- China worries chill markets, copper slumps (Reuters)
- Peak dot com dot two idiocy: Candy Crush Saga maker King seeks $7.56 bln valuation from IPO (BBG)
- Obama Meeting With Yatsenyuk Raises Stakes in Ukraine (BBG)
- Federal prosecutors open criminal probe of GM recall (Reuters)
- Missing Malaysian Jetliner Confuses World That’s Online 24/7 (BBG)
- Pimco Cuts Government Debt on Outlook for Fed Buying (BBG)
- Mortgage Giants Face Endgame (WSJ)
- Russia Calls U.S. Aid to Ukraine Illegal Amid Standoff (BBG)
- U.S. judge freezes assets of Mt. Gox bitcoin exchange boss (Reuters)
- Ousted Libyan PM flees country after tanker escapes rebel-held port (Reuters)
- Senate-CIA Dispute Erupts Into a Public Brawl (WSJ)
- Wilbur Ross Suspends Diamond S Shipping IPO on Low Price (BBG)
- Toddler found with heroin at New Jersey daycare center (Reuters)
- Singapore Broker Exodus Seen Quickening (BBG)
Overnight Media Digest
* President Obama notched the lowest approval ratings of his presidency in the latest Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll, amid wide pessimism about the economy and deep frustration with Washington.
* Nearly six years after the government rescued Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, top members in the Senate and the White House agreed on a framework to wind down the mortgage giants and overhaul the nation’s $10 trillion mortgage market.
* A senior Malaysia air force official rejected media reports that military radar had picked up signals from the jet over the Strait of Malacca, hundreds of miles from its intended course.
* Comcast Corp’s proposed takeover of Time Warner Cable Inc has sparked media-industry fears that the combined giant would have too much influence over everything from cable industry pricing to broadband-related services.
* General Motors Co’s shares tumbled as the automaker faced new investigations on multiple fronts into why it took nearly a decade to recall cars with defects tied to 12 deaths.
* China’s top central banker put the country on course to free up interest rates on bank deposits within two years, an unprecedented move that would force the nation’s lenders to compete for customers by offering the best terms.
* Some property owners in Pennsylvania, a state caught up in a natural-gas drilling boom, are accusing Chesapeake Energy Corp of shortchanging them on royalty payments for pumping oil and gas from their land.
* Jos. A. Bank Clothiers Inc agreed to be bought by Men’s Wearhouse Inc for roughly $1.8 billion, in an agreement that ends a colorful takeover battle between the rival suit retailers.
* Tesla Motors Inc will stop selling its luxury electric cars in New Jersey on April 1, after the state said Tuesday it would not license the company to sell vehicles directly to consumers, bypassing franchised dealers.
* Walt Disney Co is in talks to acquire popular online-video producer Maker Studios for about $500 million, said people with knowledge of the discussions, a deal that could give the entertainment giant better access to a young teen audience whose tastes are shifting to Web-based video.
* SoftBank Corp CEO Masayoshi Son characterized U.S. wireless service as dismal while reaffirming that his company wants a bigger part of the market.
* Amazon.com Inc is hoping to offer an on-demand music-streaming service to customers of its Amazon Prime program, but it may limit how much a person can listen to any given song, according to people familiar with the matter.
Labour party leader Ed Miliband says he will not hold an in-out referendum on Britain’s membership of the European Union in 2017 if his party comes to power and will focus on its economic agenda.
The British government has spent 63 million pounds buying up 106 homes blighted by the proposed HS2 high speed rail link between London and Birmingham.
Bank of England Governor Mark Carney said he would overhaul the central bank’s dealings with the City and would create a new deputy governor post to oversee markets and banking.
Shares of Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae) and Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp (Freddie Mac) plunged on Tuesday after Senate leaders released a bipartisan plan to unwind the U.S. mortgage finance companies, but did not appear to provide an outlet for investors to share in their profits.
Entertainment company Walt Disney is close to acquiring online video producer Maker Studios in a deal worth $500 million which could rise to as much as $900 million if certain financial conditions are met, according to people familiar with the situation.
* The Justice Department has begun a criminal investigation into General Motors’ decade-long failure to address deadly safety problems before announcing a huge vehicle recall last month, according to people briefed on the matter.
* Private equity firm Blackstone announced on Tuesday that it had agreed to buy a majority stake in Accuvant, a 12-year-old company that offers cyber security software and consulting services to companies and governments.
* The Bitcoin Foundation announced on Tuesday that it had hired Jim Harper, director of information policy studies at the libertarian research group the Cato Institute, as global policy counsel.
* Faced with strong demand from hedge funds and wealthy individuals, Puerto Rico sold 17 percent more debt on Tuesday than it had originally planned, a sign that the commonwealth still has ample access to the capital markets. Puerto Rico sold $3.5 billion of debt at an 8.72 percent yield.
* Anne Sweeney, the president of Walt Disney Co’s Disney-ABC Television Group, said on Tuesday that she would step down as president of the company to become a TV director.
* Hedge fund manager William Ackman accused Herbalife , which sells vitamins, shakes and other supplements, of “operating illegally” in China. Ackman, the billionaire founder of Pershing Square Capital Management, called the company’s accounting of its Chinese business “highly misleading.”
* Greek Yogurt maker Chobani is in talks with six potential investors for a deal that could value it at $5 billion, a person with direct knowledge of the discussions said Tuesday. The company is looking to finalize an investment in the first half of the year, with an eye toward expanding internationally.
* U.S. President Barack Obama this week will seek to force American businesses to pay more overtime to millions of workers, the latest move by his administration to confront corporations that have had soaring profits even as wages have stagnated.
THE GLOBE AND MAIL
* Olivia Chow, former councillor and wife of the late New Democrat leader Jack Layton, will jump into the Toronto mayoral race on Thursday. She will be the first serious left-wing candidate to challenge scandal-plagued Mayor Rob Ford.
* With two confirmed cases of measles in British Columbia’s Fraser Valley and about 100 other suspected cases, provincial health officials are gearing up for another outbreak of the easily transmitted, highly contagious virus.
Reports in the business section:
* Ontario is calling for the creation of a new group to monitor how the South Korea trade deal affects the province’s auto sector, amid concern that the pact will cause production cuts and job losses at Canadian factories.
* The head of the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee accused the CIA on Tuesday of criminal activity in improperly searching a computer network set up for lawmakers investigating allegations that the agency used torture in terror investigations during the Bush administration.
* Ukraine’s fugitive president Viktor Yanukovych called his country’s new government a “band of ultra-nationalists” as he accused the “neo-fascists” of fomenting a civil war, and criticized the West for supporting it.
* Apple Inc has brought its iPhone trade-in program to retail stores in Canada, allowing users to sell older handsets back to the tech giant in exchange for credit toward a new model.
* Canada’s main exchange TMX Group said on Tuesday that it wanted to focus on building and expanding business opportunities in the Asia-Pacific region for the Toronto Stock Exchange, TSX Venture Exchange and Montreal Exchange. The company plans to expand its international footprint with an office in Singapore later this year.
CHINA SECURITIES JOURNAL
– CITIC Bank will partner with Alibaba Group Holding Ltd and Tencent Holdings Ltd to launch a “virtual” credit card for use in online purchases.
– The city of Nanjing in east China’s Jiangsu province has launched new measures to control land and real estate prices, including a mechanism to adjust rules on a quarterly basis in line with price trends.
CHINA BUSINESS NEWS
– Huang Guangyu, founder and former chairman of GOME Electrical Appliances Holding Ltd, who is now in prison, and his wife have reached an agreement with the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission to pay HK$420 million ($54 million) in compensation to the company.
SHANGHAI SECURITIES NEWS
– Many companies have suspended applications for initial public offerings, as they are waiting for possible changes to IPO rules, especially for China’s small-cap ChiNext board.
– Annual growth in net profits in China’s food industry dropped 11.6 percentage points to 13.6 percent in 2013 due to an slowdown in economic growth and increase in raw material costs, data from the National Development and Reform Commission showed.
21ST CENTURY BUSINESS HERALD
The Shanghai Stock Exchange has submitted a plan to the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) to allow options trading on individual stocks, Gui Minjie, chairman of the exchange, told the paper. The plan is now awaiting CSRC approval.
– China should ensure the judicial system’s ability to enforce justice in order to safeguard social fairness and improve protection for the people, a commentary in the paper said.
INTEREST RATES COULD RISE SIX-FOLD IN THREE YEARS
Interest rates will rise six-fold by 2017 as Britain’s economy becomes one of the fastest growing in the developed world, the Bank of England governor said on Tuesday.
CO-OP OVERHAULS GOVERNANCE AFTER CHIEF QUITS
An overhaul of the Co-operative Group’s controversial governance is set to be put to the vote after a dramatic 48-hours that culminated in the abrupt resignation of Chief Executive Officer Euan Sutherland.
SPORTS DIRECT URGES SHAREHOLDERS TO APPROVE 65 MLN STG BONUS FOR MIKE ASHLEY
Sports Direct has called a special shareholders’ meeting to approve a plan to pay its founder a share bonus worth about 65 million pounds.
OECD PREDICTS UK RECOVERY WILL BE STRONGEST IN G7 OVER FIRST HALF OF 2014
Britain’s recovery will be the strongest among G7 economies over the first half of 2014, according to the latest predictions from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
WATCHDOG CRACKS DOWN ON USED-CAR INSURANCE
Add-on insurance bought by more than a million car buyers has been branded poor value by regulators, who unveiled a crackdown on Tuesday on the new and used car salesmen who push it.
TESCO LOSES MARKET SHARE AS SHOPPERS GO BARGAIN HUNTING
Tesco’s high-street dominance continues to be eroded, with the latest data showing that the retailer’s market share has slipped to a 10-year low as shoppers desert it for discounters Aldi and Lidl.
UK MANUFACTURING BEATS ESTIMATES AS IT NEARS THREE-YEAR HIGH
Britain’s manufacturers reported their strongest annual growth for nearly three years, official figures showed.
Fly On The Wall 7:00 AM Market Snapshot
Domestic economic reports scheduled for today include:
Treasury budget for February at 14:00–consensus deficit $218B
AngioDynamics (ANGO) upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform at Raymond James
Brandywine Realty (BDN) upgraded to Equal Weight from Underweight at Barclays
Calix (CALX) upgraded to Neutral from Sell at Goldman
Euronet (EEFT) upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform at Avondale
General Growth (GGP) upgraded to Overweight from Equal Weight at Barclays
Hercules Technology (HTGC) upgraded to Outperform at Keefe Bruyette
Infinera (INFN) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Goldman
MRC Global (MRC) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Longbow
McKesson (MCK) upgraded to Conviction Buy from Buy at Goldman
PharMerica (PMC) upgraded to Outperform from Neutral at Credit Suisse
Rite Aid (RAD) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Goldman
Summit Midstream (SMLP) upgraded to Outperform from Neutral at RW Baird
VeriFone (PAY) upgraded to Hold from Sell at Deutsche Bank
AIG (AIG) downgraded to Hold from Buy at Deutsche Bank
AmREIT (AMRE) downgraded to Hold from Buy at Jefferies
American Eagle (AEO) downgraded to Underweight from Equal Weight at Morgan Stanley
AmerisourceBergen (ABC) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Goldman
Church & Dwight (CHD) downgraded to Neutral from Outperform at Credit Suisse
Clean Harbors (CLH) downgraded to Outperform from Top Pick at RBC Capital
DiamondRock (DRH) downgraded to Underperform from Neutral at BofA/Merrill
Forest Labs (FRX) downgraded to Neutral from Overweight at Piper Jaffray
Horizon Technology (HRZN) downgraded to Underperform at Keefe Bruyette
Liberty Ventures (LVNTA) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Citigroup
Motorola Solutions (MSI) downgraded to Sell from Neutral at Goldman
Northwest Biotherapeutics (NWBO) downgraded to Perform from Outperform at Oppenheimer
PulteGroup (PHM) downgraded to Neutral from Outperform at Credit Suisse
Synta Pharmaceuticals (SNTA) downgraded to Sell from Hold at Stifel
Synta Pharmaceuticals (SNTA) downgraded to Underperform from Market Perform at BMO Capital
Toll Brothers (TOL) downgraded to Neutral from Outperform at Credit Suisse
Urban Outfitters (URBN) downgraded to Equal Weight from Overweight at Barclays
William Lyon Homes (WLH) downgraded to Neutral from Outperform at Credit Suisse
Cypress Energy (CELP) initiated with a Buy at Janney Capital
ICG Group (ICGE) initiated with an Overweight at Evercore
Intersil (ISIL) assumed with an Overweight at Piper Jaffray
InvenSense (INVN) assumed with an Overweight at Piper Jaffray
Silicon Laboratories (SLAB) assumed with an Overweight at Piper Jaffray
Energy XXI (EXXI) agreed to acquire all of EPL’s (EPL) shares for $2.3B
IATA cut its global airline profit forecast for 2014 to $18.7B
OXiGENE (OXGN) reported positive top-line results from a Phase 2 trial of its Avastin with or without Zybrestat in patients with recurrent ovarian cancer
Magnachip Semiconductor (MX) said it will restate prior results, withdrew prior Q4 guidance and naming Jonathan Kim as its Chief Accounting Officer. The company also said it concluded that one or more material weaknesses exist in the company’s internal controls over financial reporting
Seadrill Partners (SDLP) said it will acquire the entities that own and operate an ultra-deepwater drillship, the West Auriga, from Seadrill (SDRL)
VimpelCom (VIP) said it is being investigated by SEC, Dutch authorities regarding Uzbekistan operations
Boeing (BA), SpiceJet announced order for 42 737 MAX 8s
Companies that beat consensus earnings expectations last night and today include:
QIWI (QIWI), Midstates Petroleum (MPO), Furiex (FURX), Men’s Wearhouse (MW), NewLink Genetics (NLNK), Fox Factory (FOXF), GenMark (GNMK), GSI Group (GSIG), Diamond Foods (DMND), Inter Parfums (IPAR), OncoGenex (OGXI), Summer Infant (SUMR), VeriFone (PAY)
Companies that missed consensus earnings expectations include:
Abraxas Petroleum (AXAS), Dresser-Rand (DRC), Horizon Technology (HRZN), Enzo Biochem (ENZ), Compass Diversified (CODI), Evolving Systems (EVOL), Caesar’s (CZR)
Companies that matched consensus earnings expectations include:
Chelsea Therapeutics (CHTP), Kratos Defense (KTOS)
Lawyers in the U.S. Attorney’s office in Southern District of NY leading DOJ investigation into GM (GM) recall, Bloomberg reports
Vornado (VNO) weighs spin-off, merger for suburban centers, WSJ says
Banamex fraud exposes challenges for Citigroup (C) in Mexico, NY Times reports
Disney/ABC (DIS) television chief Anne Sweeney exiting in 2015, LA Times says
Sandberg (FB) won’t become Disney’s (DIS) new CEO, source says, Business Insider reports
Amazon (AMZN) working to offer Prime streaming music service, WSJ says
Barclays (BCS) faces shareholder backlash regarding upped bonuses, Reuters says
Tesla (TSLA) stores in New Jersey may close after vote, Bloomberg says
Achaogen (AKAO) 6M share IPO priced at $12.00
CommScope (COMM) files to sell 17.5M shares of stock for holders
Noranda Aluminum (NOR) files to sell 10M shares for Apollo funds
Pointer Telocation (PNTR) files to sell 994,357 ordinary shares for holders
Seadrill Partners (SDLP) files to sell 10.4M common units
Summit Midstream (SMLP) 9M share Secondary priced at $38.75
TG Therapeutics (TGTX) 2.7M share Spot Secondary priced at $6.71