Frontrunning: January 13

  • Full onslaught 1: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s Aides Pressed Hard for Endorsements (WSJ)
  • Full onslaught 2: Feds investigating Christie’s use of Sandy relief funds (CNN)
  • Iran nuclear deal to take effect on January 20 (Reuters), Iran to get first $550 million of blocked $4.2 billion on February 1 (Reuters)
  • Sen. McCaskill didn’t want to be in same elevator with Hillary Clinton (Hill)
  • The banks win again: Basel Regulators Ease Leverage-Ratio Rule for Banks (BBG)
  • Ireland’s Rebound Is European Blarney (NYT)
  • Democrats prove barrier for Obama in quest for trade deals (FT)
  • Federal Reserve Said to Probe Banks Over Forex Fixing (BBG)
  • UK Treasury gives debt pledge on Scotland (FT)
  • KFC’s Crisis in China Tests Ingenuity of Man Who Built Brand (WSJ)
  • Hedge fund Elliott’s latest activitist target: WM Morrisson (FT)
  • Amec Agrees to Acquire Foster Wheeler for $3.2 Billion (BBG)
  • Ermotti Says UBS Not Considering Investment-Bank Spinoff (BBG)
  • German choice for ECB heralds shift as rate clout slips (BBG)


Overnight Media Digest


* Volkswagen AG plans to invest $7 billion in North America over the next five years, in a bid to accelerate its growth in the region and catch up to key competitors like General Motors Co, Ford Motor Co and Toyota Motor Corp.

* Accenture Plc’s unit, Accenture Federal Services, won a one-year contract to continue technical improvements to the site after the government chose not to renew its contract with CGI Group Inc.

* General Motors Co Chief Financial Officer Dan Ammann said the auto maker is “the closest it has ever been” to reinstating a dividend. GM last paid a dividend on its common stock in May 2008.

* Units of DuPont Co, Syngenta AG and Dow Chemical Co sued on Friday to overturn a new law in Hawaii that would restrict the planting and spraying of genetically modified crops.

* The Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the existing framework for reviewing claims and disbursing funds, narrowing BP’s options for avoiding what it says are millions of dollars in payments to individuals and business not harmed by the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

* Toyota Motor Corp expects to boost U.S. sales by 100,000 vehicles this year to 2.3 million vehicles, about 4 to 5 percent ahead of last year, the head of the Japanese auto maker’s North American operations said.

* The Denver Art Museum was set to announce on Monday the largest donation in its history – a gift of 22 paintings worth more than $100 million that will nearly triple the size of its Impressionist collection.



Following ferocious industry lobbying, global banking regulators agreed on Sunday to ease new rules aimed at reining in banks’ reliance on debt, providing relief to big investment banks who have been anxious about raising billions in extra capital.

U.S. agribusiness giant Cargill Inc acquired a $200 million stake in Ukraine’s largest agribusiness holding, UkrLandFarming, in a deal that would, according to sources, see both groups join forces to export grains to China and other growing markets in the future.

Google Inc is in the top ranks of technology companies building stockpiles of legally-protected innovations with nearly 2,000 patents awarded in the United States last year, almost double the number of all previous years combined.

Global automobile makers are trying to stay ahead of a swiftly shifting market and fierce competition from the technology industry with more investment in research and development than ever before.

According to a Financial Times poll of 15 steel analysts, world production of steel will rise by 3.6 percent in 2014 with a rebound in Europe and the rest of the world offsetting a slowdown in Chinese growth.



* The Basel Committee for Banking Supervision agreed on Sunday to ease a new rule, meant to rein in risky balance sheets, starting 2018, in an effort to avoid tightening financing for the world’s economy. The regulators signaled there is still no agreement on the final level of the new leverage ratio, which measures how much capital a bank must hold against its loans and other assets.

* Comcast Corp unit NBCUniversal News Group announced a partnership with Now This News, a startup that creates short-form news segments tailored for distribution over social media sites like Vine, Instagram and Snapchat. It was not revealed how much money NBC invested, but the transaction would give it a roughly 10 percent stake, as well as an entry into a new news format.

* Gerchen Keller Capital, an upstart investment firm that bets on lawsuits, was expected to announce on Monday that it has amassed about $260 million for its second fund. Litigation finance, as the business is known, often involves bankrolling plaintiffs in exchange for a slice of the lawsuit’s potential winnings.

* An increasing number of pawn businesses catering to the wealthy offer fast liquidity in exchange for high-end luxury items. With almost 250 years of experience in the exclusive world of high-end pawn, Suttons & Robertsons has come to the United States to fill what it believes is a growing need among wealthy Americans who have spent beyond their means and need a quick – and quiet – infusion of cash in exchange for a few cherished baubles they are willing, at least temporarily, to live without.

* The annual North American International Auto Show has taken on added importance for Detroit, which filed for bankruptcy six months ago, as the city desperately needs a successful show to improve its battered image.

* Indonesia, one of the world’s biggest producers of minerals including gold, nickel, copper, tin and thermal coal, implemented a new law on Sunday banning the export of unprocessed ore.

* A fire at a Citibank branch in Morningside Heights in Manhattan burned for more than 30 hours on Saturday and Sunday, drawing over 200 firefighters before it was extinguished. The fate of customers’ valuables stored in safe deposit boxes at the branch was not known.




* Thousands of Nova Scotia Power Inc customers were in the dark Sunday after high winds and heavy rain battered the region. More than 20,000 customers were without power Sunday morning – mostly in the Halifax area – although that number had dropped to around 1,100 by early afternoon, the utility said. Spokeswoman Neera Ritcey said crews were replacing a utility pole that caught fire.

* Singer-songwriter Neil Young spoke out strongly against the federal government’s role in the industrial development of Northern Alberta oil sands.

Reports in the business section:

* Industry Minister James Moore said on Friday that the auction of the 2500 megahertz frequency would take place on April 14, 2015, stressing the licenses would come with strict rules to support competition and potentially lower prices for consumers, especially those in rural areas.


* Photos of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford posing with other bargoers at Muzik nightclub drew dozens of comments on Instagram and Twitter. Ford publicly vowed to stop drinking alcohol late last year as the crack video scandal engulfing his office hit a fever pitch – and none of the photos of the mayor posted online suggested he had broken the vow.


* Target Corp revealed growing pains at its Canadian operations will drag down fourth-quarter results by more than it initially anticipated.




– China will reduce land availability for construction in the Eastern region and cities with a population of over 5 million will not be allowed more building projects, said the Ministry of Land and Resources in an annual meeting last Friday.


– Countries involved in the South China Sea conflict should demonstrate wisdom in resolving issues and be on guard against U.S. interference, said a commentary in the paper. Washington’s recent accusations that China’s fishing regulations in the area were provocative are unreasonable, it added.


– Everyone is a beneficiary of China’s reforms, said a commentary in the paper that acts as the Party’s mouthpiece.



The Telegraph


Companies in the North of England are now growing at the fastest pace seen in any UK region one of the country’s leading business figures has said in a sign that the economic recovery is broadening.


The Treasury will on Monday pledge to guarantee all of Britain’s debt even if Scotland votes to leave the UK, in an attempt to prevent creditors from pushing up the cost of government borrowing.

The Guardian


Controversy over City pay is likely to be re-ignited this week when the major U.S. banks – including JPMorgan Chase & Co and Goldman Sachs – release their results for 2013.


British grocer WM Morrison is reported to be considering selling off up to 10 percent of its properties to appease shareholders after bad tidings over Christmas trading. While the supermarket chain has traditionally made store ownership a key plank of its business, owning about 90 percent of its stores, shareholder pressure has pushed the company to consider selling off and leasing back some of its 9 billion pound property portfolio.

The Times


One of Britain’s biggest shareholders in Amazon, Google Inc, Facebook and Apple Inc has warned them not to be so aggressive in avoiding UK corporation tax in the wake of parliamentary and public anger last year. James Anderson, manager of the £2.6 billion Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust, said the American companies were taking risks by so aggressively seeking to minimise their tax bills.


Business must brace itself for a wave of “catch-up” pay demands in the private sector after five years of pay freezes or below-inflation raises. The warning has come from the outgoing head of Acas, the industrial dispute mediation agency, who has also cautioned that private sector pay claims could fuel unrest over wages in the public sector.

The Independent


Britain’s largest car manufacturer Jaguar Land Rover has reported record breaking global sales for 2013, the company has said. Together the iconic British brands sold 425,006 vehicles in 2013 – up 19 percent on 2012 – setting new sales records in 38 international markets.


Fly On The Wall 7:00 AM Market Snapshot


Domestic economic reports scheduled for today include:
December Treasury Budget at 14:00–Current consensus is $44.0B



Autodesk (ADSK) upgraded to Overweight from Equal Weight at Morgan Stanley
Banco Bilbao (BBVA) upgraded to Overweight from Equal Weight at Barclays
Carnival (CCL) upgraded to Neutral from Reduce at SunTrust
Diana Shipping (DSX) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Deutsche Bank
Estee Lauder (EL) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Deutsche Bank
F5 Networks (FFIV) upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform at William Blair
Fortinet (FTNT) upgraded to Overweight from Equal Weight at Morgan Stanley
Garmin (GRMN) upgraded to Outperform from Perform at Oppenheimer
HomeAway (AWAY) upgraded to Overweight from Equal Weight at Barclays
Jacobs Engineering (JEC) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at UBS
LPL Financial (LPLA) upgraded to Overweight from Neutral at JPMorgan
Life Time Fitness (LTM) upgraded to Buy from Hold at KeyBanc
MGM Resorts (MGM) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at BofA/Merrill
Macy’s (M) upgraded to Outperform from Neutral at Macquarie
Marriott (MAR) upgraded to Overweight from Neutral at JPMorgan
Multimedia Games (MGAM) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Janney Capital
Nimble Storage (NMBL) upgraded to Outperform from Sector Perform at Pacific Crest
Pinnacle West (PNW) upgraded to Neutral from Sell at Goldman
Qihoo 360 (QIHU) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Stifel
Red Hat (RHT) upgraded to Overweight from Equal Weight at Morgan Stanley
Strategic Hotels (BEE) upgraded to Buy from Underperform at BofA/Merrill
Towers Watson (TW) upgraded to Outperform from Neutral at Credit Suisse
Ventas (VTR) upgraded to Top Pick from Outperform at RBC Capital
Visa (V) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Citigroup


BlackBerry (BBRY) downgraded to Underperform from Perform at Oppenheimer
Corcept Therapeutics (CORT) downgraded to Hold from Buy at Stifel
Cree (CREE) downgraded to Hold from Buy at Stifel
Crown Holdings (CCK) downgraded to Neutral from Outperform at Macquarie
El Paso Electric (EE) downgraded to Sell from Neutral at Goldman
InterContinental Hotels (IHG) downgraded to Underperform from Hold at Jefferies
Marriott (MAR) downgraded to Underperform from Hold at Jefferies
Marsh & McLennan (MMC) downgraded to Neutral from Outperform at Credit Suisse
Peregrine (PSMI) downgraded to Hold from Buy at Deutsche Bank
Plexus (PLXS) downgraded to Underperform from Market Perform at Raymond James
Ply Gem (PGEM) downgraded to Neutral from Overweight at JPMorgan
Principal Financial (PFG) downgraded to Neutral from Outperform at Macquarie
Sanmina (SANM) downgraded to Underperform from Market Perform at Raymond James
Shutterfly (SFLY) downgraded to Equal Weight from Overweight at Barclays
Symantec (SYMC) downgraded to Underweight from Equal Weight at Morgan Stanley
TiVo (TIVO) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Goldman


Booz Allen (BAH) initiated with a Neutral at Citigroup
ChemoCentryx (CCXI) initiated with a Neutral at Goldman
Cliffs Natural (CLF) initiated with a Hold at Brean Capital
Continental Resources (CLR) initiated with an Outperform at BMO Capital
EMC (EMC) initiated with an Overweight at Atlantic Equities
F.N.B. Corp. (FNB) initiated with a Buy at Jefferies
HP (HPQ) initiated with an Overweight at Atlantic Equities
Hilton Worldwide (HLT) initiated with an Equal Weight at Evercore
IBM (IBM) initiated with a Neutral at Atlantic Equities
NCR (NCR) resumed with an Overweight, added to Focus List at JPMorgan
National Penn (NPBC) initiated with a Hold at Jefferies
NetApp (NTAP) initiated with a Neutral at Atlantic Equities
Qlik Technologies (QLIK) initiated with a Neutral at Atlantic Equities
ServiceNow (NOW) initiated with an Outperform at RBC Capital
Shutterfly (SFLY) initiated with an Outperform at RBC Capital
Silicom (SILC) initiated with a Buy at Needham
Splunk (SPLK) initiated with an Overweight at Atlantic Equities
Stericycle (SRCL) initiated with an Outperform at Credit Suisse
Tableau Software (DATA) initiated with a Neutral at Atlantic Equities
Teradata (TDC) initiated with an Overweight at Atlantic Equities


Goldcorp (GG) offered to acquire Osisko for C$5.95 per share in cash and shares
Yahoo (YHOO) said malware-infected ads issue larger than previously reported
Dunkin’ (DNKN) reported strong FY13 growth, plans to open 685-800 new stores in FY14
Telstra (TLSYY) to sell majority stake in Sensis for A$454M
Judge estimated EnPro’s (NPO) GST mesothelioma liability at $125M
DOJ probing export and import procedures at Honeywell (HON), Reuters reports
Orbital’s (ORB) Cygnus spacecraft successfully berthed with International Space Station
Covidien (COV) announced acquisition, JV agreement to meet ‘value segment’ markets
JinkoSolar (JKS) to separate Solar PV project business


Companies that beat consensus earnings expectations last night and today include:
Platinum Group (PLG)


  • Volkswagen (VLKAY) to invest $7B in North America over five years, WSJ reports
  • Microsoft (MSFT) News Twitter account hacked by SEA, Business Insider reports
  • Cyber attacks said to spread to other well known retailers, Reuters reports
  • Rogers Communications (RCI) plans Netflix-like service, Globe and Mail reports
  • Fed investigating banks over forex fixing, Bloomberg reports
  • Alcatel-Lucent (ALU) in talks to sell enterprise business, Bloomberg reports
  • UBS (UBS) CEO: No spinoff of investment bank, Reuters reports
  • New Ford (F) aluminum F-150 pickup marks new era, WSJ reports
  • Yum struggles in China a year after KFC crisis began, WSJ reports
  • Discovery (DISCA), Scripps Networks abandon merger talks, WSJ reports
  • Eminence backing Men’s Wearhouse (MW) bid for Jos. A. Bank (JOSB), WSJ reports
  • GM (GM) CFO says company close to reintroducing dividend, Reuters says


Worst might be over for Target (TGT) investors
Cisco (CSCO) shares could return 20%
Macy’s (M), Dick’s (DKS), Home Depot (HD), Lowe’s (LOW) could benefit from cold
Magna (MGA) could deliver returns of almost 30%
Titan International (TWI) could rebound in 2014
Drop presents entry point for Ford (F), Schlumberger (SLB), Armstrong World (AWI)
ZTE Corp. (ZTCOY), others think Apple (AAPL), Samsung (SSNLF)are vulnerable


Quantum (QTWW) files to sell 1.35M shares of common stock for holders
Talmer Bancorp (TLMR) files registration statement for proposed IPO
Teekay Offshore Partners (TOO) files to sell 1.75M common units for holders
UQM Technologies (UQM) files to sell $30M of common stock, warrants
UR-Energy (URG) files to sell 12.91M common shares for holders


via Zero Hedge Tyler Durden

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