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Frontrunning: October 23

  • Canada PM vows crackdown after capital shocked by fatal attacks (Reuters)
  • Canada Gunman Was Convert to Islam With Criminal Record (BBG)
  • Some U.S. hospitals weigh withholding care to Ebola patients (Reuters)
  • But... Great rotation... Bond funds stock up on Treasuries in prep for market shock (Reuters)
  • Saudis at War With Islamic State Confront Echo of Kingdom’s Past (BBG)
  • EU’s Top Banker Warns of Rule Fixation ‘Going Beyond Reason (BBG)
  • U.S.-led air strikes killed 521 fighters, 32 civilians in Syria (Reuters)
  • Growing Kurdish Unity Helps West, Worries Turkey (WSJ)
  • Don’t Be Distracted by the Pass Rate in ECB’s Bank Exams (BBG)
  • Hedge Funds Add to Venture-Capital Bounty (WSJ)
  • Speed-of-Light Trading Grows in Europe With McKay Network (BBG)
  • Buffett copycats risk a pounding as Berkshire portfolio suffers (Reuters)
  • Shale Boom’s Allure to Wall Street Tested by Bear Market (BBG)
  • Athletes took fake classes at University of North Carolina (Reuters)
  • Credit Suisse Profit More Than Doubles as Trading Rises (BBG)
  • In Ebola-Afflicted Liberia, Orphanages Make a Tragic Comeback (WSJ)
  • UBS Hunts for Millionaires in Hong Kong’s Nine Dragons (BBG)
  • Alabama man gets $1,000 in police settlement, his lawyers get $459,000 (Reuters)
  • Tesco Chairman to Leave as Accounting Missteps Hit Profit (BBG)
  • Lloyds Said to Cut 9,000 Jobs Amid Online Banking Shift (BBG)


Overnight Media Digest


* The Manhattan U.S. attorney's office is investigating whether air bag supplier Takata Corp made misleading statements about the safety of its air bags to U.S. regulators, people familiar with the matter said. The probe is at a preliminary stage and could end without any charges filed. (

* Several executives at JPMorgan Chase & Co in New York were warned of potential problems related to the bank's hiring practices in China more than a year before the program came under scrutiny by the U.S. government, according to people familiar with the matter and documents reviewed by The Wall Street Journal. (

* Maverick Capital Ltd, one of the oldest hedge-fund firms, plans to launch its first venture-capital fund on Jan. 1, according to investors, with hopes of raising $400 million to take stakes in young companies. (

* Procter & Gamble Co shook up its senior management ranks, naming new leaders for key businesses and narrowing the field of potential successors to Chief Executive A.G. Lafley. Melanie Healey, currently P&G's head of its North America business and once considered a potential successor to Lafley, will leave the company next year, according to an internal memo distributed to employees Wednesday. (

* The asset-management industry suffered a setback when regulators rejected a proposal by BlackRock Inc to launch an exchange-traded fund, that would have kept its holdings hidden from investors. The product, known as a "nontransparent ETF", is a key part of the industry's attempt to broaden its customer base beyond traditional index-tracking investments by selling more funds that are actively managed. (

* Luxottica Group SpA named Procter & Gamble Co veteran Adil Mehboob-Khan as a co-chief executive on Wednesday, seeking to put an end to a month of turmoil caused by the return of founder Leonardo Del Vecchio to active management of the world's largest eyewear group. (

* Nickel prices have sunk to their lowest level since March, as slowing economies in Europe and China rattle investors, while a financing scandal in China has prompted companies to dump tons of nickel and other metals on the market. (



Lloyds Banking Group Plc is set to unveil its plans to cut 9,000 jobs next week, which comprise 10 percent of its workforce. The move is part of its new three-year strategy to create digital, marketing and customer development function to focus on developing new and improved products. The Co-operative Bank's failed bid for hundreds of Lloyds Banking Group Plc's branches should have been stopped much earlier, a group of British Members of Parliaments said. A report from the Treasury committee, published on Thursday, blames the failed deal on the Co-operative Bank's managers, its regulators and auditors at KPMG.

GlaxoSmithKline Plc has launched a multi-billion-pound restructuring plan that includes a potential floatation of its HIV drugs unit. The move is aimed at winning back shareholder support after the drugmaker faced corruption allegations and faltering sales. HSBC Holdings Plc and a unit of Allied Irish Banks Plc have been publicly reprimanded by Britain's antitrust watchdog for breaching competition rules by pushing small and medium-sized companies to open current accounts when taking out loans.



* Financial regulators, trying to increase access to home loans, have relaxed many rules designed to prevent a repeat of the 2008 subprime crisis. Some six years after the financial crisis, thousands of apparently creditworthy borrowers are being shut out of the housing market because they cannot get mortgages. (

* Capitol Hill increased pressure on the Japanese auto supplier Takata Corp and federal safety regulators on Wednesday as two senators demanded wider recalls to fix millions of defective airbags and a House committee said it wanted a fuller accounting of how the recalls were handled. (

* Concern over the safety of guardrails manufactured by Trinity Industries Inc spread further on Wednesday as two more states said they would ban the use of the company's ET-Plus rail head, which is thought to have a dangerous defect. (

* Total SA, the French oil giant, on Wednesday appointed two insiders to lead the company, moving swiftly to replace Christophe de Margerie, its chairman and chief executive, who died Monday in an airplane accident. (

* A group of Washington investors with high-level political backing and a $5 billion commitment from the Japanese government is pressing ahead with its vision of a high-speed train that could whisk passengers between New York and Washington in about an hour. (



- Several commercial banks are expected to issue preference shares within one month and the Agricultural Bank of China LTd could be among the first batch, industry insiders said.

- Seven regulators, including the National Development Reform Commission and Ministry of Industry and Information Techonology of China, have launched a plan to promote wider adoption of green vehicles for public transportation. The regulations will promote the use of a total of 20,222 green buses from 2014 to 2015 in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei Region.


- China will launch an experimental spacecraft this weekend to test a technology seen as crucial to a future lunar probe that will return to Earth with soil samples.

- Guangdong province plans to tighten rules preventing officials who have spouses and children living overseas from attaining leadership positions in government, public institutions and state-backed enterprises.


- China's insurance regulator has released new investment rules which include barring insurance firms from putting more than 30 percent of their total assets in related companies.


U.S. insurer American International Group plans to expand its operations from China's coastal areas to the inland and it looks to support overseas expansion of Chinese companies.


The Times


The downturn in Europe is posing a risk to Britain's economic recovery, which appears already to have begun to slow, the Bank of England has warned. The minutes to this month's rate setting meeting said there were signs in the UK "of a slight loss in momentum" and that "the pace of growth was beginning to ease". Pessimism about the global economic outlook was blamed, drawing particular attention to the Eurozone. (


EE has laid claim to the title of Europe's largest 4G network after the launch of the iPhone 6 pushed its customer base for the faster network well beyond the 5 million mark. ( HOMEBASE TO CLOSE A QUARTER OF ITS STORES Roughly a quarter of Homebase Group Ltd stores are to close by 2018, leading to job losses, as the DIY chain undergoes a three-year turnaround plan. Home Retail Group Plc, which owns Homebase and Argos, said that after conducting a review of the DIY chain, it had found "several challenges", including inconsistent standards across its stores, as well as larges stores with low sales. (

The Guardian


The British drugs group GlaxoSmithKline Plc is planning to create a new 15 billion pound ($24.07 billion) FTSE 100 company by spinning out a subsidiary focused on treating HIV. The pharmaceuticals group is looking to float a minority stake of ViiV Healthcare, a division in which it owns a near-80 percent stake and which raked in pre-tax profits of 880 millio pound last year. US rival Pfizer Inc and Japanese drugs group Shionogi & Co Ltd hold the rest of the shares. (

The Telegraph


Lloyds Banking Group Plc plans to cut around 9,000 jobs, roughly a tenth of its entire workforce, over the next three years as the taxpayer-backed bank's staff are replaced by digital technology. (


Olaf Swantee, chief executive of EE, has said there is "no rush" to sell off Britain's biggest mobile operator after it emerged its owners, the French and German telecoms giants Orange and Deutsche Telekom, had reopened talks on the future of the business. (

The Independent


The British competition watchdog has criticised a group of banks, including HSBC Holdings Plc, Barclays Plc and Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc, over its small and medium-sized businesses lending practices. The Competition and Markets Authority said HSBC and the Northern Irish bank, First Trust, had breached an undertaking not to force businesses to open a current account with them when they offered them a loan. (


Fly On The Wall Pre-Market Buzz


Domestic economic reports scheduled for today include:
Jobless claims for week of October 18 at 8:30--consensus 285K
FHFA house price index for August 9:00--consensus up 0.3%
Markit manufacturing PMI for October at 9:45--consensus 57.0
Leading indicators for September at 10:00--consensus up 0.6%



AbbVie (ABBV) resumed with an Overweight from Neutral at JPMorgan
Boston Scientific (BSX) upgraded to Neutral from Sell at Goldman
Dow Chemical (DOW) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Deutsche Bank
Fifth Third Bancorp (FITB) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Goldman
GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) upgraded to Overweight from Equal Weight at Barclays
Tesoro Logistics (TLLP) upgraded to Outperform from Sector Perform at RBC Capital
Tractor Supply (TSCO) upgraded to Strong Buy from Market Perform at Raymond James
UniFirst (UNF) upgraded to Outperform from Neutral at RW Baird
Union Bankshares (UBSH) upgraded to Outperform from Neutral at RW Baird
Yelp (YELP) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at B. Riley


3D Systems (DDD) downgraded to Hold from Buy at Brean Capital
Angie's List (ANGI) downgraded to Hold from Buy at Wunderlich
Angie's List (ANGI) downgraded to Neutral from Overweight at Piper Jaffray
Angie's List (ANGI) downgraded to Underperform from Market Perform at Raymond James
Avalon Rare Metals (AVL) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Citigroup
Axiall (AXLL) downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at Cowen
BB&T (BBT) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Goldman
Boeing (BA) downgraded to Neutral from Outperform at Credit Suisse
Boulder Brands (BDBD) downgraded to Hold from Buy at Canaccord
Citrix (CTXS) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at BofA/Merrill
DTS, Inc. (DTSI) downgraded to Underweight from Neutral at JPMorgan
GulfMark Offshore (GLF) downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at Cowen
ICON plc (ICLR) downgraded to Equal Weight from Overweight at First Analysis
IPC The Hospitalist Co. (IPCM) downgraded to Market Perform at Wells Fargo
Mercer (MERC) downgraded to Neutral from Outperform at Credit Suisse
Owens Corning (OC) downgraded to Neutral from Overweight at JPMorgan
Regency Energy Partners (RGP) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at BofA/Merrill
The Medicines Co. (MDCO) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at BofA/Merrill
Tupperware Brands (TUP) downgraded to Neutral from Overweight at JPMorgan
Union Bankshares (UBSH) downgraded at RW Baird
VOC Energy Trust (VOC) downgraded to Underperform from Sector Perform at RBC Capital
Yelp (YELP) downgraded to Hold from Buy at Stifel


Alibaba (BABA) initiated with an Overweight at Barclays
Elephant Talk (ETAK) initiated with a Speculative Buy at Taglich
Endo (ENDP) initiated with a Buy at Guggenheim
Gulfport Energy (GPOR) initiated with a Positive at Susquehanna
Netgear (NTGR) initiated with a Neutral at Buckingham
Southwestern Energy (SWN) initiated with a Positive at Susquehanna
Whiting Petroleum (WLL) initiated with a Positive at Susquehanna


EU to boost Ebola research with EUR 24.4M (PPHM, TKMR, SRPT, BCRX, CMRX, NLNK, LAKE, APT, SMED)
Rio Tinto (RIO) extended tenure of CEO Sam Walsh, CFO Chris Lynch
CarMax (KMX) raised share repurchase authorization by $2B
Select Comfort (SCSSS) increased share repurchase authorization to $250M
GFI Group (GFIG) special committee to review tender offer from BGC Partners (BGCP). The Board has not changed its recommendation with respect to, and continues to support, the pending transaction with CME Group (CME)
AT&T (T) reported Q3 net increase in total wireless subscribers of 2M


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

Alexion (ALXN), Arctic Cat (ACAT), Cenovus Energy (CVE), NorthWestern (NWE), Carter's (CRI), Lazard (LAZ), WESCO (WCC), Cash America (CSH), Cenovus Energy (CVE), Silicon Laboratories (SLAB), Cabot Microelectronics (CCMP), Dunkin' Brands (DNKN), JAKKS Pacific (JAKK), Check Point (CHKP), Volaris (VLRS), Logitech (LOGI), Northfield Bancorp (NFBK), Farmers Capital Bank (FFKT), NXP Semiconductors (NXPI), Euronet (EEFT), Core Laboratories (CLB), IBERIABANK (IBKC), Core Laboratories (CLB), MSA Safety (MSA), Teradyne (TER), Pacific Continental (PCBK), Old Second Bancorp (OSBC), Albemarle (ALB), TAL International (TAL), Mellanox (MLNX), Orrstown Financial (ORRF), TriState Capital (TSC), Oritani Financial (ORIT), MKS Instruments (MKSI), O'Reilly Automotive (ORLY), NVE Corp. (NVEC), CoreLogic (CLGX), Exponent (EXPO), Tyler Technologies (TYL), Deltic Timber (DEL), Equifax (EFX), ServiceNow (NOW), Infinera (INFN), Financial Institutions (FISI), Marketo (MKTO), Fortinet (FTNT), Leggett & Platt (LEG), Graco (GGG), Lam Research (LRCX), Everest Re (RE), Covanta (CVA), Digimarc (DMRC), C.R. Bard (BCR), 8x8, Inc. (EGHT), Clearwater Paper (CLW), Polycom (PLCM), Monarch Casino (MCRI), Citrix (CTXS), Yelp (YELP), Skechers (SKX), Open Text (OTEX), CA Technologies (CA), Sangamo (SGMO), Select Comfort (SCSS), Tractor Supply (TSCO), Banner Corp. (BANR), Acacia Research (ACTG)

Companies that missed consensus earnings expectations include:

AT&T (T), Invacare (IVC), Eli Lilly (LLY), Alamos Gold (AGI), Patterson-UTI (PTEN), Diamond Offshore (DO), Colfax (CFX), Potash (POT), Sequans (SQNS), Proto Labs (PRLB), Quality Systems (QSII), Precision Castparts (PCP), Weatherford (WFT), Sun Bancorp (SNBC), Horizon Bancorp (HBNC), Susquehanna (SUSQ), United Stationers (USTR), Morningstar (MORN), Horace Mann (HMN), Allied World (AWH), A. Schulman (SHLM), Varian Medical (VAR), United Financial (UBNK), Cheesecake Factory (CAKE), IPC The Hospitalist Co. (IPCM), Torchmark (TMK), Plexus (PLXS), La Quinta (LQ), Allegiant Travel (ALGT)

Companies that matched consensus earnings expectations include:

United Community Banks (UCBI), QCR Holdings (QCRH), CVB Financial (CVBF), Sallie Mae (SLM), Interface (TILE)


Procter & Gamble (PG) narrows potential CEO successors to four, WSJ reports
PetSmart (PETM) attracts interest from KKR (KKR), NY Post reports
Credit Suisse (CS) head detects no tangible worries in forex probe, Reuters says
Apple (AAPL) to increase Apple-brand retail stores in China to 40, WSJ reports
Government relaxing mortgage regulations, NY Times says (BAC, C, GS, JPM, MS, USB, WFC)


AmSurg (AMSG) files to sell common stock for holders
FreeSeas (FREE) files to sell 17.5M shares for holders
New Mountain Finance (NMFC) files to sell 5M shares of common stock
Pointer Telocation (PNTR) files to sell 2.33M ordinary shares for holders
WidePoint (WYY) files automatic common stock shelf