Frontrunning: January 31

  • Even Obama’s fans has turning on him: “The Decline and Fall of ‘Hope and Change‘”
  • European Stocks Drop, Head for Worst January Since 2009 (BBG)
  • Euro-Area Inflation at 0.7% Builds Rate Pressure on ECB (BBG)
  • Japan’s Inflation Accelerates as Abe Seeks Wage Gains (BBG)
  • Unpossible – this is the USSA: Detroit Debt Proposal Favors Pension Funds (WSJ)
  • Keystone Report Said Likely to Disappoint Pipeline Foes (BBG)
  • YHOO still pretending someone cares about it: Yahoo says detected hacking attempt on email accounts (Reuters)
  • How Google’s Costly Motorola Maneuver May Pay Off (WSJ)
  • Mexico Surpassing Japan as No. 2 Auto Exporter to U.S.  (BBG)
  • Microsoft Seen Testing Insider Nadella’s Will to Revamp (BBG)
  • Top Obama aide predicts drama-free U.S. debt ceiling increase (Reuters)
  • The Dong fallout: Danish PM Blindsided as Ministers Quit in Goldman Spat (BBG)
  • U.S. Says Syria Delaying Chemical Disarmament (WSJ)
  • Emerging market funds lose $9 billion in past week (Reuters)


Overnight Media Digest


* Until this week, European emerging markets had largely dodged the vicious selloff that has swept through their peers elsewhere. But now they are cracking.

* Big banks are beginning to loosen their tight grip on lending, creating a new opening for consumer and business borrowing that could underpin a brightening economic outlook.

* Veteran Microsoft executive Satya Nadella has emerged as the leading candidate to be the software company’s next CEO, as directors wrestle with the role of Chairman Bill Gates.

* A potent mix of rising exports, consumer spending and business investment helped the U.S. economy end the year on solid footing.

* Holiday sales lifted Inc’s fourth-quarter revenue 20 percent over a year earlier, spurring profit but not enough to match Wall Street projections. The Seattle retailer’s shares tumbled in after-hours trading on the results and a disappointing outlook for its current quarter.

* Saks, under new ownership, is pushing into a higher luxury strata, but at the same time plans to expand its Off Fifth outlet stores-and muss them up a little.

* Google posted a 17 percent increase in revenue and a 17 percent increase in net income in the fourth quarter compared with the prior year, one day after it announced plans to sell its unprofitable Motorola smartphone unit to Lenovo Group Inc for $2.9 billion.

* Zynga Inc is making its biggest acquisition ever, pushing further into mobile videogames, while cutting its workforce for the third time in two years.



European Union banks may have to hire more employees to cope with stress tests by regulators, accounting firm PwC said. The European Banking Authority has been conducting stress tests regularly in the past but has faced criticism for being too soft.

New-home building in Britain last year hit its highest level since the financial crisis but remains far too low to meet a strong recovery in demand, according to data from the National House Building Council released on Friday. New home registrations in the UK increased by 28 percent in 2013 to 133,670, the highest since 2007.

Anglo-Dutch oil company Royal Dutch Shell has suspended its controversial Arctic drilling programme as part of a wider drive to cut spending and streamline operations following a major profit warning.

Zynga said it will acquire NaturalMotion, which has created games like “Clumsy Ninja” for Apple mobile devices, for $527 million in cash and stock in a bid to grow its mobile game revenue.

Serco said 2014 profit could be as much as 20 percent below forecasts, a sign that the cost of rebuilding the outsourcing group from high-profile government contract failures is continuing to take its toll.



* While Inc’s revenue rose 20 percent to $25.59 billion, the company announced on Thursday that it was considering raising prices by as much as 50 percent on its $79 Prime shipping program.

* Microsoft’s search for a new leader appears to be focusing increasingly on an internal candidate from the company, including Satya Nadella, a longtime executive who has led the company’s initiatives in cloud computing.

* In yet another reminder of the importance of using different passwords across different websites, Yahoo Inc said Thursday that attackers had attempted to gain access to Yahoo Mail accounts using usernames and passwords collected from a breach on a third-party site.

* Lenovo Group Ltd, already the world’s biggest PC maker, is a company in a hurry. It entered into a deal to buy IBM’s low-end server business that will remain in demand for years, and Motorola Mobility, which makes it the trusted partner of Google.

* Toyota Motor Corp has told its dealers to stop selling about 36,000 vehicles of its most popular models because a component on the heated seats does not comply with a federal safety standard for flame retardant, the automaker said on Thursday.

* Goldman Sachs Group Inc’s board granted its chief executive, Lloyd Blankfein, restricted shares worth $14.7 million as part of his pay package for 2013, according to a filing made public on Thursday.

* Libya’s sovereign investment fund has filed a lawsuit against Goldman Sachs Group Inc in London’s High Court, claiming that the bank made more than $1 billion in derivatives trades that became worthless, but left Goldman with a profit of $350 million.

* This year, a new kind of advertising – personalized and based on physical location down to a matter of feet – will greet fans in Times Square and MetLife Stadium, where the Super Bowl will be played this weekend.

* Eight years after its inception, the biggest private equity fund in history has yet to meet its own minimum expectations. The investment performance of the fund, a $21.7 billion war chest raised by the Blackstone Group LP, remains below a threshold that it must clear in order for Blackstone to start collecting profit from it, according to a disclosure on Thursday.

* As the economy shrugged off the effects of the government shutdown and debt standoff, economists said President Obama faced an uphill battle to burnish his economic legacy before leaving office.

* President Obama, supported by many Republicans and business groups, has met opposition from labor and many Democrats on his push for fast-track approval of trade deals with Pacific Rim nations and Europe.

* There are groundbreaking business deals. And then there are ones that threaten to break up governments. When Denmark gave the global financial giant Goldman Sachs Group Inc the go-ahead on Thursday to buy a stake in its state utility, the move was not exactly followed by a celebratory signing ceremony.

* Southwest Airlines Co and JetBlue Airways Corp said on Thursday that they had bought the takeoff and landing rights at Ronald Reagan National Airport in Washington that the Justice Department required American Airlines Group Inc and US Airways Group Inc to sell as a condition of their merger.

*, one of China’s biggest e-commerce companies, said in a regulatory filing on Thursday it plans to raise $1.5 billion this year in an initial public offering in the United States.

* Box, an online storage and document-sharing provider, has filed confidential paperwork to go public, a person briefed on the matter said on Thursday.

* The video camera maker, GoPro, known for its users’ adrenaline-soaked exploits has its sights set on becoming a media company.




* Ontario will hike its minimum wage for the first time in four years on June 1, opening a growing gap with other provinces and territories amid an uncertain economy. Premier Kathleen Wynne will raise the wage to C$11 from C$10.25, tying Ontario with Nunavut for the highest in the country.

* Canada’s electronic eavesdropping agency, Communications Security Establishment Canada, reportedly tracked the wireless devices of thousands of travellers by using information gleaned from free Internet service at a major Canadian airport. The revelation is contained in a top secret document retrieved by U.S. whistleblower Edward Snowden.

Reports in the business section:

* Ontario is demanding the federal government do more to protect automakers in a new free-trade agreement with South Korea, arguing the deal as it currently stands would “negatively impact” the industry in the province. Economic Development Minister Eric Hoskins says he wants Ottawa to secure protections similar to ones the United States received in its own deal with South Korea in 2011.

* Electronics retail giant Best Buy Canada is cutting 950 jobs at its namesake and Future Shop stores as it streamlines its business to take on tougher competition.


* Toronto city council’s final budget session played out much like the rest of this tumultuous term, with insults hurled across the chamber floor. In the end, Mayor Rob Ford managed to squeeze C$726,000 in immediate savings in a C$9.6-billion budget that passed 35 to 9 Thursday night, and which he ridiculed as “the worst budget that has ever been presented.”


* Some of Toronto’s biggest Bay Street law firms are now actively recruiting clients of Heenan Blaikie LLP as word spreads that the firm may soon take drastic action to deal with financial challenges.

* As anticipation builds over the imminent release of two major reports that could seal the fate of Keystone XL pipeline, Gary Doer, Canada’s ambassador to the United States, remains confident the long-delayed project is primed for presidential approval.



The Telegraph


Zynga, which is known as much for its struggles as a public company as for its hits such as Farmville, will acquire NaturalMotion, the company behind hit mobile games such as Clumsy Ninja for $527 million.


Business lending fell in December, Bank of England data showed on Thursday, in what business groups described as proof that corporate funding channels were “damaged”. Net lending to non-financial firms declined 1.9 billion pounds in December, following November’s sharp drop of 4.6 billion pounds, which represented the biggest fall since records began in 2011.

The Guardian


Santander UK will await clarification on new rules relating to capital levels and the “ringfencing” of banking business before it goes ahead with a flotation of its UK arm. The long-awaited listing of the UK business – first mooted in 2010 – has been deemed a medium-term prospect by the Spanish-based bank and is not expected to take place this year.


Hundreds of jobs are being lost at Barclays under changes in its corporate banking division, it has been announced. Around 400 posts will go, and the Unite union said a further 120 were being placed at risk this year.

The Times

ASTRAZENECA TURNS ITS BACK ON “DISEASES OF THE POOR” AstraZeneca has abandoned any scientific effort to search for new medicines to tackle many of the world’s deadliest diseases by shutting down its drug discovery work into neglected tropical diseases, tuberculosis and malaria. Britain’s second-largest drugs company has decided that infectious diseases are “not a priority” as Pascal Soriot, its chief executive, cuts costs and scrambles to halt a slide in profits.


The Serious Fraud Office has asked Parliament for an emergency cash injection of 19 million pounds in order that it can continue with blockbuster investigations and clean up bungled cases. The white collar crime-fighting agency said that it needed the money before the end of March to finance investigations into Libor-rigging, alleged bribery by Rolls-Royce in Asia and Barclays’ dealings with the Qatari Government in 2008.

Sky News


Strong growth in on-demand and home communication products helped BSkyB beat City forecasts despite growing competition for pay-television viewers, the company said.


Troubled outsourcing firm Serco has seen its shares drop 17 percent after it issued a profit warning. The company said its 2014 profit may be 20 percent lower than market forecasts, due to implementation of a business overhaul following contract disputes with its biggest revenue stream, the UK Government


Fly on The Wall 7:00 AM Market Snapshot


Domestic economic reports scheduled for today include:
Personal income for December reported at 8:30–consensus up 0.2%
Consumer spending for December reported at 8:30–consensus up 0.2%
Core PCE price index for December reported at 8:30–consensus up 0.1%
Chicago PMI business barometer for January reported at 9:45–consensus 59.5
UMich consumer sentiment final read for January reported at 9:55–consensus 81.0



CSC (CSC) upgraded to Neutral from Underweight at JPMorgan
Citrix (CTXS) upgraded to Overweight from Neutral at JPMorgan
Computer Programs (CPSI) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at B. Riley
Cracker Barrel (CBRL) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Miller Tabak
Domtar (UFS) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Deutsche Bank
EPL Oil & Gas (EPL) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Stifel
Ericsson (ERIC) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at UBS
Generac (GNRC) upgraded to Outperform from Neutral at RW Baird
Gigamon (GIMO) upgraded to Overweight from Equal Weight at Barclays
Glatfelter (GLT) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Deutsche Bank
Hillshire Brands (HSH) upgraded to Market Perform from Underperform at Wells Fargo
IDEX Corp. (IEX) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Brean Capital
ITT Educational (ESI) upgraded to Equal Weight from Underweight at Morgan Stanley
International Rectifier (IRF) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Citigroup
JDSU (JDSU) upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform at William Blair
Linear Technology (LLTC) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Citigroup
MainSource Financial (MSFG) upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform at Raymond James
Marathon Petroleum (MPC) upgraded to Outperform from In-Line at Imperial Capital
Netflix (NFLX) upgraded to Equal Weight from Underweight at Morgan Stanley
Newfield Exploration (NFX) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Stifel
PulteGroup (PHM) upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform at Raymond James
Raytheon (RTN) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Drexel Hamilton
SunCoke Energy Partners (SXCP) upgraded to Outperform from Neutral at Credit Suisse
Tetra Tech (TTEK) upgraded to Outperform from Neutral at RW Baird


ADT Corp. (ADT) downgraded to Hold from Buy at Stifel
ADTRAN (ADTN) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Goldman
AkzoNobel (AKZOY) downgraded to Neutral from Outperform at Exane BNP Paribas
CARBO Ceramics (CRR) downgraded to Sell from Neutral at Guggenheim
Capstead Mortgage (CMO) downgraded to Market Perform at Keefe Bruyette
Chef’s Warehouse (CHEF) downgraded to Hold from Buy at Canaccord
Deutsche Bank (DB) downgraded to Equal Weight from Overweight at Barclays
Kennametal (KMT) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Longbow
Midstates Petroleum (MPO) downgraded to Equal Weight at Morgan Stanley
Silicon Image (SIMG) downgraded to Hold from Buy at Needham
TIBCO (TIBX) downgraded to Underweight from Equal Weight at Barclays


AmREIT (AMRE) initiated with a Buy at SunTrust
Gas Natural (EGAS) initiated with a Hold at Wunderlich
Headwaters (HW) initiated with a Buy at Deutsche Bank


Zynga (ZNGA) to acquire NaturalMotion for about $527M, announced 15% workforce reduction
Sanofi (SNY) filed patent infringement suit in U.S. against Eli Lilly (LLY)
E-Trade (ETFC) announced Jefferies (JEF) alliance, increased access to IPO, secondaries
Amazon (AMZN) considering $20-$40 increase in Prime membership
Broadcom (BRCM) raises quarterly dividend by 9% to 12c per share
Chubb (CB) announced repurchase program of up to $1.5B of shares
Wesco Aircraft (WAIR) to acquire Haas Group for $550M
Chipotle (CMG) said strong traffic trend from Q4 continuing in Q1


Companies that beat consensus earnings expectations last night and today include:
Eastman Chemical (EMN), Minerals Technologies (MTX), Reinsurance Group (RGA), PerkinElmer (PKI), Manitowoc (MTW), Symetra Financial (SYA), Emulex (ELX), JDSU (JDSU), NetSuite (N), C.R. Bard (BCR), Robert Half (RHI), Chubb (CB), Broadcom (BRCM), Zynga (ZNGA), Wynn Resorts (WYNN)
Companies that missed consensus earnings expectations include:
Mattel (MAT), Validus (VR), Celadon Group (CGI), Ikanos (IKAN), Green Dot (GDOT), Brightcove (BCOV), McKesson (MCK), (AMZN), Google (GOOG)

Companies that matched consensus earnings expectations include:
MICROS (MCRS), Riverbed (RVBD), Virtusa (VRTU), Chipotle (CMG), Sterling Financial (STSA)


Microsoft (MSFT) preparing to name Satya Nadella CEO, may name Thompson chairman, Bloomberg reports
Lenovo (LNVGY) likely to receive regulatory approval for IBM (IBM), Google deals (GOOG), Reuters reports
Goldman Sachs (GS) sued by Libya’s sovereign wealth fund, FT reports
Rowan (RDC) battling out-of-control gas well in Gulf of Mexico, Bloomberg reports
China’s filed for a U.S. listing, Reuters reports
Blackstone (BX) hired to consider TI Automotive IPO or sale, Reuters reports
Target (TGT) representative guarded in U.S. panel briefing, Reuters reports


Celsus Therapeutics (CLTX) 1.126M share Secondary priced at $6.00
CytRx (CYTR) files to sell common stock
EXCO Resources (XCO) files to sell 135.35M shares of common stock for holders
Intra-Cellular (ITCI) 6.142M share Secondary priced at $17.50
Intrawest Resorts (SNOW) 15.625M share IPO priced at $12.00
Malibu Boats (MBUU) 7.143M share IPO priced at $14.00
Medley Capital (MCC) files to sell 6M shares of common stock
Montage Technology (MONT) 5.3M share Secondary priced at $21.00
Rexnord (RXN) 15M share Secondary priced at $25.75
Rocket Fuel (FUEL) 5M share Secondary priced at $61.00
SMTP, Inc. (SMTP) 1.6M share Secondary priced at $6.25
Southcross Energy Partners (SXE) 8M share Secondary priced at $16.50
Top Image Systems (TISA) files to sell ordinary shares
Trevena (TRVN) 8.5M share IPO priced at $7.00
Tsakos Energy (TNP) files to sell common stock
Ultragenyx Pharmaceuticals (rare) 5.76M share IPO priced at $21.00
XPO Logistics (XPO) 15M share Secondary priced at $25.00


via Zero Hedge Tyler Durden

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