Frontrunning: October 31
- US Blasts Germany's Economic Policies (WSJ)
- Citigroup, JPMorgan Said to Put Currency Dealers on Leave (BBG)
- Watchdog: Syria Destroys Chemical-Arms Equipment (WSJ)
- Kynikos Alumni Start Hedge Fund Betting on Declining Stocks (BBG)
- China state media calls for stern action after Tiananmen attack (RTRS)
- IMF warns of financial shock risk to Africa (FT)
- Insurers Oppose Obamacare Extension as Danger to Profits (BBG)
- BoJ content to ignore Fed tapering and go its own way (FT)
- U.S. attorney wants DOJ to take civil action against BofA (RTRS)
- NSA Fallout Hits AT&T's Ambitions In Europe (WSJ)
- Sony slashes profit outlook with TV business back in red (RTRS)
- Google Denies NSA Cooperation While Expanding Encryption (WSJ)
- End western deference to Saudi petrodollars (FT)
- Facebook Status: Big Gains, but Worries Ahead (WSJ)
- Polish journalist abducted in Syria escaped and is home (RTRS)
Overnight Media Digest
* Fed officials emerged from a policy meeting with their easy-money program intact and no clear signal about whether they would begin pulling it back at their December meeting or continue it into 2014.
* The collapse of oil company OGX, Latin America's biggest-ever bankruptcy, punctuates Eike Batista's breathtaking rise and fall.
* The Treasury's semiannual report says Germany's export-led growth is creating problems for the euro zone and the global economy.
* Facebook's revival continued Wednesday as its surging mobile-advertising business helped the social network post a third-quarter profit, making its bumpy initial public offering last year seem like a distant memory.
* Retailers and grocers are bracing for another drain on consumer spending when a temporary boost in food-stamp benefits expires Friday.
* London's top traders and bankers could soon see a big boost to their monthly pay as part of an effort by banks to soften the blow of a new European Union law limiting annual bonuses.
* When 58.com Inc, China's equivalent of Craigslist, starts selling shares in New York, it will offer the best indicator yet of whether U.S. investors have found a taste for Chinese stocks again after a two-year case of indigestion.
* As it prepared its workers to take on jobs at major U.S. companies, Indian outsourcing giant Infosys Ltd provided them with written instructions on how to deceive U.S. authorities about the type of work they would do, and furnished them with inappropriate visas to lower its cost of doing business, federal prosecutors allege.
* Comcast Corp lost more video customers in the latest quarter than in the year-earlier period amid intensified competition from AT&T Inc's U-Verse and Verizon Communications' FiOS, a sign that phone companies' years long expansion into TV is continuing to exert pressure on the cable-TV industry.
Google said it was "outraged" by allegations that the U.S. government attempted to siphon information about millions of its users from its network.
Intel has held talks with Verizon Communications about offloading the chipmaker's web-based television streaming service just months before it was due to launch.
Big Four audit firm PriceWaterhouseCoopers said it would buy independent management consultant Booz & Co, in a deal understood to be worth at least the $1 billion that Booz makes in annual revenues.
Brazilian tycoon Eike Batista on Wednesday filed for bankruptcy protection for his oil exploration and production company OGX in Latin America's largest-ever corporate default.
Nokia on Wednesday won a patent infringement case against Taiwan-based HTC Corp, which may no longer be able to sell various handsets - including its flagship HTC One - in Britain.
* While the secretary of health and human services apologized profusely for the troubled rollout of the Affordable Care Act, President Obama traveled to Massachusetts to offer a forceful defense of the law.
* Advocates of the digital currency bitcoin say it is ready to emerge from its fringe status and become a common method of retail payment.
* The Federal Reserve said it would keep its campaign of asset purchases and low interest rates intact. The central bank's statement contained no surprises, and the stock market barely budged.
* Facebook profits doubled in the third quarter, and the social network reported that mobile ads now accounted for about half its advertising revenue.
* Unbeknown to Google and Yahoo, the National Security Agency and its British counterpart have tapped into the search engines abroad, where data collection faces less oversight.
* PricewaterhouseCoopers said on Wednesday that it had agreed to buy consulting firm Booz & Company, bolstering its advisory business, a chief source of growth for the firm.
* Investors now have an opportunity to bet directly on diamond mining, as the Russian government moves to spin off a 16 percent stake in Alrosa. When shares start trading Thursday afternoon on the Micex stock exchange in Russia, it will provide an opening to a long-cloistered and once highly secretive business.
* The staff of a U.S. attorney's office plans to recommend that the Justice Department sue Bank of America over the packaging and selling of mortgage-related investments before the financial crisis of 2008, the firm disclosed in a regulatory filing on Wednesday.
* The bankruptcy filing by petroleum company OGX was a stunning fall for entrepreneur Eike Batista, who was once a symbol of Brazil's rapid rise as a global economic power but more recently has come to represent a Brazilian elite that views itself as above the rules that govern the most of the country.
* The Brixmor Property Group Inc sold more shares than it had expected in its initial public offering, reflecting strong demand from investors for commercial real estate.
THE GLOBE AND MAIL
* Suncor Energy Inc, Canada's largest energy outfit, has approved plans to build a new $13.5 billion oil sands mine - a decision that comes after years of delays.
* Alberta Premier Alison Redford defended Wednesday a new regional planning bill she says will help municipalities, but opposition leaders say the legislation will gut local authority and could be used to jail dissenting municipal elected leaders.
Reports in the business section:
* Amazon.com Inc is launching online grocery and auto shops on Thursday, adding to an array of category additions this year that has included toys, beauty and home goods. The company is aggressively pushing into Canada, more than doubling its offerings this year, with 14 new kinds of products.
* Executives at Target Corp say they will spend the next year trying to reshape the habits of Canadian shoppers who have soured to the company's roll-out north of the border.
* Rising above a patch of flattened brown earth, the tallest structure in western Canada still has a neat gleam and that crisp new building smell. But that hasn't stopped Calgary from announcing an even bigger and better one. Within four years, Brookfield Place, which had its official groundbreaking ceremony on Wednesday, is expected to eke ahead of the much-heralded Bow Tower.
* Canadian Conservative Party lawyer Arthur Hamilton came under fire in the House of Commons on Tuesday for his role in paying the legal bill for Conservative Senator Mike Duffy.
* After 18 months of telling consumers and markets that its key interest rate would eventually be lifted from 1 percent, close to rock bottom, the Bank of Canada shifted gears into neutral.
* Target Corp is still trying valiantly to turn around the perception that the new-to-Canada mass merchant is pricier than its rivals in this country - most specifically, Walmart.
CHINA SECURITIES JOURNAL
- A total of 2,467 A-share listed Chinese companies have posted a 15.2 percent rise in their combined net profit for the July-September period from a year earlier, exchange data showed.
- China should take cautious steps to open up its capital account in the Shanghai free-trade zone, said Long Guoqiang, a senior official with the State Council's Development Research Center, the government's think tank, at a presser on Wednesday.
SHANGHAI SECURITIES NEWS
- China's parliament said it would speed up amendments on laws regarding land regulation, environment protection and air pollution prevention.
- China's average cement price rose 1 percent to 338.84 yuan ($55.60) a tonne in the last week of October from the previous week, and analysts expect cement firm's profits to improve in the fourth quarter.
- China issued rules to regulate incumbent and retired officials from working in companies or holding concurrent posts in government and commercial enterprises in order to avoid conflicts of interest.
- Participants in medical drug trials are appealing for better treatment, while trial companies complain of "dirty tricks" by participants to earn more.
Fly On The Wall 7:00 AM Market Snapsot
Chuy's (CHUY) upgraded to Market Perform from Underperform at Raymond James
Expedia (EXPE) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at BofA/Merrill
Hatteras Financial (HTS) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Compass Point
Hess Corp. (HES) upgraded to Outperform from Neutral at Credit Suisse
ICON plc (ICLR) upgraded to Strong Buy from Buy at ISI Group
Itron (ITRI) upgraded to Hold from Sell at Brean Capital
Microchip (MCHP) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Mizuho
Thoratec (THOR) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Canaccord
Boardwalk Pipeline (BWP) downgraded to Underweight from Equal Weight at Barclays
Covance (CVD) downgraded to Outperform from Strong Buy at Raymond James
Facebook (FB) downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at BMO Capital
Garmin (GRMN) downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at Raymond James
Itron (ITRI) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Janney Capital
Ligand (LGND) downgraded to Hold from Buy at Brean Capital
MSC Industrial (MSM) downgraded to Neutral from Outperform at RW Baird
MedAssets (MDAS) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at ISI Group
Mobile TeleSystems (MBT) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Citigroup
Saia, Inc. (SAIA) downgraded to Outperform from Strong Buy at Raymond James
Sealed Air (SEE) downgraded to Hold from Buy at Jefferies
Sealed Air (SEE) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Citigroup
Southern Company (SO) downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at Wells Fargo
United Microelectronics (UMC) downgraded to Underperform from Neutral at BofA/Merrill
Allscripts (MDRX) initiated with a Market Perform at FBR Capital
athenahealth (ATHN) initiated with a Market Perform at FBR Capital
Casella Waste (CWST) initiated with an Outperform at Imperial Capital
Cerner (CERN) initiated with an Outperform at FBR Capital
Computer Programs (CPSI) initiated with a Market Perform at FBR Capital
eHealth (EHTH) initiated with a Market Perform at FBR Capital
Essent Group (ESNT) initiated with a Buy at BTIG
FireEye (FEYE) initiated with a Perform at Oppenheimer
Omnicell (OMCL) initiated with an Outperform at FBR Capital
Prothena (PRTA) initiated with an Outperform at RBC Capital
Quality Systems (QSII) initiated with an Underperform at FBR Capital
Vocera (VCRA) initiated with a Market Perform at FBR Capital
Wabash (WNC) initiated with an Overweight at Piper Jaffray
Visa (V) announced new $5B share repurchase
Weight Watchers (WTW) suspended quarterly cash dividend
Facebook (FB) said fewer daily users among younger teens
Starwood Hotels (HOT) sold San Francisco properties for $125M
FleetCor (FLT) acquired Epyx from HgCapital, acquired NexTraq from Francisco Partners
Companies that beat consensus earnings expectations last night and today include:
Time Warner Cable (TWC), Iron Mountain (IRM), Cigna (CI), Pilgrim's Pride (PPC), Churchill Downs (CHDN), Marriott (MAR), Williams (WMB), Williams Partners (WPZ), Weight Watchers (WTW), Jarden (JAH), FleetCor (FLT), Elizabeth Arden (RDEN), SunPower (SPWR), PerkinElmer (PKI), Owens-Illinois (OI), Hanesbrands (HBI), Bally Technologies (BYI), Allstate (ALL), Facebook (FB), Starbucks (SBUX), PriceSmart (PSMT), Silicon Graphics (SGI), Expedia (EXPE), Affymetrix (AFFX), Kraft Foods (KRFT)
Companies that missed consensus earnings expectations include:
Total (TOT), Buenaventura (BVN), SJW Corp. (SJW), International Shipholding (ISH), Murphy Oil (MUR), Curtiss-Wright (CW), Avis Budget (CAR), Oil States (OIS), Intrepid Potash (IPI), Enbridge Energy (EEP), Con-way (CNW), Vanguard Natural (VNR), MetLife (MET), Tile Shop (TTS), A.T. Cross (ATX), Molina Healthcare (MOH)
Companies that matched consensus earnings expectations include:
FreightCar America (RAIL), MaxLinear (MXL), Meru Networks (MERU), Premiere Global (PGI), Atmel (ATML), AXIS Capital (AXS), XL Group (XL), Visa (V), Crocs (CROX)
- Facebook (FB) spooked investors with warnings that it may be nearing the limits of one of its most important areas of revenue growth. After reporting strong Q3 financial results, the company told analysts that they may not be able to cram any more ads into users' news feeds, and that U.S. teens are spending less time on the site, the Wall Street Journal reports
- AT&T’s (T) ambitions to expand in Europe have run into unexpected hurdles amid the growing outcry across the region over surveillance by the NSA. German and other European officials said any attempt by AT&T to acquire a major wireless operator would face intense scrutiny, the Wall Street Journal reports
- Fiat (FIATY) CEO Sergio Marchionne said the company's long-term goal is to own 100% of Chrysler, Reuters reports
- Warren Buffett, who aims to have $20B in cash at Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A), isn’t investing fast enough to keep money from piling up. Even in a year in which the company has struck some of its largest deals and accelerated capital spending, Buffett still needs to find acquisitions, Bloomberg reports
- Baidu (BIDU), owner of China’s most-popular Internet search engine, is buying companies to accelerate its transition to mobile devices, where traffic is at least doubling annually, said CEO Robin Li, Bloomberg reports
- Morgan Stanley (MS) will take a 30% stake in Mitsubishi Financial Group’s (MTU) Japanese wealth-management business, sources say, Bloomberg reports
58.com (WUBA) 11M share IPO priced at $17.00
Discovery Labs (DSCO) files to sell common stock
Essent Group (ESNT) 19.7M share IPO priced at $17.00
Gas Natural (EGAS) files to sell 1.13M shares of common stock
Intercloud Systems (ICLD) 1.25M share Secondary priced at $4.00
Marcus & Millichap (MMI) 6M share IPO priced at $12.00
Western Digital (WDC) files to sell 10.9M shares for holder Hitachi Ltd
Yelp (YELP) 3.75M share Secondary priced at $67.00