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Frontrunning: October 24

  • Doctor with Ebola in New York hospital after return from Guinea (Reuters)
  • Ebola Puts Spotlight on Bellevue, Key NYC Trauma Center (WSJ)
  • Uber Driver Transported Ebola-Positive Doctor in New York (BBG)
  • GOP Gains in Key Senate Races as Gender Gap Narrows (WSJ)
  • ECB Tries for Third Time Lucky in European Stress Tests (BBG)
  • Security tight in Canada as police probe Parliament gunman's ties (Reuters)
  • Why Madrid's poor fear Goldman Sachs and Blackstone (Reuters)
  • Fed’s $4 Trillion Holdings Keep Boosting Growth Beyond End of QE (BBG)
  • Cold War Banker to Putin Billionaires Walks Sanction Wire (BBG)
  • Ground offensive against Islamic State months away in Iraq (Reuters)
  • Bank Breakup Plan Hits More EU Hurdles as Danes Reject Idea (BBG)
  • Servicing JFK Airliners for Decades, Now There’s Ebola (BBG)
  • New York police officer critically wounded in hatchet attack (Reuters)
  • China Scores Cheap Oil 14,000 Miles Away as Glut Deepens (BBG)



Overnight Media Digest


* A doctor who had returned to New York City recently after treating Ebola patients in West Africa tested positive for the virus on Thursday, officials said, setting up a new test for the nation's ability to control the spread of the deadly disease. (

* A number of details about Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, who killed a Canadian soldier and thrust the government into a terrified lockdown on Wednesday, emerged that began to fill in a picture of a middle-class suburban youth who grew estranged from his family and descended into a string of petty crimes. (

* In a warning flag for Democrats, recent polls suggest the party is failing to draw enough support from women in three key Senate races - in Iowa, Arkansas and Colorado - to offset the strong backing that men are giving to Republicans. (

* The travails at Gucci are emblematic of the problems afflicting fashion's big power houses. (

* Inc's soaring ambitions are coming at a steep cost, dragging the e-commerce giant to its largest quarterly loss in 14 years. (

* Canada's chief energy regulator said Thursday a municipality along the route of a crude-oil pipeline cannot stop an affiliate of Kinder Morgan Energy Partners from accessing areas for a proposed expansion. (

* Primark, the U.K. fast-fashion chain that sells T-shirts for a couple of pounds and doesn't believe in online retailing, wants to make it big in the U.S. Its big selling point to America will be price. (

* Famed billionaire Warren Buffett has doubled down on renewables - and wind power in particular - in his energy strategy. Through a majority-owned subsidiary, Berkshire Hathaway Energy, Buffett plans to double the $15 billion already committed to renewable-energy projects through early this year, and he is on the hunt for more utility acquisitions. (

* KKR & Co LP signaled buying opportunities ahead, as choppy markets create conditions that can scare off other investors. Echoing sentiment from other private-equity executives, one of the top lieutenants to KKR co-founders Henry Kravis and George Roberts on Thursday said recent whipsawing markets could work to the firm's advantage. (



Overview Bank of England would fire a lender's management over a weekend, impose losses on investors and halt bond trading in a move aimed at preventing taxpayers bailing out banks and to provide more clarity to investors and bank chiefs. EU has told Britain to pay an extra 2.1 billion euros ($2.66 billion) to the EU budget within weeks due to its relative prosperity, a subcharge that will add to Prime Minister David Cameron's domestic worries over Europe. BP Plc and Chevron Corp have disclosed an oil find in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico. The companies said the oil well drilled by Chevron in the Guadalupe prospect in 1,200 metres of water needed more tests to establish its size but had found "significant oil pay."

Uber's head start in Britain has shadowed over the planned Addison Lee's sale after potential bidders raised questions over the impact it could have on Addison Lee's long-term prospects.



* Bankers are jockeying for the next sovereign debt deal in Africa, a continent that foreign investors have long been wary of for its economic woes, rampant poverty and political instability. Sub-Saharan countries have raised nearly $7 billion this year, more than in all of 2013, and yields on many bonds have fallen, even with the Ebola outbreak. (

* Comcast Corp, the country's largest cable operator, predicts that television groups like HBO and CBS will face steep challenges introducing streaming services that do not require cable subscriptions and that people will continue to pay for a bundle of television and Internet services in the years to come. (

* Amazon Inc on Thursday reported disappointing third-quarter results. The company saw a wider net loss of 95 cents a share and revenue came in $260 million less than analysts' projections. Amazon said it might lose money again in the fourth quarter, which in the old days was when retailers made all their profit for the year. (

* Microsoft Corp on Thursday offered tantalizing signs of progress in the transformation of its business. In the last quarter, the company had a 25 percent increase in sales, largely because of its acquisition of Nokia Oyj's mobile phone business. The results impressed investors, especially when compared with weak results from other technology bellwethers like IBM Corp. (

* General Motors' quarterly earnings report on Thursday was noteworthy mostly for what it lacked: another big financial charge for safety recalls. After running up special charges of nearly $3 billion in the first half of the year for safety problems, the nation's biggest automaker avoided additional charges for recalls in the third quarter. (




** Chinese authorities have subjected two detained Canadians, Kevin and Julia Garratt, who have now been held by China's State Security Bureau for 81 days, to intensive questioning while refusing their access to legal counsel, raising fears about what the couple might be pressured into admitting. (

** Royal Canadian Mounted Police Commissioner Bob Paulson, the nation's top police officer, says the job of keeping tabs on Canadian extremists was draining police budgets, violence had become almost impossible to foresee and police needed tools to react "decisively, quickly, preventatively." (

** Rogers Communications Inc Chief Executive Guy Laurence is striking a new aggressive tone, directly calling out his competitors as he strives to convince investors his strategy to turn around the fortunes of the wireless, cable and media company is on the right track. (


** The Conservatives are understood to be considering new legislation that would make it an offence to condone terrorist acts online. Sources suggest the government is likely to bring in new hate speech legislation that would make it illegal to claim terrorist acts are justified online. (

** Conservative members of Parliament inside their caucus room were determined to go out fighting, if worst came to worst. As they heard the cannonade of shots outside the historic Reading Room, in Parliament's Hall of Honour, they barricaded the doors and armed themselves. The only weapons at hand were a rolled up Maple Leaf flag, replete with sharp points. (

** Despite a bear market for oil, two of Canada's largest producers, Husky Energy Inc and its oil sands peer Cenovus Energy Inc, said on Tuesday that their growth plans had not yet been derailed. (




- The Shenzhen Stock Exchange is accelerating its launch of options, with the second testing phase set to take place as early as next week, the newspaper said, citing sources.


- China Telecom and China Unicom have been in talks for the past six months to jointly establish a content delivery network firm, the newspaper reported, citing a source in China Telecom.


- Recent fibre content and labelling tests by Shanghai's quality watchdog have failed batches of clothing from brands such as Armani, Ralph Lauren and Fendi. Retailers were told to remove the items from their shelves immediately.

- More than 20 tonnes of industrial salt is believed to be on the market as normal edible salt in central China's Henan province, officials said after raiding an underground workshop in the provincial capital of Zhengzhou.


- Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg conducted a half-hour public dialogue in the Chinese language at Tsinghua University, receiving cheers and applause from the audience.

- China plans to cooperate with several countries, including Mexico, Israel and Sweden, to expand the reach of its Beidou navigation satellite system.


Reuters has not verified these stories and does not vouch for their accuracy.

The Times TESCO CHAIRMAN QUITS AS PROFITS CRUMBLE BY 92 PCT Richard Broadbent, chairman of Tesco Plc is to stand down after a collapse in the supermarket chain's half-year profit and an increase in the bill for a bookkeeping scandal from 250 million pounds to 263 million pounds ($400.80 million to $421.64 million).


The Guardian

SPIRIT PUB BARS MAGNERS OWNER'S MOVE TO GATECRASH TAKEOVER Spirit Pub Co Plc has rejected an attempt by the company behind Magners cider to gatecrash its 750 million pound takeover by brewer Greene King Plc. Irish cider company C&C Group Plc is understood to have made a new 760 million pound approach for the chain of 1,200 pubs in an effort to trump Greene King's offer - which the Spirit board has indicated it is willing to recommend to shareholders.


CENTRICA BOSS ATTACKS 'CONTRADICTORY' UK POWER POLICY Sam Laidlaw, chief executive of Centrica Plc, has urged the government to reconsider its support for offshore wind and other costly low-carbon technologies because it will raise the cost for energy consumers at a time of lower wholesale power prices. The energy boss and former government adviser also attacked ministers for allowing energy companies to propose coal-fired power stations for a new subsidy scheme when Britain was trying to cut carbon emissions.


BP Plc has reawakened hopes for the continuing potential of the North Sea by making a significant oil strike that industry experts believe could yield about 50 million barrels. The find was made in partnership with GDF Suez of France, and the British government said the successful well underlined the benefits that could be achieved if companies worked more closely together.


The Telegraph

BANK OF ENGLAND TARGETS END OF BANK BAILOUT ERA Bank of England could fire bank bosses on the spot and replace them with outside executives should the bank collapse under new rules designed to prevent taxpayers bailing out banks.


CUADRILLA FRACKING PLANS SUFFER FURTHER DELAY Cuadrilla's plans to frack for shale gas in Lancashire have suffered further delay after council planners requested an extra two months to consider its proposals. The energy company submitted a planning application to Lancashire County Council in late May to frack at a site at Preston New Road, near Little Plumpton, followed in mid-June with plans for a second site at Roseacre Wood.

( Sky News

JOHNSON QUITS METRO BANK OVER TIME DEMANDS Luke Johnson, one of the Britain's most successful entrepreneurs has resigned from the board of Metro Bank as growing regulatory scrutiny increases the time commitment required from bank directors.




Fly On The Wall Pre-Market Buzz


Domestic economic reports scheduled for today include:
New home sales for September at 10:00--consensus down 6.9% to 469K rate



Brandywine Realty (BDN) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Stifel
Check Point (CHKP) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Needham
EQT Corporation (EQT) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at SunTrust
Halliburton (HAL) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Citigroup
Invacare (IVC) upgraded to Buy from Hold at KeyBanc
Lorillard (LO) upgraded to Market Perform from Underperform at Cowen
Maxim Integrated (MXIM) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Deutsche Bank
NCR Corp. (NCR) upgraded to Neutral from Sell at Goldman
Plexus (PLXS) upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform at Raymond James
Reliance Steel (RS) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Jefferies
ResMed (RMD) upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform at William Blair
Royal Dutch Shell (RDS.A) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at UBS
Vulcan Materials (VMC) upgraded to Overweight from Equal Weight at Stephens
Weatherford (WFT) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Citigroup


AG Mortgage (MITT) downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at JMP Securities
Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF) downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at BMO Capital
Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF) downgraded to Sell from Neutral at Goldman (AMZN) downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at Cowen
American Eagle (AEO) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Goldman
Colfax (CFX) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Goldman
Equinix (EQIX) downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at Cowen
Gartner (IT) downgraded to Hold from Buy at Stifel
Hub Group (HUBG) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Longbow
JAKKS Pacific (JAKK) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at B. Riley
KLA-Tencor (KLAC) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at B. Riley
KLA-Tencor (KLAC) downgraded to Neutral from Outperform at Credit Suisse
NIC Inc. (EGOV) downgraded to Market Perform from Strong Buy at Raymond James
Pacific Continental (PCBK) downgraded to Market Perform at Keefe Bruyette
Premiere Global (PGI) downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at Raymond James
QIWI (QIWI) downgraded to Sell from Buy at Goldman
Safe Bulkers (SB) downgraded to Hold from Buy at Evercore


Alibaba (BABA) initiated with an Outperform at BMO Capital
GoPro (GPRO) initiated with an Underperform at Oppenheimer
Jones Energy (JONE) initiated with an In-Line at Imperial Capital
Marathon Oil (MRO) initiated with a Buy at Mizuho
Mattress Firm (MFRM) initiated with an Overweight at Barclays
Medley Management (MDLY) initiated with a Buy at MLV & Co.
Physicians Realty Trust (DOC) initiated with an Outperform at Raymond James
Rosetta Genomics (ROSG) initiated with a Hold at Cantor
Surgical Care Affiliates (SCAI) initiated with a Hold at Jefferies
Tempur Sealy (TPX) initiated with an Equal Weight at Barclays


Pfizer (PFE) announced a new $11B share repurchase program
Amazon (AMZN) said it recorded charges of $170M for unsold Fire Phones, other costs
Juniper Networks (JNPR) announced a $1.1B increase to its share repurchase authorization
Digital River (DRIV) agreed to be acquired by investor group led by Siris Capital Group for $26 per share, or $840M
NPS Pharmaceuticals' (NPSP) PDUFA date for Natpara extended three months to January 24, 2015
Wyndham (WYN) approved $1B increase to share repurchase authorization
Vitae Pharmaceuticals (VTAE) reported positive top-line results from two Phase 1 clinical trials of BI1181181/VTP-37948
AMC Networks (AMCX), BBC Worldwide entered long-term partnership, under which AMC will invest $200M to acquire a 49.9% equity stake in BBC America


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

Microsoft (MSFT), Barnes Group (B), Wyndham (WYN), LyondellBasell (LYB), Forum Energy (FET), Gulf Island Fabrication (GIFI),  OceanFirst Financial (OCFC), Minerals Technologies (MTX), Strattec Security (STRT), Hancock Holding (HBHC), First Internet Bancorp (INBK), Universal Truckload (UACL), Southern National Bancorp (SONA), Sensient (SXT), Rubicon Project (RUBI), Dime Community (DCOM), Callaway Golf (ELY), Premiere Global (PGI), Compuware (CPWR), LogMeln (LOGM), Clean Energy (CLNE), ShoreTel (SHOR), 1st Source (SRCE), PolyOne (POL), Altera (ALTR), IGI Laboratories (IG), SPS Commerce (SPSC), City National (CYN), Gigamon (GIMO), Mattson (MTSN), NetSuite (N), Federated Investors (FII), KLA-Tencor (KLAC), Maxwell (MXWL), Dolby (DLB), PC Connection (PCCC), Constant Contact (CTCT), Informatica (INFA), Qlik Technologies (QLIK), Freescale (FSL), BJ's Restaurants (BJRI), Greenhill & Co. (GHL), Chubb (CB), Edwards Lifesciences (EW), Deckers Outdoor (DECK), Stericycle (SRCL), BioMarin (BMRN), Uroplasty (UPI), Juniper (JNPR), Maxim Integrated (MXIM), FCB Financial (FCB), Principal Financial (PFG), Spectranetics (SPNC), PDF Solutions (PDFS), Calamos (CLMS), Netgear (NTGR), Chicago Bridge & Iron (CBI), CONMED (CNMD), VeriSign (VRSN), Merit Medical (MMSI), MainSource Financial (MSFG), Swift Transport (SWFT), W. R. Berkley (WRB), Pacific Biosciences (PACB), Pandora (P), VCA Inc. (WOOF), Echo Global (ECHO), Lattice Semiconductor (LSCC), Lattice Semiconductor (LSCC)

Companies that missed consensus earnings expectations include: (AMZN), ImmunoGen (IMGN), New Oriental Education (EDU), Heritage Financial (hfwa), Basic Energy (BAS), Olin Corp. (OLN), Southwestern Energy (SWN), Simpson Manufacturing (SSD), Builders FirstSource (BLDR), Cape Bancorp (CBNJ), National Bank (NBHC), Bryn Mawr Bank (BMTC), TESSCO (TESS), OFG Bancorp  (OFG), SVB Financial (SIVB), Synaptics (SYNA), Shore Bancshares (SHBI), Flowserve (FLS), Forward Air (fwrd), Hub Group (HUBG), NCR Corp. (NCR), Covisint (COVS), Micrel (MCRL)

Companies that matched consensus earnings expectations include:

First Niagara (FNFG), Heritage Commerce (HTBK), Glacier Bancorp (GBCI), Macatawa Bank (MCBC), NewBridge Bancorp (NBBC), ResMed (RMD), Proofpoint (PFPT), Riverbed (RVBD), Cerner (CERN), Ingram Micro (IM), Healthways (HWAY)


Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) found 'not liable' in all-metal hip implant suit, WSJ reports
Apple (AAPL) responds to GT Advanced's (GTAT) sapphire business exit, said will continue evaluating GTAT's progress on larger sapphire boule development, Re/code reports
RealPage (RP) draws interest from prospective buyers, FT reports
Glenview Capital acquires stake in Actavis (ACT), Bloomberg reports (AGN, SLXP, PFE)
Lockheed (LMT) comes to $4B agreement with Pentagon for more F-35s, Reuters says
Google (GOOG) won't make additional investments in Himax Display (HIMX), DigiTimes reports

DryShips (DRYS) files automatic common stock shelf