Frontrunning: February 3

Frontrunning: February 3
  • Emerging-Market Rout Seen Enduring on Low Real Rates (BBG)
  • After rocky January, markets eye data and central banks (Reuters)
  • Europe will feel the pain of emerging markets  (FT)
  • Lloyds delays dividend prospect after mis-selling charge (Reuters)
  • Snow Set to Snarl New York Commute as U.S. Flights Halted (BBG)
  • Rate Decision to Drive Yellen’s Early Agenda  (Hilsenrath)
  • Thai protesters move to downtown Bangkok in bid to topple PM (Reuters)
  • China says Japan’s ‘hype’ on air defence zone spreads tension (Reuters)
  • Hedge funds seek 1.8 billion euros damages from members of Porsche’s owning family (Reuters)
  • Euro dogged by ECB talk, emerging markets sell-off grinds on (Reuters)
  • N.J. Governor Christie aides face subpoena deadline in bridge scandal probe (Reuters)
  • Buoyant Germany boosts eurozone manufacturing (FT)
  • Kissinger Says Asia Is Like 19th-Century Europe on Use of Force (BBG)
  • US banks under pressure to step up new mortgage business (FT)

Overnight Media Digest


* The Justice Department joined a widening investigation of banks, private-equity firms and hedge funds that may have violated anti-bribery laws in dealings with Libya’s government-run investment fund.

* Actor Philip Seymour Hoffman was found dead of an apparent drug overdose late Sunday morning in his New York City apartment, police said.

* The Seattle Seahawks beat the Denver Broncos 43-8 in Sunday night’s Super Bowl XLVIII in a shocking blowout that saw the greatest quarterback of his generation, Peyton Manning, look helpless against an immovable Seahawks defense.

* After a choppy start to 2014, many portfolio managers are shifting away from the kinds of investments that did exceptionally well in 2013 but are vulnerable to large swings.

* Buoyed by strong credit ratings and rising deposits, Asian banks have become bigger global players as they chase higher yields and look to diversify their business.

* Wal-Mart Stores Inc told the National Labor Relations Board that it was within its rights when it disciplined workers for taking part in short strikes, setting up a legal test of a phenomenon that is reshaping relations between companies and labor.

* Jos. A. Bank Clothiers Inc took the offensive in its effort to fend off a proposed takeover by Men’s Wearhouse Inc, entering talks of its own to buy fellow apparel retailer Eddie Bauer LLC and issuing a sharply worded rebuke to its rival’s latest bid to negotiate a deal.

* KKR is set to open its first office in Spain on Monday, as the buyout specialist seeks to build on its billion-euro stake in a country that is attracting a growing volume of investment from abroad.

* AstraZeneca’s anti-clotting drug Brilinta was approved based on a study showing the pill saved lives and reduced heart attacks. But a drama is unfolding over whether the drug should have been approved.


Seven hedge funds have filed a 1.8 billion euro ($2.43 billion) lawsuit against Porsche’s chairman and another board member, accusing them of misleading the market before Porsche disclosed in late 2008 that it was eyeing control of larger rival Volkswagen.

Alitalia and Etihad Airways are in the final phase of a due diligence for the completion of an investment by the Abu Dhabi-based airline in the Italian carrier, the companies said on Sunday.

Royal Bank of Scotland’s new Chief Executive Ross McEwan is planning an overhaul of the bank’s top management team, hoping to strengthen its focus on retail and small business customers, according to people familiar with the matter.

Societe Generale, France’s No. 2 listed bank, plans to add up to 150 staff to its bond trading business in a bid to get a stronger global foothold as most of its European banking rivals are cutting back.

Intesa Sanpaolo, Italy’s biggest retail bank, is seeking to become the country’s first lender to set up an internal “bad bank” since the financial crisis by setting aside a chunk of its 55 billion euros of gross non-performing loans before banking stress tests by the European regulator.


* Not only could competitors in China cut into its potential market share there, but Imax Corp has charged in several courts that the Chinese system relies on technology that was blatantly stolen from its offices in Canada.

* Growth in China’s service sector slowed to a five-year low in January, an official survey showed Monday, another sign of stuttering momentum that could deepen investors’ concerns about emerging markets around the world.

* After disclosures about credit and debit card breaches at several major retailers, some shoppers are making the effort to use cash in lieu of cards.

* Steven Cohen’s 22-year-old hedge fund, SAC Capital Advisors, is completing plans to change its name and its corporate structure by mid-March, according to people briefed on the matter.

* After reviewing Alitalia’s books for more than a month, Etihad Airways of Abu Dhabi said on Sunday that it was in serious negotiations over a possible investment in the troubled Italian airline, and it set a 30-day deadline to wrap up a deal.

* The financial downturn in Spain’s newspaper industry has claimed its most prominent journalist to date, Pedro J. Ramírez, who was ousted as editor of El Mundo, the conservative newspaper he founded 25 years ago.

* As Jos. A. Bank continues to rebuff a hostile takeover bid by Men’s Wearhouse, the clothier is exploring at least one alternative deal that would keep it independent. The company is in talks to buy Eddie Bauer, the outdoor clothing retailer, according to people briefed on the matter.

* Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co, a private equity giant with its hands in a range of businesses, from natural gas to maritime finance, has bought into a new sector: German soccer.



* The Canadian government plans to start buying land in Detroit for the U.S. portion of a new bridge linking the two countries, a Canadian official said in a report published Sunday, a move that bypasses opponents of the project and comes as the U.S. government hasn’t yet allocated money. (

* Producers of a vaccine developed to help thwart a fast-spreading swine virus that recently surfaced in Canada says the new drug is showing promise, reducing hog deaths in several American states. (

Reports in the business section:

* Canada’s largest companies are leaping ahead of their peers in the United States and Britain in adding more women to their boards of directors. Women now account for 20 percent of directors on the boards of 100 of Canada’s largest companies, while comparable-sized U.S. companies have 17 percent women and British boards have reached 18 per cent. (


* The New Democratic Party (NDP) is stepping up its battle against bank machine fees, urging the government to make good on its pledge to do something about the charges that vex some Canadian consumers. (


* More than 20,000 small business customers of telecommunications giant Bell Canada were the victims of what the company is calling an “illegal hacking” incident that left their user names and passwords publicly exposed on the Internet during the weekend. (

* Retailers are now gathering customers’ location data from the pings and signals smartphones are giving off. And, chances are, if your smartphone hasn’t already been tracked by these services, it will be very soon. (


The Telegraph


GlaxoSmithKline plans to launch late-stage clinical trials on ten new drugs over the next two years and is expected to report that sales from China are under less pressure.


Companies and banks that fail to prevent financial crime by their staff could face vast fines and be blacklisted from European contracts under a change to the Bribery Act being considered by the British Government.


Online gambling group has outlined plans to award top executives up to 550 percent of their annual salary as some existing bonus plans have become worthless.

The Guardian


B&M, a discount retailer set up in Blackpool with just 750 pounds in 1978, is preparing for a stock market flotation that could value it at 2 billion pounds ($3.29 billion).


In a special report published on Monday into the impact of rising house prices, the EY Item Club said the influx of super wealthy buyers has created bubble-like conditions in London.

The Times


Lloyds Banking Group has pledged to lend more than 1 billion pounds to small businesses and support more than 80,000 first-time buyers this year as part of an attempt to rebuild its reputation.


Britain’s biggest defence group is cranking up recruitment in digital security to take on the growing threat from cyber criminals. About two fifths of BAE Systems’ British graduate intake this year is joining the company’s cyber security unit.

Fly On The Wall 7:00 AM Market Snapshot


Domestic economic reports scheduled for today include:
Markit final PMI for January will be reported near 9:00–consensus 53.9
ISM manufacturing index for January will be reported at 10:00–consensus 56.0
Construction spending for December will be reported at 10:00–consensus flat



Airgas (ARG) upgraded to Overweight from Equal Weight at First Analysis
Cabot Oil & Gas (COG) upgraded to Overweight from Equal Weight at Barclays
Columbia Banking (COLB) upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform at Raymond James
LifePoint Hospitals (LPNT) upgraded to Buy from Fair Value at CRT Capital
NVIDIA (NVDA) upgraded to Neutral from Negative at Susquehanna
NetApp (NTAP) upgraded to Overweight from Neutral at Piper Jaffray
Norfolk Southern (NSC) upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform at Wells Fargo
Northrop Grumman (NOC) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Drexel Hamilton
O’Reilly Automotive (ORLY) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at ISI Group
On Assignment (ASGN) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Deutsche Bank
PPL Corp. (PPL) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Jefferies
Palo Alto (PANW) upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform at Wells Fargo
Penn Virginia (PVA) upgraded to Equal Weight from Underweight at Barclays
Progenics (PGNX) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Needham
PulteGroup (PHM) upgraded to Positive from Neutral at Susquehanna
Rowan Companies (RDC) upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform at Raymond James
Yadkin Financial (YDKN) upgraded to Strong Buy from Outperform at Raymond James


Apollo Commercial (ARI) downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at Wells Fargo
Applied Materials (AMAT) downgraded to Sector Perform from Outperform at RBC Capital
Banco Bilbao (BBVA) downgraded to Hold from Buy at Societe Generale
Bill Barrett (BBG) downgraded to Equal Weight from Overweight at Barclays
Cameco (CCJ) downgraded to Sell from Hold at Canaccord
DFC Global (DLLR) downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at Wells Fargo
EXCO Resources (XCO) downgraded to Underweight from Equal Weight at Barclays
Eaton Vance (EV) downgraded to Sell from Neutral at Goldman
KLA-Tencor (KLAC) downgraded to Sector Perform from Outperform at RBC Capital
Lam Research (LRCX) downgraded to Sector Perform from Outperform at RBC Capital
MasterCard (MA) downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at FBR Capital
Mattel (MAT) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at B. Riley
Mattel (MAT) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at SunTrust
Medivation (MDVN) downgraded to Hold from Buy at Needham
NVR (NVR) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Sterne Agee
Nanometrics (NANO) downgraded to Sector Perform from Outperform at RBC Capital
Royal Dutch Shell (RDS.A) downgraded to Neutral from Overweight at HSBC
Spectranetics (SPNC) downgraded to Underperform from Market Perform at Northland
StanCorp (SFG) downgraded to Sell from Neutral at Goldman
Stone Energy (SGY) downgraded to Equal Weight from Overweight at Barclays
Swift Energy (SFY) downgraded to Underweight from Equal Weight at Barclays
WESCO (WCC) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at MKM Partners


Forest Oil (FST) reinstated with an Underweight at Barclays
ONE Gas (OGS) initiated with a Hold at Jefferies
Seadrill Partners (SDLP) initiated with an Outperform at RBC Capital
Sungy Mobile (GOMO) initiated with an Outperform at Oppenheimer


Smith & Nephew (SNN) to acquire ArthroCare (ARTC) for about $1.7B
Post Holdings (POST) agreed to acquire PowerBar, Musashi brands from Nestle (NSRGY)
TransCanada (TRP) said U.S. State Department report supports Keystone XL approval
JoS. A. Bank (JOSB) sent letter to Men’s Wearhouse (MW) saying offer inadequate
Chevron (CVX), General Electric (GE) formed technology alliance
NextEra Energy (NEE) recommended rejection of mini-tender offer from TRC Capital
Forest Labs (FRX) filed patent suit against several companies, including Teva (TEVA)
Sony (SNE): Report on possible PC alliance with Lenovo (LNVGY) ‘inaccurate’
eBay (EBAY) received second Civil Investigative Demand on January 13 related to Bill Me Later


Companies that missed consensus earnings expectations include:
Cape Bancorp (CBNJ)


Mining (RIO, BHP, AAUKY) may see a M&A revival, Bloomberg reports
Obama not ready to decide on Keystone XL pipeline (TRP), Reuters reports
Lenovo Group (LNVGY) hired security experts to help with U.S. deals (GOOG, IBM), Bloomberg reports
Yahoo (YHOO) aims to bring back search tech via new initiatives, Re/code reports
JoS. A. Bank (JOSB) in talks to acquire sportswear retailer Eddie Bauer, WSJ reports
DOJ joins investigation into finance firms (GS, CS, JPM, SCGLY, BX, OZM), Libyan dealings, WSJ reports
Sprint (S) chairman Son to meet with FCC head, WSJ reports
LinkedIn (LNKD) may have better chance of growth in China than others, FT reports
GM’s (GM) Opel reaches labor agreements in German factories, Reuters reports
States want Apple (AAPL) to pay $840M over e-books, Bloomberg reports


Akamai (AKAM) could rise over 25%
Stanley Black & Decker (SWK) could gain over 20% in a year or two
General Motors (GM) shares could gain over 30% this year
Ford (F) could rise 20% over the next year
Imperial Oil’s (IMO, XOM) production growth could drive shares higher
Weight Watchers (WTW) shares could double over next two years
Bed Bath & Beyond (BBBY) shares are at a cheap entry point
DuPont (DD) shares could rise 15% this year
Avoid Lenovo Group (LNVGY) for now (GOOG, IBM)
Ericsson (ERIC) could add 25% in value this year (SSNLF)


Catalyst Pharmaceutical (CPRX) files to sell $100M of common stock
FireEye (FEYE) files to sell $700M in common stock
Herbalife (HLF) announces offering of $1B of convertible notes
Inovio (INO) files $125M mixed securities shelf
Martin Midstream Partners (MMLP) files to sell $300M in common units
Real Goods Solar (RSOL) files automatic mixed securities shelf

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