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Frontrunning: August 4

  • Unhappy Voters Shake Up Presidential Race (WSJ)
  • China stock exchanges step up crackdown on short-selling (Reuters)
  • China Dethroned as World’s Most Liquid Stock Market After Curbs (BBG)
  • Xiaomi retakes the smartphone lead in China as Apple slips (Engadget)
  • Impact of EPA’s Emissions Rule on Industry to Vary (WSJ)
  • Citadel’s Ken Griffin Leaves 2008 Tumble Far Behind (WSJ)
  • Greece says expects bailout deal by Aug 18 (Reuters)
  • China’s Response to Stock Rout Exposes Regulatory Disarray (WSJ)
  • Uber Driver Challenge Is Early Test for ‘Sharing-Economy’ Firms (BBG)
  • U.S. officials eye risks from high frequency trading in bonds (Reuters)
  • Libor Dreams End in Prison Term as Tom Hayes Loses Last Gamble (BBG)
  • Senate blocks Planned Parenthood defunding measure (Reuters)
  • One Batista Dream Survives in Rubble of Ex-Billionaire’s Empire (BBG)
  • In Cash-Starved Greece, Plastic Casts Light Into Shadow Economy (BBG)

 

Overnight Media Digest

WSJ

* An unhappy and unsettled electorate is giving a lift to anti-establishment candidates and changing the dynamics of the 2016 presidential contest for both parties, a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll finds. (http://on.wsj.com/1g2TGnq)

* The United States and Turkey have reached an understanding meant to assure the Ankara government that plans to drive Islamic State militants from a safe zone in northern Syria won't clear the way for Kurdish fighters to move in. (http://on.wsj.com/1eOOfHH)

* Citadel, a hedge-fund firm that nearly collapsed during the financial crisis, is thriving again and expanding as aggressively as ever, unlike some competitors that turned cautious. (http://on.wsj.com/1MIYOLt)

* Funds managed by Franklin Resources Inc, Blackstone Group LP and Oaktree Capital Group LLC , among others, are facing paper losses on substantial investments this year in exploration-and-production companies. The sector is coming under further pressure as oil prices have turned downward again, dropping below $46 a barrel in New York to a four-month low. (http://on.wsj.com/1ePgztC)

* Puerto Rico missed most of a $58 million bond payment Monday, marking the first default by the U.S. commonwealth and escalating its attempt to restructure about $72 billion in debt. The payment to bondholders is the first skipped since Alejandro García Padilla in June said the island's debts were unsustainable and urged negotiations with creditors, which range from individuals to hedge funds. (http://on.wsj.com/1KN1R4U)

* As the scale of global trade gets bigger, many small and midsize U.S. ports, such as the Port of Portland, face the prospect of falling off the map entirely. Barges loaded with Idaho-grown peas and lentils until this spring regularly chugged downriver to Portland's port, the first leg in a journey that would end in supermarkets and restaurants across Asia and Europe. (http://on.wsj.com/1DoWq9o)

* A sweeping federal rule intended to slash carbon-dioxide emissions from power plants will have an uneven impact on the energy industry, boosting the outlook for some regions and companies while biting others. (http://on.wsj.com/1DlU7Em)

 

FT

Brazilian police have alleged that Jose Dirceu, ex-chief of staff to former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, was the chief architect of a massive corruption scandal at state-owned oil firm Petrobras.

Ratings agency Moody's Investor Services has warned in its new report that indebted companies may find it hard to raise finance as a result of the crackdown by United States towards risky bank lending.

Head of Geneva-based Klesch Group, Gary Klesch, has walked away from buying Tata Steel's Scunthorpe-based steel plant following months of talks, saying its workers are "being led to the slaughterhouse" due to failure by the government to negotiate energy costs and battle Chinese imports.

Asset manager Pacific Investment Management Co. is facing a probe by the U.S. Securities Exchange Commission over the valuation of mortgage-backed securities and whether it mislead its investors.

 

NYT

* Puerto Rico defaulted on a $58 million bond payment on Monday, a risky move that seemed to intensify the pressure on creditors for broader debt renegotiation, but might also make future borrowing far more difficult. (http://nyti.ms/1IIK5NI)

* Alpha Natural Resources, once a powerhouse of the American coal industry, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Monday so it may emerge from the grip of a $3 billion debt at a time when utilities are switching to natural gas and coal prices are plummeting. (http://nyti.ms/1E5zjf3)

* Pimco on Monday disclosed that the Securities and Exchange Commission was considering filing an enforcement action over potential trading infractions that took place during the early days of the Pimco Total Return ETF, which started in February 2012. (http://nyti.ms/1M8isQO)

* Chinese stock market regulators have suspended more than 30 trading accounts, including one owned by the brokerage unit of the big American hedge fund Citadel, as they continue trying to stabilize the country's volatile markets. (http://nyti.ms/1MJ2cWx)

* Nokia, the Finnish telecommunications company, said on Monday that it had sold its Here digital mapping unit to a consortium of German automakers for 2.8 billion euros, or about $3 billion. (http://nyti.ms/1IUYMPN)

* The Irish drug maker Horizon Pharma Plc said on Monday that it would seek a special shareholder meeting to replace the directors of Depomed Inc, its smaller American rival, as it continued to pressure the company to engage in takeover talks. (http://nyti.ms/1DmbrsU)

* Bank of America Merrill Lynch has hired a longtime deal specialist in the consumer and retail industries to join its mergers practice. The firm said in an internal memorandum on Monday that it had hired Richard Peacock from Goldman Sachs to focus on the two industries. He will serve as a managing director and be based in New York when he joins in October. (http://nyti.ms/1IIKhwp)

* The Italian investment company Exor said on Monday that it had agreed to acquire PartnerRe Ltd for $6.9 billion in cash, ending a months-long pursuit and a battle with Axis Capital Holdings Ltd for the Bermuda insurer. (http://nyti.ms/1M1RRU9)

 

Canada

THE GLOBE AND MAIL

** The Trans-Pacific Partnership is developing into a key election issue, with Canada still at the table, a deal still likely, and the Conservatives and NDP set to clash over trade. Conservative leader Stephen Harper made it clear on Monday that Canada would continue negotiating with the other 11 members of the proposed trade region, despite the election call. (http://bit.ly/1N6PQVk)

** A C$1.4-million ($1 million) Royal Canadian Mounted Police detachment that was built in the remote First Nations community of Kwadacha remains largely unused, as the band's request for a full-time police presence goes unfulfilled, says its chief. (http://bit.ly/1HnpER5)

** Authorities in Bulgaria have detained Centerra Gold Inc's former chief executive in a move the company says was apparently related to the restructuring of its Kumtor project in Kyrgyzstan more than a decade ago. (http://bit.ly/1DpElIu)

NATIONAL POST

** Liberal leader Justin Trudeau brought his green economic agenda to a Calgary rally, arguing Ottawa must be more aggressive about cutting carbon emissions while attracting jobs and economic growth. (http://bit.ly/1K1GBCB)

** HSBC Holdings Plc's Canadian subsidiary says its second-quarter profit was down 6.2 percent from the same period of 2014 to C$227 million. (http://bit.ly/1K1HbjV)

 

Hong Kong

SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST

- Furniture and electrical appliances retailer DSC closed down all its 14 stores across the city on Monday, putting about 900 employees out of jobs. DSC is facing lawsuits launched by landlords, including MTR Corp, over unpaid rents totalling HK$3.3 million ($425,674). Leo Sin, a professor from Chinese University, said some retail chains have over-expanded in recent years. (bit.ly/1Dot0rZ)

- The Securities and Futures Commission fined French financial institution BNP Paribas Securities (Asia) HK$15 million ($1.93 million) for lapses in conducting its dark pool trading services. An SFC investigation found the firm's dark pool trading services failed to operate between November 2009 and April 2011 in the way it had informed its clients. (bit.ly/1IfExZL)

- Bank of East Asia said it is expecting a better performance in the second half as Chinese government policies to boost the economy kick in, after earnings fell 6 percent in the first six months as a result of deteriorating credit quality in the mainland. (bit.ly/1VXQAC2)

THE STANDARD

- The Airport Authority is likely to adopt a three-tier construction fee levy on travellers to fund the third runway. After talks with the authority, the Travel Industry Council's Chairman, Michael Wu, said short-haul passengers in economy class would pay HK$100. Those flying long-haul economy and short-haul business or first class would pay HK$160, while long-haul business or first-class passengers would pay the top rate. (bit.ly/1OM4fGU)

- Three more public housing estates with 4,400 households have been found to have lead-contaminated water. The Secretary for Transport and Housing, Anthony Cheung Bing-leung, said the situation is not out of control. (bit.ly/1g2pJUq)

- Sogo department store operator Lifestyle International expects the Hong Kong retail market to be harsh in the second half even after its net profit rose 15 percent in the first half to HK$1.17 billion ($150.9 million) on increasing investment income and foreign exchange gains. (bit.ly/1JIPKV1)

HONG KONG ECONOMIC JOURNAL

- CITIC Securities' direct investment unit, Gold Stone, plans to team up two partners to establish a 5 billion yuan ($805.32 million) fund for investing in internet-related start-ups in the mainland, according to a Xinhua report.

- The restructuring of China Resources Enterprise is set to be completed in November and the group will look to buy more brewers in a bid to increase its market share in China's beer segment, Chief Financial Officer Frank Lai said after a shareholder meeting.

MING PAO DAILY

- Chow Tai Fook Jewellery has renewed the lease of one of its stores, which covered an area of 1,400 sq ft and is owned by Wing Lung Bank, in the Mongkok shopping district at HK$800,000 ($103,194) per month, about 40 percent below the HK$1.3 million rent it paid in the previous lease the jeweller signed in 2012, according to market sources.

 

Britain

The Times

UK Financial Investments, the Treasury-run manager of the RBS holding, confirmed that it had begun offloading 600 million shares valued at about 2 billion pounds ($3.12 billion) that will cut the taxpayer's holding in the Royal Bank of Scotland by five percentage points to 73.2 percent. (http://thetim.es/1SXu5sI)

Five weeks of capital controls in Greece have led to a collapse in new orders, pushing the country's manufacturing into crisis. Markit's purchasing managers' index dived from 46.9 to 30.2, where any reading below 50 indicates contraction. (http://thetim.es/1SXuAms)

The Guardian

Former City trader Tom Hayes has been sentenced to 14 years in jail after becoming the first person to be convicted by a jury of rigging the Libor interest rate. (http://bit.ly/1SXuKuf)

Three German carmakers - Audi, BMW and Daimler - have put their rivalries aside by teaming up to acquire a 2.8 billion euro mapping business from Nokia . (http://bit.ly/1SXv38n)

The Telegraph

Brent crude broke briefly through the $50 per barrel barrier, marking a new six-month low for the benchmark amid continuing worries that the world is producing too much oil. (http://bit.ly/1SXvijQ)

HSBC Holdings plc could still leave the UK despite tax changes designed to make London a more welcome home for the bank, its chairman and finance director said, as they consider moving the giant bank's headquarters to Asia. (http://bit.ly/1SXvyz3)

Sky News

Potential victims of child sex abuse at the hands of former British Prime Minister Sir Edward Heath are being urged to come forward after a senior police officer claimed an allegation had been made in the 1990s, but was not properly investigated. (http://bit.ly/1SXwN1l)

Illegal immigrants face a tough life in the UK, they are being warned, as figures suggest as many as 70 percent of migrants in Calais make their way to Britain. (http://bit.ly/1SXwYtD)

The Independent

Puerto Rico defaulted on some of its debt this weekend, pushing the commonwealth formally into default and starting the restructuring process to try to put the U.S. territory's finances back on track. (http://ind.pn/1SXxzeQ)

The disbanding of an RAF Tornado squadron spearheading the air campaign against ISIL has been postponed - in a decision that reveals government plans for Britain to be involved in military action against the Islamist extremist group for another two years. (http://ind.pn/1SXxI1M)