Frontrunning: September 4
- Yes: Support Builds in Congress for U.S. Strike Against Syria (WSJ)
- No: Boehner backs Obama on Syria, but House leaning toward ‘no’ (The Hill)
- U.S. Congress fight over Syria pits establishment versus upstarts (Reuters)
- Wednesday humor: Japan’s Abe Says Fukushima Will Be Resolved Before 2020 Olympics (BBG)
- Bank of Japan to Consider Further Easing if Sales Tax Hike Goes Ahead (Reuters)
- S&P accuses U.S. Justice Department of filing $5 billion lawsuit against it in "retaliation" for the company's downgrade of America's debt in 2011 (WSJ)
- German Candidates Spar Over Records (WSJ)
- Emerging Nations Save $2.9 Trillion Reserves in Rout (BBG)
- Split Congress Mulls Denial of Military Force Request (BBG)
- Sharp Fall in Overseas Investment By Chinese Firms (WSJ)
- Jorge Lemann: He Is...the World's Most Interesting Billionaire (BusinessWeek)
- Why Amazon Is on a Warehouse Building Spree (BW)
- Singapore’s Volatile Data Stump Professionals (WSJ)
Overnight Media Digest
* President Barack Obama's drive to build support for an attack against Syria gained significant momentum Tuesday. Leaders of a Senate committee reached agreement on a resolution authorizing military strikes against Syria that adds restrictions.
* With the Syrian refugee numbers passing the two million mark Tuesday, governments and aid officials are coming to the conclusion that the disruption could last a long time.
* Standard & Poor's Ratings Services escalated its legal battle with the U.S. Justice Department, accusing it of filing its $5 billion lawsuit against S&P in "retaliation" for the company's downgrade of America's debt in 2011.
* Long-simmering friction between the chairman and chief financial officer of Zurich Insurance Group escalated this summer as the two tussled over how to explain the company's disappointing progress toward meeting certain business targets, according to company officials familiar with the situation. The sometimes-heated exchanges between chairman Josef Ackermann and CFO Pierre Wauthier didn't strike Zurich officials as problematic. Then, last week, Wauthier committed suicide.
* Bank of America hoped its investment in China Construction Bank Corp would help it tap into an economy whose growth potential seemed limitless. Eight years later, the lender has sold the last of its shares for $1.47 billion, marking the end of an era in which big Western banks piled into China in hopes of gaining a long-term foothold there.
* Verizon agreed to pay $130 billion for Vodafone's stake in their U.S. joint venture, an enormous deal that gives Verizon full control of its wireless operations after more than a decade of negotiations.
* Onyx Pharmaceuticals Inc Chief Executive Anthony Coles could leave the drug maker with more than $60 million if he departs the company once it is taken over by Amgen Inc regulatory filings show.
* LinkedIn Corp looking to capitalize on a strong run-up in its share price, on Tuesday filed to raise $1 billion in a follow-on stock offering. LinkedIn said the proceeds will be used for general purposes, ranging from improving its balance sheet to investments in international expansion and product development.
* News Corp has sold a collection of community newspapers called the Dow Jones Local Media Group to an affiliate of Fortress Investment Group for an undisclosed amount.
* The U.S. manufacturing sector expanded at its quickest pace in more than two years, as domestic demand remained brisk and trading partners around the globe saw their economies improve. The Institute for Supply Management's (ISM's) manufacturing purchasing managers index rose to 55.7 in August, the highest level since a 55.8 reading in June 2011. Readings above 50 indicate expansion.
Microsoft Corp said it would buy Nokia's phone business and license its patents for 5.44 billion euros ($7.2 billion), but the move ran into a wall of skepticism on Tuesday, pushing Microsoft shares down more than 6 percent.
LinkedIn Corp said it will sell $1 billion worth of stock in a secondary offering as the Internet company, whose shares have more than doubled this year, moves to increase its financial flexibility and perhaps make more acquisitions.
Rupert Murdoch's News Corp said on Tuesday that it has sold Dow Jones Local Media Group, which operated 33 publications, including eight daily and 15 weekly community newspapers, to a unit of Fortress Investment Group for an undisclosed sum.
City grandee and former ENRC board member Paul Judge is counter-suing the Kazakh miner for alleged libel, after it filed a legal claim against him in connection with what it said were leaks of confidential information to the media.
Payday loan provider Wonga shrugged off intense criticism from politicians, charities and the Archbishop of Canterbury as its full-year pretax profit rose more than a third in 2012, benefiting from more than 1 million people who turned to the lender for access to short-term cash.
A fresh wave of industrial unrest hit South Africa's gold mines as the National Union of Mineworkers called for a strike on Tuesday, after weeks of wage negotiations between unions and companies broke down.
* By buying Nokia's handset business, Microsoft Corp may have strengthened its control over the destiny of its mobile operations and gained a potential new chief executive. But completing the $7.2 billion transaction was a lengthy process that was anything but straightforward, people briefed on the matter said on Tuesday.
* The collision of the $1 trillion in budget and the breakdown of the normal budgeting process is creating headaches not just for Washington but also for a vast web of offices dependent on federal financing. Many have been left uncertain as to how much money - if any - they will have to spend in the year ahead.
* A former high-ranking Chinese railroad official whose daughter's employment at JPMorgan Chase is a focus of an antibribery investigation in the United States has been indicted on bribery charges in a Beijing court.
* Jeffrey Bezos, the new owner of The Washington Post , kicked off a packed, two-day visit to the paper on Tuesday, his first since purchasing the newspaper for $250 million on Aug. 5.
* Bank of America Corp is aiming to raise as much as $1.5 billion by seeking to sell its remaining stake in China Construction Bank, according to a copy of a term sheet for the sale seen by DealBook on Tuesday.
* In one of its first moves since a corporate spinoff in June, News Corp said on Tuesday that it had sold 33 local publications to a private equity and hedge fund firm. The collection of small newspapers and niche publications, known as the Dow Jones Local Media Group, will be owned by an affiliate of the Fortress Investment Group.
* Kodak's trip through bankruptcy is now a memory, as it finished its restructuring and exited Chapter 11 on Tuesday. Kodak is now a commercial imaging company serving business markets like packaging and graphics.
* The hedge funds Glenview Capital Management and Hayman Capital Management have swooped in on J.C. Penney shares, joining a list of hedge funds that have disclosed bullish views on the struggling retailer. News of their positions comes weeks after William Ackman of Pershing Square Capital Management, resigned from the board and sold his roughly 18 percent stake in the company.
THE GLOBE AND MAIL
* Royal Canadian Mounted Police say a six-year-old boy found dead on a Saskatchewan reserve had head trauma and believe that a child under 12 is responsible. Staff Sergeant Larry Brost said the boy is too young to be charged under the Youth Criminal Justice Act.
* Ariel Castro, 53, the man who held three women captive in his home for nearly a decade before one escaped has been found dead and is believed to have committed suicide, a prison official said. Castro was found hanging in his cell around 9:20 p.m. Tuesday at the Correctional Reception Center in Orient, located in central Ohio, JoEllen Smith, Department of Rehabilitation and Correction spokeswoman, said early Wednesday.
Reports in the business section:
* Verizon Communications Inc may have lost interest in Canada, but the country's Big Three carriers are moving ahead with their battle to get Ottawa to rewrite its wireless policy. Instead of declaring victory, Telus Corp, BCE Inc and Rogers Communications Inc renewed their call for Ottawa to close so-called "loopholes" in its wireless rules.
* Apple Inc on Tuesday sent official invitations to a Sept. 10 event at which it is expected to unveil the latest version of the iPhone, possibly in colors other than its trademark black and white.
* Ontario's police watchdog is investigating an incident in which they say an 80-year-old woman suffered a fractured hip after she was struck by police with a Taser.
* A naval expert warns that a weekend collision with naval supply ship could hasten the demise of the Canadian navy's only command-and-control destroyer in the Pacific.
* The federal government's historic multibillion-dollar infrastructure program has been lucrative for a few Quebec construction companies involved in illegal collusion, a witness testified at the province's corruption inquiry on Tuesday.
* Weak commodity prices, a wave of CEO firings and more than C$60 billion ($56.92 billion) of writedowns have slowed mining M&A activity to a crawl. And almost no one thinks it will rebound anytime soon. A new study from PricewaterhouseCoopers LLC, to be released Thursday, details the damage. There were a total of 649 mining deals in the first six months of 2013, according to PwC, down 31 percent from last year. And deal value plunged 74 percent in that period to $20.6 billion.
* A decision by U.S. giant Verizon to no longer try to enter Canada's wireless market may mean Canadians could soon end up paying more on their cellphone bills, say several analysts.
SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST
-- The Long-Term Housing Strategy Steering Committee, chaired by Secretary for Transport and Housing, Anthony Cheung, proposed to build 470,000 flats in the next 10 years, 60 percent of them public rental and subsidized flats, to address the housing shortage, but with warnings that meeting the targets depended on finding suitable land and resolving community conflicts. ()
-- Sinopec Shanghai Petrochemical Co Ltd, one of China's top five refiners, is considering investing as much as 20 billion yuan ($3.27 billion) on a one million tonne paraxylene project that could reduce the country's reliance on imports of the raw material for making polyester. ()
HONG KONG ECONOMIC JOURNAL
-- China Gas Holdings Ltd co-chairman and managing director Liu Minghui said PetroChina Co Ltd are merely their business partners, the anti-corruption investigation would not affect China Gas' business.
-- Hong Kong's home market turned dismal in August as transactions plunged to a nine-month low with only 3,407 new and old units changing hands. ()
-- Tenwow International Holdings Ltd, a mainland maker of packaged food and beverage products, is seeking to raise as much as HK$1.58 billion ($203.74 million) through an initial public offering in Hong Kong. The retail book for the float opens on Sept. 5.
WEN WEI PO
-- China's new economic zone Qianhai plans to put out six pieces of land for large financial institutions, according to sources. The region is also considering putting another four plots up for auction, which aims to attract Hong Kong enterprises.
-- China Railway Group is confident of meeting its target this year for new contracts worth 650 billion yuan, said group president Bai Zhongren, adding that he expects the debt ratio to drop in the second half.
TA KUNG PAO
-- TCL Multimedia Technology Holdings Ltd said it will start selling smart TVs with Baidu Inc. TCL's chairman Li Dongsheng said it expects sales target of related products to reach 1 million units.
Fly On The Wall 7:00 AM Market Snapshot
Allison Transmission (ALSN) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Goldman
Angie's List (ANGI) upgraded to Outperform from Sector Perform at RBC Capital
Best Buy (BBY) upgraded to Neutral from Underperform at BofA/Merrill
BlackRock Kelso (BKCC) upgraded to Market Perform at Keefe Bruyette
CBS (CBS) upgraded to Overweight from Neutral at Atlantic Equities
Coca-Cola Femsa (KOF) upgraded to Overweight from Neutral at HSBC
InvenSense (INVN) upgraded to Outperform from Neutral at RW Baird
Lincoln National (LNC) upgraded to Equal Weight from Underweight at Barclays
Medley Capital (MCC) upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform at Wells Fargo
MetLife (MET) upgraded to Overweight from Equal Weight at Barclays
Nokia (NOK) upgraded to Hold from Underperform at Jefferies
Nokia (NOK) upgraded to Neutral from Underperform at Exane BNP Paribas
Prudential (PRU) upgraded to Overweight from Equal Weight at Barclays
Siemens (SI) upgraded to Outperform from Neutral at Exane BNP Paribas
Symetra Financial (SYA) upgraded to Equal Weight from Underweight at Barclays
Verizon (VZ) upgraded to Outperform from Neutral at RW Baird
WWE (WWE) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Roth Capital
Accretive Health (AH) downgraded to Neutral from Outperform at Credit Suisse
Ameriprise (AMP) downgraded to Equal Weight from Overweight at Barclays
Chicago Bridge & Iron (CBI) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Goldman
Concur (CNQR) downgraded to Hold from Buy at Wunderlich
Guidewire Software (GWRE) downgraded to Sell from Neutral at Citigroup
Kindred (KND) downgraded to Underperform from Market Perform at Wells Fargo
Ryanair (RYAAY) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at UBS
Select Medical (SEM) downgraded to Underperform from Market Perform at Wells Fargo
Access Midstream (ACMP) initiated with a Buy at Jefferies
AmeriGas (APU) initiated with a Buy at Jefferies
Ashford Hospitality (AHT) initiated with a Buy at BofA/Merrill
CNA Financial (CNA) initiated with a Buy at Deutsche Bank
DCP Midstream (DPM) initiated with a Buy at Jefferies
EQT Midstream Partners (EQM) initiated with an Outperform at Oppenheimer
Enterprise Products (EPD) initiated with a Buy at Jefferies
Gulfport Energy (GPOR) initiated with an Outperform at Wells Fargo
Isis Pharmaceuticals (ISIS) initiated with a Neutral at Goldman
J. C. Penney (JCP) coverage resumed with a Neutral at Goldman
Kohl's (KSS) coverage resumed with a Sell at Goldman
Loews (L) initiated with a Buy at Deutsche Bank
MarkWest Energy (MWE) initiated with a Buy at Jefferies
Memorial Production (MEMP) initiated with an Outperform at Oppenheimer
Mueller Water (MWA) initiated with an Outperform at Wedbush
ONEOK Partners (OKS) initiated with a Buy at Jefferies
Regal Entertainment (RGC) initiated with a Hold at Benchmark Co.
Restoration Hardware (RH) initiated with a Buy at Janney Capital
Seadrill Partners (SDLP) initiated with an Outperform at Oppenheimer
ServiceNow (NOW) initiated with an Outperform at JMP Securities
Spansion (CODE) initiated with an Outperform at Wells Fargo
Targa Resources Partners (NGLS) initiated with a Buy at Jefferies
Targa Resources (TRGP) initiated with a Buy at Jefferies
Tesoro Logistics (TLLP) initiated with an Outperform at Oppenheimer
Western Gas Equity (WGP) initiated with an Outperform at Oppenheimer
Western Gas Partners (WES) initiated with an Outperform at Oppenheimer
Williams Partners (WPZ) initiated with a Buy at Jefferies
Williams (WMB) initiated with a Buy at Jefferies
Ellie Mae (ELLI) hired Morgan Stanley (MS) to oversee sale, Reuters reports
Bank of America (BAC) sold remaining stake in China Construction Bank, sees $750M gain
News Corp. (NWSA) sold Dow Jones Local Media Group to an affiliate of Fortress Investment Group (FIG)
Diamondback Energy (FANG) to acquire interests in Midland County for $440M
Home Depot (HD) to buy back $2B more of stock in FY13, sees adding 1c to FY13 EPS
LinkedIn (LNKD) announced $1B offering of common stock
Ryanair (RYAAY) sees full year profit at lower end of range
Alcoa (AA) to combine used beverage container, scrap aluminum units
Jury found that Toshiba (TOSYY) did not participate in LCD price fixing (BBY)
Colfax (CFX) made binding offer to acquire Flakt Woods' GII business for EUR 193M
Carrizo Oil & Gas (CRZO) to sell non-core assets for about $268M
Companies that beat consensus earnings expectations last night and today include:
ABM Industries (ABM), Sparton (SPA), Matrix Service (MTRX), Guidewire Software (GWRE)
Companies that missed consensus earnings expectations include:
SAIC (SAI), H&R Block (HRB), Pike Electric (PIKE)
- While Microsoft (MSFT) struck a $7B bargain with Nokia (NOK) to bolster a mobile future for the software giant, the odds are long that a deal can reverse the fortunes of two laggards in a cutthroat market, the Wall Street Journal reports
- U.S. companies (ENB, VLO, EPD, CVE) that refine oil increasingly doubt that the controversial Keystone XL (TRP) pipeline expansion will ever be built, and now they don't particularly care, the Wall Street Journal reports
- Nokia (NOK) may have sold its handset business to Microsoft (MSFT), but by hanging on to its valuable patent portfolio, the Finnish company could also get a big future payoff at the expense of Android phone makers, Reuters reports
- Nissan Motor (NSANY) and Daimler (DDAIF) will build small Infiniti and Mercedes-Benz luxury cars at a Nissan plant in Mexico, sources say, Reuters reports
- The biggest mining companies, from BHP Billiton (BHP) to Rio Tinto (RIO), are set to spend about $244B on expansions to 2015, slow to heed Glencore Xstrata (GLNCY) CEO Glasenberg’s call for austerity to end an oversupply in mineral markets, Bloomberg reports
- Sony Corp. (SNE) is considering applying its image sensors to wearable computers and hand-gesture TVs for growth as it expects smartphone revenue to peak around 2015. The company plans to seek growth in developing the chips, already used in smartphones and digital cameras, for products such as self-driving cars and medical equipment, Bloomberg reports
ExOne (XONE) to offer 1.55M shares for selling holders, 1.11M shares by company
Hain Celestial (HAIN) announces sale of 3.65M common shares by Carl Icahn
LinkedIn (LNKD) announces proposed $1B follow-on offering of common stock
LyondellBasell (LYB) announces offering of 16M shares by selling holders
Matador (MTDR) commences offer of 8.5M shares of common stock
Medley Capital (MCC) announces offering of 6M shares of common stock
National CineMedia (NCMI) announces 2M share secondary offering by Regal
Glenview Capital reports 9.1% passive stake in J. C. Penney (JCP)
Burkle’s Yucaipa tells Morgans Hotel (MHGC) in letter to sell company