Frontrunning: February 12

  • Anti-Euro Party’s Le Pen Gains Supporters, French Poll Shows (BBG)

  • Carney Renews BOE Low-Rate Pledge to Fight Slack in Economy (BBG)

  • Bank of England hints at 2015 rate rise (Reuters)

  • ECB bond-buying intact and ready after court decision-Coeure (Reuters)

  • Oops: Thomson Reuters reports 50 percent drop in fourth quarter operating profit (Reuters)

  • Canada scraps millionaire visa scheme, dumps 46,000 Chinese applications (SCMP)

  • Scrap this then? Vancouver facing an influx of 45,000 more rich Chinese (SCMP)

  • China's January Exports Power Higher, Up 10.6% (WSJ) ... and nobody believes the number

  • Emerging-Market Shakeout Putting Reserves Into Focus (BBG)

  • Wall Street's most eligible banker Fleming waits for suitor (Reuters)

  • Kazakh Devaluation Shows Currency War Stirring as Ruble Dips (BBG)

  • Toyota to recall 1.9 mln Prius cars for software defect in hybrid system (Reuters)

  • U.S. Defense Firms Target Exports (WSJ)

  • Cameron Says Money No Object on Floods as Trip Canceled (BBG)

  • Finland Drops Debt Target Amid Austerity Backlash (BBG)


Overnight Media Digest


* The House on Tuesday approved a bill to extend the federal government's borrowing authority with no strings attached, after Republican leaders dropped all policy demands to avoid a market-rattling confrontation.

* The Federal Reserve will keep winding down one of its highest-profile easy-money programs unless the economy takes a serious turn for the worse, Janet Yellen said in her inaugural public appearance since becoming the central bank's first chairwoman.

* The two largest bitcoin-trading exchanges came under attack from hackers Tuesday, leaving customers unable to withdraw their money in the latest development to roil the fledgling virtual currency.

* Dow Chemical Co rejected investor Dan Loeb's call for the company to split itself in two, saying it already examined the possibility and decided such a move wouldn't be productive.

* The European Union's executive body is raising pressure to reduce U.S. influence over the Internet's architecture amid what it called weakened confidence in the network's governance after revelations of U.S. surveillance.

* Newell Rubbermaid Inc's Graco is recalling 3.77 million child seats because of defective belt harnesses that in some cases won't unlatch and trap children in the seat.

* Food manufacturer TreeHouse Foods Inc said Tuesday it is suing Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Inc and Keurig Inc for anticompetitive acts intended to maintain a monopoly over the cups used in single-serve brewers.

* Cellphone tower contractors and the companies that hire them need to strictly comply with safety standards, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration said Tuesday, citing "an alarming increase" in preventable injuries and deaths.

* Puerto Rico stepped up preparations for a sale of as much as $3.5 billion in bonds, a test of the financially troubled island's ability to access credit markets.

* A Food and Drug Administration advisory committee voted Tuesday that there isn't enough evidence to say the anti-inflammatory painkiller naproxen is safer than other pain drugs when it comes to heart health.

* Opower Inc, a company that contracts with utilities to help homeowners reduce energy use, has submitted a confidential filing for an initial public offering, according to two people familiar with the matter.



Barclays Chief Executive Antony Jenkins faced an outpouring of criticism at his decision to boost bonuses by 10 percent even as Britain's third largest bank announced falling profit and 12,000 job cuts.

Brevan Howard, one of the world's biggest hedge fund managers, is shutting its $2 billion emerging market fund after slowing growth in developing economies dented the portfolio's performance last year, according to sources.

Alibaba , China's dominant e-commerce company that is gearing up for a public offering that could value it at about $140 billion, said on Tuesday that it would launch its first majority-owned e-commerce venture in the United States.

Sprint posted a fourth-quarter net loss of over $1 billion hit by the costs of its network upgrade, and stiff competition that has pushed the third-largest U.S. mobile operator to explore merger options with T-Mobile US.

Billionaire property investor Sam Zell has joined the effort to oust the board of the CommonWealth REIT, poised to lead a slate of alternative trustees, should CommonWealth investors vote to remove the current board.



* The House voted 221-201 after Speaker John A. Boehner gave up on a plan to link an increase in borrowing authority to legislation that would have reversed a cut to veteran retirement benefits.

* Janet Yellen, the new chairwoman of the Federal Reserve, told a House committee on Tuesday that she strongly supported and planned to continue the policies adopted under her predecessor, Ben S. Bernanke.

* Federal prosecutors in six states have filed actions against businesses that buy luxury cars at domestic dealerships and then send them to China.

* After 13 years, six scientific opinions and two legal challenges, an insect-resistant type of corn is on the verge of being approved by the European Union. It would be only the third genetically modified crop to be authorized for cultivation in the 28-nation bloc.

* Dow Chemical said on Tuesday that it saw no value in pursuing a significant breakup, dealing a setback to a hedge fund manager who encouraged the company to split its petrochemicals and specialty chemicals businesses.

* In its most aggressive move yet to take over Time Warner Cable, Charter Communications Inc is proposing a full slate of directors to its target's board.

* Corvex Management has stepped up its fight against CommonWealth REIT, a real estate investment concern, by adding billionaire Samuel Zell to its slate of board nominees for the company.

* Levo League, an online career forum that aims to help young people, especially women, in the early stages of their careers, raised $7 million through a new round of angel investment.




* Chrysler Group LLC is seeking a contribution of at least $700 million from the federal and Ontario governments in high-stakes negotiations about the future of its Canadian operations.

* The Conservative government is inflaming a federal-provincial turf war over jobs with a 2014 budget that expands Ottawa's training role, launching new programs aimed at getting Canadians into apprenticeships and skilled trades.

Reports in the business section:

* Under pressure from an activist shareholder, Cliffs Natural Resources Inc said on Tuesday that it would slash capital spending, forgo a planned expansion at a key Canadian mine and shut another mine in Canada, cutting about 500 jobs.


* Canada's Finance Minister Jim Flaherty set the table in Tuesday's budget for a watershed round of collective bargaining in 2014 with plans to save at least $7.4 billion over six years by reducing the benefits of former and current public servants to bring compensation costs closer to those of the private sector.

* The badly-needed new equipment on the Canadian military's shopping list may end up becoming a wish list over the next three years after Tuesday's federal budget pushed $3.1 billion in planned capital spending into the future.


* Ottawa is giving automakers a $500-million boost, as car companies such as Chrysler Group LLC push for bigger incentives from both federal and provincial governments to continue with production facilities in Canada.




- Yang Weimin, deputy director of the Central Financial Leading Group, the ruling Communist Party's economic decision-making institution, says it is too early to predict how China's economy will perform in 2014 despite the fall in the newly released PMI data.

- Sources said permission will be granted in the first half of this year for the establishment of the Tianjin Free Trade Zone.


- Bank of Communications Co said in a report that net profit growth for China's listed banks is expected to fall to 8.31 percent and non-performing loans could rise to around 1.1 percent.


- The central government will introduce a series of policies to implement a landmark anti-pollution plan that aims to reduce airborne particles, leveraging pricing, taxation and investment, said Zhai Qing, vice-minister of environmental protection.

- Historic talks between China and Taiwan in Nanjing are a promising new start that will deepen and enhance mutual goodwill, but it is naive to expect too much from the meeting, an editorial said.


- The Chinese have never been so close to their goal of great national rejuvenation, but while 2014 is one of the most promising years for China it will also be one of its most challenging, an editorial said.



The Telegraph

BARCLAYS CULL TO CLEAR OUT SENIOR BANKERS Hundreds of senior Barclays investment bankers and managers face being made redundant this year, along with thousands of ordinary staff, as the lender looks to cut as many as 12,000 jobs.


Vodafone's 5.8 billion pound ($9.56 billion)bid for Ono will be rejected, it was expected this evening, following a meeting of the Spanish cable operator's board.


Hikma Pharmaceuticals' chief executive is to take on the additional role of chairman later this year. The FTSE-250 company said its chief executive Said Darwazah will assume the dual role in May, when his 83-year-old father, Samih Darwazah, steps down as chairman of the board.

The Guardian


The Bank of England has launched an internal inquiry into allegations that its officials endorsed sharing of information between traders in the foreign exchange market, the central bank's deputy governor told Members of Parliament.


The UK's grocery market saw growth slide to its slowest pace since 2005 as Morrisons, Asda and Tesco continue to take a battering from discounters and the upmarket grocer Waitrose. ()


Privately-owned retailer New Look is standing back from the rush to the stock market with no plans to seek a public listing until next autumn at the earliest.


Holiday operator Thomas Cook said a 45 million pound asset sale on Tuesday helped it reach a target for disposals ahead of schedule as it reported a narrowing seasonal loss, giving it further confidence in its turnaround plan.

The Times


The Government made it clear that it wanted Lloyds to sell hundreds of branches to the Co-operative Bank for political reasons in a deal that helped to push the mutual into ruin, a senior Bank of England official said today.


Months after the 37-storey tower, officially known as 20 Fenchurch Street, fried an egg and melted a Jaguar car and City workers' shoes with the intensity of the glare from its south-facing glass façade, its developers, Land Securities , believe they have devised a solution.

The Independent


The deputy governor of the Bank of England has been forced to deny that it condones market manipulation after it was dragged into an investigation over foreign exchange rate-fixing claims which he agreed could be "enormously damaging" to it.



Fly On The Wall 7:00 AM Market Snapshot


Domestic economic reports scheduled for today include:
Treasury budget for January at 2:00 pm ET--consensus -$10B



Itron (ITRI) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Needham
Pioneer Energy (PES) upgraded to Buy from Speculative Buy at Global Hunter
RBC Bearings (ROLL) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at BofA/Merrill
Smith & Nephew (SNN) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Deutsche Bank
Sprint (S) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Deutsche Bank
TriCo Bancshares (TCBK) upgraded to Strong Buy from Outperform at Raymond James
TripAdvisor (TRIP) upgraded to Outperform from Sector Perform at RBC Capital
Veeco (VECO) upgraded to Outperform from Neutral at Credit Suisse
Waste Connections (WCN) upgraded to Buy from Hold at BB&T
Zoetis (ZTS) upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform at William Blair


Aimco (AIV) downgraded to Hold from Buy at MLV & Co. (AMZN) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at UBS
American Railcar (ARII) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Longbow
Cadence (CADX) downgraded to Neutral from Outperform at Wedbush
China Lodging Group (HTHT) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Goldman
Dean Foods (DF) downgraded to Hold from Buy at Stifel
Green Mountain (GMCR) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Longbow
Huntsman (HUN) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Citigroup
Intuit (INTU) downgraded to Underweight from Equal Weight at Evercore
Jive Software (JIVE) downgraded to Equal Weight from Overweight at Morgan Stanley
MYR Group (MYRG) downgraded to Hold from Buy at KeyBanc
Mallinckrodt (MNK) downgraded to Equal Weight from Overweight at Morgan Stanley
ReachLocal (RLOC) downgraded to Neutral from Overweight at JPMorgan
Royal Gold (RGLD) downgraded to Hold from Buy at MLV & Co.
Seadrill (SDRL) downgraded to Underperform from Market Perform at Wells Fargo
Senior Housing (SNH) downgraded to Sell from Neutral at UBS


ACE Limited (ACE) initiated with a Neutral at Citigroup
AXIS Capital (AXS) initiated with a Sell at Citigroup
Allstate (ALL) initiated with a Neutral at Citigroup
America First Tax Exempt Investors (ATAX) initiated with an Outperform at Oppenheimer
Aon plc (AON) initiated with a Buy at Citigroup
Arthur J. Gallagher (AJG) initiated with a Neutral at Citigroup
ChannelAdvisor (ECOM) initiated with an Outperform at RW Baird
Chubb (CB) initiated with a Sell at Citigroup
ClubCorp (MYCC) initiated with a Market Perform at Wells Fargo
LifeVantage (LFVN) initiated with an In-Line at Imperial Capital
Marsh & McLennan (MMC) initiated with a Neutral at Citigroup
Oasis Petroleum (OAS) initiated with a Neutral at Citigroup
Progressive (PGR) initiated with a Neutral at Citigroup
Regeneron (REGN) re-initiated with a Buy at BofA/Merrill
RenaissanceRe (RNR) initiated with a Neutral at Citigroup
Travelers (TRV) initiated with a Sell at Citigroup
XL Group (XL) initiated with a Sell at Citigroup


TreeHouse (THS) sued Green Mountain (GMCR) over cup monopoly
AMCOL (ACO) to merge with Imerys in $41 per share transaction valued at about $1.6B
Mosaic (MOS) said 'potash prices seem to have found a bottom'
Dow Chemical (DOW) review found 'significant' break-up of company creates no productivity 
PHH Corp. (PHH) exploring alternatives for fleet, mortgage businesses
Black Diamond (BDE) exploring strategic alternatives for Gregory Mountain unit


Companies that beat consensus earnings expectations last night and today include:
Euronet (EEFT), Charles River Labs (CRL), FireEye (FEYE), Control4 (CTRL), SS&C Technologies (SSNC), Seattle Genetics (SGEN), PHH Corp. (PHH), Pzena Investment (PZN), Fossil (FOSL), DaVita (DVA), Trimble Navigation (TRMB), Conversant (CNVR),  Diodes (DIOD), Guidance Software (GUID), Argo Group (AGII)

Companies that missed consensus earnings expectations include:
Talisman Energy (TLM), Energen (EGN), Tower Group (TWGP), JBT Corp.(JBT), Covanta (CVA), Willis Group (WSH), Cutera (CUTR), , Sangamo (SGMO), ViaSat (VSAT), Western Union (WU)

Companies that matched consensus earnings expectations include:
tw telecom (TWTC), Jive Software (JIVE), Cyan (CYNI), Calix (CALX), Kforce (KFRC), GigOptix (GIG), TripAdvisor (TRIP)


Microsoft (MSFT) says it's not censoring China searches, Reuters reports
Toyota (TM) recalling 1.9M Prius vehicles to fix software problem, Bloomberg reports
Softbank (SFTBF) CEO still after a U.S. acquisition, WSJ reports
Softbank (SFTBF) CEO says 'no comment' on rumors Sprint (S) is looking to buy T-Mobile (TMUS), Reuters reports
Twitter (TWTR) testing profile redesign, Mashable reports
Detroit automakers want to clear inventory without hurting pricing, WSJ reports
Ashland (ASH) receives bids for specialty chemicals company, Bloomberg reports
Boeing (BA) says a China assembly plant an option, Bloomberg reports
Coca-Cola (KO) Israel in monopoly violations investigation, Globes reports


Atmos Energy (ATO) 8M share Secondary priced at $44.00
Canadian Solar (CSIQ) 2.778M share Secondary priced at $36.00
Eagle Pharmaceuticals (EGRX) 3.35M share IPO priced at $15.00
Flexion (FLXN) 5M share IPO priced at $13.00
Graphic Packaging (GPK) files to sell 30M common shares for holders
Ironwood (IRWD) 13.7M share Secondary priced at $12.75
Ophthotech (OPHT) 2.29M share Secondary priced at $31.50
Paragon Shipping (PRGN) files to sell common stock
PennyMac (PMT) enters into $200M equity distribution agreement with JMP Securities
Talmer Bancorp  (TLMR) 15.555M share IPO priced at $13.00
Tecnoglass (TGLS) files to sell 31.26M ordinary shares for holders

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