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Frontrunning: April 10

  • Nikkei tops 20,000, Europe hits 15-year high (Reuters)
  • GE to sell real estate holdings, sets $50 billion share buyback (Reuters)
  • Iran’s Middle Class Plans for Life After a Deal (BBG)
  • Walgreens to Close 200 Stores as It Expands Cost Cuts (WSJ)
  • Hillary Clinton expected to announce presidential run as soon as this weekend (Reuters)
  • It will cost $1.5 billion to keep Deutsche Bank Libor Manipulators out of prison  (USA Today)
  • Police Cameras Bring Problems of Their Own (WSJ)
  • Obama says concerned China bullying others in South China Sea (Reuters)
  • Investors Revive Appetite for Asian Junk Bonds (WSJ)
  • Putin’s Surprising New Ruble Problem Threatens Russian Coffers (BBG)
  • UK supermarket sales drop while discounters surge (FT)
  • Former Enron trader Arnold may launch national PR push to reform pensions (Reuters)
  • Ohio Officials Propose Funding a Plant for Fiat Chrysler in Toledo (WSJ)
  • FAA Calls Out ‘Systemic’ Hazard at United (WSJ)
  • Mom sneaks kids to Mickey D’s amid fast-food backlash, won’t tell Dad (Reuters)

 

Overnight Media Digest

WSJ

* State and local officials in Ohio are proposing to fund a new factory for Fiat Chrysler in Toledo, an unusual auto-industry incentive that would require hundreds of millions in financing, said people familiar with the plans. (http://on.wsj.com/1z0fUcS)

* General Electric Co is close to selling off most of its $30 billion in real-estate holdings, shedding what has been an irritant to investors as Chief Executive Jeff Immelt works to end a long slump in the conglomerate's stock price. (http://on.wsj.com/1cefgnr)

* Iran's supreme leader casts doubt on a nuclear deal in his first public comments since framework negotiations ended; the White House plays down the impact of his speech. (http://on.wsj.com/1PqgRFM)

* Intel Corp's plan to buy Altera Corp appears to have stalled, at least for now. Talks between the Silicon Valley chip makers have broken off, people familiar with the matter said. (http://on.wsj.com/1NXQJyG)

* A California regulator slapped PG&E Corp with fines totaling $1.6 billion for the deadly natural gas pipeline explosion that rocked San Bruno in 2010. (http://on.wsj.com/1HXljGN)

* The U.S. Defense Department is tightening rules governing how defense companies spend $4 billion of its research budget each year and called on contractors to build in safeguards against cybercriminals. (http://on.wsj.com/1GvASZ7)

* Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc plans to close 200 Walgreens drugstores in the U.S., part of a further $500 million in cost cuts planned by the company that was formed by a trans-Atlantic merger at the end of last year. (http://on.wsj.com/1Fq6Wbe)

* LinkedIn Corp has entered the growing market for online learning with its $1.5 billion purchase of lynda.com Inc, a website that got its start 20 years ago and has since emerged as a leader in professional training videos. (http://on.wsj.com/1Do1vMX0)

* Mattel Inc said Thursday that former Chief Executive Bryan Stockton was terminated in January, contrary to the toy maker's news release at the time that said he had resigned. (http://on.wsj.com/1H9vl9J)

* Even after splitting up later this year, eBay Inc and payments unit PayPal will be joined at the hip. EBay has agreed to ensure that roughly 80 percent of gross merchandise sales on its online marketplace are routed through PayPal for the next five years, as they are today. If PayPal's share dips below that level, eBay will have to pay its former subsidiary restitution. (http://on.wsj.com/1at5PPU)

 

FT

General Electric Co is nearing a deal to sell all of its $30 billion real estate portfolio to a consortium led by Blackstone Group and Wells Fargo & Co, according to people familiar with the matter.

Germany's Deutsche Bank AG may be imposed with a $1.5 billion fine by U.S. and U.K. authorities over alleged manipulation of Libor, a benchmark borrowing rate, people familiar with the case said. This could be the biggest fine that a bank faces in the case.

Corporate networking site LinkedIn Corp bought California-based online learning site Lynda.com for $1.5 billion, as it expands its offerings for its user base of professional users.

Tokyo-based bank Nomura Holdings and Royal Bank of Scotland were accused of "incompetence" and "deceit" in packaging toxic mortgages into securities that they sold before the 2008 financial crisis.

 

NYT

* After years of insatiability, consumers in Russia are curbing their spending, leaving shopping centers and other retail space with high vacancies. (http://nyti.ms/1DObNbm)

* Deutsche Bank, Germany's largest financial institution and one of several banks linked to the gaming of interest rates, is in talks to resolve the case as soon as this month, according to people briefed on the matter. A deal - which involves federal prosecutors as well as New York State's financial regulator and regulators in London and Washington - would be one of the last cases to arise from the sweeping investigation into the London interbank offered rate, or Libor. (http://nyti.ms/1yaFlxt)

* A virulent, deadly flu virus has hit the nation's turkey flock, forcing culling and quarantines that are disrupting trade with various countries. In the last several weeks, turkey producers in Minnesota, the largest turkey-producing state, have had to euthanize some 525,000 birds, and farms there and in other states affected by the virus are under quarantine in an effort to prevent it from spreading. (http://nyti.ms/1aPG2lx)

* Two food manufacturers have issued nationwide recalls of products because of the discovery of the potentially lethal bacterium listeria, which federal authorities have now linked to three deaths and five illnesses in Texas and Kansas. (http://nyti.ms/1Ft3sVq)

* California's chief utility regulator on Thursday ordered Pacific Gas and Electric, the state's largest power utility, to pay $1.6 billion in fines and other penalties stemming from a deadly natural gas pipeline rupture and fire near San Francisco in 2010. (http://nyti.ms/1Cotet4)

* LinkedIn Corp, the professional networking site, is branching out yet again. It is the biggest acquisition by LinkedIn in its 12-year history as it continues to expand beyond its core social network. (http://nyti.ms/1aPISqQ)

* Warner Bros and Lego are deploying Batman, Marty McFly, the Wicked Witch of the West and other movie characters in search of profits in the booming area of entertainment known as "toys to life." (http://nyti.ms/1EeIxcs)

* General Electric is poised to sell its enormous real estate portfolio in a sale that could fetch about $30 billion, according to people with knowledge of the matter who spoke on the condition of anonymity. The move would be the biggest move yet for GE's chief executive, Jeffrey Immelt, as he tries to refocus the company on its core industrial businesses and reduce its exposure to financial services. (http://nyti.ms/1PquULx)

 

Canada

THE GLOBE AND MAIL

** Canada's biggest uranium producer, Cameco Corp, is in advanced talks with India on a deal to supply the country of 1.2 billion with fuel for nuclear power plants as Ottawa prepares to welcome Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi next week, sources say.(http://bit.ly/1z18yWC)

** Canada is downgrading its forecast for economic growth to just 2 percent as Finance Minister Joe Oliver prepares to deliver the federal budget, citing the ripple effects of low oil prices.(http://bit.ly/1z18INO)

** BCE Inc has ousted Bell Media president Kevin Crull three weeks after he intervened in news coverage at the company's television stations.(http://bit.ly/1adQjXs)

NATIONAL POST

** Seventy percent of the perpetrators in Canada's cases of murdered and missing aboriginal women are indigenous, Bob Paulson, the RCMP commissioner, has confirmed.(http://bit.ly/1yip7Tg)

** A Toronto-based credit union has upped the ante in the spring mortgage market rate wars, a development that is likely to make the country's most expensive markets even hotter. Though the term is only for 18 months, Meridian, Ontario's largest credit union, has offered what appears to be one of the lowest rates ever on a fixed term at 1.49 percent.(http://bit.ly/1yipn4M) v

 

China

CHINA SECURITIES JOURNAL

- Profits at China's 19 listed brokerages surged 1.12 times to 53.2 billion yuan ($8.57 billion) in 2014, due to the strength of the country's stock markets, the newspaper calculated from earnings reports.

- The Ministry of Finance is studying a proposal to cut the rate of coal value-added tax from 17 percent to 13 percent, in order to reduce the burden on coal enterprises, unnamed sources told the newspaper.

SHANGHAI SECURITIES NEWS

- China's Gross Domestic Product is seen at 7.1 percent in the first quarter of the year and inflation at 1.27 percent in March, according to a survey of 12 economists, the newspaper said noting that China should further ease monetary policy to stabilize economic growth.

CHINA DAILY

- A joint pledge by China and Vietnam this week to control their maritime disputes, work toward the early implementation of a code of conduct in the South China Sea and avoid actions that complicate or escalate problems epitomizes the two sides' strong political will to steer ties into calmer waters, an editorial said.

- Beijing is seeking new private investment to expand its subway as construction costs soar, according to the company responsible for providing finance and planning new projects.

SHANGHAI DAILY

- Shanghai will raise the amount of money people can borrow from the city's housing fund programme to stimulate the property market, with first-time buyers and qualified buyers of second homes able to borrow up to a million yuan, the city's provident fund management centre said.

 

Britain

The Times

STERLING BUFFETED BY FEARS OVER ELECTION RESULT

The lack of certainty about the aftermath of the general election, less than four weeks before polling day, has sparked volatility in the currency markets, as investors scramble to protect themselves against wild swings in sterling. (thetim.es/1NgV2tZ)

FRENCH CRIMINAL INQUIRY INTO HSBC'S SWISS BANK

HSBC Holdings PLC has been put under formal criminal investigation in France and hit with a 1 billion euro bail charge as pressure grows on the bank amid allegations that it helped thousands of wealthy customers evade tax. (thetim.es/1NgVkB5)

 
The Guardian

IPCC TO INVESTIGATE LORD STEVENS OVER STEPHEN LAWRENCE INQUIRY ALLEGATIONS

Former Scotland Yard commissioner Lord Stevens is to face an investigation by the police watchdog into claims that documents were not passed to the 1998 Stephen Lawrence public inquiry. (bit.ly/1aslGOv)

The Telegraph

GILTS STRIKE AS FOREIGNERS SHUN UK ON GRIDLOCK FEARS

Foreign investors are slashing holdings of British gilts at a record pace on concerns over electoral gridlock and the long-term stability of sterling. Data from the Debt Management Office show that non-residents sold a net 14 billion pounds of gilts in January and February, an even bigger sell-off than during the peak of the financial crisis in early 2009. (bit.ly/1Ng8GgM)

EUROPEAN CENTRAL BANK BOOSTS GREEK BANKS AS IMF DEFAULT IS AVERTED

The European Central Bank bolstered its emergency funding for Greece's stricken banks, as Athens made good on its promise to pay back the International Monetary Fund, averting an unprecedented default. (bit.ly/1PpboPu)

Sky News

TORY DOSSIER URGES ATTACKS ON ED MILIBAND

Conservative candidates, in a briefing message seen by Sky News, have been instructed to put attacks on Ed Miliband at the heart of their campaigns. (bit.ly/1DpIvh6)

CHINA FORMS TPG DUET IN CIRQUE DU SOLEIL BID

Fosun International, which recently snapped up a 5 percent stake in the tour operator Thomas Cook, has joined forces with TPG to bid for the globally renowned performance troupe Cirque du Soleil. (bit.ly/1CAsH60)

The Independent

GATWICK OIL DISCOVERY: UP TO 100 BILLION BARRELS DISCOVERED IN BIGGEST ONSHORE FIND IN THREE DECADES

An exploration firm has confirmed the land under Horse Hill near Gatwick could contain 158 million barrels of oil per square mile - up to 100 billion barrels in total. The firm is hoping it could meet 10 to 30 percent of UK demand for oil by 2030. (ind.pn/1acb5Xv)

GENERAL ELECTION 2015: CAMERON WOULD BE HELD HOSTAGE BY UKIP IF TORIES FORM MINORITY GOVERNMENT, SAYS CLEGG

David Cameron would be held "hostage" by Ukip and "swivel-eyed" right-wing Conservative MPs if he forms a minority government after the election, Nick Clegg has warned. (ind.pn/1OfXQEw)