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Frontrunning: October 22

  • Russia Loses Oil Ally in De Margerie After Moscow Crash (BBG)
  • Austria's Erste denies report it has failed stress tests (Reuters)
  • Sweden gets two new sightings, as hunt for undersea intruder goes on (Reuters)
  • Companies Try to Escape Health Law’s Penalties (WSJ)
  • Mud and Loathing on Russia-Ukraine Border (BBG)
  • NOAA employee charged with stealing U.S. dam information (Reuters)
  • Lower Oil Prices Seen Easing Japan’s Trade Pain (WSJ)
  • Michigan becomes 5th U.S. state to thwart direct Tesla car sales (Reuters)
  • Maglev Train Seen Making Washington-to-Baltimore Trip at 311 MPH (BBG)
  • Brazil’s Rousseff Gains Ground, Poll Show (WSJ)
  • Global Growth Woes Threaten to Beset U.S. Economy (WSJ)
  • Faulty airbags warning expanded to 6.1 million U.S. cars: NHTSA (Reuters)
  • Traffickers use abductions, prison ships to feed Asian slave trade (Reuters)
  • Yahoo Delivers Message to Activist Starboard: Back Off (BBG)
  • Former Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee dies at 93 (Reuters)
  • China approves $24.5 billion in rail and airport projects (Reuters)
  • States Ease Laws That Protected Poor Borrowers (NYT)

 

Overnight Media Digest

WSJ

* With the health law's insurance mandate for employers set to kick in next year, companies are trying to avoid the law's penalties while holding down costs, using strategies like enrolling employees in Medicaid. (http://on.wsj.com/10ljcx6)

* Behind the scenes, top U.S. officials concluded the Syrian city of Kobani had become too symbolically important to lose and they raced to save it. (http://on.wsj.com/1vKNQM3)

* New York state's top regulator expanded its probe of Ocwen Financial Corp, saying the mortgage-servicing company backdated thousands of letters to borrowers that prevented them from being able to promptly correct problem loans. (http://on.wsj.com/1t4uD7b)

* A push to tighten mortgage-lending standards in the wake of the housing bust has given way to making credit more accessible as Washington frets about the strength of the housing recovery. On Tuesday, federal regulators took a big step toward easing postcrisis lending rules, agreeing to drop a proposed requirement that borrowers make a 20 percent down payment in order to get a high-quality mortgage. (http://on.wsj.com/1zk28XC)

* Confidential arrangements for multinational companies like Amazon.com Inc and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles save taxes but now are under pressure from the EU. (http://on.wsj.com/1tK3QyO)

* Another bout of weakening global growth is buffeting a U.S. economy that has faced five years of uneven growth, raising a crucial question: Can the U.S. pull the rest of the world through a slow patch or will sluggish global growth hobble the recovery? (http://on.wsj.com/1yisYec)

* Total is expected Wednesday to name a successor to CEO Christophe de Margerie, who died in a Moscow plane crash. He moved the company away from Europe's aging oil fields to riskier, resource-rich nations. (http://on.wsj.com/1w6OO6u)

* JPMorgan Chase & Co Chairman and CEO James Dimon said his throat cancer has not changed what he wants to do in life, saying he sees himself teaching or helping a charity someday. (http://on.wsj.com/1nyAAs3)

 

FT

George Osborne's promise of tax cuts in the next parliament raised questions on Tuesday, after it was disclosed that Britain's public finances slumped further last month albeit it had a healthy economic recovery.

Bankers, lawyers and business professionals will be urged to fund medical research and technology projects this week out of their own wealth as part of an approach to attract more angel investors into UK life sciences.

British luxury carmaker Jaguar Land Rover Ltd on Tuesday opened its first overseas manufacturing factory in Changshu, near Shanghai as it plans to build its premium Jaguar models in China to race with its competitors' Audi, BMW and Daimler's Mercedes-Benz marque. The European Union slapped Honeywell International Inc and DuPont with antitrust charges on Tuesday for allegedly acting in an anti-competitive manner when collaborating to build the only car coolant that is in compliance with EU emissions standards.

 

NYT

* Lawmakers in several states have voted to increase the fees or the interest rates that lenders can charge on personal loans used by millions of poor or financially struggling borrowers. The overhaul of the state lending laws comes after a lobbying push by the consumer loan industry and a wave of campaign donations to state lawmakers. (http://nyti.ms/1wnleXb)

* This summer's huge cyberattack on JPMorgan Chase & Co and a dozen other financial institutions is accelerating efforts by federal and state authorities to push banks and brokerage firms to close some gaping holes in their defenses. Top officials at the Treasury Department are discussing the need to bolster fortifications around a critical area of cybersecurity: outside vendors. (http://nyti.ms/1w5Y231)

* A day after federal safety regulators warned owners of recalled vehicles with defective air bags to "act immediately", consumers on Tuesday were left grasping for answers. A National Highway Traffic Safety Administration site that allows drivers to look up a car by vehicle identification number was not responding. Owners who tried to get their cars fixed were turned away because the parts, made by the Japanese supplier Takata Corp, were simply not available. (http://nyti.ms/1FAmZqi)

* Yahoo Inc reported strong third-quarter financial performance on Tuesday, breaking a pattern of revenue declines and posting profits from its core operations that far exceeded Wall Street's expectations. (http://nyti.ms/1nyBGnD)

* Major manufacturers of personal protective equipment say they have experienced a significant spike in demand for their products, as hospitals across U.S. brace for potential new cases of Ebola, which has already killed more than 4,500 people. (http://nyti.ms/1tK81ed)

 

Canada

THE GLOBE AND MAIL

** The British Columbia Liberal government introduced legislation on Tuesday that slashed its proposed rate for a liquefied natural gas income tax, and adds tax incentives for LNG companies, meaning the province is now banking on a smaller flow of revenue. (http://bit.ly/ZMZqJU)

** Prime Minister Stephen Harper is expected to announce a four-year funding commitment for the Global Partnership for Education, an organization whose work Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai strongly supports. The exact amount is unknown but advocates have been calling for at least C$120 million. (http://bit.ly/1DzDYa0)

** More than 68,000 British Columbia Hydro customers were without electricity early on Wednesday because of a storm lashing the province with heavy rain and strong winds. (http://bit.ly/1yjlGam)

NATIONAL POST

** With less than a week to go until the municipal election, John Tory's campaign says it has raised C$2.19 million over the last eight months. (http://bit.ly/129WMiM)

** Taseko Mines Ltd claims the federal government acted unlawfully in pushing its British Columbia copper project off the rails. Taseko will appear in a federal court in Vancouver on Wednesday to argue that its two judicial review applications to Ottawa should be combined into one civil lawsuit seeking damages. (http://bit.ly/1rqaaEj)

** Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce has become the third Canadian bank to issue non-viable contingent capital in the form of subordinated debentures. When the markets opened on Tuesday, the bank announced that it planned to raise C$1 billion of Basel III-compliant 10-year 3 percent debentures. (http://bit.ly/1w84tma)

 

China

CHINA SECURITIES JOURNAL

- The upcoming APEC Finance Ministers Meeting held in Beijing next month will focus on promoting public-private partnership (PPP) as a new financing model, which will allow more non-government sectors to be in charge of investments public infrastructure, the paper reported.

SHANGHAI SECURITIES NEWS

- Property sales and investment activity fell to fresh lows last month, but a relaxation in mortgage rules have raised hopes that the worst will soon be over. The China Index Academy, a private research institution, said that from Oct. 13-19, sales rose week-on-week in 34 cities, accounting for 83 percent of all the cities it monitors.

NATIONAL BUSINESS DAILY

- China has achieved the yearly employment target of adding 10 million jobs in urban areas by the end of September, said Sheng Laiyun, the spokesman for the National Bureau of Statistics at a news conference in Beijing on Tuesday.

21st CENTURY BUSINESS HERALD

- A new scheme set up by the Ministry of Science and Technology and the Ministry of Finance that professional institutions will replace the government to manage science and research fund, aiming to curb research fund corruption.

- China plans to tighten its environmental policy to tackle pollution and said in a draft law that companies that exceed emission limits will be fined on a daily basis.

SHANGHAI DAILY

- Hong Kong's government said it hopes to have more talks with protesters following yesterday's first formal meeting between officials and student leaders but Chief Secretary Carrie Lam said the government's firm pisition is to follw the top legislature's ruling that candidates for Hong Kong's next leadership election must be nominated by an election committee.

CHINA DAILY

- China's outbound investment in the mining sector reached $106 billion last year on the back of the nation's growing appetite for commodities, according to the Ministry of Commerce. Total outbound non-financial investment reached $74.9 billion in the first nine months of 2014, up 21.8 percent on year, according to the ministry.

PEOPLE'S DAILY

- The rule of law is the fundamental principle for China in its transition era, the paper said in a commentary.

 

Britain

JAGUAR LAND ROVER SAYS DRIVE INTO CHINA WON'T HIT BRITISH JOBS

Jaguar Land Rover will build both its most successful Range Rover and its bestselling Jaguar model in China but the British car giant has reassured that production will not be diverted from Merseyside and the West Midlands. (http://thetim.es/1x5Px4K)

TESCO TAKES A BATTERING FROM CHANGE IN SHOPPING TASTES

The woes of crisis-stricken Tesco Plc have deepened with new figures suggesting that shoppers are shunning the supermarket chain in ever greater numbers in favour of rivals such as Waitrose, Asda, Aldi and Lidl. (http://thetim.es/1wmEUdI)

ABBVIE CHIEF RAGES OVER SCUPPERING OF SHIRE DEAL

Richard Gonzalez, chief executive of AbbVie Inc launched a withering attack on the US Treasury last night as he confirmed that the merger with Shire Plc, a UK bio-pharmaceutical group, had been officially terminated. (http://thetim.es/ZFaMPO)

The Guardian WHISTLEBLOWER ROYAL BANK OF SCOTLAND ESCAPES LIBOR FINE

Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc has escaped 115 million pound ($185.24 million) of fines for alerting the European commission's competition watchdog to two attempts to fix the prices of key interest rates. (http://bit.ly/1s4nVZl) ASOS DISMISSES AMAZON TAKEOVER TALK Asos Plc Chief Nick Robertson has swept aside rumours that the online fashion retailer is about to be swallowed by Amazon Inc, declaring the internet company was not his "dream partner". (http://bit.ly/1x5W1k1)

The Telegraph

HSBC ATTACKS 'RETROGRADE' EU BONUS CAP

Douglas Flint, chairman of HSBC Holdings Plc, has attacked the "retrograde" bonus cap enforced by the European Union and said that continuing restrictions on banker pay are making it difficult to compete with other industries. (http://bit.ly/10jQDQF) FRANK TIMIS READY TO RESCUE LONDON MINING Frank Timis, the chairman of African Minerals Ltd, is close to securing a deal to buy London Mining's operations in Sierra Leone out of administration. Last week London Mining toppled into administration after failing to find a buyer for the business as it struggled with debts following a slump in iron ore prices. (http://bit.ly/1t9rFPL)

The Independent

CHRISTOPHE DE MARGERIE DEAD: CEO OF OIL FIRM TOTAL DIES IN PLANE CRASH WITH 'DRUNK' SNOW PLOUGH DRIVER

Christophe de Margerie, head of oil firm Total, was killed in a collision between a private jet and a snow plough operated by a 'drunk driver' in Moscow last night. Christophe de Margerie was the only passenger on-board with three French crew members, all of whom died as the Dassault Falcon plane was about to take-off for from Vnukovo international airport.(http://ind.pn/1wsRKJw)

 

 

Fly On The Wall Pre-Market Buzz

ECONOMIC REPORTS
Domestic economic reports scheduled for today include:
Consumer Price Index for September at 8:30--consensus flat with prior month

ANALYST RESEARCH

Upgrades

AOL (AOL) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Evercore
ARM Holdings (ARMH) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at UBS
BancorpSouth (BXS) upgraded to Neutral from Underweight at JPMorgan
Chesapeake (CHK) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at UBS
Chuy's (CHUY) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Stifel
Dean Foods (DF) upgraded to Overweight from Equal Weight at Morgan Stanley
East West Bancorp (EWBC) upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform at BMO Capital
Generac (GNRC) upgraded to Buy from Hold at KeyBanc
Hess Corp. (HES) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at UBS
Hovnanian (HOV) upgraded to Market Perform from Underperform at JMP Securities
Intuitive Surgical (ISRG) upgraded to Market Perform from Underperform at Northland
Seaspan (SSW) upgraded to Neutral from Underperform at Credit Suisse
Smith & Nephew (SNN) upgraded to Overweight from Equal Weight at Barclays
Steel Dynamics (STLD) upgraded to Outperform from Neutral at Macquarie
Steris (STE) upgraded to Strong Buy from Market Perform at Raymond James
Tesoro Logistics (TLLP) upgraded to Strong Buy from Outperform at Raymond James
Texas Instruments (TXN) upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform at Bernstein
Volaris (VLRS) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Deutsche Bank
Wilshire Bancorp (WIBC) upgraded to Outperform from Neutral at Macquarie
Yahoo (YHOO) upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform at FBR Capital

Downgrades

BBCN Bancorp (BBCN) downgraded to Neutral from Outperform at Macquarie
CareFusion (CFN) downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at Raymond James
Coca-Cola (KO) downgraded to Sell from Hold at Societe Generale
Coeur Mining (CDE) downgraded to Underperform from Market Perform at BMO Capital
Computer Task Group (CTG) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at B. Riley
Cree (CREE) downgraded to Hold from Buy at Canaccord
GAIN Capital (GCAP) downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at Keefe Bruyette
Hecla Mining (HL) downgraded to Underperform from Market Perform at BMO Capital
LPL Financial (LPLA) downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at Keefe Bruyette
Ocwen Financial (OCN) downgraded to Hold from Buy at Evercore
Omnicom (OMC) downgraded to Sell from Neutral at Goldman
Regions Financial (RF) downgraded to Outperform from Strong Buy at Raymond James
VMware (VMW) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Nomura

Initiations

3D Systems (DDD) initiated with an Outperform at Oppenheimer
Acadia Healthcare (ACHC) initiated with a Buy at UBS
Antares Pharma (ATRS) initiated with an Outperform at JMP Securities
BCE (BCE) initiated with a Neutral at UBS
Cognex (CGNX) initiated with an Outperform at Oppenheimer
ExOne (XONE) initiated with an Outperform at Oppenheimer
FTD Companies (FTD) initiated with a Buy at B. Riley
FXCM (FXCM) initiated with an Underperform at Keefe Bruyette
Groupon (GRPN) initiated with a Buy at Brean Capital
GrubHub (GRUB) initiated with a Hold at Brean Capital
Hess Corp. (HES) reinstated with an Equal Weight at Barclays
Impax (IPXL) initiated with an Outperform at JMP Securities
Materialise (MTLS) initiated with a Perform at Oppenheimer
Rockwell Automation (ROK) initiated with a Perform at Oppenheimer
Rogers Communications (RCI) initiated with a Neutral at UBS
Stratasys (SSYS) initiated with a Perform at Oppenheimer
TELUS (TU) initiated with a Neutral at UBS
Yelp (YELP) initiated with a Hold at Brean Capital

COMPANY NEWS

GT Advanced (GTAT), Apple (AAPL) reach deal to 'wind down' sapphire plant, Fortune's Philip DeWitt said in a tweet
Daimler (DDAIF) restructured cooperation with Tesla (TSLA), sold 4% stake in Tesla for $780M
NHTSA said over 6M cars involved in Takata airbag recalls (TM, HMC, MZDAF, BAMXY, NSANY, FCAU, F, GM)
Lufthansa (DLAKY) said near agreement with IBM (IBM) to sell the IT infrastructure division of Lufthansa Systems
Target (TGT) said it will offer free shipping on all Target.com orders for the holidays, now through Dec. 20
Himax (HIMX) announced Google (GOOG) will not exercise additional investment option in company
Ocwen Financial (OCN) corrected earlier statement in response to letter from NY DFS, said "aware of additional borrowers in New York who received letters with incorrect dates but does not yet know how many such letters there were. Ocwen is continuing its investigation into these matters"

EARNINGS

Companies that beat consensus earnings expectations last night and today include:
Yahoo (YHOO), VMware (VMW) Pacific Premier (PPBI), Evercore Partners (EVR), ICON plc (ICLR), W.R. Grace (GRA), Thermo Fisher (TMO), BE Aerospace (BEAV), Great Southern Bancorp (GSBC), Pinnacle Financial (PNFP), Southwest Bancorp (OKSB), Renasant (RNST), Rush Enterprises (RUSHA), Nabors Industries (NBR), Cathay General (CATY), Fulton Financial (FULT), Unisys (UIS), Quidel (QDEL), Waste Connections (WCN), Celestica (CLS), E-Trade (ETFC), WesBanco (WSBC), Robert Half (RHI), Ethan Allen (ETH), iRobot (IRBT), Manhattan Associates (MANH), Intuitive Surgical (ISRG), Discover (DFS), Abaxis (ABAX), Broadcom (BRCM), Hawaiian Holdings (HA), Interactive Brokers (IBKR), Cubist (CBST)

Companies that missed consensus earnings expectations include:
MarketAxess (MKTX), World Acceptance (WRLD), Flagstar Bancorp (FBC), ACE Limited (ACE), ZixCorp (ZIXI), American National Bankshares (AMNB), Pzena Investment (PZN), FMC Technologies (FTI), Merchant Bancshares (MBVT), Exactech (EXAC), B&G Foods (BGS), Cree (CREE)

Companies that matched consensus earnings expectations include:
First Busey (BUSE), ViewPoint Financial (VPFG), Electronics for Imaging (EFII), Sonic (SONC), Trustco Bank (TRST), Datalink (DTLK)

NEWSPAPERS/WEBSITES

EMC (EMC) said to buy out most of Cisco (CSCO) VCE joint venture stake, Bloomberg reports
Total (TOT) to select new CEO at emergency board meeting Wednesday morning, WSJ reports
BGC Partners (BGCGP) could make hostile $675M bid for GFI Group (GFIG), WSJ reports (CME)
U.S. government probes medical devices for possible cyber flaws, Reuters reports (HSP, MDT, STJ)
Microsoft Lumia (MSFT) to replace Nokia (NOK) brand, The Verge reports
American Apparel (APP) brings back creative director Alonzo, WWD reports

SYNDICATE

Anchor BanCorp Wisconsin (ABCW) 372K share IPO priced at $26.00
ClubCorp (MYCC) files to sell 32.77M shares of common stock for holders
FCB Financial (FCB) files to sell 29.5M shares of Class A common stock
Nanosphere (NSPH) files to sell common stock
Susser Petroleum (SUSP) 8M share Secondary priced at $46.25