Frontrunning: July 22

    •Earthquake Sends Kiwis Screaming From Wellington Buildings (BBG)
    •China quake death toll more than doubles to 54, hundreds hurt (Reuters)
    •In 2011, Michigan Gov. Snyder said bankruptcy wasn't an option for Detroit. Two years later, he changed his mind (WSJ)
    •GlaxoSmithKline says Chinese laws might have been violated (FT)
    •SEC Tries Last Ditch Move to Put SAC’s Cohen Out of Business (BBG)
    •Detroit’s Bankruptcy Reveals Dysfunction Common in Cities (BBG)
    •Obama to start new offensive on economy (FT)
    •As WTI and Brent reunite, Gulf of Mexico faces squeeze, not glut (Reuters)
    •Extended Stay Files for Public Offering (WSJ)
    •Apple Developer Website Hacked: Developer Names, Addresses May Have Been Taken (MacRumors)
    •Treasuries Not Safe Enough as Foreign Purchase Pace Slows (BBG)
    •Japan's Abe vows to keep focus on economy after big election win (Reuters)
    •Deutsche Bank set to trim balance sheet by 20 percent (FT)

Overnight Media Digest


WSJ


* Corporate battle lines are being drawn over the congressional effort to overhaul the tax code, pitting giants such as General Electric Co and Microsoft Corp against each other as they maneuver to influence the debate.


* A series of disappointing economic reports in recent weeks have dashed economists' hopes from earlier this year that the United States was at last entering a phase of solid, self-sustaining growth.


* J.P. Morgan Chase & Co is close to a roughly $410 million settlement of Federal Energy Regulatory Commission allegations that the company manipulated energy markets in California and the Midwest, said people familiar with the conversations.


* Detroit Mayor Dave Bing on Sunday left the door open for a federal bailout after the city's bankruptcy filing, saying the nation's response would "set a benchmark" for aiding other struggling cities.


* U.S. securities regulators accused Steven Cohen of ignoring "red flags" that should have alerted him to insider trading at his hedge fund firm and moved to ban the billionaire for life from the industry where he made his fortune.


* Headaches for Huawei Technologies Co Ltd keep growing, as the U.K. government said that it would conduct a review of the Chinese company and a former U.S. intelligence official accused Huawei of spying for Beijing.


* U.S. military spending is likely to stabilize over the next year, giving fresh clarity on the industry's future that could help thaw mergers and acquisitions activity, Rockwell Collins Chief Executive Clay Jones said.


* Senators of both parties are rejecting removal of food-stamp funding from a multiyear farm bill, setting up a clash with conservative House Republicans who want to pare back federal nutrition programs that have grown steadily in recent years.


FT


Germany's biggest lender, Deutsche Bank AG, is expected to announce during its second-quarter results its plans to reach a minimum 3 percent overall equity to loans ratio in the next two and a half years, people briefed on the plans said.


Germany's SAP AG said its co-Chief Executive Jim Hagemann Snabe would move to the company's supervisory board next May, abandoning its joint chief executive structure and leaving fellow co-Chief Bill McDermott as sole helmsman at the software maker.


Media entrepreneur Bruno Wu, who runs the Chinese media group Seven Stars, and the former Bertelsmann and Arcandor chief executive Thomas Middelhoff are accumulating assets with revenues of $1 billion-$2 billion into a new China-focused media and investment joint venture.


Kurdistan-focused oil exploration company Gulf Keystone Petroleum said it would no longer oppose four non-executive directors proposed by shareholders M&G Recovery Fund and Capital Research Global Investors, ending a row with its biggest investors over corporate governance just days ahead of its annual general meeting.


In a setback for BP Plc's overall hopes of limiting the cost of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster settlement, federal judge Carl Barbier rejected on Friday the company's call to suspend payments pending an investigation into allegations of misconduct at the office of Patrick Juneau, the claims administrator.


State-owned Dutch bank ABN Amro, which was partly bought by Belgian group Fortis in 2007 and nationalised a year later as part of the bailout of Fortis, will be ready for reprivatisation by next summer, Chief Executive Gerrit Zalm said in an interview.


NYT


* Facebook Inc has been quietly working for more than two years on a project that is vital to expanding its base of 1.1 billion users: getting the social network onto the billions of cheap, simple "feature phones" that have largely disappeared in America and Europe but are still the norm in developing countries like India and Brazil.


* As government investigators closed in on billionaire hedge fund manager Steven Cohen in recent years, his defenders argued that the unusual structure of his firm, SAC Capital Advisors, shielded him from any illegal trading by his employees. However, federal regulators made their case on Friday that Cohen was not only aware of suspicious trading activity at SAC but participated in it.


* Detroit's pension shortfall accounts for about $3.5 billion of the $18 billion in debts that led the city to file for bankruptcy last week. How it handles this problem - of not enough money set aside to pay the pensions it has promised its workers - is being closely watched by other cities with fiscal troubles.


* With freight trains as their caravans, manufacturers like Hewlett-Packard Co are reviving an ancient way to ship products made in China to markets in Western Europe.


* As another television programming blackout looms, this time because of a high-stakes negotiation between the CBS Corp and Time Warner Cable Inc, there is a new wrinkle, courtesy of Aereo, the start-up that streams broadcast TV via the Internet.


Canada


THE GLOBE AND MAIL


* Chairman Edward Burkhardt of Montreal, Maine & Atlantic whose train crashed in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec, earlier this month says the firm will stop leaving freight unattended on the main track, even as he questioned the value of additional government regulations.


* In the past four weeks, the S&P/TSX capped energy index, which includes big names such as Cenovus Energy Inc, Suncor Energy Inc and Canadian Natural Resources Ltd , has climbed 9 per cent as U.S. crude prices approached, then rocketed above, $100 a barrel.


* Canada's two main railways are expected to show continued profit strength in their quarterly earnings reports this week, despite recent signs of sagging grain and coal traffic and slightly lower container shipments.


* The federal Competition Tribunal is set to issue a decision on Tuesday on whether rules imposed on merchants by the credit card giants are too restrictive.


NATIONAL POST


* Slick television ads this year for the Harper government's "economic action plan" appear to be inspiring a lot of inaction. A key measure of the ads' impact is whether viewers check out actionplan.gc.ca, the web portal created in 2009 to promote the catch-all brand. But a survey of 2,003 adult Canadians completed in April identified just three people who actually visited the website.


* Canada's foreign affairs minister John Baird has spoken to senior Palestinian and Israeli officials to offer his support in efforts to bring the two sides back to the negotiating table.


FINANCIAL POST


* If Loblaw Companies Ltd successfully buys Shoppers Drug Mart, it will not only inherit the pharmacy retailer's vast network of stores - particularly key locations in the hearts of Canada's urban centres - it will also benefit from the advantages afforded by the owner-operators of those stores: pharmacists.


* Apple Inc has scooped up nascent Toronto-based startup Locationary in a deal that could help the tech giant fine-tune its widely-panned mobile mapping service.


China


SHANGHAI SECURITIES NEWS


- China's decision to scrap the floor on lending rates, announced by the central bank late on Friday, is a key reform that has come quicker than the market had expected and is bound to have a huge impact on the country financial markets in the long run, the newspaper said in a commentary.


- China faces fresh challenges to value its yuan currency appropriately as its economic growth is slowing down after three decades of rapid expansion.


CHINA SECURITIES JOURNAL


- A total of 746 Chinese companies are now on a waiting list to launch stock initial public offerings (IPO), data published by the China Securities Commission shows. Regulators quietly suspended IPOs late last year to help stabilise the sagging stock market. Speculation now is that IPOs may resume as soon as late July.


- China is expected to promulgate a programme to curb environment pollution by late July or early August. Air pollution in some major Chinese cities, in particular the capital Beijing, has caused widespread public discontent.


PEOPLE'S DAILY


- China needs joint efforts from the top leadership to the grassroots mass to fight against environment pollution, experts say.


CHINA DAILY


- More nations have turned to the yuan for investment and trade settlement, indicating that the Chinese currency is well on its way to become an international currency.


SHANGHAI DAILY


- China will improve the monitoring of drinking water sources, control poisonous contaminants and step up early warning mechanisms to ensure drinking water safety.


Fly On The Wall 7:00 AM Market Snapshot


ANALYST RESEARCH


Upgrades


American Campus (ACC) upgraded to Buy from Hold at MLV & Co.
Clear Channel Outdoor (CCO) upgraded to Neutral from Sell at B. Riley
Cognizant (CTSH) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Goldman
Dick's Sporting (DKS) upgraded to Overweight from Equal Weight at Morgan Stanley
Sonoco Products (SON) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at BofA/Merrill


Downgrades


CGI Group (GIB) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Goldman
Crocs (CROX) downgraded to Neutral from Outperform at Wedbush
Juniper (JNPR) downgraded to Hold from Buy at Jefferies
LinnCo (LNCO) downgraded to Neutral from Outperform at RW Baird
Nokia (NOK) downgraded to Underperform from Perform at Oppenheimer
Onyx Pharmaceuticals (ONXX) downgraded to Hold from Buy at Deutsche Bank
TD Ameritrade (AMTD) downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at BMO Capital
Towers Watson (TW) downgraded to Hold from Buy at Deutsche Bank
VF Corp. (VFC) downgraded to Neutral from Outperform at Credit Suisse


Initiations


Bruker (BRKR) initiated with an Outperform at Cowen
Esperion Therapeutics (ESPR) initiated with a Buy at Citigroup
Esperion Therapeutics (ESPR) initiated with an Outperform at Credit Suisse
Kratos Defense (KTOS) coverage assumed with a Hold at Jefferies
Luxoft (LXFT) initiated with a Neutral at Credit Suisse
Luxoft (LXFT) initiated with an Outperform at Cowen
NanoString (NSTG) initiated with a Neutral at RW Baird
NanoString (NSTG) initiated with an Outperform at Leerink
NanoString (NSTG) initiated with an Overweight at JPMorgan
NanoString (NSTG) initiated with an Overweight at Morgan Stanley
Teck Resources (TCK) initiated with a Hold at Brean Capital
Theravance (THRX) coverage resumed with an Underweight at Morgan Stanley
Tremor Video (TRMR) initiated with a Buy at Jefferies
Tremor Video (TRMR) initiated with an Outperform at Credit Suisse


HOT STOCKS


Apple (AAPL) said developer website taken down after hacking
GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) said some China executives may have breached law
Halliburton (HAL) increased share repurchase authorization to $5B
SEC rejected settlement with Falcone, Harbinger (HRG)
General Electric (GE) settled with FTC, allowing for purchase of Avio's aviation unit
UBS (UBS) announced mortgage bond settlement with FHFA (FMNA, FMCC)
Himax Technologies (HIMX) signed technology investment agreement with Google (GOOG)
USEC (USU) declined to comment on unusual market activity
Hasbro (HAS), Disney (DIS) expanded strategic merchandising relationship
Westinghouse Solar (WEST) canceled acquisition by Australia’s CBD Energy


EARNINGS


Companies that beat consensus earnings expectations last night and today include:
Sierra Bancorp (BSRR)


Companies that missed consensus earnings expectations include:
Hasbro (HAS)


Companies that matched consensus earnings expectations include:
MetroCorp (MCBI)


NEWSPAPERS/WEBSITES



  • Apple (AAPL) and its Asian suppliers are testing larger screens for iPhones and tablets, officials at the company's suppliers say. Apple has asked for prototype smartphone screens larger than 4 inches and has also asked for screen designs for a new tablet device measuring slightly less than 13 inches diagonally, the Wall Street Journal reports

  • The sharp reversal in the prices of commodities, from gold to copper and aluminum, is undermining one of the most popular bets in global financial markets: that prices would keep rising, fueled by strong growth in China and other developing economies and the relative scarcity of many raw materials, the Wall Street Journal reports

  • First-half revenue at the six biggest U.S. banks climbed for the first time in four years, fueling profits and vindicating Bank of America (BAC) and Morgan Stanley (MS) leaders who presided over stock slumps, Bloomberg reports

  • Pacific Investment Management Co.’s Bill Gross expects that the Fed won’t tighten monetary policy until 2016 at the earliest, Bloomberg reports


BARRON’S


Dell (DELL) shouldn't deny holders wanting to benefit from turnaround
Yahoo (YHOO) upside is limited
Shares of SanDisk (SNDK) will continue to work
Microsoft (MSFT) hurt by weak PC market, uncertainty of reorganization
Hess (HES) could rise to mid-$80s
Global Cash Access (GCA) could reach $8 in the next year
Interpublic Group (IPG) could rise 20% this year,
Next Softbank (SFTBF) catalyst is Alibaba.com (ALBCF) IPO
Check Point (CHKP) Fortinet (FTNT), SAIC (SAI) could rise 20%
Good prospects with P/Es in the single-digits: MetLife (MET), Prudential (PRU), Apple (AAPL), Valero (VLO), JPMorgan Chase (JPM), Deere (DE), General Motors (GM), Citigroup (C), Hewlett-Packard (HPQ), Marathon Petroleum (MPC), Apache (APA), Western Digital (WDC), Freeport-McMoRan (FCX), Ensco (ESV), and Phillips 66 (PSX)


SYNDICATE


MannKind (MNKD) files to sell 12M shares of common stock for holders
Streamline Health Solutions (STRM) files $37.5M mixed securities shelf
United Community (UCFC) files to sell 14.7M shares of common stock for holders

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