Frontrunning: December 26

  • Late Surge in Web Buying Blindsides UPS, Retailers, Some Christmas Packages Aren't Delivered (WSJ)

  • Yen Slides as Turkish Stocks Drop, U.S. Futures Rise (BBG)

  • Turkish lira drops to record low against dollar, as Turkey’s Erdogan replaces 10 ministers (FT)

  • Egypt designates Muslim Brotherhood as terrorist group (Reuters)

  • Thai elections in doubt after political violence (AFP)

  • Batista Cedes Oil Unit Control in $5.8 Billion Debt Deal (BBG)

  • China celebrates Mao's birthday, but events scaled back (Reuters)

  • First-class stamps to cost 49 cents as of Jan. 26 (AP)

  • Obamacare Hits Snag in States as U.S. Site Finds Footing (BBG)

  • NSA Struggles to Make Sense of Flood of Surveillance Data (WSJ)

  • China Estimates 2013 Growth at 7.6% as Challenges Seen Ahead (BBG)

  • Colleges Trim Staffing Bloat (WSJ)

  • The Impending Bollywood Boom at the U.S. Box Office (BBG)

  • Foreign Investors Face Hurdles in China's Bond Market (WSJ)

  • Sony, Panasonic Call Off OLED TV Tie-Up (WSJ)

Overnight Media Digest


* Turkey Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan shuffled his cabinet after an old ally pressed him to resign, in the latest fallout from a corruption case.

* Republican leaders and their corporate allies have launched an array of efforts aimed at diminishing the clout of the party's most conservative activists and promoting legislation instead of confrontation next year.

* A last-minute influx of enrollees prompted the Obama administration and some states to keep the rolls open for Jan. 1 coverage.

* The U.S. National Security Agency is drowning in useless data, which harms its ability to conduct legitimate surveillance, claims a former employee who created some of the computer code used to snoop on Internet traffic.

* The end of the year is the peak trash season across America, a superlative earned by all the eating, parties and gift giving that people do, and by the growing use of package deliveries from online purchases.

* A pick-up in business investment and robust new-home sales point to an economy on stronger footing heading into the new year. Orders for U.S. durable goods -- big-ticket items such as cars and aircraft designed to last more than three years -- rose 3.5 percent last month, reversing a decline in October, the Commerce Department said on Tuesday.

* Municipal bonds are on track to post their worst annual performance in nearly two decades as 2013 ushered in more financial woes for U.S. cities. Municipal debt is down 2.58 percent so far this year after handing investors a 6.78 percent return in 2012 and a 10.70 percent return in 2011, according to Barclays's municipal-bond index.

* U.S. colleges and universities are starting to unwind decades of administrative bloat and back-office waste that helped push up costs and tuition.

* Sherritt International Corp is facing pressure from an activist shareholder amid plans to sell its coal business and focus on its nickel and oil operations.

* Sony Corp and Panasonic Corp have decided to end a development venture that would produce technology to make big and ultrathin televisions, underscoring the challenges of bringing next-generation TVs to the mass market.


* While other types of health care costs might be declining, the cost of emergency room care for the mentally ill shows no sign of ebbing.

* Banks that comply with Islamic law are making inroads into the global banking scene and Western businesses are working to meet the expectations of those banks. The banks can not find enough acceptable places to park their money, many industry insiders say, so investment bankers are scurrying to assemble deals.

* Wind power developers are signing deals, ordering equipment and lurching ahead with construction starts to qualify for a tax credit that is worth 2.3 cents a kilowatt-hour for the first 10 years of production. This month, giant turbine-makers like Vestas Wind Systems Ltd and Siemens AG have announced major new orders, including a deal worth more than $1 billion with MidAmerican Energy Holdings, an Iowa-based utility majority-owned by Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc.

* Some customers were left without Christmas gifts as United Parcel Service Inc failed to meet delivery deadlines in the face of bad weather and an unexpectedly large surge in demand.

* Mike Lazaridis, a founder and former executive at BlackBerry Ltd , took advantage of a rare rise in its share price to cut his stake in the company.

* The American Bankers Association, an industry trade group, filed a motion in federal court on Tuesday in Washington seeking to quickly suspend one part of the Volcker Rule, which was officially completed two weeks ago.



* Mike Lazaridis has cashed in shares of BlackBerry Ltd , making $26 million in the process, as he lessens his stake in the smartphone company he helped create.

Reports in the business section:

* Centerra Gold Inc said on Tuesday it reached a non-binding agreement with the government of the Kyrgyz Republic that could pave the way for joint ownership of Kumtor, the country's flagship gold mine.

* Torq Energy Logistics, an affiliate of privately held Torq Transloading Inc, said on Tuesday that private equity firm KKR & Co has agreed to invest C$250 million ($235.3 million) to fund Torq's capital program and acquisition strategy.

* Massive protests and court challenges based on native rights are likely after a National Energy Board decision that gave conditional approval to Enbridge Inc's Northern Gateway pipeline, say First Nations, environmental groups and others opposed to the project.


* In the six months after the Senate determined his primary residence was in Ottawa, Senator Mike Duffy claimed expenses of more than C$23,000 for travel to and from the province he represents in the red chamber.



- China will push forward the development of a modernized seed industry, China's vice premier Wang Yang said at a conference on Tuesday. Measures will include enhancing levels of scientific research and protecting seed bank resources.

- China may soon be able to export high-speed rail technology. The first order is likely to come from Eastern Europe, sources told the paper, a potential boost for railway maker China CNR Corp Ltd, as it already manufactures to European standards.

- China's GDP growth is estimated to hit 7.7 percent this year and 7.8 percent in 2014, according to the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, a government think tank. Bank of China Ltd estimates GDP growth to be 7.6 percent.


- China's new regulations to raise consumer trust in domestic infant milk formula will be the strictest in China for any food type, said Teng Jiacai, deputy head of the China Food and Drug Administration.


- China is making unprecedented efforts to ensure grain security, urging a 95 percent self-sufficient ratio, according to official targets announced this week.


- New anti-graft guidelines released this week will greatly enhance China's ability to battle rampant official corruption, according to a commentary in the Party's mouthpiece paper. President Xi Jinping has vowed to make stamping out official corruption a key focus of his administration.

Fly On The Wall 7:00 AM Market Snapshot


Eagle Rock Energy (EROC) upgraded to Market Perform at Raymond James (AMZN) ChannelAdvisor data implies slight upside, says Piper Jaffray


SuperCom (SPCB) acquired Smart ID division of On Track Innovations (OTIV)
Lender Processing (LPS) announced FTC approval of Fidelity National (FNF) acquisition


  • A few early studies are labeling the winners in a year where growth of online shopping has continued to outpace regular retail sales. Three retailers delivered within three days: (COST), (ODP) and (SHLD), the Wall Street Journal reports

  • Yahoo (YHOO) may be dressed like a high-growth company but much of its value rests on its 24% stake in Alibaba. When Alibaba completes its IPO, expected next year, investors must ask whether Yahoo still is worth owning, the Wall Street Journal reports

  • The hackers who attacked Target (TGT) and compromised up to 40M credit cards and debit cards also managed to steal encrypted personal identification numbers (PINs), sources say, Reuters reports

  • BP (BP) failed to persuade a U.S. federal judge to require businesses seeking to recover money over the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill to provide proof that their economic losses were caused by the disaster, Reuters reports

  • Volkswagen (VLKAY) is poised to sell more vehicles in China than GM (GM) for the first time in nine years, regaining its place as the biggest foreign carmaker in the world’s largest auto market, Bloomberg reports

  • Apollo Global Management (APO) received approval from investors to increase the limit on its next buyout fund to $17.5B from $15B, sources say. The firm expects to finish raising the fund this month, a source added, Bloomberg reports


DS Healthcare Group (DSKX) announces $2.42M private placement
Oramed (ORMP) to raise $15.8M in registered direct offering


Michael Lazaridis lowers stake in BlackBerry (BBRY) to 4.99%
Starboard Value lowers stake in DSP Group (DSPG) to 8.7% from 10.1%

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