Initial Jobless Claims Miss; Back Above 8-Month Average

At 339,000 initial jobless claims, this is the 3rd miss in thelast 4 weeks and back above the 8-month average suggesting that the best in the layoff trajectory of this 'recovery' is over. Continuing claims remains slid modestly and, of course, emergency benefits remain at zero. Of course, as we showed here, it is not layoffs (and thus initial jobless claims) that matters – what is crucial is that there is no hiring



As the chart below shows, using the most recent JOLTS data, while historically the hires and cumulative job change numbers have tracked each other almost perfectly, in the current environment, hiring is far below where it should be if one were to believe the headline job numbers.


via Zero Hedge Tyler Durden

A.M. Links: Sebelius Visited White House Many Times Ahead of Exchange Launch, Comcast To Buy Time Warner Cable, Rand Paul’s Team Denies He Stole Suit

  • Documents show that Health and Human Services Secretary
    Kathleen Sebelius visited the White House many times ahead of the

    Obamacare exchange launch
    . Sebelius has claimed that President
    Obama did not know about problems with before its
  • Afghanistan has released
    65 prisoners
    despite warnings from the U.S. that some of them
    are linked to attacks on Americans.

  • Comcast Corp.
    has confirmed that it will buy Time Warner Cable
    Inc. for around $45.2 billion.
  • Sen. Rand Paul’s team has denied that the
    suit he filed against Obama
    over NSA surveillance was
  • 60 percent of Americans have a
    negative view of Russia
    , the highest since 1994.
  • The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons says
    only 11 percent
    of the Assad regime’s chemical weapons have
    left Syria.

Follow Reason and Reason 24/7 on
Twitter, and like us on Facebook.
can also get the top stories mailed to
up here.

from Hit & Run

If Retail Sales Miss, Expect To See A Lot More Of This Chart

Now that we have entered the Post Taper world, at least until the data gets so horrendous that the Fed is forced to admit defeat and resumes Untapering, here is a cliff notes version of the “reality” narrative as spun by the media and pundits: if the data is “good” it is because of the recovery; if the data is “bad” it is due to the weather.

Which is why when retail sales are reported in a few minutes, we expect nothing less than more weather scapegoating. In fact, courtesy of Guggenheim’s Scott Minerd we can almost predict with surgical accuracy just how bad the retail sales miss will be based on the series’ correlation to average January temperatures. Because, you see, when it is snowing outside people just don’t use their computer to go to and order negative margin loss leaders for Jeff Bezos…

Minerd’s take

The effects of December’s frigid temperatures have already been seen in recent U.S. economic data releases. With January temperatures more than three degrees colder than average, it is likely that economic activity will continue to be depressed in the first month of the year. Retail sales show a particularly strong correlation with temperatures in January, suggesting that data for January will likely show restrained growth.

Of course, on the off chance that retail sales should pull a Services ISM and surge, beating expectations, the narrative will quickly be flip-flopped to where the recovery is so strong and the $17 trillion US economy so resilient, it even managed to overcome the effect of snow in the winter.


via Zero Hedge Tyler Durden

Greek Unemployment Hits New Record; People Employed Drops To Record Low; 61.4% Of Youth Without A Job

Something funny happened on the Grecovery: the Grecession…. Actually, make that the Gepression. In a nutshell – according to Elstat, Greek unemployment in November rose to a record high on both a seasonally adjusted and unadjusted basis with 28% of the labor force without a job, the number of people unemployed rose to a record high 1.382 million, even as the number of labor inactive people keeps rising, hitting 3.377 million and on its way to catch up with the rapidly declining 3.55 million people employed, which incidentally in November also posted a new record low. And tying it all together was the Greek youth unemployment rate which posted a record high for November at 61.4%, and after a few months of declines which gave some hope that things are indeed improving is back to its old, soaring ways.

Greek employment table:

Record low number employed:


Record high number unemployed:


Record high unemployment:


Gerek youth unemployment: the latest trend is no longer your friend.


via Zero Hedge Tyler Durden

Frontrunning: February 13

  • Comcast Agrees to Buy Time Warner Cable for $45.2 Billion (BBG)
  • Italian leadership squabble weighs as shares halt hot run (Reuters)
  • Russia says Syria aid draft could open door to military action (Reuters)
  • China trust assets rise 46% in 2013  (WSJ), China Trust Assets Surge to $1.8 Trillion Amid Default Risks  (BBG)
  • Australian Unemployment Jumps to 10-Year High (BBG)
  • Seven banks face new forex market-rigging claims in lawsuit (FT)
  • Tea Party Scorns Republicans as House Lifts Debt Ceiling (BBG)
  • Peso plunge forces Argentine soya hoarding (FT)
  • BNP Paribas Net Falls After $1.1 Billion U.S. Legal Charge (BBG)
  • Hacking Joins Curriculum as Businesses Seek Cyber Skills (BBG)
  • Android’s ‘Open’ System Has Limits (WSJ)
  • Blackstone-Fueled Single-Family Home Boom Lifts Chicago (BBG)
  • Turkey Dec. Current Account Gap More Than Doubles (BBG)
  • Yes, There’s a Pilot Shortage: Salaries Start at $21,000 (BBG)
  • Krawcheck Says Women on Wall Street Have ‘Gone Backwards’ (BBG)
  • MIT Mistakenly Tells Some Applicants They’ve Been Admitted (BBG)


Overnight Media Digest


* Comcast Corp has agreed to buy Time Warner Cable for $45 billion in stock, in a deal that would combine the nation’s two biggest cable operators. With the proposed deal, Comcast almost certainly ends an eight-month takeover battle for TWC waged by Charter Communications Inc and its biggest shareholder, Liberty Media Corp.

* Apple Inc said it has verified that its suppliers do not use tantalum, a key metal used in electronic components, secured from sources that use the mineral’s sale to provide funds for violent armed groups in war-torn parts of Africa.

* Dropbox Inc, the fast-growing online storage company, plans to name Google Inc executive Dennis Woodside as its first chief operating officer. Woodside, a Google veteran of more than 10 years most recently ran the Motorola Mobility handset unit.

* Newly discovered documents had revealed that Google Inc has imposed strict restrictions on device makers that want access to its search engine, YouTube or the more than one million apps in its Play Store. In return, the device makers must feature other Google apps and set Google search as the default for users, according to the agreements.

* Verizon Wireless is easing into the cellphone market’s price war, cutting rates on some of its data plans by as much as 12.5 percent. Customers now paying $80 a month for a smartphone plan with 500 megabytes of data can get that same service for $10 less a month, among other offers.

* BNP Paribas SA Thursday announced an unexpected slump in fourth-quarter profit after it set aside a $1.1 billion provision against possible penalties for allegedly violating U.S. laws that restrict financial transactions with countries under economic sanctions.

* On Thursday, cable companies Comcast Corp, Time Warner Cable Inc and Charter Communications Inc along with tech giants Google Inc and Microsoft Corp , are expected to announce a new coalition to bolster efforts to expand access to WiFi.

* Lenovo Group Ltd warned its earnings in the short-term could be hurt by its acquisition of Google Inc’s Motorola Mobility handset business, even as the Chinese personal-computer maker reported a 30 percent jump in fiscal third-quarter net profit.

* Merck & Co Inc’s effort to sell its portfolio of well-known consumer brands including Coppertone sunscreen and Claritin allergy pills is kicking into high gear, with big consumer and healthcare industry players expected to put in bids that could top $10 billion.

* Avon Products Inc is in advanced talks with federal authorities to settle a long-running bribery probe that has dogged the beauty products company for years and could cost tens of millions of dollars to resolve.

* A giant solar-power project officially opening this week in the California desert is the first of its kind, and may be among the last, in part because of growing evidence that the technology it uses is killing birds. The $2.2 billion solar farm with nearly 350,000 mirrors, each the size of a garage door, that reflect sunlight onto boilers atop towers, creating steam that drives power generators.

* Firefox, the open-source browser that sparred with advertisers over tracking Web users, will soon display advertising. The non-profit Mozilla Foundation, which owns Firefox, said Wednesday it would sell a small number of ads, which will appear on new browser tabs for new users.

* Apple Inc appears to be scaling back its lofty TV industry plans. The company is talking to media companies and pay TV distributors including Time Warner Cable Inc about launching a revamped Apple-branded TV set-top box in coming months, according to people familiar with the matter.

* Deere & Co, the world’s largest seller of farm machinery, said Wednesday it expects U.S. tax breaks that helped propel sales of farm equipment in recent years to be reinstated later this year.

* Chinese cosmetics retailer has tapped banks for an initial public offering in the United States, said people familiar with the company’s plans. The IPO might raise about $600 million, at a valuation above $3 billion, and is expected to come later this year.

* Total SA was hit by the same mix of declining refining margins and high exploration costs that have slammed its European rivals in the fourth quarter, causing its earnings to slide.

* Cisco Systems Inc continues to face sagging demand for some important products, a problem exacerbated in its fiscal second quarter by some faulty memory chips. The company on Wednesday reported a 55 percent drop in income for the quarter, blaming a $655 million charge to cover the costs of addressing the memory-chip problem.

* Samsung Electronics Co is revamping its push into the U.S. enterprise and government sector, adding further pressure to the new leadership at the company that once dominated that space – BlackBerry Ltd. Samsung recently won an order for roughly 7,000 smartphones from the U.S. Army and is close to securing an order for several thousand devices from the U.S. National Security Agency, according to a person familiar with the matter.

* Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is pressing Canada for subsidies to keep production at a minivan factory in Windsor, Ontario, a move that underscores the clout global auto makers wield when bargaining with governments eager for manufacturing jobs.

* The chief executive of SoftBank Corp said its Sprint Corp wireless subsidiary needs to make another acquisition in the United States if it is to achieve its ambition of shaking up the country’s mobile-phone market.

* The Obama administration released voluntary cybersecurity guidelines for utilities, banks and other crucial industries Wednesday, framing them as a basic step companies can take to secure their networks against hackers and other online threats.



The Bank of England indicated on Wednesday that interest rates were unlikely to rise before next year’s election, as it unveiled bullish economic forecasts that support Finance Minister George Osborne’s claim that the economic recovery is on track.

Billionaire Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway is in talks with Graham Holdings, formerly The Washington Post Co, to swap a 28 percent stake in the media company for control of one of its yet-to-be-formed units.

Two of the leading Bitcoin exchanges halted withdrawals after being hit by attacks from unknown computer hackers, further damaging the prospects of the virtual currency winning mainstream acceptance.

Cisco Systems posted an 8 percent slide in quarterly revenue as it struggled to cope with a slump in demand from emerging markets and a product transition that hit sales of its core router business.

Cadbury chocolate and Oreo cookie seller Mondelez International posted lower-than-expected fourth-quarter earnings and sales as it struggled to grow amid tough economic conditions for food companies.



* Comcast Corp will announce a deal to acquire Time Warner Cable in an all-stock deal that will unite the biggest and second largest cable television operators in the country, according to people briefed on the matter.

* Senate Republican leaders rescued a measure to raise the nation’s borrowing limit, overcoming a threatened filibuster to clear the way for final approval.

* More than 1.1 million people signed up for health insurance through federal and state marketplaces in January, according to the government, and the number of young people enrolling increased faster than that of any other group.

* Toyota Motor Corp is recalling all of the 1.9 million newest-generation Prius vehicles it has sold worldwide because of a programming error that could cause their gas-electric hybrid systems to shut down, the automaker said Wednesday.

* The owner of WQHT-FM, the hip-hop station better known as Hot 97, is buying WBLS-FM and one other station for $131 million in cash, in a deal that will align some of New York’s most popular radio stations specializing in black music.

* The American Bankers Association announced on Wednesday that it was dropping its lawsuit to block parts of the Volcker Rule from going into effect after regulators modified what the group found most objectionable.

* Kroger Co, the biggest supermarket operator in the United States, faces a lawsuit claiming it deceived consumers by marketing a store brand as products from humanely raised chickens when the animals were raised under standard commercial farming.

* George Canellos, the former co-chief of enforcement at the Securities and Exchange Commission, announced on Wednesday that he would be joining Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy as a partner and global head of the firm’s litigation department.

* The Walt Disney Co said on Wednesday that it plans to partner with the technology accelerator TechStars to advise and encourage 10 startups. Each company will receive $120,000 and work with Disney leaders like Chief Executive Robert Iger for three months starting June 30.

* A total of 131 CEOs in the United States, mostly at public companies, departed their posts in January, the highest monthly total since February 2010 and 15.9 percent higher than the same period last year, according to findings from Challenger, Gray & Christmas, an outplacement firm.

* Standard Chartered Plc, the British bank that earns most of its profit in Asia, is prepping its Swiss private bank for a sale as it prunes its non-core operations, a spokeswoman confirmed Wednesday.

* Grupo Bimbo, a large Mexican baking company, agreed on Wednesday to buy Canada Bread, a baking company based in Toronto that is 90 percent owned by Maple Leaf Foods, for $1.67 billion.

* The French specialty materials maker Imerys SA said Wednesday that it had signed an agreement to acquire Amcol International Corp for $1.6 billion in cash and the assumption of debt.

* Société Générale said on Wednesday that it had swung to a profit in the fourth quarter, as it booked fewer one-time items than it did a year earlier. The French bank also said it would raise its dividend.

* Lenovo Group Ltd, the world’s biggest maker of personal computers, reported Thursday it had made progress in its plan to expand beyond PCs, even before a planned acquisition of Motorola Mobility.




* A crackdown on fake transit passes has resulted in dozens of arrests and almost 200 criminal charges. Most of those arrested were charged with knowingly using fake Metropasses, but seven are accused of selling them.

* There was some light rumbling under Lake Ontario late Wednesday caused by a minor earthquake. The U.S. Geological Survey says the 2.9 magnitude quake happened just before midnight, 40 kilometres southwest of Cobourg, Ontario.

Reports in the business section:

* Chrysler Group LLC is proposing a major $3.6-billion retooling of not one but two Canadian auto plants as it enters high-stakes negotiations with the federal and Ontario governments for financial assistance.

* Husky Energy Inc said it sold one million barrels of Canadian oil to Indian Oil Corp, a state-owned refinery, in late 2013, a move that boosts the company’s ability to capture world pricing and helps open the door for more Canadian producers to ship crude to Asia.


* Two teenage boys were charged in Quebec Wednesday with first-degree murder and conspiracy in the deaths of two young sisters, aged 17 and 22, and the teenage boyfriend of the younger sister.

* Finance minister Jim Flaherty made a deliberate decision to unfairly shortchange Ontario to the tune of $641 million in the federal budget, Premier Kathleen Wynne charged Wednesday.


* The U.S. federal budget has closed a loophole offering a shortcut to wealthy foreign investors, which may impact Canada’s luxury housing markets in Vancouver and Toronto, already impacted by changes in immigration policy.

* Kinross Gold Corp surprised investors on Wednesday by slashing its gold reserves by a staggering 33 percent as it focuses on mining high-grade ounces in a low-price environment.




– Part of the southern Chinese Guangzhou Baiyun Airport will be included in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Free Trade Zone (FTZ), a source told the official paper. This would increase the zone’s size to over 930 square kilometres, around 30 times larger than the Shanghai FTZ.


– China’s securities regulator has raised the asset requirement threshold for bank-broker partnerships to 50 billion yuan ($8.25 billion). The new regulation will come into effect from Feb. 17.


– Shanghai will draw on international practices to develop an attractive tax policy for its pilot Free Trade Zone (FTZ), the city’s tax authorities said on Wednesday.


– China’s Prime Minister Li Keqiang emphasised the fight against air pollution and regulation of medical equipment at a State Council executive meeting on Wednesday.



The Telegraph


Royal Bank of Scotland has been warned by one of the world’s main ratings agencies that its credit is at risk of being downgraded following the surprise revelation last month of weaker than expected capital levels.

Moody’s said it had put RBS’s debt “on review for downgrade” pointing to the taxpayer-backed lender’s “weaker than previously anticipated regulatory capital position”.

The Guardian


The Bank of England has signalled it will keep interest rates on hold at the historic low of 0.5 percent for at least another year, despite forecasting strong growth of 3.4 percent in 2014.


The chief executive of Royal Bank of Scotland, Ross McEwan, has made it clear the bank will adapt its business for an independent Scotland.


Britain’s Serious Fraud Office has arrested two people and raided five homes as part of its investigation into alleged bribery and corruption at the engineering group Rolls-Royce .


India plans to pull out of talks with Vodafone over a $2 billion tax dispute, in a move that will prolong a row that is already more than six-years old and increase uncertainty among investors in Asia’s third-largest economy.


The pressure on Morrisons Chief Executive Dalton Philips and Chairman Ian Gibson intensified on Wednesday amid rumours that the Bradford-based supermarket could be subject to a bid.

The Times


A faultless 15-year record of profit growth at Reckitt Benckiser was shattered yesterday when the household products empire revealed that it had been hit by weak emerging markets and a slump in American sales of drug addiction treatments.


Long-suffering investors in Tullow Oil were urged to “be realistic” yesterday after the explorer revealed that another of its wells had come up dry.


One of a clutch of delivery companies to have made bold claims that it would profit from the decline in Royal Mail is set to be floated on the stock market – for the second time in ten years.

DX Group is expected to say today that it plans to raise £170 million on AIM in an initial public offering that would value the company at up to 180 million pounds ($298.53 million).

The Independent


H&M will open its first store in India this year as the world’s second-biggest fashion retailer becomes the latest to take advantage of the opening of its economy to foreign operators.


Fly On The Wall 7:00 AM Market Snapshot


Just before 7 a.m. ET:
S&P: -9.00 vs. fair value
Dow: -74.00 vs. fair value
Nasdaq: -19.00 vs. fair value


Domestic economic reports scheduled for today include:
Retail sales for January at 8:30–consensus -0.1%; ex-autos & gas consensus +0.2%
Jobless claims for week of Feb. 8 at 8:30–consensus 330K
Business inventories for December at 10:00–consensus +0.5%



Approach Resources (AREX) upgraded to Outperform from Sector Perform at Iberia
athenahealth (ATHN) upgraded to Market Perform from Underperform at Cowen
Children’s Place (PLCE) upgraded to Overweight from Neutral at Piper Jaffray (CTRP) upgraded to Overweight from Equal Weight at Morgan Stanley
Helix Energy (HLX) upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform at Raymond James
NVIDIA (NVDA) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at B. Riley
Nanosphere (NSPH) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Roth Capital


Angie’s List (ANGI) downgraded to Hold from Buy at Stifel
Angie’s List (ANGI) downgraded to Market Perform from Strong Buy at Raymond James
Avago (AVGO) downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at JMP Securities
Depomed (DEPO) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Roth Capital
EastGroup Properties (EGP) downgraded to Reduce from Neutral at SunTrust
Itron (ITRI) downgraded to Hold from Buy at Canaccord
Itron (ITRI) downgraded to Sell from Hold at Brean Capital
Itron (ITRI) downgraded to Underweight from Neutral at JPMorgan
Lorillard (LO) downgraded to Hold from Buy at Jefferies
Sempra Energy (SRE) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Citigroup
The Medicines Co. (MDCO) downgraded to Hold from Buy at Jefferies
Titan Machinery (TITN) downgraded to Underperform from Neutral at Longbow


Acxiom (ACXM) initiated with a Market Perform at Wells Fargo
Chimerix (CMRX) initiated with a Buy at Canaccord
CoStar Group (CSGP) initiated with an Outperform at Wells Fargo
Coach (COH) initiated with a Buy at Nomura
Columbia Sportswear (COLM) initiated with a Buy at Nomura
CoreLogic (CLGX) initiated with an Outperform at Wells Fargo
Costco (COST) initiated with a Buy at Nomura
Craft Brew (BREW) assumed with a Neutral at Citigroup
Deckers Outdoor (DECK) initiated with a Neutral at Nomura
Dun & Bradstreet (DNB) initiated with a Market Perform at Wells Fargo
Equifax (EFX) initiated with a Market Perform at Wells Fargo
FactSet (FDS) initiated with a Market Perform at Wells Fargo
Fair Isaac (FICO) initiated with a Market Perform at Wells Fargo
Gartner (IT) initiated with an Outperform at Wells Fargo
Hanesbrands (HBI) initiated with a Neutral at Nomura
IHS Inc. (IHS) initiated with an Outperform at Wells Fargo
Iconix Brand (ICON) initiated with a Buy at Nomura
J.C. Penney (JCP) initiated with a Reduce at Nomura
Kohl’s (KSS) initiated with a Buy at Nomura
lululemon (LULU) initiated with a Buy at Nomura
MSCI (MSCI) initiated with an Outperform at Wells Fargo
Macy’s (M) initiated with a Buy at Nomura
McGraw Hill Financial (MHFI) initiated with a Market Perform at Wells Fargo
Moody’s (MCO) initiated with a Market Perform at Wells Fargo
Nielsen (NLSN) initiated with an Outperform at Wells Fargo
Nike (NKE) initiated with a Buy at Nomura
Nordstrom (JWN) initiated with a Neutral at Nomura
PVH Corp. (PVH) initiated with a Buy at Nomura
Ralph Lauren (RL) initiated with a Neutral at Nomura
Ross Stores (ROST) initiated with a Buy at Nomura
Sempra Energy (SRE) initiated with an Outperform at Wells Fargo
Solera (SLH) initiated with a Market Perform at Wells Fargo
Stage Stores (SSI) initiated with a Neutral at Nomura
Stein Mart (SMRT) initiated with a Buy at Canaccord
TJX (TJX) initiated with a Buy at Nomura
Target (TGT) initiated with a Neutral at Nomura
Tiffany (TIF) initiated with a Buy at Nomura
VF Corp. (VFC) initiated with a Buy at Nomura
Verisk Analytics (VRSK) initiated with an Outperform at Wells Fargo
Wal-Mart (WMT) initiated with a Buy at Nomura


Time Warner Cable (TWC) to merge with Comcast (CMCSA) in $45.2B deal
AMEC to offer $16 per share, 0.8998 shares to acquire Foster Wheeler (FWLT)
ACCC took action against Pfizer Australia (PFE) for alleged anti-competitive conduct
Whole Foods (WFM) fell 7% after reporting earnings,revenue that missed estimates while cutting its fiscal 2014 profit outlook and lowering high end of sales growth expectations
Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A) may acquire unformed Graham Holdings’ (GHC) subsidiary
Apache (APA) sold Argentina operations to YPF Sociedad (YPF) for $852M
Colfax (CFX) to acquire Victor Technologies from Irving Place Capital for $947.3M
Teleflex (TFX) announced worldwide recall of ISIS HVT Tracheal Tube
CBS (CBS) announced $1.5B accelerated share repurchase
Cheesecake Factory (CAKE) sees return of about all free cash flow to holders in FY14


Companies that beat consensus earnings expectations last night and today include:
Orbital Sciences (ORB), Encana (ECA), Higher One (ONE), Quintiles (Q), (NTES),  CenturyLink (CTL), NVIDIA (NVDA), Cohu (COHU), MetLife (MET), SunPower (SPWR), Ruckus Wireless (RKUS), Famous Dave’s (DAVE), Skechers (SKX), Cisco (CSCO), Applied Materials (AMAT), NetApp (NTAP), Forrester (FORR), CBS (CBS)

Companies that missed consensus earnings expectations include:
Calpine (CPN), Walker & Dunlop (WD), Kinross Gold (KGC), General Cable (BGC), Morningstar (MORN), LeapFrog (LF), Enbridge Energy (EEP), Zillow (Z), iPass (IPAS), Manning & Napier (MN), Intrepid Potash (IPI), Mondelez (MDLZ), Whole Foods (WFM), B&G Foods (BGS)

Companies that matched consensus earnings expectations include:
Nielsen (NLSN), Student Transportation (STB), Digital Cinema (DCIN), LivePerson (LPSN), Tangoe (TNGO), Blackbaud (BLKB), American Equity (AEL)


Comcast (CMCSA) looking to step into Netflix (NFLX) streaming territory, WSJ reports
Google’s (GOOG) Android comes with restrictions for device makers, WSJ reports
Nielsen (NLSN) faces intense competition measuring online viewers, WSJ reports
Avon Products (AVP) in talks to settle bribery probe, WSJ reports
Winter weather forces automakers (F, GM,TM, HMC) to increase discounting, Reuters reports
Verizon (VZ) Wireless prepares price cuts, aims to close call centers, Re/code reports
Dropbox hires Google (GOOG) executive as COO, WSJ reports
KKR (KKR), Apax said to be mulling bid for Telesat, Bloomberg reports
Merck (MRK) consumer-brand portfolio could fetch $10B, WSJ reports


Amedica (AMDA) 3.5M share IPO priced at $5.75
AtriCure (ATRC) files to sell common stock for holders
Booz Allen (BAH) files to sell 7.35M common shares for Carlyle affiliates
Colfax (CFX) files to sell 6.5M shares of common stock
Enzymotec (ENZY) files to sell 4M shares of common stock for holders
GenVec (GNVC) files to sell $10M shares of common stock
Installed Building Products (IBP) 7.45M share IPO priced at $11.00
MacroGenics (MGNX) 3M share Secondary priced at $36.50
PTC Therapeutics (PTCT) 4.49M share Secondary priced at $24.50


via Zero Hedge Tyler Durden

Risk Off

With so much of the recent bad news roundly ignored or simply “priced in” and blamed on the snow, it is unknown just what it is that catalyzed the overnight round of risk-offness, but whatever the ultimate factor, it first dragged the Nikkei lower by 1.8%, as we noted previously, then sent the SHCOMP down by 0.55%, then ultimately dragged the USDJPY below the key 102 support area which in turn pulled US equity futures to set the scene for a red open (with no POMO and no Yellen testimony today which also was canceled due to snow), and, putting it all together, suddenly Europe too is back on the scene, with a blow out in Italian yields driven by the realization that the Letta government is on the edge of collapse, in a deja vu moment to those hot summers of 2011 and 2012.

Granted, the yield on the Italian 10 Year has about 3-4% higher to go before the full sense of imminent European doom returns, but it all starts with minor momentum inversions, and considering that the OMT is no longer a credible backstop as Deutsche explained yesterday following its official exposure as an emperor without clothes by the GCC, all the world needs now is for the European crisis to return full bore, just as Japan is scrambling to justify the failure of Abenomics, the EMs are on the edge of another risk off implosion, China is tapering (at least on the surface), and shadow bank blows up are just around the corner to make it all really exciting, and finally geopolitical is just around the corner.

Headline bulletin from RanSquawk and Bloomberg

  • Disappointing financial earnings and post-rally profit-taking sees European equities lower.
  • ECB forecasters sees growth risks tilted to the downside and have lowered their inflation forecasts.
  • EUR sees notable outperformance after breaking through 1.3650, the 50 DMA at 1.3655 and talk of Asian offers at 1.3640.
  • Looking ahead for the session, participants will get the chance to digest the release of US Retail Sales, Weekly Jobless data, US 30yr TIPS announcement and USD 16bln 30y bond auction.

Market Re-Cap

Less than impressive financial earnings and profit-taking from the recent rally has seen European equities trade lower across the board throughout the session. Notable underperformers are BNP Paribas (-3.83%) and Lloyds Banking Group (-4.74%) who are leading the way lower for the financial sector. With the FTSE 100 under heavy selling pressure following Rolls-Royce (-14%) and Tate & Lyle (-16%) less than impressive earnings reports.

The ECB monthly report revealed that forecasters see growth risks tilted to the downside. This initially prompted some weakness in EUR. However, EUR/USD soared approximately 20 minutes later by just under 50 pips after breaking through resistance at 1.3650 and the 50DMA at 1.3655 as well as being subject to Asian offers at 1.3640.

In fixed income markets, bunds are seen better bid following the move lower in equities, political instability in Italy and the ECB forecasts which revealed the bank sees 2014 HICP inflation at 1.1% from prev. forecast of 1.5%. Elsewhere, the Short-Sterling curve is seen flatter this morning as participants take profits from yesterday’s
aggressive QIR inspired steepening.

Asian Headlines

China are said to target a slower pace of exports this year, with 7.5% export growth in 2014. (BBG) This is despite exports rising 10.6% Y/Y in January, indicating the Chinese authorities expect a slowdown in international trade.

EU & UK Headlines

ECB forecasters sees growth risks tilted to the downside, bulletin echoes Feb. 6 policy statement by Draghi

– Sees inflation risks broadly balanced for 2014, 2015, somewhat to downside for 2016.
– Sees Eurozone 2016 GDP growth 1.7%, longer-term 1.8% (1.7% in Q4).
– Eurozone 2014 GDP growth 1.0% (1.0% in Q4), 2015 GDP growth 1.5% (1.5% in Q4).
– Eurozone 2016 HICP inflation seen at 1.7%, longer-term inflation seen at 1.9% (1.9% in Q4).
– Eurozone 2015 HICP inflation 1.4% (1.6% in Q4).
– Eurozone 2014 HICP inflation 1.1% (1.5% in Q4 forecast).

ECB’s Coene said a drop in CPI is not sufficient to force ECB action and that they need more information to see whether to cut rate. (DJN)

Italian government coalition partner Alfano says he will continue to support PM Letta if he has backing of his party and if centre-left withdraws backing from Letta it must explain its reasons openly. Alfano went on to say will evaluate whether to continue in government with centre-left leader Renzi if PM Letta loses support of his party. (RTRS)

BoE’s Dale said does not know what will happen in rates, but economic profile looks good in 2015 and that market pricing for 2015 rate rise looks reasonable. (BBG/BBC) Following yesterday’s inflation report, SocGen now expect the BoE to raise the key rate in Q1 2015 from previously forecast Q3 2015. (BBG)


Financials underperformed since the get-go in Europe, following less than impressive earnings by BNP Paribas and Lloyds. Also, Austrian listed Raiffeisen Bank came under heavy selling pressure amid renewed concerns over Hungary, with EUR/HUF bid as market participants continued to fret over potential rise in loan losses after an adviser to the EU’s top court said that Hungary’s courts can force banks to replace unfair contract terms for customers holding approx. USD 15bln of foreign-currency loans. In terms of other notable movers, Rolls-Royce shares fell over 10% after the company said that in 2014 it expects a pause in revenue and profit growth, reflecting offsetting trends.


USD/JPY and EUR/CHF traded lower this morning, amid general risk averse sentiment, with option related flow linked to tomorrow’s large expiries in USD/JPY at 101.50/102.50 also said to have contributed to the downward bias. Looking elsewhere, EUR/HUF surged this morning after Hungarian Central Bank monetary policy director Palotai said council is to evaluate HUF exchange rate at next rate meeting. Of note, analysts at Barclays noted yesterday that the weak HUF is likely to lead the National Bank of Hungary (MNB) to suspend its easing cycle after a small final interest rate cut this month.


Goldman Sachs see downside for gold prices in 2014 due to US growth rebounding, forecasting a USD 1,050/oz price by the end of 2014. (BBG)

IEA raises 2014 global oil demand forecasts on developed nations, with demand to rise 1.4% to 92.6mln bpd in 2014. (BBG)

According to an NOC spokesman protesters have shut Libya’s pipeline from the El Sharara oilfield to the Zawiya port, with the impact on production still unclear. (RTRS)


via Zero Hedge Tyler Durden

Andrew Napolitano on a New Assault on Freedom of the Press

Last week, a little noticed
clash took place on Capitol Hill involving the fundamental values
underlying the First Amendment. The issue was the lawfulness of
publishing the secrets that were given to reporters by former
National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden. Rep. Mike
Rogers (R-Mich.) Rogers summoned the FBI director before his House
committee to float a truly novel and pernicious theory of First
Amendment law, demanding that publishing classified secrets be
considered a crime if the publisher was paid for his work. Andrew
Napolitano points out that if the owners of and reporters at
The Guardian of London or The New York Times or
The Washington Post, who publicly revealed the secrets
Snowden gave them, were paid for their work, the Rogers argument
goes, they, too, could be prosecuted for espionage.

from Hit & Run

Brickbat: The Few, the Proud

The Marine Corps
has ordered the Marine
Corps Times
, an independent newspaper, removed from
checkout lines at base exchange stores. The paper reports that
officials are refusing to say who ordered the move or whether the
Marine Corps commandant’s office was involved. The paper has
published numerous stories over the past year on allegations that
the commandant, Gen. Jim Amos, used undue command influence to
secure the punishment of Marines accused of urinating on the
corpses of Taliban fighters.

from Hit & Run

Japanese Stocks Down Over 450 Points From Yellen Top; Dow -150 From Today’s Highs

S&P 500 futures remain up 15 points on the week but have retraced 16 points from today’s highs; Dow futures are down 150 points from today’s highs; and Nikkei 225 futures are down almost 500 points from their Yellen-Tuesday peak (and down 200 on the week) as USDJPY fades back towards the critical 102.00 level. Emerging Market FX is fading rapidly also.

NKY -450 from Yellen highs on Tuesday as USDJPY slides…


S&P -16 from today’s highs…


Dow -150 from today’s highs…


Charts: Bloomberg


via Zero Hedge Tyler Durden

Japanese Stocks Down Over 450 Points From Yellen Top; Dow -150 From Today's Highs

S&P 500 futures remain up 15 points on the week but have retraced 16 points from today’s highs; Dow futures are down 150 points from today’s highs; and Nikkei 225 futures are down almost 500 points from their Yellen-Tuesday peak (and down 200 on the week) as USDJPY fades back towards the critical 102.00 level. Emerging Market FX is fading rapidly also.

NKY -450 from Yellen highs on Tuesday as USDJPY slides…


S&P -16 from today’s highs…


Dow -150 from today’s highs…


Charts: Bloomberg


via Zero Hedge Tyler Durden