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Frontrunning: October 31

  • Mueller’s Moves Signal Broad Scope (WSJ)
  • Spain awaits next move by ousted Catalan leader from Belgium (Reuters)
  • China, South Korea agree to mend ties after THAAD standoff (Reuters)
  • For Manafort, Questionable Airbnb Sublets Became a Family Affair (BBG)
  • U.S. business group worries Trump unprepared for commercial talks with China (Reuters)
  • Google’s Dominance in Washington Faces a Reckoning (WSJ)
  • Tech Giants Disclose Russian Activity on Eve of Congressional Appearance (WSJ)
  • Collapse at North Korea nuclear test site 'leaves 200 dead' (Telegraph)
  • Tech executives head to U.S. Congress under harsh spotlight (Reuters)
  • Another China Company Defaults on Bond Payment as Borrowing Costs Jump (BBG)
  • Google ditched autopilot driving feature after test user napped behind wheel (Reuters)
  • Why Google and Amazon Aren’t in the Dow (BBG)
  • Swiss prosecutors seek widening of secrecy law to bankers abroad (Reuters)
  • Betting on the Next Fed Chair Often Goes Wrong (WSJ)
  • Under Armour slashes 2017 forecast, revenue falls (Reuters)
  • Is the ‘Death Tax’ Debate Finally Over? (BBG)
  • Ex-Third Point Partner’s Bond Trades Focus of SEC Probe (BBG)
  • Two Months After Harvey, Houston Continues to Count the Cost (WSJ)
  • Goldman Agrees With Dalio’s Tale of Two Economies (BBG)

Overnight Media Digest

WSJ

- For the second time in three years, Sprint Corp is preparing to leave T-Mobile US Inc at the altar after months of negotiations to bring together the two U.S. wireless providers. Directors at Sprint's parent company, SoftBank Group Corp, met in Tokyo last week and decided to suspend the merger efforts, according to people familiar with the matter. on.wsj.com/2yZRQip

- Facebook Inc, Alphabet Inc's Google and Twitter Inc are set to divulge new details showing that the scope of Russian-backed manipulation on their platforms before and after the U.S. presidential election was far greater than previously disclosed, reaching an estimated 126 million people on Facebook alone, according to people familiar with the matter, prepared copies of their testimonies and a company statement. on.wsj.com/2yYwFNr

- Netflix Inc plans to end the political drama "House of Cards" after the end of season 6, which is currently in production, a person familiar with the situation said. The decision was made before reports about alleged sexual misconduct by star Kevin Spacey, the person said. on.wsj.com/2yZ2rKr

- ?Apple Inc, locked in an intensifying legal fight with Qualcomm Inc, is designing iPhones and iPads for next year that would jettison the chipmaker's components, according to people familiar with the matter. on.wsj.com/2z1UtQM

- A federal judge on Monday blocked President Donald Trump from implementing a ban on transgender individuals from serving in the military, the latest high-profile White House initiative to run into problems in court. on.wsj.com/2yZBYMI

- The Federal Bureau of Investigation is investigating a decision by Puerto Rico's power authority to award a $300 million contract to a tiny Montana energy firm to rebuild electrical infrastructure damaged in Hurricane Maria, according to people familiar with the matter. on.wsj.com/2yZROXC

 

FT

UK finance minister Philip Hammond will not break his fiscal rules to increase public spending in the autumn budget and fears investors, already worried by Brexit, will be spooked if he abandons the fiscal framework adopted only a year ago, the chancellor’s allies said.

British petrochemicals company Ineos on Monday agreed to buy fashion brand Belstaff, best known for its waxed cotton motorcycle jackets, in the latest off-beat project by Ineos’s billionaire founder Jim Ratcliffe.

Key details about reports outlining the economic impact of Britain leaving the EU on 58 industries will not be released by the Brexit ministry which said it needs to carry out policymaking in a “safe space”.

 

NYT

- Russian agents intending to sow discord among American citizens disseminated inflammatory posts that reached 126 million users on Facebook, published more than 131,000 messages on Twitter and uploaded over 1,000 videos to Google's YouTube service, according to copies of prepared remarks from the companies that were obtained by The New York Times. nyti.ms/2z56yXn

- The day after Kevin Spacey apologized following an accusation that he made a sexual advance on a 14-year-old boy in the 1980s, Netflix Inc announced that the next season of his show "House of Cards" would be its last. nyti.ms/2z6qA3x

- President Trump is expected to nominate Jerome Powell as the next chairman of the Federal Reserve, replacing Janet Yellen, whose term expires early next year, according to two people familiar with the plans. nyti.ms/2z5Ap1Q

- The special counsel, Robert Mueller III, announced charges on Monday against three advisers to President Trump's campaign and laid out the most explicit evidence to date that his campaign was eager to coordinate with the Russian government to damage his rival, Hillary Clinton. nyti.ms/2z5UVzl

- A federal judge on Monday temporarily blocked a White House policy barring military service by transgender troops, ruling that it was based on "disapproval of transgender people generally." nyti.ms/2z4Q29E

 

Canada

THE GLOBE AND MAIL

Melbourne-based John Holland Group Pty Ltd has won tenders over the past year to participate in A$23 billion ($17.6 billion) worth of work on large public infrastructure projects, and expects to hire 100 people monthly over the next 15 months. tgam.ca/2xFxIRf

Canada's brand-name pharmaceutical companies are pushing back against a plan to overhaul the country's drug-pricing regulator, saying they are keen to forge a compromise that would reduce prices, but not to a degree that could be "crippling" for the industry. tgam.ca/2xDl19b

NATIONAL POST

Cenovus Energy Inc picked former TransCanada Corp chief operating officer Alex Pourbaix to be its new president and chief executive officer, prioritizing expertise in dealing with external challenges over knowing the nuts and bolts of the business. bit.ly/2xDJOdA

Beverage company Constellation Brands Inc is buying up to 20 percent of Canopy Growth Corp in a deal that lends legitimacy to Canada's fast-growing marijuana industry while potentially throwing open the door to additional investments in the sector by big international companies. bit.ly/2z0dEN9

 

Britain

The Times

- Stuart Gulliver, outgoing chief executive of HSBC Holdings Plc, and Lloyd Blankfein, chief executive of Goldman Sachs Group Inc, on Monday called for clarity over Britain's future relationship with the European Union, warning that jobs and investment depend on a prompt decision. bit.ly/2z0IbIe

- Chancellor Philip Hammond said Monday that Steffan Ball, chief economist at Citadel, a $26 billion hedge fund based in Chicago, was his new economic adviser. bit.ly/2z0dliZ

- Pearson Plc is understood to be nearing a sale of its English-language teaching business to Asian private equity funds Baring Private Equity Asia and Citic Capital Holdings for up to $400 million. bit.ly/2z1hFPa

The Guardian

- Nationwide Building Society has paved the way for an across-the-board increase in mortgage costs by announcing that a 0.25 pct interest rate rise would be passed on in full to its 600,000-plus variable-rate home loan customers. bit.ly/2yZtuVO

- Hundreds of free-to-use cash machines are at risk of being closed down on high streets across the UK as a result of proposals being published this week to overhaul the 70,000-strong Link network. bit.ly/2z0nXOV

The Telegraph

- Chemicals giant Ineos has bought Belstaff, the British heritage fashion brand, in the latest off-centre move by its founder and chairman, billionaire Jim Ratcliffe, a month after he unveiled plans to start making cars. bit.ly/2z0ltA5

- Ten Lifestyle, the London-based concierge service is eyeing a listing on the junior Aim market in a bid to raise 40 million pounds and help it continue its domestic growth as well as increase its overseas footprint. bit.ly/2yZdmDO

Sky News

- Willie Walsh, the chief executive of British Airways' parent company IAG, has dismissed claims - including from Chancellor Philip Hammond - that flights could be grounded if Britain leaves the EU without a divorce deal. bit.ly/2z1MyD7

- A pack of hedge funds is closing in on a takeover of BrightHouse, Britain's biggest rent-to-own retailer, just days after it was slapped with a 15 million pound ($19.81 million)compensation bill by the City watchdog. bit.ly/2z1MyD7

The Independent

- Walmart's British supermarket arm Asda announced that Chief Executive Sean Clarke will be stepping down at the end of the year, to be replaced by the company's current deputy Chief Executive and Chief Operating Officer Roger Burnley. ind.pn/2yZblY