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Frontrunning: October 16

  • Dallas County May Declare State of Disaster From Ebola Virus (BBG)
  • Markets on edge after worst turmoil in four years (Reuters)
  • Central bankers may have no quick fix as markets swoon, economy weakens (Reuters)
  • Risk of Deflation Feeds Global Fears  (Hilsenrath)
  • U.S. health official allowed new Ebola patient on plane with slight fever (Reuters)
  • Texas Hospital Fights Allegations About Ebola Protocols (BBG)
  • Treasuries Gain as Oil Drops Below $80 While Stocks Slide (BBG)
  • Greek Bonds Slump on Bailout Concern as Spain Misses Sale Target (BBG)
  • White House shifts into crisis mode on Ebola response (Reuters)
  • Obama Confronts Slippery Slope as Islamic State Advances (BBG)
  • Cocktail of Trouble for Liquor Makers Diageo, Rémy Cointreau and LVMH (WSJ)
  • Dark Pools Said to Rebuff Orders Amid U.S. Volume Surge (BBG)
  • EU Starts Two-Week Austerity Scrutiny as Crisis Reawakens (BBG)
  • U.S. foreclosure activity falls to eight-year low (Reuters)
  • Well that was fun: AbbVie board ditches planned $55 billion Shire acquisition (Reuters)
  • Lockheed says makes breakthrough on fusion energy project (Reuters)
  • Paris’s `Squalor Pit’ Gare du Nord Becomes French Decline Symbol (BBG)

 

Overnight Media Digest

WSJ

* Concerns grew about containing the spread of Ebola in the United States after federal health officials disclosed Wednesday that the second Texas nurse infected with the virus flew from Dallas to Cleveland and back in the days before reporting her symptoms. (http://on.wsj.com/1rdCg5N)

* U.S. officials said they weren't seeking to extend nuclear negotiations with Iran beyond a Nov. 24 deadline, as Secretary of State John Kerry met with his Iranian counterpart on Wednesday. (http://on.wsj.com/1zcfyVu)

* AbbVie Inc said on Wednesday its board is recommending stockholders vote against the drug maker's proposed $54 billion takeover of Shire Plc. (http://on.wsj.com/ZvJBH7)

* Mexico's banking regulator fined Banamex, the local unit of Citigroup Inc a little more than $2 million for failing to prevent an alleged fraud against the bank by a client, oil-services firm Oceanografia. (http://on.wsj.com/1npL4tN)

* Sierra Nevada Corp, the losing bidder in NASA's recent multibillion-dollar "space taxi" competition, has gone to court seeking to block winners Boeing Co and SpaceX from proceeding with work until its pending contract protest is resolved. (http://on.wsj.com/1twUx5q)

* Amazon Inc plans to hire 80,000 seasonal workers for its warehouse network in the United States, representing a 14 percent increase from last year as the company brings its massive distribution facilities closer to urban centers. (http://on.wsj.com/1vfPlBn)

* Google Inc unveiled three Nexus-branded devices on Wednesday, signaling plans to compete with Apple Inc for high-end consumers. Google's new Nexus 6 smartphone, Nexus 9 tablet and Nexus Player set-top box are priced slightly below, or in line with, competing devices from Apple. In the past, Google has priced new models significantly below Apple products. That is a departure for Google, which in the past has priced new models significantly below Apple products. (http://on.wsj.com/1xTlqyl)

* McDonald's Corp has hired back a second former executive as it tries to stabilize its U.S. business. Karen King, retired east division president for McDonald's USA, returned to the company this week as its chief people officer for the U.S. (http://on.wsj.com/1w9OZuk)

 

FT

Russian billionaire Mikhail Fridman's attempt to buy RWE Dea, the oil and gas arm of German utility RWE AG for about 5.1 billion euros was blocked by the UK government, a move that indicates that even private Russian companies will have to bear the impact of U.S. and EU sanctions.

Japan's Toyota Motor Corp said it would recall 1.75 million vehicles globally to address three separate defects, relating to brake master cylinders, fuel delivery pipes and the fuel suction plate.

Statoil ASA's long-serving chief executive Helge Lund unexpectedly quit to take on the top role at smaller rival BG Group PLC where he has been promised a big pay rise if he can turn round the flagging British gas and oil producer.

Tata Steel Ltd said it was in talks with the Klesch Group to sell its long products business in Europe that employs about 6,500 people including those at its distribution facilities.

 

NYT

* The Obama administration may have killed the biggest corporate takeover of the year. AbbVie Inc, the Illinois-based drugmaker that had agreed to pay $54 billion for the Irish pharmaceutical company Shire Plc, now has cold feet. AbbVie's abrupt reconsideration of the deal sent Shire's stock price plummeting on Wednesday and provided the clearest evidence yet that the Treasury Department had succeeded in cracking down on corporate inversions. (http://nyti.ms/1sUEqww)

* The first two drugs that can slow the progression of a fatal lung disease won approval from the Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday, a decision that could open a new era for patients but also a new chapter in the controversy over high drug prices. Roche Holding AG's drugs Esbriet and Boehringer Ingelheim's Ofev, are meant to treat idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, a scarring of the lungs that affects roughly 100,000 Americans and kills many of them in three to five years. (http://nyti.ms/ZFNaL9)

* Waves of nervous selling buffeted the stock market in the United States on Wednesday, after a steep sell-off in Europe. At one point, the Dow Jones industrial average had plunged 460 points, or 2.8 percent, though it later swung higher to close down 1.1 percent, or 173.45 points. The Standard & Poor's 500-stock index fell 0.8 percent, or 15.21 points. Since their peak a month ago, American stocks have lost over $2 trillion in value, losses that may ripple through the wider economy. (http://nyti.ms/1yG2bvz)

* During an event at its Cupertino, California, headquarters on Thursday, Apple Inc is set to unveil new iPads that are expected to include fingerprint sensors for each model. A major revision of the full-size tablet, the iPad Air, is also expected. (http://nyti.ms/1sW3Yu9)

* JPMorgan & Chase corporate race website, which is managed by an outside vendor, has been conspicuously inaccessible since early August, with visitors to the site seeing only a lonely list of coming races. The link between the breach on that website and the broader attack, which the bank said did not compromise any financial information, has not been previously reported. (http://nyti.ms/1rwp6R8)

* SolarCity Corp, installer of rooftop solar systems, began selling bonds online to ordinary investors on Wednesday, joining a handful of companies that are using crowdfunding to finance solar development. The company will issue up to $200 million in the bonds, whose maturities range from one to seven years and carry interest rates of 2 percent to 4 percent. (http://nyti.ms/1sKZEwr)

 

China

CHINA SECURITIES JOURNAL

- Chinese insurance firms will need to run tests to monitor and measure liquidity risks, according to a circular from the China Insurance Regulatory Commission (CIRC) on Wednesday.

SHANGHAI SECURITIES NEWS

- Chinese brokerages need to ratify a three-year capital replenishment plan before the end of the year and make use of at least one funding channel within three years, according to Zhang Yujun, assistant chairman at the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC).

SECURITIES TIMES

- China's Ministry of Environmental Protection has launched a programme to monitor air pollution discharged by companies through winter, typically a time of high pollutant levels.

CHINA DAILY

- Some Chinese companies operating in Africa are taking measures to protect employees against a deadly outbreak of Ebola in the region, the official paper said. China has thousands of people working in the worst affected regions in West Africa.

SHANGHAI DAILY

- Eight people in southwest China have been killed during a clash between local villagers and construction workers over a land dispute, local officials said on Wednesday.

PEOPLE'S DAILY
- Chinese artists should reflect the country's socialist values in their work, China's president Xi Jinping said on Wednesday. Art works should not be "slaves" to the market or bear the "stench of money", he added.

 

Britain

The Times

29 MLN STG PACKAGE HELPS BG TO LURE NEW BOSS

BG Group PLC has been forced to pay top dollar to recruit one of the oil and gas sector's most well-respected figures, Helge Lund from Statoil ASA to lead the company after seven months without a chief executive, offering Lund a package of up to 29 million pounds. (http://thetim.es/100jg55)

PANIC GRIPS INVESTORS AMID VOLATILE MARKETS

Investors succumbed to the biggest bout of jitters since the nadir of the eurozone crisis two years ago, prompting wild swings in equities and government bonds. Volatility took hold and the Dow Jones swung by almost 450 points over the course of a turbulent day. The S&P 500 VIX index has doubled in the space of a fortnight and hit a peak of 31, higher than in the summer of 2012. (http://thetim.es/1yFr8aq)

The Guardian

BANKS FACE CRACKDOWN OVER EU BONUS CAP

Europe's top banking regulator has warned banks they should not hand their staff top-up payments to avoid the EU bonus cap in a move that could have implications for dozens of banks and thousands of bankers. (http://bit.ly/1w9CqRP)

UK UNEMPLOYMENT FALLS TO 6 PERCENT

UK unemployment has fallen below the 2 million mark for the first time since the global financial system was on the brink of collapse six years ago. (http://bit.ly/1w9CkJO)

The Telegraph

SHIRE TAKEOVER HANGS IN THE BALANCE AS 13 BLN STG WIPED OFF SHARES

The 36 billion pounds takeover of Shire Plc was hanging in the balance on Wednesday night after U.S. drugmaker AbbVie Inc said it was reconsidering the deal in the wake of US tax reforms. (http://bit.ly/11pitem)

TATA STEEL TO SELL OFF LONG PRODUCTS BUSINESS, AFFECTING THOUSANDS OF BRITISH JOBS

Tata Steel Ltd is planning to sell its Long Products division, which employs thousands of workers at several sites in the UK. The steel giant said it had signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Klesch Group, an industrial company which operates across Europe. (http://bit.ly/1sUdvAT)

Sky News

EX-RSA EXECUTIVE MILES TO JOIN TROUBLED WONGA

The chairman of troubled payday lender Wonga is recruiting another former colleague from the insurer RSA Insurance Group Plc. Paul Miles, the chief financial officer of Capquest, a debt recovery firm, will join Wonga to take on the same role. (http://bit.ly/1sffYUM)

SAINSBURY'S ENDURES BACKLASH ON NECTAR CUTS

J Sainsbury Plc's customers have threatened to shop elsewhere after the supermarket chain confirmed it was planning cuts to its Nectar reward points. (http://bit.ly/1w9ihcF)

The Independent

UBER RIVAL HAILO QUITS NORTH AMERICAN BUSINESS

Taxi hailing app Hailo is to pull out of North America as the London-based company struggles to make a profit amid "astronomical" marketing costs. (http://ind.pn/1vxagkW)

BALFOUR BEATTY NAMES LEO QUINN NEW CHIEF EXECUTIVE

Balfour Beatty has appointed a new chief executive just weeks after fending off a takeover by rival Carillion Plc . Leo Quinn is poised to join in January after five years as group chief executive of defence research firm QinetiQ, following four years as the boss of banknote printer De La Rue. (http://ind.pn/1zbRX7k)

 

Fly On The Wall Pre-market Buzz

ECONOMIC REPORTS

Domestic reports scheduled for today include:
Jobless claims for week of October 11 at 8:30--consensus 290K
Industrial production for September at 9:15--consensus up 0.4%
Philadelphia Fed manufacturing survey for October at 10:00--consensus 20.0
Housing market index for October at 10:00--consensus 59

ANALYST RESEARCH

Upgrades

Air Products (APD) upgraded to Outperform from Neutral at Credit Suisse
American Express (AXP) upgraded to Neutral from Underweight at JPMorgan
Baidu (BIDU) upgraded to Outperform from Perform at Oppenheimer
Bank of America (BAC) upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform at FBR Capital
Bank of the Ozarks (OZRK) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Wunderlich
Bristol-Myers (BMY) upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform at BMO Capital
CSX (CSX) upgraded to Outperform from Neutral at Credit Suisse
Cloud Peak (CLD) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Brean Capital
Cullen/Frost (CFR) upgraded to Market Perform from Underperform at BMO Capital
FireEye (FEYE) upgraded to Overweight from Neutral at JPMorgan
FleetCor (FLT) upgraded to Overweight from Equal Weight at Morgan Stanley
Gulfport Energy (GPOR) upgraded to Outperform from Sector Perform at RBC Capital
Host Hotels (HST) upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform at FBR Capital
Illumina (ILMN) upgraded to Overweight from Neutral at Piper Jaffray
L Brands (LB) upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform at Wells Fargo
LifePoint Hospitals (LPNT) upgraded to Outperform from Neutral at RW Baird
Magellan Midstream (MMP) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Ladenburg
Netflix (NFLX) upgraded to Hold from Underperform at Jefferies
Sibanye Gold (SBGL) upgraded to Neutral from Sell at UBS
Targa Resources (TRGP) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at UBS
Tiffany (TIF) upgraded to Outperform from Neutral at Macquarie
Time Warner (TWX) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at BofA/Merrill

Downgrades

Akamai (AKAM) downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at Wells Fargo
Francesca's (FRAN) downgraded to Underperform from Outperform at Macquarie
lululemon (LULU) downgraded to Underperform from Neutral at Macquarie
Netflix (NFLX) downgraded to Fair Value from Buy at CRT Capital
Nordstrom (JWN) downgraded to Neutral from Outperform at Macquarie
Norfolk Southern (NSC) downgraded to Neutral from Outperform at Credit Suisse
Rio Tinto (RIO) downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at Cowen
Seadrill (SDRL) downgraded to Reduce from Neutral at Nomura
Ternium (TX) downgraded to Neutral from Overweight at JPMorgan
Urban Outfitters (URBN) downgraded to Neutral from Outperform at Macquarie
Viacom (VIAB) downgraded to Underperform from Neutral at BofA/Merrill

Initiations

Aquinox (AQXP) initiated with a Buy at Canaccord
Starwood Waypoint (SWAY) initiated with an Outperform at JMP Securities
Teck Resources (TCK) initiated with an Equal Weight at Barclays
Western Asset Mortgage (WMC) initiated with a Market Perform at Wells Fargo

COMPANY NEWS

Following Shire's (SHPG) waiver of the three-day notice period, AbbVie (ABBV) announced its board withdrew its recommendation made on July 18 regarding the proposed Shire transaction and recommended that stockholders vote against the transaction
Amazon (AMZN) announced it is creating 80,000 seasonal positions across its U.S. network of fulfillment and sortation centers this holiday season
Google (GOOG) unveiled Android 5.0 Lollipop, new Nexus phone, tablet, set-top player
Microsoft (MSFT) said working with YouTube (GOOG) to reinstate content inadvertently removed
Las Vegas Sands (LVS) said its board authorized an additional $2B to the company's stock repurchase program
Meredith (MDP) secured rights to license Martha Stewart Living (MSO) Magazine, website
Insys Therapeutics (INSY) received a Refusal to File Letter from the FDA for its proprietary Dronabinol Oral Solution
Michigan bill blocked Tesla (TSLA) from selling directly to consumers

EARNINGS

Companies that beat consensus earnings expectations last night and today include: eBay (EBAY), Netflix (NFLX), Orbital (ORB), WNS Holdings (WNS), Danaher (DHR), UnitedHealth (UNH), Briggs & Stratton (BGG), HNI Corporation (HNI), HCA Holdings (HCA), Intellipharmaceutics (IPCI), C1 Financial (BNK), Astoria Financial (AF), Umpqua Holdings (UMPQ), United Rentals (URI), BankMutual (BKMU), Boston Private Financial (BPFH), RLI Corp. (RLI), Badger Meter (BMI), American Express (AXP)

Companies that missed consensus earnings expectations include:
Fifth Third Bancorp (FITB), Baker Hughes (BHI), Mattel (MAT), Cohen & Steers (CNS), Universal Forest (UFPI), Central Valley Community (CVCY), Platinum Underwriters (PTP), Las Vegas Sands (LVS)

Companies that matched consensus earnings expectations include:
First Cash Financial (FCFS), BB&T (BBT), Navient (NAVI), Guaranty Bancorp (GBNK)

eBay (EBAY) sees FY14 EPS at low end of $2.95-$3.00, consensus $2.97
Danaher (DHR) sees Q4 EPS $1.00-$1.04, consensus $1.04
WNS Holdings (WNS) raises FY15 adjusted EPS to $1.56-$1.63 from 1.44-$1.56
Orbital (ORB) raises 2014 adjusted EPS view to $1.20-$1.25 from $1.10-$1.20

NEWSPAPERS/WEBSITES

EU antitrust chief criticizes 'irrational' response by politicians to Google (GOOG) probe, WSJ reports
Boeing (BA) mulls potential helicopter deal with Brazilian Army, Reuters reports
American Apparel (APP) to make interest payment on bonds, Bloomberg reports
Mexican regulators fine Citigroup's (C) Banamex unit 30M pesos, Bloomberg reports
Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A) cuts Tesco (TSCDY) stake to less than 3%, Telegraph reports
AbbVie (ABBV), Shire (SHPG) both look like buys no matter what, Barron's says

SYNDICATE

Esperion (ESPR) 4.25M share Secondary priced at $20.00
NeuroMetrix (NURO) files to sell 3.3M shares for holders
Southern Missouri Bancorp (SMBC) files to sell 345,893 shares for holders
Tetraphase (TTPH) files to sell $75M of common stock