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Frontrunning: March 6

  • 5 Things to Watch in February’s Jobs Report (WSJ)
  • Draghi Declares Victory for Bond-Buying Before It Starts (BBG)
  • Apple Pay Sign-Ups Get Tougher as Banks Respond to Fraud (WSJ)
  • As World’s Hottest Economy Unravels, Nigerians Feel the Squeeze (BBG)
  • EU discontent over French budget deal's 'political bazaar' (Reuters)
  • Foreign Takeovers See U.S. Losing Tax Revenue (WSJ)
  • Goldman Shareholders’ Hope for Bigger Payout Dashed by Fed (BBG)
  • Europe Stocks Headed for 31% Surge This Year Amid QE, Citi Says (BBG)
  • Dollar revs up for jobs data, euro bonds rally on ECB (Reuters)
  • Biotech Bidding War Yields Rich Price (WSJ)
  • Bank of America, Merrill Trainees Sue Seeking Overtime (BBG)
  • One nerd to rule them all (BBG)
  • Fed should not be too patient on rate hikes, Williams says (Reuters)
  • Twitter's Prediction for Today's Jobs Report (BBG)

 

Overnight Media Digest

WSJ

* Apple Inc's new mobile-payment system has been hit by a wave of fraudulent transactions using credit-card data stolen in recent breaches of big retailers, including Home Depot Inc and Target Corp, people familiar with the matter said. (http://on.wsj.com/1aPatbs)

* Just months after the Obama administration cracked down on mergers that helped U.S. companies skirt domestic taxes, a wave of foreign takeovers is steering more tax revenue away from Uncle Sam. (http://on.wsj.com/1aPaHPN)

* The White House and some congressional Democrats have raised privacy concerns about a cybersecurity bill drafted by top Senate Intelligence Committee lawmakers, stalling-at least temporarily-one of Congress's top priorities. (http://on.wsj.com/1aPbyjf)

* The largest U.S.-based banks are strong enough to keep lending during a severe recession, the Federal Reserve said Thursday, a sign many banks will soon get permission to return profits to investors by raising dividends or buying back shares.(http://on.wsj.com/1aPbHmP)

* U.S. crude-oil supplies are at their highest level in more than 80 years, according to data from the Energy Information Administration, equal to nearly 70 percent of the nation's storage capacity. A U.S. storage hub in Cushing, Oklahoma, is expected to hit maximum capacity this spring. While estimates are rough, Citigroup Inc believes European commercial crude storage could be more than 90 percent full, and inventories in South Korea, South Africa and Japan could be at more than 80 percent of capacity. (http://on.wsj.com/1aPcQej)

* U.S. regulators for the first time are proposing limits on the planting of some genetically engineered corn to combat a voracious pest that has evolved to resist the bug-killing crops, a potential blow to makers of biotech seeds. (http://on.wsj.com/1aPdecx)

* Low prices and speedy production have made Ashley Furniture Industries Inc by far the biggest U.S.-based furniture maker and retailer. Now, it is turning its sights on Asia.(http://on.wsj.com/1aPdtEw)

 

FT

All 31 banks that were subjected to undergo stress tests by the Federal Reserve have successfully passed it. However, the Fed also said that Morgan Stanley, Citigroup and JPMorgan are likely to see a drop in their tier one common ratio.

Three American airlines - American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines - have stepped up their efforts for the United States to take action against Gulf airlines - Emirates Airline, Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways, after it was revealed that the state-controlled carriers were receiving hidden financial support.

Media groups are increasingly trying to make television commercials work more like data-driven digital campaigns in an effort to arrest the decline of marketing revenue that is shifting away from broadcast and cable networks.

Noble Group, Asia's largest commodities trader, has promised of greater transparency as it tries to defend its accounting methods, which have been under fire after Iceberg research published a report last month Noble had overstated the value of long-term commodity contracts, investments and improperly recorded profits.

 

NYT

* Multinational companies accused of human rights abuses abroad are on the counterattack, seeking to bring down the lawyers who target them. Drummond Co Inc, a coal producer based in Birmingham, Alabama, recently asked a federal judge to hold in contempt Terrence Collingsworth, a lawyer who has accused companies of mistreating workers, as part of a libel suit it is pressing against him.(http://nyti.ms/1aPfUXS)

* What is really under examination in Ellen Pao's lawsuit against Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, the firm in which she was junior partner, is the question of why there are so few women in leadership positions in Silicon Valley. At stake is any hope that the tech world can claim to be a progressive place, or even a fair one.(http://nyti.ms/1aPgchp)

* The United States Postal Service has announced it will replace its fleet of Grumman mail trucks with what it calls its next-generation delivery vehicle. The goal is to harness new technologies, increase fuel efficiency and help the Postal Service better compete on package deliveries with the likes of FedEx and United Parcel Service.(http://nyti.ms/1aPjgtI)

* The nation's largest banks appear to have the financial strength to survive a nightmarish world where unemployment soars, house prices plummet and Wall Street crashes, the Federal Reserve said on Thursday.(http://nyti.ms/1aPh6u6)

* The Islamic State, the violent millitant group that espouses a return to a seventh-century caliphate, has been astonishingly successful at spreading its message using 21st-century social media, according to a study released Thursday.(http://nyti.ms/1aPhGZ3)

* The United States Marshals Service said on Thursday that 14 registered bidders took part in an auction for 50,000 Bitcoins, worth about $14 million, that were seized in connection with the online bazaar Silk Road.(http://nyti.ms/1aPhN6N)

 

Canada

THE GLOBE AND MAIL

** Despite warnings by the Bank of Canada that the country's economy is in for a bumpy ride this year, household debt grew by 4.6 percent in January, a new report says. It was among the fastest pace of household credit expansion in the past two years. (http://bit.ly/1Kup3F3)

** The Canada Border Services Agency has ruled that cheap subsidized Chinese solar modules are being dumped into Canada, and is imposing stiff provisional import duties to protect Canadian manufacturers. (http://bit.ly/1Bem6Bb)

NATIONAL POST

** Bombardier Inc's CSeries program has been battered by multiple delays, major cost overruns and plenty of negative attention, but the aircraft itself is exceeding targets, which could help Bombardier secure more orders. (http://bit.ly/1H4SnMQ)

** No physician in the country should be forced to play a role in any aspect of assisted dying against their moral or religious beliefs, including referring patients to another doctor willing to help them die, the Canadian Medical Association said. (http://bit.ly/1wZWLa1)

** Three dozen cheerleading teams have now pulled out of a major tournament that begins on Friday at the West Edmonton Mall, three weeks after a Somali terror group threatened the Edmonton landmark. (http://bit.ly/1zS2rDk)

 

Britain

The Times

BANKS BORROWED UP TO 180 BLN STG FROM BOE UNDER AUCTIONS PROBED BY SFO

The Serious Fraud Office's investigation into the Bank of England's crisis-era liquidity auctions is believed to relate to a 180 billion pound funding scheme that was ended by the BoE in 2010. The SFO confirmed on Wednesday night that it had launched an investigation after the Bank handed it the results of an inquiry launched in the summer and conducted by City barrister Lord Grabiner. (http://bit.ly/1DZ2LF0)

ECB LAUNCHES 1.1 TRILLION EUROS BLITZ AS BOND MARKET DRIES UP

The European Central Bank is to launch a 1.1 trillion euro ($1.21 trillion) blitz of bond purchases from Monday to avert deflation and revive lending, finally joining the "QE club" a full six years after the Bank of England and the US Federal Reserve. (http://bit.ly/1DYQBMt)

The Guardian

GEORGE OSBORNE PLANS SWIFT POST-ELECTION SALE OF RBS STAKE

George Osborne plans to sell the government's holding in Royal Bank of Scotland "as quickly as we can" if he remains chancellor after the election. The bank is still 79 percent owned by taxpayers after the government was forced to bail it out to the tune of 45 billion pounds ($68.55 billion) in late 2008 and early 2009 to prevent it collapsing. (http://bit.ly/1G3PP0C)

VINCE CABLE CALLS FOR RELAXATION OF SPENDING CONTROLS

Vince Cable has warned that the next government must relax Whitehall spending budgets to support training and infrastructure projects in a move seen as taking the Liberal Democrats closer to Labour before the general election. (http://bit.ly/17WSIoB)

The Telegraph

JAY Z'S $56 MILLION BID FOR MUSIC STREAMING SERVICE BLOCKED

Minority owners of the company behind streaming service Tidal, which launched in the US and UK in October, have blocked rapper Jay Z's $56 million bid for the company. (http://bit.ly/1Eki8L4)

Sky News

UK REGULATOR FIGHTS BRUSSELS ON 10 BLN STG O2 DEAL

British competition watchdogs are fighting a rearguard action against Brussels in a bid to scrutinise a Hong Kong tycoon's 10.25 billion pound takeover of O2, the UK's second-biggest mobile phone network. (http://bit.ly/1G3MO06)

 

 

Fly On The Wall Pre-market Buzz

ECONOMIC REPORTS

Domestic economic reports scheduled for today include:
Nonfarm payrolls for February at 8:30--consensus 235K
Unemployment rate for February at 8:30--consensus 5.6%
International trade balance for January at 8:30--consensus deficit $41.2B
Baker Hughes rig count for week of March 6 at 13:00--prior 1267
Consumer credit for January at 15:00--consensus up $14.75B

ANALYST RESEARCH

Upgrades

Abraxas Petroleum (AXAS) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Canaccord
Carlyle Group (CG) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at BofA/Merrill
Citi (C) upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform at Keefe Bruyette
Clean Harbors (CLH) upgraded to Outperform from In-Line at Imperial Capital
Dow Chemical (DOW) upgraded to Overweight from Neutral at JPMorgan
Houghton Mifflin (HMHC) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Stifel
Marvell (MRVL) upgraded to Positive from Neutral at Susquehanna
Nortek (NTK) upgraded to Outperform from In-Line at Imperial Capital
Piedmont Office Realty (PDM) upgraded to Sector Perform at RBC Capital
Skullcandy (SKUL) upgraded to Buy from Fair Value at CRT Capital
UnitedHealth (UNH) upgraded to Neutral from Underperform at Sterne Agee

Downgrades

ASML (ASML) downgraded to Sector Perform from Outperform at Pacific Crest
Airbus (EADSY) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Goldman
Credit Suisse (CS) downgraded to Sector Perform from Outperform at RBC Capital
Cyberonics (CYBX) downgraded to Hold from Buy at Jefferies
Darling (DAR) downgraded to Neutral from Conviction Buy at Goldman
Esterline (ESL) downgraded to Neutral from Outperform at Credit Suisse
Host Hotels (HST) downgraded to Sell from Neutral at Goldman
Lamar Advertising (LAMR) downgraded to Hold from Buy at Topeka
lululemon (LULU) downgraded to Sell from Neutral at Goldman
State Street (STT) downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at Keefe Bruyette
State Street (STT) downgraded to Underweight from Neutral at JPMorgan
WuXi PharmaTech (WX) downgraded to Neutral from Conviction Buy at Goldman

Initiations

Barracuda Networks (CUDA) initiated with an Overweight at Piper Jaffray
CyberArk (CYBR) initiated with a Neutral at Piper Jaffray
HealthEquity (HQY) initiated with an Overweight at JPMorgan
Kofax (KFX) initiated with a Buy at B. Riley
Patriot National (PN) initiated with an Outperform at William Blair
Physicians Realty Trust (DOC) initiated with an Outperform at RBC Capital
Proofpoint (PFPT) initiated with an Overweight at Piper Jaffray

COMPANY NEWS

Gap (GPS) reported February SSS down 4%
Big Lots (BIG) increased quarterly dividend by 12% to 19c
Bank of America (BAC) released results of 2015 Dodd-Frank Stress Test, said Tier 1 common ratio would be 8.1% in severe adverse scenario and Tier 1 risk based capital ratio would be 8.5%.
Citi (C) said Basel I Hybrid Tier 1 common ratio would be 11.1% in severe adverse scenario and Tier 1 risked based capital ratio would be 9.2%.
Targacept (TRGT), Catalyst Biosciences entered definitive merger agreement
Calithera Biosciences (CALA) gained license to TransTech hexokinase inhibitors
Exxon Mobil (XOM) to pay $225M in New Jersey pollution case settlement

EARNINGS

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

The New Home Company (NWHM), Staples (SPLS), Big Lots (BIG), Vantage Drilling (VTG), Banc of California (BANC), Air Transport Services (atsg), WuXi PharmaTech (WX), Alon USA Energy (ALJ), Cellular Dynamics (ICEL), Thor Industries (THO), HCI Group (HCI), Galena (GALE), Fidus Investment (FDUS), 51job (JOBS), Checkpoint Systems (CKP), Prothena (PRTA), Addus HomeCare (ADUS), Esperion (ESPR), The Fresh Market (TFM), Demand Media (DMD), Manitex (MNTX), Violin Memory (VMEM), Martha Stewart (MSO), Chefs' Warehouse (CHEF), Cooper Companies (COO), Emergent BioSolutions (EBS), Skullcandy (SKUL), Spark Networks (LOV), ARI Network (ARIS)

Companies that missed consensus earnings expectations include:

Aveo Pharmaceuticals (AVEO), Energy Recovery (ERII), Sysorex Global (SYRX), Ladder Capital (LADR), StoneCastle (BANX), Global Eagle (ENT), Qumu (QUMU), Cachet Financial (CAFN), Tetraphase (TTPH), I.D. Systems (IDSY)

Companies that matched consensus earnings expectations include:

Denison Mines (DNN), Diamond Foods (DMND), Marcus & Millichap (MMI), Finisar (FNSR)

NEWSPAPERS/WEBSITES

AbbVie (ABBV) CEO defends $21B price for Pharmacyclics (PCYC), WSJ reports (JNJ, PFE)
Leading FDA official says Orexigen (OREX) data "likely false," Forbes reports
Strategy Analytics: Apple (AAPL) to be number one smartwatch vendor, DigiTimes reports

SYNDICATE

Aeterna Zentaris (AEZS) files to sell common units
Amarin (AMRN) raises $52.8M in a private placement
BioLineRx (BLRX) files to sell American Depositary Shares
Endurance (EIGI) announces sale of 10M shares of common stock by holders
Envision Healthcare (EVHC) files to sell 50.86M shares for holders
HubSpot (HUBS) files to sell 3.7M shares of common stock
Hudson Pacific (HPP) shareholders approve issuance of 63.47M shares of stock, units
Intra-Cellular (ITCI) 4.75M share Secondary priced at $24.00
MaxPoint Interactive (MXPT) 6.5M share IPO priced at $11.50
NGL Energy Partners (NGL) files to sell 6.25M common units for limited partners
Norwegian Cruise Line (NCLH) files to sell 12.5M ordinary shares for holders