Frontrunning: November 21
- When it fails, do more of it - Bank of Japan hints at extending ultra-loose monetary policy (FT)
- PBOC Says No Longer in China’s Interest to Increase Reserves (BBG)
- Fed casts about for endgame on easy-money policy (Hilsenrath)
- Big trucks still rule Detroit in energy-conscious era (Reuters)
- Debt Limit Rise May Not Be Needed Until June, CBO Says (BBG)
- Some Insurance Regulators Turn Down White House Invitation (WSJ)
- Say Goodbye to the Car Salesman (WSJ)
- U.S. drone kills senior militant in Pakistani seminary (Reuters)
- French business sector contracts sharply (FT)
- How Germany's taxman used stolen data to squeeze Switzerland (Reuters)
- Fed casts about for endgame on easy-money policy (WSJ)
- France, Italy call for full-time Eurogroup chief (Reuters)
- Bank of England stresses it in no rush to raise interest rates (Reuters)
- ECB Board Considering Publishing Minutes of Policy Meetings (WSJ)
- Drop in Traffic Takes Toll on Investors in Private Roads (WSJ)
- US budget talks generate cautious optimism (FT)
Overnight Media Digest
* Investigators looking into how a government funding decision got to investors early are struggling over how to distinguish between illegal insider tips and accurate predictions based on research and analysis.
* The U.S. and Afghanistan said they ironed out the final disputes over the agreement on long-term American presence, just hours before the Loya Jirga assembly was convening to consider the deal.
* Federal Reserve officials, mindful of a still-fragile economy, are laboring to devise a strategy to avoid another round of market turmoil when they pull back on one of their signature easy-money programs in the months ahead.
* A complex bet in the foreign-exchange market backfired on Goldman Sachs Group Inc during the third quarter, contributing to a revenue slump that prompted senior executives to defend the firm's trading strategy.
* Blackstone Group is about to unleash a seasoned turnaround specialist on some of the private equity giant's 77 companies.
* A complex bet in the foreign exchange market backfired on Goldman Sachs during the third quarter, contributing to a revenue slump that prompted senior executives to defend the firm's trading strategy.
* A preliminary gauge of China's manufacturing activity showed a mild weakening of growth momentum in November, weighed down by sluggish new export orders, and suggesting the third-quarter rebound in the world's second-largest economy may be losing steam.
* The White House won't support plans to recapitalize Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac because they don't address core concerns over having two large entities dominate the nation's $10 trillion mortgage market, said the president's top economic adviser.
* One morning this month, agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation showed up unannounced at the home of a New York-based currencies trader for Deutsche Bank AG.
The agents showed him transcripts of an electronic chat in which the trader appeared to boast about trying to manipulate foreign exchange markets, according to people familiar with the incident.
Chancellor George Osborne pressed Brussels last year to spare the Co-operative Bank from tougher rules applied to big listed banks.
France's socialist government has promised reforms in the country's onerous tax system but has stopped short of pledging tax cuts.
Shale gas fracking is unlikely to succeed in Europe because the continent lacks the right mix of land rights and infrastructure, according to the head of trading at power company Eon .
Authorities in France have placed the French unit of Swedish furniture retailer Ikea and its two top executives under formal investigation over allegations of illegally gathering data on employees and clients.
Coal miner Bumi's plan to overhaul its ownership end boardroom conflicts hit a hurdle after the company's chairman missed a deadline to show he had lined up financing for a key part of the restructuring deal.
Private equity firm KKR & Co LP has taken control of Winoa in a debt restructuring deal after the French steel abrasives maker's previous private equity owner refused to inject cash.
* The Federal Reserve Open Market Committee wrestled at its most recent meeting with ways of supporting an economy that still needs help.
* Shareholders are putting AT&T and Verizon Wireless on notice: Tell the public more about the companies' role in government surveillance efforts or risk a ding to the bottom line.
* State insurance commissioners met with President Obama and said insurers and states would have to decide to extend non-compliant health plans for one more year.
* Opposing portrayals of Michael Steinberg, a former trader at SAC Capital Advisors, emerged during opening statements at his criminal insider trading trial in Federal District Court.
* Rupert Murdoch, chairman of News Corporation and 21st Century Fox, and Wendi Deng Murdoch agreed to end their 14-year marriage.
* Neil MacBride, the former U.S. attorney in Alexandria, Virginia, will join Davis Polk & Wardwell as a partner, the firm will announce on Thursday.
* The Tribune Company, owner of The Chicago Tribune and The Los Angeles Times, will lay off 700 employees at those newspapers and the six others it owns, it said in memos to the staff on Wednesday.
* An ambitious plan to revise the system for taxing multinational corporations, released on Tuesday by the Senate Finance Committee chairman, Max Baucus, would hit technology companies and large pharmaceutical companies especially hard.
* A measure of consumer spending rose more than expected in October as households bought a range of goods, suggesting positive momentum in the economy early in the fourth quarter.
* The New York Times on Wednesday announced a reorganization of its Washington bureau, including the elevation of Carolyn Ryan to bureau chief and the start of two new ventures.
THE GLOBE AND MAIL
* The Royal Canadian Mounted Police is alleging that Nigel Wright, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper's former chief of staff, breached the Criminal Code for his part in an extensive Conservative operation to contain the Senate expenses scandal.
* The British Columbia government has announced a new action plan for patients with mental-health challenges, a response to a declaration by Vancouver's mayor and police chief that the city faces a crisis in handling people with severe, untreated mental illness.
Reports in the business section:
* Suncor Energy Inc, which last month approved a new multi-billion-dollar oil sands mine, plans to spend over $1 billion more in 2014 than it expects in 2013.
* Cliffs Natural Resources Inc announced on Wednesday that it would stop developing the Ring of Fire mineral deposit in Northern Ontario, dealing a blow to the provincial government's plans to tap the resource-rich area and grow the local economy.
* Toronto Mayor Rob Ford's new, smaller office will have nine members in it, his fifth chief of staff in three years confirmed Wednesday. The office does not include David Price, his former director of logistics and operations and friend of Doug Ford who has had a controversial run at city hall.
* The Canadian prime minister's senior staff worked with top Tory senators to whitewash a Senate report into Mike Duffy's contested expenses after unsuccessfully trying to shape an independent audit, new Royal Canadian Mounted Police documents allege.
* Alberta pocketed just $26 million in its biggest land auction in two years, diffusing hype that a forgotten corner of the province holds the next big oil and gas play.
* The long-delayed rotation away from a reliance on consumer spending as Canada's economic engine to stronger exports and business investment just isn't happening - much to the chagrin of Stephen Poloz, the Bank of Canada governor who previously ran Export Development Canada.
CHINA SECURITIES JOURNAL
- The timely introduction of crude oil futures will boost China's capital market liberalization, said a commentary in the paper.
- China's State Council plans to consolidate the registration of all immovable property under one department to ease the bureaucratic burden for enterprises, said Li Keqiang, the country's premier at a meeting on Wednesday. Currently, registration of immovable property is overseen by many different departments.
SHANGHAI SECURITIES NEWS
- China's National Development and Reform Commission plans to introduce ecological conservation indicators to better assess the interplay of economic development and damage to the environment, said Xu Shaoshi, director of the commission, recently. Relevant government departments will be instructed.
- China appointed spokesmen for its seven military branches on Wednesday to increase operational transparency. The spokesmen are mainly drawn from the public relations departments in related branches and will release information about key activities and respond to public concerns, said sources with knowledge of the matter.
- If tangible benefits are not felt by Chinese people and if a more equitable social environment is not created, then reform will lose its significance, said a commentary in the paper which acts as the party's mouthpiece.
Fly On The Wall 7:00 AM Market Snapshot
Advance Auto Parts (AAP) upgraded to Outperform from Neutral at Credit Suisse
BreitBurn Energy (BBEP) upgraded to Outperform from Neutral at RW Baird
Crestwood Midstream (CMLP) upgraded to Outperform from Neutral at RW Baird
Green Mountain (GMCR) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Janney Capital
Hillshire Brands (HSH) upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform at BMO Capital
Leap Wireless (LEAP) upgraded to Hold from Sell at Deutsche Bank
Mechel (MTL) upgraded to Buy from Sell at Citigroup
Plains All American (PAA) upgraded to Outperform from Neutral at RW Baird
Rayonier (RYN) upgraded to Hold from Sell at Deutsche Bank
Summit Midstream (SMLP) upgraded to Outperform from Neutral at RW Baird
Westar Energy (WR) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at UBS
Allianz SE (AZSEY) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Citigroup
Amicus Therapeutics (FOLD) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Janney Capital
Amicus Therapeutics (FOLD) downgraded to Neutral from Overweight at JPMorgan
Consolidated Edison (ED) downgraded to Underperform from Hold at Jefferies
J.M. Smucker (SJM) downgraded to Neutral from Overweight at JPMorgan
Philip Morris (PM) downgraded to Neutral from Conviction Buy at Goldman
Pioneer Natural (PXD) downgraded to Perform from Outperform at Oppenheimer
Qualcomm (QCOM) downgraded to Outperform from Strong Buy at Raymond James
Quintiles (Q) downgraded to Hold from Buy at Deutsche Bank
Republic Services (RSG) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Goldman
Agrium (AGU) initiated with an Outperform at Raymond James
Allscripts (MDRX) initiated with a Buy at Deutsche Bank
AmerisourceBergen (ABC) initiated with a Hold at Deutsche Bank
athenahealth (ATHN) initiated with a Buy at Deutsche Bank
CVS Caremark (CVS) initiated with a Hold at Deutsche Bank
Cardinal Health (CAH) initiated with a Hold at Deutsche Bank
Catamaran (CTRX) initiated with a Hold at Deutsche Bank
Cerner (CERN) initiated with a Buy at Deutsche Bank
Charles River Labs (CRL) initiated with a Hold at Deutsche Bank
Check Point (CHKP) initiated with an Overweight at Barclays
Computer Programs (CPSI) initiated with a Hold at Deutsche Bank
Covance (CVD) initiated with a Hold at Deutsche Bank
EverBank Financial (EVER) initiated with an Overweight at Barclays
Express Scripts (ESRX) initiated with a Hold at Deutsche Bank
Facebook (FB) initiated with an Outperform at FBR Capital
Fortinet (FTNT) initiated with an Equal Weight at Barclays
Gartner (IT) initiated with a Market Perform at FBR Capital
Honda (HMC) initiated with a Buy at Jefferies
Imperva (IMPV) initiated with an Overweight at Barclays
LinkedIn (LNKD) initiated with a Market Perform at FBR Capital
McKesson (MCK) initiated with a Buy at Deutsche Bank
MedAssets (MDAS) initiated with a Buy at Deutsche Bank
Medidata Solutions (MDSO) initiated with a Buy at Deutsche Bank
Monster Worldwide (MWW) initiated with an Outperform at FBR Capital
Quality Systems (QSII) initiated with a Sell at Deutsche Bank
Radware (RDWR) initiated with an Outperform at Imperial Capital
Rite Aid (RAD) initiated with a Buy at Deutsche Bank
Sorrento Therapeutics (SRNE) initiated with a Buy at CRT Capital
Thomson Reuters (TRI) initiated with an Outperform at FBR Capital
Walgreens (WAG) initiated with a Buy at Deutsche Bank
Johnson Controls (JCI) announced 3-year, $3.65B share repurchase program, $800M ASR
Green Mountain (GMCR) authorized additional $1B share repurchase plan
KKR (KKR) to acquire Winoa Group from LBO France, terms not disclosed
Companies that beat consensus earnings expectations last night and today include: Spectrum Brands (SPB), Pactera (PACT), Taomee (TAOM), Jiayuan.com (DATE), China Distance Education (DL), L Brands (LTD), Jack in the Box (JACK), Williams-Sonoma (WSM), ValueVision (VVTV), Bazaarvoice (BV), Green Mountain (GMCR)
Companies that missed consensus earnings expectations include:
Sears Holdings (SHLD), Post Holdings (POST), Planar Systems (PLNR)
Companies that matched consensus earnings expectations include:
Stage Stores (SSI)
- Credit Suisse Group (CS) said it had begun a program to ring-fence its Swiss banking business from riskier investment banking operations in the U.S. and U.K., part of a plan to address concerns about institutions that are deemed too big to fail, the Wall Street Journal reports
- China Mobile (CHL) plans to introduce a new brand for mobile services on December 18, raising expectations of an imminent start to its iPhone (AAPL) sales in the country, the Wall Street Journal reports
- Janet Yellen will take an important step today toward becoming the first woman to lead the Federal Reserve, with the Senate Banking Committee expected to back the nomination and clear her path to lead the central bank, Reuters reports
- U.S. regulators are considering whether to give banks more time to comply with the Volcker rule, which bans them from gambling with their own money, Reuters reports
- Vodafone Group (VOD), set to receive $130B for exiting the U.S., will focus on expanding wireless networks even as potential buyers may be sizing up the company for a bid, said CEO Vittorio Colao, Bloomberg reports
- Bank of America (BAC) told a judge in federal court in Manhattan it shouldn’t pay any penalty in a U.S. lawsuit accusing it of selling defective loans to Fannie Mae (FNMA) and Freddie Mac (FMCC). The government argued that the bank should pay the maximum penalty of $863M. The bank said it should pay $1.1M at the most, Bloomberg reports
Air Lease (AL) files to sell 10.14M common shares for holders
Arthur J. Gallagher (AJG) announces $200M at-the-market equity program
Attunity Ltd (ATTU) files to sell common stock
Broadway Financial (BYFC) files to offer 17.96M common shares for holders
Cardiovascular Systems (CSII) 2.61M share Secondary priced at $30.00
Ceragon Networks (CRNT) 14M share Secondary priced at $2.40
Cinedigm Digital (CIDM) files to sell 2.9M common shares for holders
Evogene (EVGN) 5M share Secondary priced at $14.75
Forestar Group (FOR) files to sell 5.4M tangible equity units
FreeSeas (FREE) files to sell 75M shares of common stock for holders
Navigator Holdings (NVGS) 12M share IPO priced at $19.00
Sequans (SQNS) 12.5M share Spot Secondary priced at $1.80