Frontrunning: September 19

  • Bernanke Resets Policy by Doing Nothing as Markets Soar (BBG)

  • Stocks Jump to Five-Year High as Metals Rally on Fed (BBG)

  • Centre-left bigwig says hard to stay allied with Berlusconi (ANSA)

  • J.P. Morgan 'Whale' Fine Put at Over $900 Million (WSJ)

  • Banks’ $10 Billion Sweet Spot Sets Off Buying Spree for Lenders (BBG)

  • Time to taper? Not if you look at bank loans (Reuters)

  • Mortgage Lending Reaches 5-Year High (WSJ) ... and then plunges as Fed gives "all clear" for a few months

  • Yellen Chances Grow as Obama Aides Test Senate Support (BBG)

  • SNB Says Franc Ceiling ‘Essential’ to Protect Economy (BBG)

  • Sony's Kazuo Hirai Says Third Point Campaign Was 'a Good Thing (WSJ)

  • BlackBerry to Slash Workforce by Up to 40% (WSJ)

  • Egypt police storm area near Cairo, officer killed (Reuters)



Overnight Media Digest


 * Seeing a more uneven economic climate than they expected and the potential for fiscal discord in Washington, Federal Reserve officials got cold feet Wednesday and decided to keep their signature easy money program in place for the time being. (

* On Wednesday, the Federal Reserve gave the markets uncertainty and confusion about plans to wind down its bond-buying program, and markets loved it, sending U.S. stock indexes to records. But big questions remain about what lies ahead. (

* Immigration to the United States picked up last year - driven largely by growing numbers of newcomers from Asia rather than the Hispanic immigrants that fueled the nation's population growth before the recession. (

* Regulators in the United States and the UK are expected to fine JPMorgan Chase & Co more than $900 million for actions tied to its 2012 'London whale' trading debacle, according to a person familiar with the settlement talks. (

* Mortgage lending jumped to a five-year high last year, driven by a sharp rise in refinancing as borrowers rushed to lock in the lowest mortgage rates in at least 60 years, according to a Federal Reserve report. (

* Struggling BlackBerry Ltd is preparing for deep staff cuts, up to 40 percent of its employees, by the end of the year, people familiar with the matter said. The layoffs will cut across all departments and occur in waves, likely affecting several thousand workers, the people said. BlackBerry had 12,700 employees as of March. (

* When consumer marketplaces for insurance go live on Oct.1, the insurance companies that are likely to draw attention are lesser known, and in many cases will be offering lower rates. (

* Orbital Sciences launched an unmanned capsule on its maiden voyage to the international space station, hoping to become the second commercial entity to transport cargo to the orbiting laboratory. (

* became the first company listed in the S&P 500 to trade at $1,000 in the index's 56-year history. Priceline's shares have flirted with $1,000 before. During the dotcom bubble, it topped out split-adjusted closing high of $974.25 in April 1999. The stock had a meltdown in the years that followed, closing below $7 a share in October 2002. (



JPMorgan Chase will on Thursday be accused of failing to provide accurate and timely information on the London whale trading debacle to regulators, investors and its board. The actions of a particular London-based executive are likely to receive the most serious scrutiny, according to people familiar with the matter.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission ruled that public listed companies in the United States will be made to disclose the pay gap between their ordinary employees and chief executives.

Oracle on Wednesday warned of a gloomy financial forecast, blaming continued weakness in global IT demand -- shares of the world's third largest software maker fell 3 percent on the news.

Billionaire Ty Warner, creator of "Beanie Babies" stuffed toys, will plead guilty to evading US taxes and pay a $53 million civil fine.

Take-Two Interactive Software's Grand Theft Auto V video game generated sales of more than $800 million, breaking the sales record set last year by Activision Blizzard's Call of Duty and becoming the fastest-grossing entertainment franchise in the world.



* It turns out that the U.S. Federal Reserve is not quite ready to let go of its extra efforts to help the economy grow. In a reversal that stunned economists and investors on Wall Street, the Fed said on Wednesday that it would postpone any retreat from its monetary stimulus campaign for at least another month and quite possibly until next year.

* The gap in pay between chief executives and rank-and-file employees has been growing steadily, and now regulators want companies to tell investors just how wide it is. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, addressing an issue that has captured the public's attention like few others at the agency, proposed a rule on Wednesday that would require publicly traded companies to disclose the difference between the pay of CEOs and employees.

* After weeks of vociferous objections by faculty members, Pennsylvania State University said on Wednesday it was suspending part of a new employee wellness program that some professors had criticized as coercive and financially punitive.

* On Wednesday, some of the tech world's most formidable players announced an effort to get closer to that point, with a new biotechnology company to fight the aging process and the diseases that accompany it. The company, Calico, was conceived and backed by Google, whose co-founder and chief executive, Larry Page, portrayed it as one of the company's long-shot projects, like self-driving cars.

* JPMorgan Chase & Co is expected to pay more than $900 million in fines to government authorities in Washington and London and make a rare admission of wrongdoing on Thursday, a pact that will settle a range of investigations over a multibillion trading blunder the bank suffered last year, according to people briefed on the matter.

* President Obama tried to raise the pressure on Republicans in Congress on Wednesday, telling a national business group that threats of a fiscal default by his political adversaries risk throwing the United States economy back into crisis. Obama used an appearance before the group, the Business Roundtable, to call out House Republicans who have said they will not raise the nation's debt ceiling unless they succeeded in repealing Obama's signature health care law.

* Tired of being thrust onto the front lines of the nation's debate over guns, Starbucks Corp is asking customers to leave firearms behind when they are in its stores and its outdoor seating areas. The policy change came after a shooting rampage at the Washington Navy Yard on Monday that left 13 people, including the gunman, dead.

* Pandora Media Inc won a battle in its continuing war with the music industry over royalties when a federal judge ruled on Tuesday that the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, which represents thousands of members, cannot prevent Pandora from licensing all the songs in its catalog.

* Builders began construction of single-family homes at a faster pace in August, and building permits for construction hit a five-year high, pointing to resilience in the housing market recovery in the face of higher mortgage rates.




* Police have formally identified the bus driver killed in a tragic crash in Ottawa as 45-year-old Dave Woodard. Woodard was among the six people killed on Wednesday morning when the double-decker bus he was driving drove through a railway crossing and struck a VIA Rail train.

* A decade of healthcare reforms heralded as a "fix for a generation" has yielded disappointing results and deluded Canadians into thinking their system of care is better than it really is, a report says. The report, to be released on Thursday, is the latest from the Health Council of Canada, an oversight panel created to monitor the progress of health accords introduced in 2003 and 2004.

* Liberal leader Justin Trudeau has attracted a high-profile retired general to bulk up his military and foreign-affairs credentials, boosting his ability to attack the Conservatives on what is considered to be one of their strong suits. Trudeau has brought in retired lieutenant-general Andrew Leslie - best known for advocating massive cuts at National Defence headquarters in 2011 - as the co-chair of a new group of advisers on international affairs.

Reports in the business section:

* The launch of what could be the last new phone released by BlackBerry Ltd as a public company has been overshadowed by a looming round of layoffs at the once-leading technology giant. BlackBerry announced a new flagship smartphone - the Z30 - and a new version of its BlackBerry 10 operating system on Wednesday. But it is also quietly cutting various parts of its work force, as it tries to slash costs and make itself more appealing to possible bidders for all or parts of the company.

* Canada's Industry Minister, James Moore, escalated the war of words against major telecoms companies, saying their "Fair for Canada" advertising campaign this summer was motivated solely by their fear of competition from Verizon Communications Inc.

* Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz is painting a brighter picture for the Canadian economy while tossing aside concerns over a housing bubble. Canada is on its "way home" to more natural economic growth as central banks prepare to reverse nearly six years of low-interest rate fuel, he said on Wednesday.


* Acceding to growing calls for him to step aside, Adrian Dix, the man once pegged as British Columbia's premier in waiting, announced on Wednesday that he would resign as leader of the BC New Democratic Party. "It has become clear to me that the best interests of our party mean I need to step aside for a new leader, who can lead us to victory in 2017," he told a news conference in downtown Vancouver.


* Canadian oil and gas producer Nexen is considering its own liquefied natural gas project on the West Coast, leveraging its 30,000 acres of shale gas deposits in northeast British Columbia and parent company CNOOC Ltd's considerable expertise in the transportation of natural gas. "It is quite possible," said Kevin Reinhart, chief executive at Nexen, which was bought by China's CNOOC for C$15.1 billion in February.

* New rules proposed in the United States on Wednesday will compel companies to disclose how their chief executive's pay compares to that of the average worker, a development that is likely to bring the controversial debate about the measurement of pay gaps and performance to Canada.


Hong Kong/China


-- Hong Kong's Financial Secretary John Tsang urged lawmakers to support the government's cooling measures for the property market, saying they were needed to stabilise flat prices. He said the curbs would be scrapped in the fullness of time, adding that this was not expected to happen in the immediate future. (

-- Forgame Holdings Ltd, a Guangzhou-based webpage game developer which plans to raise as much as HK$1.72 billion ($221.8 million) in its Hong Kong initial public offering, said it would expand into the mobile game market and broaden its reach in the global market to bolster revenue growth. Forgame was looking at the international market to increase its overseas business to account for 20 percent of revenue "within two years" from "a very small proportion" now, said Chairman Wang Dongfeng. (

-- Mainland authorities are ready to open the floodgates for new stock listings anytime soon, said an adviser to policymakers in Beijing, freeing up the backlog of companies looking to raise capital and allowing private-equity firms to cash in their stakes. (


-- Regal Hotels International Holdings Ltd and affiliate Paliburg Holdings Ltd topped seven firms and won a luxury residential plot in Shatin for HK$2.39 billion, which is lower than market estimates.


-- Sino Land Co Ltd has acquired residential plot in Wan Chai for a better-than-expected HK$139.9 million. The company plans to invest about HK$280 million for building a boutique apartment. (

-- Alibaba Group's bid to list on the local bourse in the form of a partnership would set a bad precedent for future listing candidates and several listed firms are likely to protest, warned shareholder activist David Webb. (


-- The initial public offering of China Huishan Dairy Holdings Co Ltd, which owns the country's second largest herd of dairy cows, was oversubscribed 12 times, attracting HK$13.1 billion retail orders, according to market sources.


-- Low-cost carrier Scoot, a subsidiary of flag-carrier Singapore Airlines, will join the competitive route Hong Kong-Singapore from November. The company will also add 20 Boeing 787 Dreamliner by the end of next year for business development, said Chief Executive Campbell Wilson.


-- China Minsheng Banking Corp Ltd spokesperson said they were not in talks to buy Hong Kong lender Wing Hang Bank.


-- Chinese developer Sunac China Holdings Ltd acquired a mixed-use plot at record high price for 10.32 billion yuan ($1.69 billion) in Tianjin.



Fly On The Wall 7:00 AM Market Snapshot



AOL (AOL) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Topeka
Air Products (APD) upgraded to Overweight from Neutral at Atlantic Equities
Delhaize (DEG) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Nomura
GT Advanced (GTAT) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at UBS
Huntsman (HUN) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at BofA/Merrill
OraSure (OSUR) upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform at Raymond James
Pall Corp. (PLL) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Janney Capital
Semiconductor Manufacturing (SMI) upgraded to Overweight from Neutral at HSBC
Time Warner (TWX) upgraded to Overweight from Equal Weight at Morgan Stanley


BHP Billiton (BHP) downgraded to Underperform from Neutral at Exane BNP Paribas
Boise (BZ) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Goldman
Carrefour (CRRFY) downgraded to Reduce from Neutral at Nomura
Disney (DIS) downgraded to Equal Weight from Overweight at Morgan Stanley
Dr Pepper Snapple (DPS) downgraded to Sell from Neutral at Goldman
E.ON AG (EONGY) downgraded to Sell from Hold at Societe Generale
FedEx (FDX) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Goldman
General Mills (GIS) downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at Wells Fargo
Microsemi (MSCC) downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at Wells Fargo
Popular (BPOP) downgraded to Underweight from Equal Weight at Morgan Stanley
Rockwood (ROC) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Goldman
Triumph Group (TGI) downgraded to Neutral from Outperform at Credit Suisse
ViroPharma (VPHM) downgraded to Hold from Buy at Deutsche Bank


AOL (AOL) initiated with a Fair Value at CRT Capital (AMZN) initiated with a Buy at CRT Capital
AmerisourceBergen (ABC) initiated with a Buy at Sterne Agee
Cardinal Health (CAH) initiated with a Neutral at Sterne Agee
Cisco (CSCO) initiated with an Underperform at Credit Suisse
Coeur Mining (CDE) initiated with an Outperform at Raymond James
Facebook (FB) initiated with a Buy at CRT Capital
Frank's International (FI) initiated with an Equal Weight at Morgan Stanley
Frank's International (FI) initiated with an Outperform at Credit Suisse
Google (GOOG) initiated with a Buy at CRT Capital
Hercules Offshore (HERO) reinstated with a Buy at Deutsche Bank
Intercontinental Hotels (IHG) initiated with a Buy at Societe Generale
Juniper (JNPR) initiated with a Neutral at Credit Suisse
LinkedIn (LNKD) initiated with a Buy at CRT Capital
Masco (MAS) initiated with an Overweight at Barclays
McKesson (MCK) initiated with a Buy at Sterne Agee
Netflix (NFLX) initiated with a Fair Value at CRT Capital
Pandora (P) initiated with a Fair Value at CRT Capital
Ubiquiti Networks (UBNT) initiated with a Neutral at Credit Suisse
Yahoo (YHOO) initiated with a Fair Value at CRT Capital
Yelp (YELP) initiated with a Fair Value at CRT Capital
Zillow (Z) initiated with a Fair Value at CRT Capital


McDonald's (MCD) increased dividend 5% to 81c per share
Judge denied ABC's (DIS) effort to bar DISH (DISH) Hopper features
Activision Blizzard (ATVI) said court halted closing of Vivendi (VIVHY) deal
Fitch affirmed rating of Harsco (HSC), rating outlook negative
Gentiva Health (GTIV) to acquire Harden Healthcare for $408M
Dick's Sporting (DKS) anticipates growing store base to over 800, and to grow eCommerce sales to about $1.1B by end of FY17
Oracle (ORCL) to announce In-Memory Option for Oracle database next week
Bally Technologies (BYI) and Cantor Gaming signed online content agreement


Companies that beat consensus earnings expectations last night and today include:
IHS Inc. (IHS), Clarcor (CLC), Oracle (ORCL)

Companies that missed consensus earnings expectations include:
Pier 1 Imports (PIR), Apogee Enterprises (APOG)

Companies that matched consensus earnings expectations include:
Herman Miller (MLHR)


  • Mortgage lending jumped to a five-year high last year, driven by a sharp rise in refinancing as borrowers rushed to lock in the lowest mortgage rates in at least 60 years, according to a Federal Reserve report, the Wall Street Journal reports

  • When the consumer marketplaces for insurance go live Oct. 1, the insurance companies likely to draw attention on the exchanges, expected to enroll an estimated 7M Americans in the first year, are lesser-known, and in many cases will be offering comparatively lower rates. They include: Molina Healthcare (MOH), Centene (CNC) and Magellan Health Services (MGLN), the Wall Street Journal reports

  • A report by IHS Global, commissioned by the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Assn., laid out the most public justification yet of banks' role in physical commodity markets, a lucrative business now under threat from mounting political and regulatory pressure, Reuters reports

  • Goldman Sachs Investment Partners (GS) and Cong Li, the former chief investment officer of Mirae Asset Global Investment (Hong Kong), are preparing to start separate Asian hedge funds as fund launches gather pace in the second half of the year in the region, Reuters reports

  • Janet Yellen’s prospects of becoming the next Fed chairman increased as White House officials began gauging lawmakers’ support and she won the backing of Charles Schumer, a top Senate Democrat, Bloomberg reports

  • Deutsche Lufthansa (DLAKY) plans to order 59 wide-body aircraft from Boeing (BA) and Airbus SAS (EADSY), splitting the purchase valued at $19B as the carrier phases out aging long-distance aircraft, Bloomberg reports


Fifth Street Finance (FSC) files to sell 15M shares of common stock
Pacific Coast Oil (ROYT) files to sell 13.5M common units for holders
Pandora (P) 18.2M share Secondary priced at $25.00
SS&C Technologies (SSNC) files to sell 7.47M common shares for Carlyle Group funds
Sunshine Heart (SSH) files to sell common stock

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