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Frontrunning: October 9

  • Five U.S. airports to screen for fever (Reuters)
  • Danger, central banks trading with each other: Bipolar U.S. Stocks See Biggest Mood Swing in Three Years  (BBG)
  • Draghi Policies Blunted in Berlin as German Protests Grow (BBG)
  • White policeman kills black teen in St Louis, triggering fresh protests (Reuters)
  • Au Revoir to France’s Welfare Model as Socialists Cut Spending (BBG)
  • Here comes Roberto Cavalski (Reuters)
  • There are 49 U.S. venture-capital-backed companies with a valuation of $1 billion or more—the highest number on record (WSJ)
  • Pressure mounts on Hong Kong leader over payout amid crisis (Reuters)
  • JPMorgan Hackers Said to Probe 13 Financial Firms (BBG)
  • Google’s Tax Setup Faces French Challenge (WSJ)
  • Russia Moves Ruble Band in Biggest Intervention Since March (BBG)
  • Islamic State seizes one third of Syrian town Kobani (Reuters)
  • Morgan Stanley Bankers Poised for Biggest Bonus Bump (BBG)
  • Judge Says Poker Champ Robbed the Casino (BBG)

 

Overnight Media Digest

WSJ

* The Liberian man who was diagnosed with Ebola in Dallas, the first case of the deadly disease in the United States, has died. The United States plans to start checking the temperatures of passengers arriving at major airports from West African countries with high rates of Ebola, federal officials said Wednesday. (http://on.wsj.com/1qlNXqy)

* At least 49 U.S. venture-capital-backed companies have a valuation of $1 billion or more, the highest number on record, as many find private funding readily available and see no rush to go public. (http://on.wsj.com/1vNZIeS)

* Investigators believe that the hackers who broke into J.P. Morgan Chase Co targeted at least 12 other financial-services companies, including Fidelity Investments, people familiar with the matter said, suggesting the cyberattack spree on Wall Street was broader than previously thought. (http://on.wsj.com/1oSJT1x)

* A Google tax fight with France calls into question an arrangement the tech giant and many other companies use that channels revenue from around Europe to a country that has favorable tax laws. (http://on.wsj.com/1tDx90f)

* Glenn Murphy will step down next year as chief executive of Gap Inc, where he reversed a long-running sales slump but more recently has struggled to reinvigorate the company's namesake brand. (http://on.wsj.com/1sfXVQL)

* Bill Gross's new bond fund at Janus Capital Group Inc took in a net $66.4 million in September, a large increase. But that was just a sliver of the total funds that left his former Pimco fund last month. (http://on.wsj.com/1uE9dOo)

* Regulators' intensified efforts to curtail lending they see as risky has led several big banks to sit out a plum takeover deal, in the latest sign the initiative is shaking up the private-equity buyout market. Banks including J.P. Morgan Chase, Bank of America and Goldman Sachs Group Inc decided not to participate in the funding of Vista Equity Partners' expected takeover of payment-processing company TransFirst Inc, fearful that doing so would flout leveraged-lending guidance from regulators. (http://on.wsj.com/1vSnDuC)

* Citigroup will return $16 million to customers who were allegedly overcharged for advisory fees on certain investment accounts, according to an agreement with the state of New York. (http://on.wsj.com/1sifleD)

* The pace of improvement in fuel economy, now at a record 24.1 miles a gallon, is slowing as cheaper gas encourages consumers to buy trucks and sport-utility vehicles, new figures from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency showed. (http://on.wsj.com/1xrqF8f)

 

FT

* The private equity owners of Spie <IPO-SPIE.PA> are planning to sell up to 1.2 billion euros ($1.53 billion) of new and existing shares on the Euronext Paris exchange, valuing it at up to 2.75 billion euros.

* London based Primestone, a firm founded by three former Carlyle Group LP executives, has received permission from regulators to start investing money from its first hedge fund.

* The London Metal Exchange (LME) won its appeal against a court ruling that had halted new rules to cut backlogs in withdrawing metals from its global network of warehouses.

* VTB Capital, the investment arm of sanctioned Russian lender VTB Bank, is in talks to buy most of Italian fashion house Roberto Cavalli, according to people familiar with the matter. The deal could lead to VTB acquiring as much as 70 percent of the company.

 

NYT

* U.S. President Barack Obama and his top national security advisers began receiving periodic briefings on the huge cyberattack at JPMorgan Chase & Co and other financial institutions this summer, part of a new effort to keep security officials as updated on major cyberattacks as they are on Russian incursions into Ukraine or attacks by the Islamic State. (http://nyti.ms/1v2Z5jK)

* In a long-awaited move, Citigroup Inc's lending unit, OneMain Financial, is preparing for a $50 million initial public offering. The spinoff of OneMain, which makes personal loans often to consumers with damaged credit, comes five years after Citigroup first signaled that it intended to jettison the business. The bank has said OneMain no longer fits with its strategy of catering to more affluent consumers, but previous attempts to sell the business have fallen through. (http://nyti.ms/1tDAXhL)

* Elliott Management, the activist hedge fund that owns 2.2 percent of the technology giant EMC Corp, is calling for the $57 billion company to break itself apart. (http://nyti.ms/10SOz1P)

* Truecaller, a global mobile phone directory and caller identification service, which has more than 85 million users worldwide, announced on Wednesday that it had raised $60 million from the West Coast venture giants Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and Sequoia Capital, as well as from Atomico, the venture fund started by Niklas Zennstrom, the co-founder of Skype. (http://nyti.ms/1sideYr)

* The U.S. federal government firmly pushed back on Wednesday against the notion that its 2008 bailout of the insurance giant American International Group Inc was beyond the powers of the country's central bank. Former Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner testified that after AIG was unable to find private investors to help it avert bankruptcy in September 2008, and after a pair of Wall Street banks rejected a proposal from the Fed that they make a loan to AIG, the government had every legal authority to act. (http://nyti.ms/1sfVMoh)

 

Canada

THE GLOBE AND MAIL

** Brian Cornell, the new chief executive officer of Target Corp, is taking a hands-on approach to fixing the company's problems in Canada, making regular trips to check stores here as he heads into the all-important holiday season. (http://bit.ly/1CXeT8N)

** The Canadian government is preparing to alter copyright law so politicians can use news footage and other journalistic content for attack ads and campaign spots without asking broadcasters or publishers for permission. (http://bit.ly/1vSRvXT)

** The Royal Canadian Mounted Police and Canada Security Intelligence Service have redeployed investigators to track nearly 100 foreign fighters and would-be terrorists as part of the government's attempts to crack down on supporters of such groups as Islamic State in Canada and abroad, federal officials said. (http://bit.ly/1tEb01I)

NATIONAL POST

** Stakeholders have approved a controversial but essential step in U.S. Steel Canada Inc's bankruptcy protection process, allowing the company to move ahead with a restructuring that could result in the sale of its Canadian operations. An agreement was reached Wednesday on a $185 million loan that will allow the company to continue operations during the restructuring process. The loan will come from U.S. Steel Canada's parent company, United States Steel Corp. (http://bit.ly/1sgFsDH)

** A new poll commissioned by an assisted-dying advocacy group, Dying with Dignity Canada, suggests Canadians overwhelmingly support changing the law to allow Dr. Brett Belchetz, a Toronto based emergency physician, to perform what would now be punishable by up to 14 years in prison - actively help a dying patient kill himself. (http://bit.ly/1vOAlcZ)

** Dozens of police officers aided by two cadaver dogs scoured a rural area north of Toronto on Wednesday in hopes of solving the abiding mystery of just what happened to Nicole Morin, a girl last seen in her bathing suit on her way to go swimming with a friend 29 years ago. (http://bit.ly/1sgFbAH)

 

Hong Kong

-- Apple Daily boss Jimmy Lai Chee-ying said the impending talks between student leaders and the government would re-energise the democracy movement, even though the "dialogue definitely will give us disappointments and broken promises." (bit.ly/1t3wzhG)

-- A tour agency has sued Occupy Central co-founder Benny Tai Yiu-ting for lost business during the recent protests, but legal experts have doubts on whether such a case can succeed. (bit.ly/1oSk9lV)

 
-- The number of mainland visitors to Macau over the week-long National Day holiday surged 17 percent year on year as tourists avoided Hong Kong due to Occupy Central protests that paralysed parts of the city. Mainland visitor arrivals to Hong Kong were up 5.4 percent over the period, significantly lower than the 16 percent increase last year. (bit.ly/1tCTDhQ)

THE STANDARD

-- Hin Sang Group's initial public offering has been 860 times oversubscribed in the retail tranche, making it the fifth most subscribed stock this year after 1,045.5 times by Honworld Group. (bit.ly/10S32er)

-- Second-tier mainland cities saw a big boom in home sales during Golden Week, while deals in first-tier cities plunged by up to 30 percent on the same period last year. Encouraged by central bank relaxation of lending rules, Nanjing sold 2,859 units during the National Day break, up 48.44 percent from a year ago. (bit.ly/10S3olf)

-- The University of Hong Kong downgraded its forecast for Hong Kong's economic growth this year, citing economic woes in the mainland and the U.S. amid widespread expectations of interest rate hikes. Hong Kong's gross domestic product is now expected to grow by 2.2 percent in 2014 from the previous forecast of 3.4 percent. (bit.ly/1uDmIxZ)

HONG KONG ECONOMIC JOURNAL

-- Chinese mobile phone maker Xiaomi Inc saw device shipments to its warehouses rising 20 percent quarter on quarter in July-September to about 18 million devices, chief executive officer Lei Jun said on a post on Weibo.

HONG KONG ECONOMIC TIMES

-- Sihuan Pharmaceutical Holdings Group said it would pay 10 million yuan ($1.63 million) to the Institute of Microbiology and Epidemiology of the Academy of Military Medical Sciences for the ownership and franchise of anti-Ebola drug jk-05.

Britain

The Times

EDF CLEARED TO BUILD NEW HINKLEY POINT REACTOR

Brussels has cleared EDF Energy's 16 billion stg project to build the UK's first nuclear reactor for a generation. The European Commission had originally suggested that generous consumer funded subsidies awarded to the project by the government could amount to illegal state aid. (http://thetim.es/1pRWHFq)

WONGA AD BANNED BY ADVERTISING WATCHDOG

A Wonga commercial featuring its notorious puppets has been banned by the advertising regulator for failing to disclose the payday lender's high interest rate. (http://thetim.es/1rhM2DD)

The Guardian

FIRSTGROUP LOSES SCOTRAIL FRANCHISE TO ABELLIO

FirstGroup PLC has lost the contract to operate the 2.5billion stg ScotRail franchise to Abellio, an offshoot of Dutch national railways, after running the service for more than 10 years. (http://bit.ly/1sbUg6u)

EUROPEAN COMMISSION TO PROBE AMAZON'S TAX STATUS IN LUXEMBOURG

The European commission has widened its investigation into the tax treatment of multinationals, opening a formal investigation into whether online retailer Amazon.com Inc's complex tax arrangements in Luxembourg are so generous as to amount to state aid for the $146billion (90billion stg) group. (http://bit.ly/1vPelxy)

The Telegraph

SAINSBURY'S TO OPEN JESSOPS STORES IN SUPERMARKETS

J Sainsbury PLC is to open Jessops camera shops within its supermarkets as the grocery retailer looks to downsize its largest stores. Jessops will open three stores with Sainsbury's supermarkets by January before potentially rolling out the partnership further across the country. (http://bit.ly/1tCvwjb)

FIVE MILLION UK WORKERS IN CHAOS AFTER TAX BILLS MISCALCULATED TWICE

More than five million British workers face uncertainty after leaked emails revealed that their tax bills for last year may have been wrongly calculated. HM Revenue and Customs has privately admitted that those who underpaid or overpaid income tax last year may still have paid the wrong amount. (http://bit.ly/1qk8vje)

Sky News

UK SOLDIERS DEPLOYED TO EBOLA EPICENTRE

British troops are to be deployed to Sierra Leone on a mission to help fight the spiralling ebola outbreak in West Africa. Up to 700 soldiers from the Royal Scots Borders 1st Battalion, based in Holywood, Northern Ireland, will eventually be stationed near the capital Freetown. (http://bit.ly/ZtofKG)

MOBILE FIRM THREE FINED OVER COMPLAINTS

The telecoms watchdog has fined mobile operator Three over breaches related to customer complaints. Ofcom penalised the firm 250,000 stg for failure to comply with its rules. (http://bit.ly/1pRZmyZ)

The Independent

POUNDWORLD'S 'EVERYTHING 1 STG' SLOGAN BANNED BY WATCHDOG AFTER 3 STG ITEM SPOTTED IN STORE

Poundworld has been banned from using its "everything 1 stg" slogan by the advertising watchdog after a customer with an eye for detail spotted a 3 stg item. (http://ind.pn/1pRZZZt)

UK SCHOOL BANS NINE-YEAR-OLD BOY FROM SIERRA LEONE - OVER 'FEARS HE HAS EBOLA'

A nine-year-old boy from Sierra Leone who was due to attend a school in Stockport has had his placement cancelled because of the "misguided hysteria" displayed by some parents over fears of the spread of Ebola. (http://ind.pn/1yMrvRF)

Fly On The Wall Pre-Market Buzz

ECONOMIC REPORTS

Domestic economic reports scheduled for today include:
Jobless claims for week of October 4 at 8:30--consensus 293K
Wholesale trade inventories for August at 10:00--consensus up 0.3%

ANALYST RESEARCH

Upgrades

Acuity Brands (AYI) upgraded to Outperform from Perform at Oppenheimer
Apple (AAPL) upgraded to Outperform from Perform at Oppenheimer
Basic Energy (BAS) upgraded to Hold from Underperform at Jefferies
Golden Minerals (AUMN) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Roth Capital
Helmerich & Payne (HP) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Jefferies
LivePerson (LPSN) upgraded to Outperform from Neutral at Credit Suisse
Luminex (LMNX) upgraded to Market Perform from Underperform at Cowen
Pacific Coast Oil (ROYT) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Stifel
Pacific Coast Oil (ROYT) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Stifel
Pioneer Energy (PES) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Jefferies
Randgold (GOLD) upgraded to Overweight from Neutral at HSBC
Toyota (TM) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at BofA/Merrill
Transocean (RIG) upgraded to Outperform from Sector Perform at Iberia
Universal Technical (UTI) upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform at Wells Fargo
Vulcan Materials (VMC) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Longbow

Downgrades

A10 Networks (ATEN) downgraded to Sector Perform from Outperform at Pacific Crest
ARC Group (ARCW) downgraded to Hold from Buy at Canaccord
Arrowhead (ARWR) downgraded to Sector Perform from Outperform at RBC Capital
Church & Dwight (CHD) downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at BMO Capital
Colgate-Palmolive (CL) downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at BMO Capital
Denbury Resources (DNR) downgraded to Neutral from Outperform at RW Baird
Gap (GPS) downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at Wells Fargo
Gap (GPS) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Janney Capital
Gap (GPS) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Sterne Agee
Grifols (GRFS) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at BofA/Merrill
Hubbell (HUB.B) downgraded to Perform from Outperform at Oppenheimer
RingCentral (RNG) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Goldman
TransDigm (TDG) downgraded to Hold from Buy at Deutsche Bank

Initiations

Allergan (AGN) initiated with a Buy at Deutsche Bank
Axiall (AXLL) initiated with an Underperform at RBC Capital
Black Diamond (BDE) initiated with an In-Line at Imperial Capital
Delek US (DK) initiated with a Buy at Deutsche Bank
Dow Chemical (DOW) initiated with an Outperform at RBC Capital
DuPont (DD) initiated with a Sector Perform at RBC Capital
GrubHub (GRUB) initiated with a Buy at CRT Capital
Hilton (HLT) initiated with an Outperform at JMP Securities
HollyFrontier (HFC) initiated with a Hold at Deutsche Bank
HomeAway (AWAY) initiated with an Outperform at BMO Capital
IPC The Hospitalist Co. (IPCM) initiated with a Neutral at RW Baird
LyondellBasell (LYB) initiated with a Top Pick at RBC Capital
MEDNAX (MD) initiated with an Outperform at RW Baird
Marathon Petroleum (MPC) initiated with a Buy at Deutsche Bank
Men's Wearhouse (MW) initiated with a Buy at Jefferies
Microsoft (MSFT) initiated with a Market Perform at BMO Capital
Nortek (NTK) initiated with an In-Line at Imperial Capital
Olin Corp. (OLN) initiated with a Sector Perform at RBC Capital
PBF Energy (PBF) initiated with a Hold at Deutsche Bank
PPG Industries (PPG) initiated with an Outperform at RBC Capital
Phillips 66 (PSX) initiated with a Hold at Deutsche Bank
Sherwin-Williams (SHW) initiated with an Outperform at RBC Capital
Tesoro (TSO) initiated with a Buy at Deutsche Bank
Triumph Group (TGI) initiated with a Buy at Jefferies
Valero (VLO) initiated with a Buy at Deutsche Bank
Valspar (VAL) initiated with a Sector Perform at RBC Capital
Westlake Chemical (WLK) initiated with an Outperform at RBC Capital

COMPANY NEWS

Endo (ENDP) to acquire Auxilium (AUXL) in cash, stock transaction for approximately $2.6B
QLT Inc. (QLTI) merger with Auxilium (AUXL) terminated for superior proposal from Endo (ENDP)
Carl Icahn said he will send an open letter to Apple (AAPL) CEO Tim Cook today
AMD (AMD) appointed Dr. Lisa Su as CEO, effective immediately, succeeding Rory Read
Gap (GPS) said Art Peck would succeed Glenn Murphy as CEO, effective February 1, 2015, and said September SSS were flat vs. a 3% decrease last year
Alcoa (AA) continues to see 2014 global aluminum demand growth of 7%

EARNINGS
Companies that beat consensus earnings expectations last night and today include:
PepsiCo (PEP), E2open (EOPN), Alcoa (AA)

Companies that missed consensus earnings expectations include:
DragonWave (DRWI), ARC Group (ARCW), EXFO Inc. (EXFO)

Allergan (AGN) raised Q3 EPS to $1.76-$1.78 from $1.44-$1.47, consensus $1.48, sees FY14 non-GAAP EPS $6.20-$6.25, consensus $5.81
PepsiCo (PEP) raises FY14 EPS growth guidance to 9% from 8%
ChipMOS (IMOS) reports Q3 revenue $190.7M, consensus $189.90M
Biomet reports Q1 sales up 6% to $775M
Destination Maternity (DEST) narrows Q4 adjusted EPS view to (10c)-(5c) from (14c)-(4c)

NEWSPAPERS/WEBSITES

Citigroup (C), Etrade (ETFC), others attacked by same JPMorgan (JPM) hackers, Bloomberg reports (ADP, RF)
Source of JPMorgan (JPM) cyberattack still unclear, NY Times says
Apple (AAPL) suppliers push back plans to produce larger iPad, WSJ reports
Microsoft (MSFT) rumored to cancel Surface tablet business, DigiTimes reports
Twitter (TWTR) news head Vivian Schiller leaving company, Re/code reports
Costco (COST) stock still a 'buy', Barron's says

SYNDICATE
Hubspot (HUBS) 5M share IPO priced at $25.00
Onconova (ONTX) files to sell 228,647 shares for holders
PTC Therapeutics (PTCT) files to sell 3M shares of common stock
USD Partners (USDP) 9.12M share IPO priced at $17.00
Veritex (VBTX) 2.7M share IPO priced at $13.00