Frontrunning: November 19

  • J.P. Morgan, U.S. Reach Historic Settlement (WSJ)
  • OECD cuts global growth forecast (AP)
  • Guess the profit margin: Wal-Mart Touts $98 TV as Holiday Seen Weakest Since 2009 (BBG)
  • Republicans defy threat, block another Obama judicial pick (Reuters)
  • Fed Ponders How to Temper Tapering Without Rate Increase (BBG)
  • Wall Street uses ‘merchant’ workaround to cling to commodity assets (Reuters)
  • PBOC to ‘Basically’ End Normal Yuan Intervention, Zhou Says (BBG)
  • Italy’s leader warns Germany of rise of anti-European sentiment (FT)
  • Yellen Nomination for Fed Chairman to Get Vote This Week (BBG)
  • As U.S. default threatened, banks took extraordinary steps (Reuters)
  • NSA vowed repeatedly to fix its collection errors (AP)
  • White House and insurers work to bypass troubled health website (FT)
  • Mersch Expects ECB Stress Tests to Have 3-Year Horizon (BBG)


Overnight Media Digest


* JPMorgan and the Justice Department reached a $13 billion settlement after agreeing to $4 billion in aid to distressed homeowners.

* Iran’s national gas company said it is facing collapse, the latest sign of deepening economic distress from international sanctions as Tehran seeks urgent relief in talks with world powers.

* Big U.S. meatpackers are appealing to Congress in a last-ditch effort to stave off new federal labeling rules that require more information about the origins of beef, pork and other meats.

* Three exchange companies are in the early stages of considering individual bids for Euronext, the European exchange group set to be spun off after being acquired last week by IntercontinentalExchange, according to people familiar with the discussions.

* Online-storage service Dropbox is raising a funding round that could value it at more than $8 billion, though new figures reveal its revenue growth is decelerating.

* The U.S. government is being forced to support sugar companies even though taxpayers are already footing a $280 million bill stemming from loans the companies can’t repay.

* New York lawyer Steven Donziger was the mastermind behind a litigation team that spent more than $21.4 million to allegedly extort billions from Chevron Corp over environmental damage claims in Ecuador’s Amazon Basin, a lawyer for the oil giant said Monday.

* Time Warner Cable Inc subscribers will soon be able to watch shows from the Discovery Channel or Animal Planet online, including on tablets or smartphones, thanks to a deal unveiled on Monday.



The NSA spying scandal has put pressure on talks to forge an EU-U.S. trade pact, German chancellor Angela Merkel warned in her toughest response on the scandal so far and its impact on economic ties.

The United States Department of Justice is set to announce the biggest ever settlement with a single company as JPMorgan Chase agrees to shoulder the responsibility for the past misdeeds of Washington Mutual.

The UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is probing the use of personal accounts by foreign exchange traders amid allegations that traders used these accounts to trade their own money ahead of clients’ orders.

Royal Bank of Scotland is in exclusive talks with French lender BNP Paribas to sell its structured retail investor products and equity derivatives business, as it slims down its investment bank.

Boeing and Airbus insisted on Monday they were not overly reliant on orders from Gulf airlines for their long-range passenger jets.

Russian oligarch Suleiman Kerimov has agreed to sell his 21.75 percent stake in potash miner Uralkali, to billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov, a longtime business ally.



* Federal officials told a Senate hearing that virtual currencies like bitcoin offered real benefits for the financial system.

* Wal-Mart illegally disciplined and fired employees over strikes and protests, the National Labor Relations Board said on Monday.

* Maria Bartiromo, one of the first women to become a star on television by reporting on business news, is leaving her longtime home at CNBC for its rival, the Fox Business Network.

* The largest category of victims in the vast Ponzi scheme run by Bernard Madoff – those who lost cash through accounts with various middleman funds – will be first in line for compensation from a $2.35 billion fund collected by the Justice Department.

* Dropbox, a five-year-old San Francisco start-up that allows users to access stored documents via the web, is seeking funding that would value it at more than $8 billion.

* The Justice Department is set to announce a $13 billion settlement with JPMorgan Chase over the bank’s questionable mortgage practices in the run-up to the financial crisis, people briefed on the deal said on Monday, as prosecutors and the bank hashed out the final details of the deal.

* The Opel unit of General Motors said on Monday that it reached a preliminary agreement with workers to close a factory in Bochum, Germany, at the end of next year, another example of the effort by hard-pressed European automakers to slowly close superfluous manufacturing plants.

* Google agreed on Monday to pay $17 million to 37 states and the District of Columbia in a wide-reaching settlement over tracking consumers online without their knowledge.

* Governor John Hickenlooper of Colorado proposed on Monday tough new limits on leaks of methane and other gases from well sites and storage tanks. Supporters called the limits, which would exceed existing federal rules, the most sweeping in the nation.




* Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s office is wading into the Rob Ford saga, avoiding specifics but calling the recent “allegations” against the Toronto mayor “troubling.”

* Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi will not back down in the face of a $6 million defamation suit. On Monday, Nenshi responded to a suit filed by developer Cal Wenzel who was secretly recorded last year discussing a plan to defeat members of city council in the recent October election.

Reports in the business section:

* Kevin Crull, president of Bell Media, acknowledged that big TV bundles have become a “hot-button issue”
for consumers, but warns there could be “unintended consequences” if Ottawa forces TV distributors to make dramatic changes to their business models.

* The consortium of multinationals that controls Ontario’s beer retailing has published a study that suggests they are not making windfall profits because of prices that are sharply higher than in Quebec.


* Toronto council took unprecedented steps to neuter Rob Ford’s mayoralty during another astonishing meeting that saw him get into a screaming match with residents.

* Canada’s budget watchdog is asking MPs to get to the bottom of why the Harper government is spending billions less than it budgets for, or Parliament authorizes.


* With just a few moves, Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd has turned up the fire under Canada’s tepid casual dining market. Fairfax’s purchase of a 51 percent stake in Keg Restaurants Ltd on Monday comes just weeks after the Toronto investment firm bought a minority interest in Swiss Chalet owner Cara to spur a merger with its own Prime Restaurants.

* The Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan took a big bite of one of the United Kingdom’s major biscuit makers on Monday, buying the iconic Burton’s Biscuit Company which produces the brands Wagon Wheels, Jammie Dodgers, and Cadbury Fingers under licence.




– Provincial authorities in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen have adopted measures to control real estate prices and encourage low-cost housing. In Guangzhou, the deposit required on the purchase of a second property has been increased by 30 percent.


– Shanghai does not need extra maternity wards to cope with the recent government change to the one-child policy, city health authorities said on Monday. Under the new rules around 400,000 couples in Shanghai will become eligible to have two children rather than just one.

– Ten people received jail terms ranging from three to 13 years in food safety cases in Shanghai on Monday. Offences included using expired ingredients in moon cakes, adding addictive poppy seed shells to dishes and running an illegal abattoir. Authorities have taken a tougher line against food safety cases since new directives in May.


– Enterprises around Beijing are illegally discharging airborne pollutants on a large scale, according to an inspection by the Ministry of Environment Protection. Twenty-one of 65 companies and factories checked were found to be carrying out such illegal activities.

– Li Keqiang, China’s premier, will visit Romania and Uzbekistan from Nov. 25 to 29 to attend a meeting of leaders from Central and Eastern Europe, a spokesperson said on Monday.


– Reform in China is a complicated task that requires research in various fields and co-operation across different associations, said a commentary in the paper that acts as the party’s mouthpiece. The reforms that have emerged from the Third Plenary Session have opened the door for deeper reform, said the paper


Fly On The Wall 7:00 AM Market Snapshot



Great Plains Energy (GXP) upgraded to Buy from Underperform at BofA/Merrill
Hallador Energy (HNRG) upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform at Cowen
Mead Johnson (MJN) upgraded to Outperform from Perform at Oppenheimer
Midway Gold (MDW) upgraded to Speculative Buy from Hold at Canaccord
QIAGEN (QGEN) upgraded to Neutral from Sell at Citigroup
Rockville Financial (RCKB) upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform at Keefe Bruyette
United Financial (UBNK) upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform at Keefe Bruyette
Vail Resorts (MTN) upgraded to Outperform from Neutral at Credit Suisse


Altera (ALTR) downgraded to Buy from Conviction Buy at Goldman
TCP Capital (TCPC) downgraded to Hold from Buy at Wunderlich
Walgreens (WAG) downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at Raymond James
Zions Bancorp (ZION) downgraded to Outperform from Strong Buy at Raymond James


ABM Industries (ABM) initiated with a Neutral at Piper Jaffray
Aerie Pharmaceuticals (AERI) initiated with a Buy at Canaccord
Aerie Pharmaceuticals (AERI) initiated with an Outperform at RBC Capital
Avon Products (AVP) initiated with a Neutral at Credit Suisse
CST Brands (CST) reinstated with an Underperform at Credit Suisse
Centene (CNC) initiated with an Outperform at Leerink
CigCintas (CTAS) initiated with a Neutral at Piper Jaffray
Coty (COTY) initiated with a Neutral at Credit Suisse
DDR Corp. (DDR) initiated with a Buy at MLV & Co.
Endurance (EIGI) initiated with a Buy at Goldman
Endurance (EIGI) initiated with a Buy at Jefferies
Endurance (EIGI) initiated with an Outperform at Credit Suisse
Endurance (EIGI) initiated with an Outperform at Wells Fargo
Estee Lauder (EL) initiated with an Outperform at Credit Suisse
Gastar Exploration (GST) initiated with a Buy at Canaccord
HCI Group (HCI) initiated with a Market Perform at JMP Securities
Health Net (HNT) initiated with a Market Perform at Leerink
HumIntel (INTC) initiated with a Buy at Mizuho
KiLabCorp (LH) initiated with a Neutral at ISI Group
Molina Healthcare (MOH) initiated with a Market Perform at Leerink
Qualcomm (QCOM) initiated with a Buy at Mizuho
Quest Diagnostics (DGX) initiated with a Neutral at ISI Group
S&W Seed (SANW) initiated with a Buy at Roth Capital
Uni-Pixel (UNXL) initiated with a Perform at Oppenheimer
WellCare (WCG) initiated with a Market Perform at Leerink


IntercontinentalExchange (ICE) to acquire Singapore Mercantile Exchange
Wal-Mart (WMT) to match competitors’ (TGT, BBY) Black Friday deals one week early
Newcastle Investment (NCT) to acquire $1.01B worth of senior housing assets
NHTSA opened preliminary evaluation into Tesla (TSLA) fires (CRM), Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) announced strategic cloud partnership
Tesoro Logistics (TLLP) acquired assets from Tesoro (TSO) for $650M
ING Group (ING) to sell 11.3% direct stake in SulAmerica to Swiss Re
Schweitzer-Mauduit (SWM) to acquire DelStar (ACAS) for $231.5M in cash
Urban Outfitters (URBN) CEO “cautious” on Q4
Medifast (MED) to add 37 Weight Control Centers in six states over the next three years


Companies that beat consensus earnings expectations last night and today include:
Home Depot (HD), Trina Solar (TSL), Brocade (BRCD), Urban Outfitters (URBN)

Companies that missed consensus earnings expectations include:
Campbell Soup (CPB), AutoNavi (AMAP), Jacobs Engineering (JEC), Standard Parking (STAN), UGI Corporation (UGI), AmeriGas (APU), Active Power (ACPW)

Companies that matched consensus earnings expectations include: (CRM)


  • There’s a shift among investors and Wall Street analysts willing to back energy companies that promised rapid growth and planned to assemble oil and gas fields to sell, at a premium, to larger companies (BHP, RDS.A, XOM, COG, EOG, CHK). Now, big companies’ appetite for these deals has dwindled, the Wall Street Journal reports  
  • Lately, Best Buy Co. (BBY) has been a lot of analysts’ best friend. Last November, after it reported fiscal Q3 results, the stock fell 13%. Since then the share price has risen 264%, leading Wall Street to change its tune: 58% of analysts following the company now rate its stock as a “buy” or “outperform,” according to FactSet, the Wall Street Journal reports
  • JPMorgan Chase (JPM) has withdrawn from a syndicate of banks working on a $2B Hong Kong listing by China Everbright Bank Co., sources say, Reuters reports.
  • < li>Apollo Global Management (APO) is selling CKE, Inc. after postponing plans for an IPO last year. TriArtisan Capital Partners is in the lead to acquire the restaurant group that owns the Carl’s Jr. and Hardees fast food chains, in a deal approaching $2B, sources say, Reuters reports

  • Janet Yellen’s nomination to be chairman of the Federal Reserve is scheduled for a Senate Banking Committee vote on Thursday, advancing her confirmation, and  setting the stage for a full Senate confirmation vote later this year, Bloomberg reports
  • Banks that best adapt to “relentless waves” of new rules from global regulators have the greatest chance of remaining competitive, according to Boston Consulting Group, Bloomberg reports


Blackstone Mortgage (BXMT) files to sell $150M in convertible senior notes due 2018
Carbonite (CARB) files $75M mixed securities shelf, 9.5M shares of common stock
Cardiovascular Systems (CSII) files to sell 2.1M shares of common stock
Cardtronics (CATM) reports private offering of $250M convertible senior notes due 2020
Demandware (DWRE) files to sell 3.3M shares of common stock
Memorial Production (MEMP) files to sell 7.06M shares of common stock
NMI Holdings (NMIH) files to sell 51.5M shares for selling stockholders
Newcastle Investment (NCT) files to sell 50M shares of common stock
NextEra Energy (NEE) files to sell 11.1M shares of common stock
Noodles & Company (NDLS) files to sell 5.175M shares for holders
Oiltanking Partners (OILT) fles to sell 2.6M common units
SPS Commerce (SPSC) files to sell 750,000 shares of common stock
Tesoro Logistics (TLLP) files to sell 6.3M shares of common stock
Uranium Energy (UEC) files to sell 3M shares for selling stockholders


via Zero Hedge Tyler Durden

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