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Frontrunning: July 31

  • U.S. stock futures slip amid lukewarm earnings, fall in commodities (Reuters)
  • Stressful times for low-polling Republicans who may miss debate stage (Reuters)
  • Trump shows staying power with surge ahead of first debate (Reuters)
  • China Market Manipulation Probe Targets Spoofers After Crash (BBG)
  • Beijing Chosen to Host 2022 Winter Olympics (WSJ)
  • Obama Warns Support on Iran Deal ’Getting Squishy’ Amid Pressure (BBG)
  • Pacific trade negotiators chase elusive final deal in tough talks (Reuters)
  • Relativity Media’s Bankruptcy Filing Ripples Beyond Hollywood (WSJ)
  • Commodities Slide With Ruble as Europe’s Stocks, Bonds Decline (BBG)
  • Cargill’s Black River Asset Management Shutting Four Hedge Funds (WSJ)
  • 'What lion?' Zimbabweans ask, amid global Cecil circus (Reuters)
  • Greek bailout talks shift into higher gear (AP)
  • Greek PM defends controversial 'Plan B' for euro zone exit (Reuters)
  • U.S. Banks Take Global Lead (WSJ)
  • AQR’s Trading Chief Goes on Leave Amid SEC Probe of Ex-Employer (BBG)
  • Investigators Face Pressure to Confirm MH370 Link (WSJ)
  • Nusra Front attacks Western-backed rebels in northern Syria (Reuters)
  • Stocks Turmoil Leaves Chinese Investors in Nowhere-to-Run Bind (BBG)
  • Suspect in Charleston church massacre to be arraigned on hate charges (Reuters)

 

Overnight Media Digest

WSJ

* In the trans-Atlantic rivalry for banking supremacy, U.S. banks are preparing to pounce, with executives touting the gloom emanating from their European counterparts as a big opportunity to press their newfound advantage. (http://on.wsj.com/1MxAyL6)

* Accident investigators appeared tantalizingly close to determining whether a piece of plane debris belongs to Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, but still faced a long and complex process in trying to solve one of the world's greatest aviation mysteries. (http://on.wsj.com/1eEPWHK)

* Diageo and other global spirits companies are expanding across Africa, targeting even the poorest consumers with liquor made locally and sold cheaply. The global spirits industry sees Africa as the final frontier - a potentially huge market that is largely untapped. (http://on.wsj.com/1I6daRR)

* Comcast Corp struck a deal with Verizon Communications Inc in 2011 giving it the right to sell wireless service using the carrier's network at set terms and pricing. But as the company again explores a wireless offering, the deal is looking dated. (http://on.wsj.com/1Ub8BLi)

* Cargill's Black River Asset Management plans to shutter four of its hedge funds and return more than $1 billion to investors over the next several months, the latest agricultural giant to reassess its investment ambitions. (http://on.wsj.com/1IO7aR7)

* The U.S. economy emerged from its winter lull with a moderate spring rebound, but the historically sluggish expansion is looking even more sluggish as it enters year seven. (http://on.wsj.com/1ODCb8K)

* Despite a government crackdown on extremists in Pakistan, one group operates openly in Karachi and elsewhere and is believed to serve as a recruiting ground for militants. (http://on.wsj.com/1DefGq4)

 

FT

GEORGE OSBORNE PROPOSES TO CAP PUBLIC SECTOR PAY-OFFS AT 95,000 STG (http://on.ft.com/1DdnE2V)

AMAZON PAYS $250 MLN TO SIGN DEPARTING TOP GEAR TRIO FOR NEW SHOW (http://on.ft.com/1DdoFbi)

IHG and Starwood have held early deal talks (http://on.ft.com/1DdpZLf)

Overview

George Osborne on Friday will set out plans to end six-figure severance payments for civil servants as he tries to save about 100 million pounds ($156.00 million) a year by curbing pay-offs.

Britain's former BBC "Top Gear" host Jeremy Clarkson has signed an exclusive deal with Amazon to present a new motoring show for the online retailer's subscription service alongside co-presenters Richard Hammond and James May.

InterContinental Hotels Group has held early stage talks with Starwood Hotels & Resorts over a union to create the world's largest hotel group, said two people familiar with the discussions.

 

NYT

* SunGard is in talks to sell itself to Fidelity National Information Services Inc, a big service provider for banks, people briefed on the matter said on Thursday. Such a deal could value SunGard at more than $8 billion, one of those people said. (http://nyti.ms/1OS2d91)

* Wells Fargo & Co announced on Thursday that it was ending all mortgage marketing services and desk rental agreements with builders and real estate brokers. These arrangements are widespread throughout the highly competitive mortgage industry, where lenders scrap to find eligible borrowers. (http://nyti.ms/1fNvUf5)

* Fitness chain SoulCycle filed for an initial public offering on Thursday, hoping to take advantage of swelling interest in workouts. (http://nyti.ms/1MWRvfW)

* The European private equity firm PAI Partners said on Thursday that it had signed an agreement to sell the air cargo services company Swissport International to the owner of Hainan Airlines of China for 2.7 billion Swiss francs, or about $2.8 billion. (http://nyti.ms/1IO6zyU)

 

Canada

THE GLOBE AND MAIL

** Bombardier Inc pushed back the commercial launch of its Global 7000 corporate jet by two years as chief executive Alain Bellemare slows the company's output of business aircraft and tries to reset near-term sales expectations for its flagship C Series plane. (http://bit.ly/1De3sy5)

** Home Capital Group Inc began suspending mortgage brokers after its board of directors received a letter from an anonymous whistle-blower last fall pointing it to problems with some of its mortgages, company officials confirmed Thursday. (http://bit.ly/1IxloUr)

** Major landlords of failed retailer Target Canada have raised concerns about the U.S. parent's role in the insolvency process - and whether it jeopardizes creditors' collecting what could be billions of dollars they are owed.

RioCan Real Estate Investment Trust, the largest landlord of Target Canada, contends the retailer could be holding back on releasing vital information, possibly putting all creditors at a disadvantage. (http://bit.ly/1eFBKy5)

NATIONAL POST

** The federal and provincial governments have put aside their differences to help expand Toyota's manufacturing operations in Southern Ontario. The two governments will provide a total of $100 million toward Toyota's planned $421-million investment in the automaker's Cambridge operations. (http://bit.ly/1MBpX2F)

** Barrick Gold Corp has struck a deal to sell a 50 percent stake in its Zaldivar copper mine in Chile for just over $1 billion, giving the company's balance sheet some much-needed relief. The buyer is Antofagasta Plc, a large Chilean copper miner. (http://bit.ly/1MBq9iv)

** Goldcorp Inc has slashed its dividend 60 percent in order to maintain financial flexibility in a miserable gold market. The Vancouver-based mining giant announced on Thursday that it cut the monthly dividend to two cents per share, down from five cents. The move will save Goldcorp almost $300 million a year. (http://bit.ly/1MBqdid)

 

China

CHINA SECURITIES JOURNAL

- Investment in China's robotic industry could exceed 100 billion yuan ($16.10 billion) between 2014 and 2020, the newspaper reported, citing the National Development and Reform Commission.

SHANGHAI SECURITIES NEWS

- China's Insurance Regulatory Commission (CIRC) suggested insurance funds should not sell off their investments in the equity market in the near term, unnamed sources told the newspaper.

SECURITIES TIMES

- The vice president of the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) Zhang Wanchun may become the president of China Minsheng Bank, the newspaper said, citing several Minsheng Bank sources.

CHINA DAILY

- The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) should not undermine the role of the World Trade Organisation in global trade liberalisation, the newspaper said in an editorial, noting that one of the problems in negotiations is the extremely high standards set by countries for trade blocs.

PEOPLE'S DAILY

- The fall of former military leader Guo Boxiong has demonstrated the Chinese government is determined to purge corruption, the newspaper said in its commentary. "One demon killed, all demons deterred, the article was quoted as saying."

Britain

The Times

RBS SHARE SELL-OFF IS GIVEN THE GREEN LIGHT

The government is set to launch its first sale of Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc shares since the lender's 46 billion pound ($71.73 billion) taxpayer-funded rescue nearly seven years ago, marking the beginning of the bank's return to private ownership. (http://thetim.es/1DdcgEl)

MPs QUESTION HEDGE FUND TIES OF BANK'S NEW RATESETTER

The newest member of the Bank of England's rate-setting committee, Gertjan Vlieghe, will face tough questions from the Treasury select committee after it emerged that he has retained a financial link to a hedge fund, raising concerns over a potential conflict of interest. (http://thetim.es/1DdcImb)

The Guardian

SANTANDER'S UK SPIN-OFF DELAYED

The spin-off of Spanish bank Santander's UK arm has been pushed back for a number of years, the chief executive officer of the British operation has revealed. Nathan Bostock said on Thursday he did not expect the flotation of the business, first mooted five years ago, to take place "for the next couple of years". (http://bit.ly/1Ddd0ta)

IMF WILL REFUSE TO JOIN GREEK BAILOUT UNTIL DEBT RELIEF DEMANDS ARE MET

The International Monetary Fund will refuse to participate in a new bailout for Greece until there is an "explicit and concrete agreement" on debt relief from the country's eurozone creditors, an IMF official has confirmed. (http://bit.ly/1DddlMs)

The Telegraph

FORMER RABOBANK TRADER BANNED FROM WORKING IN THE CITY OVER LIBOR FRAUD

A Libor-manipulating trader from Dutch institution Rabobank has been banned from working in the UK's financial services industry by the Financial Conduct Authority. (http://bit.ly/1Ddgvj9)

DEUTSCHE BANK MUST DO BETTER, NEW CHIEF JOHN CRYAN TELLS STAFF

Deutsche Bank's profits are "not nearly good enough", the German firm's new chief executive told staff as he unveiled his first set of financial results. New boss John Cryan criticised costs, litigation and fines, and operating inefficiencies at the lender on Thursday. (http://bit.ly/1DdgJqA)

Sky News

IOD CHIEF CALLS FOR EARLY EU REFERENDUM

Simon Walker, the head of one of Britain's Institute of Directors (IoD), will urge David Cameron on Friday to hold the referendum on the UK's European Union (EU) membership next year and avoid an "inappropriate" delay. (http://bit.ly/1Dd9miR)

FOOD GROUP BRAKES COOKS UP 2.5 BLN STG FLOAT PLAN

Brakes Group, the UK's biggest food distributor, has begun preparing for a stock market listing in London that could see it valued at up to 2.5 billion pounds ($3.90 billion). (http://bit.ly/1Ddmjcx)

The Independent

ALEXIS TSIPRAS TRIES TO CALM HIS INCREASINGLY FRACTURED SYRIZA PARTY WITH INTERNAL VOTE ON BAILOUT PLANS

Greece's Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has made a last-minute bid to secure unity in his increasingly fractured Syriza party, with the offer of an internal referendum this Sunday. (http://ind.pn/1Ddm2Gp)

TESCO SCRAPS 'UNEXPECTED ITEM IN THE BAGGING AREA' AS SELF-CHECKOUTS SWITCH TO LESS 'FRUSTRATING' AUDIO

Tesco Plc is to replace the audio on its self checkout machines with one that is "friendlier, more helpful and less talkative". It will also scrap the infamous alert "unexpected item in the bagging area" that was introduced with the self-checkout machines in 2003. (http://ind.pn/1DdlOPD)