tax returns, show the presidential contest didn't end in November, at least for voters who didn't support the president.

- Voters cast ballots on Wednesday to choose Jakarta's governor in a runoff that has put Indonesian politics on edge, with pre-election polls showing the minority Christian incumbent neck and neck with a challenger riding a wave of hard-line Islam in the world's largest Muslim-majority nation.



* British Prime Minister Theresa May called on Tuesday for an early election on June 8, saying she needed to strengthen her hand in divorce talks with the European Union by bolstering support for her Brexit plan.

* The International Monetary Fund revised Britain's growth forecast to 2 percent for 2017, up a half percentage point from January. The Fund said negative effects from the UK vote to leave the European Union are taking longer to materialize.

* Post Holdings is buying leading British breakfast cereal brand Weetabix from China's Bright Food Group Co Ltd for 1.4 billion pounds ($1.80 billion), giving the U.S. focused company a European base on which to build.



- TV anchor Bill O'Reilly's position at Fox News grew increasingly tenuous on Tuesday as support from the Murdoch family showed signs of eroding, according to three people briefed on discussions about his future. O'Reilly's fate at the network is expected to be discussed on Thursday at a board meeting for Fox News's parent company, Twenty-First Century Century Fox Inc.

- U.S. President Donald Trump, hammering his "America First" campaign theme, signed an order on Tuesday that he said would favor American companies for federal contracts and reform the visa program for foreign technical workers.

- Eric Schneiderman, the New York attorney general, said on Tuesday that his office had reached a $40 million settlement with Harbert Management Corporation and several of its top executives over allegations that they had not paid state taxes for some of the most profitable years.

- The International Monetary Fund has raised its outlook for global growth, citing a post-election surge in confidence in the United States, better prospects in large emerging markets and an uptick in global trade. The fund forecast a growth rate in 2017 of 3.5 percent, compared with 3.1 percent in 2016.

- Snap Inc is introducing on Tuesday a new feature for its Snapchat ephemeral messaging service that will allow users to place 3-D cartoon objects into their videos and pictures.




** Parkland Fuel Corp is buying Chevron Corp's Canadian oil refining and marketing business for nearly C$1.5-billion.

** A NAFTA review panel has unanimously ordered the U.S. Department of Commerce to reconsider its costly duties against Canadian mills that produce glossy paper.


** The Bank of Canada says Canadians should not be afraid that robots are about to steal their jobs.

** An Air Canada Airbus A330 traveling from Montreal to London lost a wheel during take-off on Sunday night and still managed to arrive safely in what one airport worker called a "miracle" landing.

** Greater Toronto Airways plans to launch a new route that will connect the Kitchener-Waterloo-Toronto tech corridor.



The Times

Flybe Group Plc's finance chief Philip de Klerk resigned from the struggling British airline dealing it a fresh blow as it prepares to nosedive into the red. De Klerk will become the next chief financial officer at the performance materials manufacturer Low & Bonar Plc.

Goldminer Asa Resource Group Plc has said that millions of dollars seem to have been transferred from its bank accounts without explanation, prompting the removal of its chief executive and finance director and halving the value of the shares.

The Guardian

Next Plc boss Lord Wolfson has missed out on his annual bonus for the first time in 18 years amid tough times on the British high street. Wolfson's total pay package dived by 58 percent to 1.8 million pounds ($2.31 million) in the year to 28 January, according to the fashion and homewares retailer’s annual report published on Tuesday.

Philip Hammond has signalled that the government is facing a multibillion pound loss from selling off its 73 percent stake in Royal Bank of Scotland. The chancellor told MPs that "we have to live in the real world", as he indicated that the remaining shares could be sold below the 502 pence average price that was paid for them during 2008 and 2009 when 45 billion pounds of taxpayers' money was pumped into the Edinburgh-based bank.

The Telegraph

The boss of German energy giant RWE has fuelled expectations that the company will target the UK energy market for future acquisitions. Rolf Martin Schmitz disclosed that the group is interested in owning power plants in countries where capacity margins are thin and the Government is willing to award contracts to secure power supplies.

Volkswagen has significantly beaten expectations by reporting a first-quarter operating profit of 4.4 billion euros, as cost controls and the success of new models kicked in.

Sky News

The world's most famous department store is to throw the towel in on efforts to build a sizeable presence in the UK banking market by hoisting a 'for sale' sign over the loss-making division. Harrods Group has been interviewing prospective advisers about handling a disposal of its banking unit.

Anthony Browne is to quit as Britain's top bank lobbyist later this year as a new industry body begins to chart a course through the outcome of a snap General Election and the UK's exit from the European Union.


The former owner of Jaeger, Harold Tillman, has accused bankers and private equity bosses of running the 133-year-old fashion chain into the ground.