Frontrunning: January 16

  • Charter, Comcast in renewed talks on Time Warner Cable bid (Reuters)

  • Bankers' Stock Awards Jet Higher (WSJ)

  • Yahoo CEO Mayer Dismisses Operating Chief De Castro (BBG)

  • Amazon Employees Vote to Reject Union (Reuters)

  • Luxury in China loses luster as wealthy flee (Reuters)

  • UnitedHealth Profit Up on Stronger Enrollments (WSJ)

  • U.S. government failed to secure Obamacare site: experts (Reuters)

  • Spain Sells Bonds at Record-Low Yield as Rajoy Touts Rebound (BBG)

  • Newport Beach’s $100,000 Lifeguards Feel Pension Squeeze (BBG)

  • Bailed-Out Euro Nations Expect Painful Challenges to Remain (BBG)

  • Two Weeks Into Health Law's Rollout, Few Problems, Few Patients (WSJ)

  • Currency Traders Told Bank of England of Fix Practices in 2012 (BBG)

  • Apollo to buy Owner of Chuck E. Cheese's for $950 Million (WSJ)

  • Europe Car Sales Surge Most in Four Years on Lower Prices (BBG)

  • U.K. Home-Price Index Near 2002 High as Carney Sees Strength (BBG)


Overnight Media Digest


* Yahoo Inc CEO Marissa Mayer is parting ways with her top executive, a setback in her effort to turn around the struggling Internet portal. Henrique de Castro, the chief operating officer poached from Google Inc in 2012, is departing this week.

* Former General Motors Co chief executive Dan Akerson said his successor, Mary Barra, faces tough challenges as she takes the helm as the first woman to lead a global automotive company.

* The National Labor Relations Board on Wednesday accused Wal-Mart Stores Inc of unlawfully retaliating against or threatening workers who took part in strikes and protests in more than a dozen states in the last two years.

* Apple Inc on Wednesday settled a complaint by the Federal Trade Commission alleging the technology giant didn't do enough to prevent children from making purchases on mobile apps without their parents' consent.

* AOL Inc has reached a deal to sell a majority stake in its Patch local news network to Hale Global, an investment firm specializing in turnaround situations.

* J.C. Penney Co is planning to close 33 underperforming stores and trim 2,000 positions, moves the department-store retailer said are necessary so it can focus on locations that can generate the strongest profits.

* Goldman Sachs Group Inc employees are sitting on more than $600 million in extra bonus money, for the past year alone, thanks to the bank's surging stock price. The paper windfall is based on calculations of the rise in value of stock the employees were awarded in their pay packages.

* A federal judge on Wednesday upheld the legality of subsidies at the core of the federal health-care law, turning aside one of the principal remaining court challenges to the law.



Yahoo Inc Chief Operating Officer Henrique de Castro, the high-profile executive Chief Executive Officer Marissa Mayer brought in as part of her turn around strategy, will be leaving on Thursday after about a year on the job.

J C Penney Co Inc said on Wednesday it will close 33 underperforming stores across the United States and cut 2,000 jobs as part of the struggling retailer's ongoing turnaround efforts.

Apple Inc will pay tens of millions of dollars as compensation to settle a longstanding complaint with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission that the technology company billed U.S. consumers whose children bought upgrades in apps and games on their iPhones and iPads without their parents' consent.

General Motors Co said it would incur more than double the restructuring costs it has in recent years with the withdrawal of the Chevrolet brand in Europe and the impending closure of a plant in Germany.

Deutsche Bank, Germany's biggest bank, has suspended several middle-ranking currency traders in an internal probe further intensifying an international investigation into the manipulation of foreign exchange markets, people close to the situation said.

AOL Inc is handing majority ownership of Patch, a network of local news websites, to New York investment firm and turn around specialist Hale Global, offloading an underperforming asset that has long been a hurdle for the Internet company in its turnround efforts.



* Lawmakers pressed the Federal Reserve to act more forcefully, and quickly, to limit banks' involvement in the commodities business, which has been blamed for inflating prices on everyday items like electricity and canned beverages. The Federal Reserve had said on Tuesday it was considering some new rules and issued a request for public comment.

* After spiraling higher for much of the last decade, the value of federal contracts fell by $58 billion, or roughly 11 percent. It was the steepest decline - in percentage and nominal terms - in at least a decade, according to an analysis of federal contract data by The New York Times.

* Yahoo's No. 2 executive, Henrique de Castro, has been fired by his boss, Marissa Mayer, a little more than a year after she wooed him away from Google to help her turn around the struggling Internet company.

* Citigroup plans to reissue all customer debit cards involved in the data breach at Target. Citi said its decision this week was not motivated by any new surge of fraud or by additional information on the breach but was a precautionary measure.

* The Carlyle Group has almost clinched a deal to buy Johnson & Johnson's clinical testing arm for about $4.1 billion after several weeks of negotiations, a person briefed on the matter said on Wednesday.

* J.C. Penney Company said it would close 33 stores across the country and shed about 2,000 jobs. The company said in a statement that the closings and resulting job cuts would save about $65 million a year.

* The Federal Trade Commission said Apple Inc had agreed to better ensure parental approval of purchases from the company's App Store. In addition, Apple will pay at least $32.5 million in refunds to customers whose children made purchases without adequate parental consent.

* The National Labor Relations Board, in a sweeping complaint, said that Walmart illegally disciplined and fired employees after strikes and protests for better pay.

* In the first unionization vote ever held at an Amazon facility in the United States, a small group of technical workers at the company's warehouse in Middletown, Delaware, voted overwhelmingly against forming a union.




* Kinross Gold Corp, dogged by protests and controversy after dismissing nearly 300 workers at its Mauritania gold mine, insisted that the layoffs will help safeguard its future at one of its highest-cost operations.

* Ottawa and the provinces are inching toward a deal on the Canada Job Grant as provincial labor ministers plan to talk on Friday about the latest offer from the federal government.

Reports in the business section:

* Sears Canada Inc, controlled by Sears Holdings Corp, is cutting another 1,628 jobs after having reduced its workforce last year by almost the same number as the retailer tries to bolster its struggling operations.


* Canada's ambassador to the United States has raised the prospect of retaliation against "discriminatory" Buy American provisions that are included in a new spending bill in Congress.

* A teenager who was allowed to fly after trying to get a pipe bomb through security at Edmonton International Airport refused when the screeners tried to give the device back to him, the Edmonton Journal reported. Transport Minister Lisa Raitt slammed officials with the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority after it was learned that they allowed Skylar Murphy to board his flight and didn't call the RCMP until four days later.


* Canada's Privacy Commissioner says search engine giant Google Inc violated Canadian privacy statutes by using the sensitive information of Canadians' in order to target users with health-related advertisements.




- Tianhong Asset Management Co, controlled by China's Alibaba, has overtaken China Asset Management Co as China's biggest fund house by assets.


- LeTV, one of the biggest online video providers in China, launched its 70-inch "super TV" priced at 6999 yuan ($1,200) on Wednesday.


- Health authorities say the number of confirmed cases of H7N9 bird flu cases continues to rise nationwide, with 20 new cases in the first two weeks of 2014.

- Chinese officials rejected Tokyo's characterization of its aid to Africa and said Japan's plan to increase aid won't help the continent.


- Shanghai will implement a new colour-coded warning system for air pollution and will shut schools and order cars off the road in case of a recurrence of the severe smog that has plagued the city in recent months.


- China Wafer Level CSP Co Ltd delayed its IPO, according to company announcement published on Wednesday.


- The fundamental way to select qualified government official is to build a scientific and effective system, said a editorial in the paper that acts as the Party's mouthpiece.



he Telegraph


The Governor of the Bank of England has rejected Ed Miliband's plans to shake up the UK banking industry. In a blow to the Opposition leader's attempt to appear tough on big business, Mark Carney dismissed plans to break up the UK's biggest banks and questioned whether caps on bonuses were the right to way control pay.


Sir Hector Sants, who resigned from his role at Barclays just two months ago due to stress and exhaustion, is being lined up by the Archbishop of Canterbury with a view to drive payday lenders such as Wonga out of business and create a new way of thinking about finance.

The Guardian


Bank of America Corp, the No. 2 U.S. bank, reported a stronger-than-expected quarterly profit, driven by a steep fall in mortgage losses and provisions to cover bad loans.


The European Union has voted through rules to limit the ability of banks and hedge funds to bet on food prices. Arlene McCarthy, a Labour MEP for the north-west, said the new rules, known as Mifid, would "curb speculation and help decrease price volatility and inflation" which had a "devastating impact on poor and food dependent countries".

The Times


America has stepped up its investigation into the market-rigging scandal engulfing the banking sector by sending a team to London to question bankers over the alleged manipulation of foreign exchange benchmarks.


The Bank of England expects house prices to rise by about 10 percent over the next two years before the market cools. Although the Bank does not publish its housing projections, Mark Carney, the Governor, revealed to MPs on the Treasury Select Committee that it expected prices to continue rising at their present pace until late next year, before moderating in 2016.

The Independent


Burberry shares jumped more than 6 percent as the 158 year old British luxury brand posted 14 percent rise in third quarter sales with Chinese sales growth back in double digits, allaying fears that the region is experiencing difficulties.


Taylor Wimpey chief Pete Redfern has warned against any long-term extension to the Government's Help to Buy scheme, currently fattening sales and profits across the housebuilding sector.



FLy On The Wall 7:00 AM Market Snapshot


Domestic economic reports scheduled for today include:

Week of January 11 Jobless Claims will be reported at 8:30--Current consensus is 327K
Consumer Price Index for December will be reported at 8:30--Current consensus is 0.3%
Philadelphia Fed Survey for January will be reported at 10:00--Current consensus is 8.7
Housing Market Index for January will be reported at 10:00--Current consensus is 57.5



Big Lots (BIG) upgraded to Market Perform from Underperform at Raymond James
Casey's (CASY) upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform at Raymond James
Emulex (ELX) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at BofA/Merrill
Esterline (ESL) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at UBS
Gartner (IT) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Goldman
HP (HPQ) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at BofA/Merrill
Micron (MU) upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform at JMP Securities
NetSuite (N) upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform at FBR Capital
Nielsen (NLSN) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Goldman
NuVasive (NUVA) upgraded to Neutral from Sell at Goldman
Tetra Tech (TTEK) upgraded to Buy from Hold at KeyBanc
Trinity Industries (TRN) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Stifel
VMware (VMW) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Citigroup
Verint Systems (VRNT) upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform at FBR Capital
Western Digital (WDC) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at BofA/Merrill


AECOM Technology (ACM) downgraded to Hold from Buy at KeyBanc
Alcatel-Lucent (ALU) downgraded to Equal Weight from Overweight at Evercore
BRF Brasil Foods (BRFS) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Goldman
CSX (CSX) downgraded to Hold from Buy at Stifel
Dominion (D) downgraded to Hold from Buy at Jefferies
Eaton Vance (EV) downgraded to Sell from Neutral at Citigroup
Equifax (EFX) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Goldman
Family Dollar (FDO) downgraded to Underperform from Market Perform at Raymond James
Forum Energy (FET) downgraded to Neutral from Outperform at Credit Suisse
Generac (GNRC) downgraded to Perform from Outperform at Oppenheimer
Kroger (KR) downgraded to Neutral from Outperform at Credit Suisse
MRC Global (MRC) downgraded to Underperform from Buy at BofA/Merrill
McCormick (MKC) downgraded to Hold from Buy at Jefferies
McGraw Hill Financial (MHFI) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Goldman
Norfolk Southern (NSC) downgraded to Hold from Buy at Stifel


FireEye (FEYE) initiated with an Outperform at William Blair
Marlin Business (MRLN) coverage resumed with an Outperform at JMP Securities
Philip Morris (PM) initiated with a Neutral at Exane BNP Paribas
Proofpoint (PFPT) initiated with an Outperform at William Blair
SolarCity (SCTY) initiated with a Buy at Deutsche Bank
SunPower (SPWR) initiated with an Overweight at JPMorgan
Telecom Italia (TI) initiated with a Hold at Jefferies


CEC Entertainment (CEC) agreed to be acquired by Apollo (APO) affiliate for $54 per share
J.C. Penney (JCP) to close 33 stores, cut 2,000 jobs, sees annual savings of $65M
Citigroup (C) sold $10.3B worth of mortgage servicing rights (FNMA)
AOL (AOL) to partner with Hale Global on JV to pursue $152B local media market
Lease Corporation, KKR Financial (KFN, KKR) announced $100M strategic investment in LCIH
Sarepta (SRPT) said eteplirsen demonstrates continued stability in walking test
Amarin (AMRN) announced FDA review division response on SPA request will be delayed


Companies that beat consensus earnings expectations last night and today include:
UnitedHealth (UNH), Huntington Bancshares (HBAN), BB&T (BBT), BlackRock (BLK), Boston Private Financial (BPFH)

Companies that missed consensus earnings expectations include:
Clarcor (CLC), MB Financial (MBFI), H.B. Fuller (FUL), El Paso Pipeline (EPB), Kinder Morgan (KMI), CSX (CSX)

Companies that matched consensus earnings expectations include:
BankMutual (BKMU)


Charter (CHTR), Comcast (CMCSA) renew talks on Time Warner Cable (TWC) bid, Reuters reports
Actavis (ACT) CEO says quitting China business, Bloomberg reports
Marvell (MRVL) Technology: Not in buyout talks with KKR (KKR), Reuters reports
Citigroup (C) replacing debit cards in Target (TGT) breach, Reuters reports
eBay (EBAY) said to plan brand marketplace, WSJ reports
Microsoft (MSFT) CEO search includes Ericsson's (ERIC) Vestberg, Bloomberg reports
Yahoo (YHOO) COO clashed with CEO Mayer, WSJ reports
Ford's (F) aluminum efforts unsettles steelmakers, FT reports
Microsoft's (MSFT) corporate email breached by Syrian hackers, Re/code reports
AT&T (T) cuts advertising ties with 'American Idol' (FOXA), Variety reports


Altisource Residential (RESI) 14.2M share Secondary priced at $34.00
American Capital Senior Floating (ACFS) 10M share IPO priced at $15.00
CorEnergy (CORR) 6.5M share Secondary priced at $6.50
GasLog (GLOG) to offer 8.4M shares of common stock, $30M private placement
JinkoSolar (JKS) 2.75M share Secondary priced at $35.25
Orchid Island Capital (ORC) files to sell 1.5M shares of common stock

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