- Index of largest Chinese stocks drops to lowest since February 2009 (BBG)
- Plane-Debris Hunters Seek Suspected Aircraft Window Part (BBG)
- New-Home Building Is Shifting to Apartments (WSJ)
- Forward Guidance Risks Stoking Instability, BIS Says (BBG)
- Alleged Bitcoin Millionaire Nakamoto Gets $28,000 Donations (BBG)
- Mexico kills drug kingpin reported dead years ago (Reuters)
- Tencent to Buy 15% Stake in JD.com to Boost E-Commerce (BBG)
- Bitcoin exchange MtGox ‘faced 150,000 hack attacks every second’ (Telegraph)
- Noyer Says Stronger Euro Creates Unwarranted Pressure on Economy (BBG)
- Russian Forces Gain in Ukraine as Separatist Vote Looms (BBG)
- Afghan Taliban threaten to attack ‘sham’ poll ‘manipulated by U.S.’ (Reuters)
- Sean Connery Denied Scottish Vote Open to Foreigners (BBG)
- Pharmaceutical Scouts Seek New Star Drugs for Cancer, Diabetes (WSJ)
Overnight Media Digest
* As a search for clues to the fate of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 resumed in the waters off Vietnam on Monday, air-safety and antiterror authorities on two continents appeared equally stumped about what direction the probe should take.
* Western officials are scrambling to loosen Russia’s energy stranglehold on Ukraine, the latest sign of growing pressure on Moscow to end the crisis.
The options being considered by officials from Brussels to Washington include larger exports of U.S.-made natural gas, reversing the flow of natural gas through pipelines from Western Europe back into Ukraine, and accelerating plans across Europe to buy more energy from countries other than Russia.
* A group of newspaper publishers has put the cars.com online marketplace up for sale for as much as $3 billion, hoping to cash in on booming values for e-commerce sites, people familiar with the plans said.
* Washington’s effort to push banks out of the mortgage-servicing business is propelling the handling of customers’ loans into companies such as hedge funds and nonbank financial firms.
* United Rentals Inc agreed to acquire four companies supplying pumping equipment to the energy industry and other users for a total of $780 million.
* Chinese Internet giant Tencent Holdings Ltd is joining forces with China’s second-largest e-commerce player, JD.com Inc, in a new partnership aimed at heating up competition with Alibaba Group Holdings Ltd.
* As smartphone apps undercut traditional Web searches, they threaten Google’s huge ad business. To keep up with mobile habits, Google needs to convince developers to allow links into their apps.
* An Environmental Protection Agency review board was pressured by officials at the agency to soften its challenges to an EPA plan for dealing with a highly contaminated radioactive waste site in a St. Louis suburb, a former board member and other people familiar with the matter said.
* Federal energy regulators plan to impose new security rules on electric utilities to make sure they protect major substations and other facilities critical to the operation of the electric grid.
Interpol warned about a global security weakness after it emerged that two passengers had boarded a missing Malaysia Airlines flight with stolen passports.
Google’s Android Chief, Sundar Pichai, said the company was getting ready to use its Android software for wearable technology like sophisticated watches, fitness trackers and even “smart jackets.”
Swedish Music Company Spotify has secured a $200 million credit facility from lenders. The move has fuelled speculation it is getting ready for a multi billion dollar float.
Seth Klarman, the head of the $27 billion Baupost Group, said investors were not ready for an end to central banks reversing a five-year experiment in ultra-loose money and were underplaying risk.
Social Media group Twitter Inc is looking to increase its advertising revenue from outside of the Unites States and was prepared to be aggressive in acquiring advertising companies and forming new partnerships.
* BlackRock, the world’s largest asset-management company, said on Monday that it had hired Helen Zhu as a managing director and head of its China equities business.
* A federal jury on Friday found Jesse C. Litvak, a former senior trader at the Jefferies Group, guilty of deceiving his customers about the prices of mortgage-backed securities he sold to them after the financial crisis.
* New York Public Radio will announce on Monday that it has received a $10 million grant from the Jerome L. Greene Foundation, which it says is the largest single gift ever made to a public radio station.
* Microsoft Corp is betting that a new game, Titanfall, will be enough of a hit to improve sales of its flagship gaming console Xbox One, whose sales are trailing those of a machine from Sony, Microsoft’s main rival.
* The British financier Guy Hands has agreed to end a lawsuit against Citigroup Inc in the United States, though the legal battle may continue in England.
* Tencent Holdings Ltd, one of China’s biggest Internet companies, said on Monday it would pay $215 million for a 15 percent stake in the Chinese e-commerce company JD.com.
THE GLOBE AND MAIL
* The disappearance of a Malaysian jetliner is an “unprecedented aviation mystery,” a senior official said on Monday, with a massive air and sea search now in its third day failing to find any confirmed trace of the plane or the 239 people aboard. (http://r.reuters.com/rec57v)
* As Ukrainians brace for a tumultuous week, Russia and the United States have increased the tension over Ukraine, with President Barack Obama inviting the country’s new prime minister for a high-profile visit. (http://r.reuters.com/sec57v)
Reports in the business section:
* Some telecommunications companies are urging the federal government to change the format of next year’s spectrum auction, arguing it is too complex and discriminates against smaller players. (http://r.reuters.com/tec57v)
* Vietnamese searchers on ships worked throughout the night but could not find a rectangular object spotted on Sunday afternoon that was thought to be one of the doors of a Malaysia Airlines passenger jet that went missing more than two days ago. (http://r.reuters.com/vec57v)
* Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper departed on Sunday for South Korea, where he is widely expected to complete another long round of free-trade negotiations that his critics were denouncing as secretive and potentially bad for Canadian workers. (http://r.reuters.com/huc57v)
* A growing number of startups in Canada and the U.S. are capitalizing on shifting attitudes and legalities around marijuana (http://r.reuters.com/fuc57v)
– The Chinese government will send a working group on Monday morning to Malaysia for handling the aftermath of the missing Malaysian Airlines flight.
CHINA SECURITIES JOURNAL
– China’s weak foreign trade and consumer price index data for February, published over the weekend, may push the government to take some steps to boost economic growth, economists said.
– A research report by the State Information Centre under the cabinet forecast China’s gross domestic product may grow 7.5 percent in the first quarter, with the consumer price index (CPI) rising about 2.4 percent.
– Chinese authorities are investigating the vice governor of south-western Yunnan province, according to the ruling party’s Central Commission for Discipline Inspection. Shan Peiping is suspected of serious violations of disciplines and laws, often used in China to refer to corruption.
– The number of Chinese students who will take the punishing Gaokao examination at the end of high school is set to drop to its lowest level in eight years, as increasing numbers of students look to study overseas. An estimated 55,139 students will take the test this year.
– China will aim to improve mechanisms to delist poorly performed listed companies this year, said Xiao Gang, Chairman of the China Securities Regulatory Commission.
– Conditions are now mature for Chinese stock exchanges to resume the same-day stock trading system, known as T+1 system, said Gui Minjie, Chairman of the Shanghai Stock Exchange.
– Cooperation between government departments is key to tackling China’s often hazardous levels of pollution, Zhang Quan, director of Shanghai’s Environment Protection Bureau, said at the ongoing annual session of the National People’s Congress, or China’s parliament, in Beijing.
BITCOIN EXCHANGE MTGOX ‘FACED 150,000 HACK ATTACKS EVERY SECOND’
Troubled Bitcoin exchange MtGox was reportedly attacked 150,000 times per second by hackers in the days leading up to its collapse last month
CO-OP DEFENDS PLANS FOR BUMPER CEO PAY PACKET
The Co-operative Group has defended plans to pay new Chief Executive Euan Sutherland more than 3.6 million pounds for his first year in the job.
U.S. ECONOMY ADDS 175,000 JOBS BUT UNEMPLOYMENT RATE RISES TO 6.7 PCT
The US unemployment rate rose to 6.7 percent in February, even as the economy added more jobs than economists had expected.
BANK SHAKE-UP SPARKS SURGE OF NEW LENDERS
Britain’s historically closed banking market is facing a competitive overhaul over the next two years, with as many as ten new lenders set to receive a licence.
ENERGY BILLS COULD GO UP IF UKRAINE TURBULENCE WORSENS
Energy bills could go up if the instability in Ukraine drags on, a minister warned yesterday, as others scrambled to deny that there was “tacit acceptance” of the Russian takeover of the Crimean peninsula.
TWITTER UK REVENUES CLIMB TO 1 MILLION STG A WEEK
Twitter is now making more than 1 million pounds a week in revenues in Britain as its growth accelerates in its biggest market outside America, its annual report revealed today.
TESCO PAVES WAY FOR FINANCE DIRECTOR’S EXIT
Tesco is preparing the ground for the departure of its finance director amid tensions with its chief executive as the retail giant attempts to reverse the declining fortunes of its core UK operations.
Fly On The Wall 7:00 AM Market Snapshot
No major domestic economic reports are scheduled for today.
AGL Resources (GAS) upgraded to Market Perform from Underperform at BMO Capital
ARM Holdings (ARMH) upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform at William Blair
Alcatel-Lucent (ALU) upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform at BMO Capital
Alon USA Energy (ALJ) upgraded to Outperform from Neutral at Credit Suisse
Archer Daniels (ADM) upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform at BMO Capital
Astec (ASTE) upgraded to Outperform from Neutral at RW Baird
Charter (CHTR) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Jefferies
DreamWorks Animation (DWA) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at B. Riley
Edwards Lifesciences (EW) upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform at Wells Fargo
Evolving Systems (EVOL) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at B. Riley
First Security (FSGI) upgraded to Market Perform from Underperform at Raymond James
LHC Group (LHCG) upgraded to Sector Perform from Underperform at RBC Capital
Telefonica Brasil (VIV) upgraded to Neutral from Sell at Citigroup
UIL Holdings (UIL) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at BofA/Merrill
Veeco (VECO) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at UBS
athenahealth (ATHN) downgraded to Underperform from Perform at Oppenheimer
Deutsche Telekom (DTEGY) downgraded to Hold from Buy at Jefferies
DuPont Fabros (DFT) downgraded to Hold from Buy at Jefferies
Expeditors (EXPD) downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at FBR Capital
Fidus Investment (FDUS) downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at Raymond James
KB Home (KBH) downgraded to Underperform from Buy at BofA/Merrill
Meritage Homes (MTH) downgraded to Underperform from Neutral at BofA/Merrill
National Retail Properties (NNN) downgraded to Market Perform at FBR Capital
Realty Income (O) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at BofA/Merrill
Staples (SPLS) downgraded to Hold from Buy at BB&T
Concert Pharmaceuticals (CNCE) initiated with a Buy at UBS
Concert Pharmaceuticals (CNCE) initiated with an Outperform at JMP Securities
Eagle Pharmaceuticals (EGRX) initiated with a Buy at Cantor
Eagle Pharmaceuticals (EGRX) initiated with an Overweight at Piper Jaffray
Flexion (FLXN) initiated with an Outperform at BMO Capital
HSN, Inc. (HSNI) initiated with a Buy at UBS
Harman (HAR) initiated with an Outperform at Raymond James
Installed Building Products (IBP) initiated with a Buy at Deutsche Bank
Installed Building Products (IBP) initiated with a Neutral at SunTrust
Liberty Interactive (LINTA) initiated with a Buy at UBS
North Atlantic Drilling (NADL) initiated with an Overweight at Barclays
Talmer Bancorp (TLMR) initiated with an Outperform at Keefe Bruyette
Talmer Bancorp (TLMR) initiated with an Outperform at RBC Capital
NII Holdings (NIHD) retains financial visors to explore strategic alternatives
Chiquita Brands (CQB) to combine with Fyffes plc in stock-for-stock transaction
Freescale (FSL) confirmed that 20 employees were passengers on Malaysia Airlines flight MH370
AT&T (T) to lower prices on its U.S. wireless plans
T-Mobile (TMUS) doubles amount of 4G LTE data on $50 Simple Choice plan
Verizon (VZ) authorizes repurchase of up to 100M shares of common stock
Dunkin’ Brands (DNKN) CEO: Coffee prices should not increase much in 2014
Icahn (IEP) to use Twitter (TWTR), Facebook (FB) pages to disclose company news
DDR Corp. (DDR) lowers FY14 FFO view to $1.14-$1.18 from $1.17-$1.21, consensus $1.20
United Rentals (URI) updates FY14 revenue view to $5.45B-$5.65B, consensus $5.39B
Dun & Bradstreet (DNB) reaffirms FY14 EPS decline 1%-5%
Bed Bath & Beyond (BBBY) lowers Q4 EPS view to $1.57-$1.61 from $1.60-$1.67
Amazon (AMZN) planning to develop own computer games, Telegraph reports
Unilever (UN, UL) acquires stake in Chinese water purification company, NY Times says
Airbus (EADSY) calls former U.S. revenue goal ‘ambitious,’ FT reports
Auto makers (PEUGY, TM, DDAIF, F, GM) will try to boost profits on mini cars, WSJ says
M*Modal (MODL) could file for bankruptcy by mid-March, WSJ reports
Google’s (GOOG) Schmidt says ‘pretty sure’ data is safe, CNBC reports
Google (GOOG) faces anti-competition probe in India, TechCrunch says
JPMorgan’s (JPM) sale of private equity unit stalls, Reuters says
Daimler AG (DDAIF) could see higher earnings in FY14, FY15, Barron’s says
AOL (AOL) shares could drop with network sales miss, Barron’s says
SolarCity’s (SCTY) outlook based on long-term assumptions, Barron’s says
Sony (SNE) could rise 28%, Barron’s says
MetLife (MET) could be worth over $60, Barron’s says
Achillion (ACHN) files $150M mixed securities shelf
Casella Waste (CWST) files $250M mixed securities shelf
Mattel (MAT) files automatic mixed securities shelf
Paramount Gold & Silver (PZG) files $100M mixed securities shelf
Quintiles (Q) files to sell 15M shares of common stock for holders
Weatherford (WFT) files automatic mixed securities shelf