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Frontrunning: October 15

  • China economic growth seen slowing despite policy easing (Reuters)
  • FBI, Justice Department Investigating Daily Fantasy Sports Business Model (WSJ)
  • Obama to slow pace of withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan (Reuters)
  • Corporate America's Epic Debt Binge Leaves $119 Billion Hangover (BBG)
  • Islamic State battles insurgents as Syria army prepares assault (Reuters)
  • Why Hillary Clinton Can’t Win by Going After the NRA (BBG)
  • Payments Startup Square Discloses IPO Plans (WSJ)
  • Burberry and Bonds Not as Good as Gold (BBG)
  • AB InBev Plans $55 Billion Bond Sale to Fund SABMiller Deal (BBG)
  • Companies to Workers: Start Saving More—Or We’ll Do It for You (WSJ)
  • The Ankara Bomber Owned One of Turkey's Most Well-Known ISIS Hangouts (BBG)
  • The dog ate the card: Netflix blames weak U.S subscriber adds on new chip-based cards (Reuters)
  • Wal-Mart Takes Page From Jeff Bezos Playbook: Investors Can Wait (BBG)
  • Germany says has ordered VW to recall cars at start of 2016 (Reuters)
  • Texas Towns Push Back on Instant Slums (BBG)
  • Tesla unveils autopilot system, but don't let go of the wheel (Reuters)

 

Overnight Media Digest

WSJ

- The chances of a Federal Reserve interest-rate increase in 2015 are diminishing amid new signs of anemic economic activity, a disappointing development for central bank officials who have been hoping to move this year after a prolonged period of easy-money policies. (http://on.wsj.com/1PulnUt)

- Valeant Pharmaceuticals International said it had received subpoenas from federal prosecutors seeking information related to how it prices drugs, distributes them and helps patients afford the medicines. (http://on.wsj.com/1MrmjDW)

- Payments startup Square, run by Jack Dorsey of Twitter Inc , officially filed to go public Wednesday, a move that comes as the market for initial public offerings remains shaky.(http://on.wsj.com/1VTinGl)

- Electric-car maker Tesla Motors Inc will begin distributing autonomous driving features that can automatically park its newer vehicles and allow drivers to take their hands off the wheel for short periods. (http://on.wsj.com/1LluKk7)

- The U.S. Justice Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation are probing whether the business model of daily fantasy-sports operators violates federal law, according to people familiar with the matter. (http://on.wsj.com/1GdRYf0)

 

FT

Britain's newly elected opposition leader socialist Jeremy Corbyn's first attempt to stamp his authority on Labour MPs came unstuck on Wednesday as rebel MPs ignored his demand that they oppose finance minister George Osborne's budget surplus charter.

Britain's life-sciences sector leaders have warned ministers that cuts in government support for the industry would imperil a renaissance in UK biotechnology.

Britain's business secretary Sajid Javid has attacked "heavy-handed" plans for a crackdown on the Uber minicab service in London that has put him on a collision course with Mayor Boris Johnson, who wants tighter controls.

The 1 billion pounds Asian Business Port project at the Royal Albert Docks in east London, one of London Mayor Boris Johnson's biggest foreign investment projects, has been called into question after the Chinese companies involved said they were in a dispute over how to split the scheme.

 

NYT

- On Wednesday, one of the companies Twitter's Jack Dorsey runs, Square, the mobile payments start-up, made its initial public offering prospectus public, indicating it is close to a road show to sell stock to investors. (http://nyti.ms/1LlwZE0)

- Officials in the Treasury Department are discussing a radical and aggressive response to the fiscal chaos engulfing Puerto Rico that could involve a broad debt exchange assisted by the federal government. (http://nyti.ms/1OwObMX)

- The first criminal trial in the United States of traders accused of manipulating a global interest rate benchmark got underway in Manhattan on Wednesday. Two Britons, Anthony Allen and Anthony Conti, both former London-based traders at the Dutch bank Rabobank, are accused of conspiring to submit fraudulent rate reports for the benchmark known as Libor, or the London interbank offered rate, in order to help colleagues profit on trades. (http://nyti.ms/1GHShJW)

- Walmart Stores Inc startled investors on Wednesday by slashing its sales forecast for the year, warning that heavy investments in wages and in e-commerce would curb future earnings. Sales will be flat this year, Walmart said at a meeting with investors in New York. (http://nyti.ms/1LlxIVT)

 

Canada

THE GLOBE AND MAIL

** The Liberal Party suffered its biggest blow of the election campaign as its co-chair, Daniel Gagnier, stepped down for giving advice concerning the next government to a major oil firm, on the same day Leader Justin Trudeau started to call for a majority mandate. (http://bit.ly/1Ph4zRP)

** The Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal is reviving the debate over temporary foreign workers because side agreements would exempt international companies in Canada from requirements to offer jobs to Canadians first. (http://bit.ly/1LOgdg0)

** Suncor Energy Inc is zeroing in on operational problems at Syncrude Canada Ltd as it seeks to convince wary Canadian Oil Sands Ltd shareholders that a $4.5 billion hostile takeover is in their best interests. (http://bit.ly/1LOf9J8)

** The bid to open the secret agreement between the federal government and United States Steel Corp that ended a prosecution against the steel maker has been given new life. The Ontario Court of Appeal has granted stakeholders in the U.S. Steel Canada Inc creditor-protection hearing the right to appeal a ruling by the Ontario Superior Court that sealed the agreement. (http://bit.ly/1Ox5ldb)

NATIONAL POST

** Development of Bombardier Inc's troubled CSeries jetliner has hit the home stretch, with the company announcing Wednesday that testing is more than 90 percent complete. Bombardier also confirmed that the smaller CS100 version of the aircraft is on track to receive regulatory certification by the end of the year, a deadline the company was determined to meet after several delays. (http://bit.ly/1Ne4jj4)

** A new report from Royal LePage says while the slump in oil is stifling house prices in Canadian provinces driven by energy markets, other sectors have picked up the slack and taken home values to new levels nationally. (http://bit.ly/1GHdnZb)

** Stephen Harper did "exactly" what he was supposed to do when bullets started flying outside the room where he was meeting with the Conservative caucus almost one year ago, Canada's Royal Canada Mounted Police Commissioner Bob Paulson said Wednesday. (http://bit.ly/1NIS411)

 

China

21ST CENTURY BUSINESS HERALD

- The housing and urban-rural development ministry has launched a campaign to remove or otherwise deal with illegal construction within the next five years, based on a pilot programme in Zhejiang province that started in 2013.

- A tax collection reform plan passed on Tuesday indicates that local and central tax authorities will continue to play separate roles, despite rumours the two might merge.

CHINA BUSINESS NEWS

- According to data from the Shanghai and Shenzhen stock exchanges, the total amount of money in margin trading and short selling on Oct. 13 was 952.39 billion yuan ($150.07 billion), up 4.42 billion yuan from the previous trading day. Margin trading and short selling has been on the rise since a low of 906.71 billion yuan on Sept. 30, the newspaper reported.

- An amendment to China's insurance law was released by the State Council, or cabinet, on Wednesday for public opinion. The last amendment of the law took place in 2009, according to China Business News.

CHINA SECURITIES JOURNAL

- As of 8 p.m. on Wednesday, 364 out of 484 GEM listed companies had released third-quarter results, with 242 forecasting a rise in net profit over the same period last year, according to data from from Wind Information.

CHINA DAILY

- A meeting between Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi signals both countries are making efforts to ease tensions and melt the ice in bilateral ties, an editorial said.

 

Britain

The Times

- The Insolvency Service is targeting businesses that fail to follow proper procedure when making staff redundant during an administration, marking a serious development for company directors. The government body has begun criminal proceedings against three directors at City Link, the courier company that collapsed last Christmas Day, and the chief executive of Sports Direct International PLC over the failure of its fashion retailer USC in January. (http://thetim.es/1NI31Qq)

- Hundreds of workers at HSBC Holdings PLC's investment banking division in London have had their pay cut by 10 percent and been ordered to take two weeks of unpaid leave by the end of the year. The bank, which is under intense pressure to reduce costs, broke the news to staff last week and instructed managers that there would be "0 percent exceptions". (http://thetim.es/1PtZFQp)

The Guardian

- The latest official snapshot of the jobs market, covering June to August, showed a 79,000 decline in unemployment to 1.77 million, taking the jobless rate to 5.4 percent, the lowest since 2008. The employment rate, at 73.6 percent, was the highest since records began in 1971. (http://bit.ly/1Luyh3a)

The Telegraph

- EDF and its Chinese partners are on the brink of a deal to build the Hinkley Point nuclear power plant and are preparing to sign a heads of terms agreement during next week's visit by Chinese president Xi Jinping. Although the deal is not yet done, with negotiations expected to go to the wire, sources say they are optimistic they will be ready to unveil a major pact that will make clear the first new United Kingdom nuclear plant in a generation will go ahead. (http://bit.ly/1QukYj8)

- Anheuser-Busch InBev SA is exploring a potential exit from SABMiller PLC's American joint venture in a deal that could be worth $10 billion. It is understood that the Belgian-Brazilian giant has started to gauge the interest of SABMiller's partner, the American-Canadian brewer Molson Coors, about taking full control of MillerCoors. (http://bit.ly/1OwE4HV)

Sky News

- Volkswagen AG says its 2016 diesel models have suspect software that could help exhaust systems run cleaner during government tests. Europe's largest car manufacturer said the issue involved the vehicles' "auxiliary emissions control device". It operates differently from the "defeat" device that last month triggered the cheating scandal engulfing the carmaker. (http://bit.ly/1RIU3RC)

- Barclays PLC, Lloyds Banking Group PLC, Royal Bank of Scotland and Santander UK PLC will be told on Thursday that they need to find billions of pounds of additional capital as part of industry reforms designed to shield taxpayers in a future industry crisis. The fresh bombshell will be delivered by the Bank of England in a consultation paper to be published on the implementation of the new ring-fencing framework that will be introduced in 2019. (http://bit.ly/1Owq54U)

The Independent

- Marks and Spencer Group PLC has come under fire for refusing to cut its prices in hospital shops despite criticism from an MP, who said vulnerable people were being ripped off. The retail giant, led by its millionaire chief executive Marc Bolland, charges more in hospitals for popular items such as flowers than it does on the high street, a tactic critics say preys on the emotions of people visiting loved ones. (http://ind.pn/1LboP3f)