Frontrunning: March 5

  • High Stakes Limit Bid to Cow Putin (WSJ)

  • Russia says can't control Crimea troops ahead of U.S. talks (Reuters)

  • Crimea Crisis Haunted by Ghosts of Bungled World War I Diplomacy (BBG)

  • Putin’s Ukraine Gambit Hurts Economy as Allies Lose Billions  (BBG)

  • Germany Says It Provided Equipment and Training to Ukraine's Riot Police (WSJ)

  • China signals focus on reforms and leaner, cleaner growth (Reuters)

  • China Shares in Hong Kong Decline Amid Default Concern (BBG)

  • Beijing Signals New Worry on Growth (WSJ)

  • Israel says seized Gaza-bound rocket shipment from Iran (Reuters)

  • Japan Set to Clarify Stance on Bitcoin (WSJ)

  • Obama Budget Raises $276 Billion From U.S. Multinationals (BBG)

  • ECB May Repeat Japan Mistake That Triggered Lost Decade (BBG)

  • Wealthy mainlanders threaten to sue after Canada scraps visa scheme (SCMP)


Overnight Media Digest


* The United States kept up a war of words with Russian President Vladimir Putin while hoping he will back down over Ukraine, but there was little evidence Tuesday he would.

* Threats by the U.S. and European powers to impose tough sanctions on Russia over its incursion into Ukraine have run into a difficult economic reality: the West has as much at stake as Moscow.

* China's leaders kept the growth target for their giant economy unchanged, but signaled that they are more concerned than ever about reaching it, giving themselves the option of letting credit flow freely to keep from falling short.

* A federal judge ruled that a record $9.5 billion environmental-damage award against Chevron Corp was tainted by the misdeeds of a lawyer leading the lawsuit, giving the oil giant a boost in its battle against a global effort to seize its assets.

* Pimco is starting to get hit in its own backyard. When the Orange County pension fund met in November to decide how to put $100 million in new funds to work in the bond market, members of the investment committee made a surprising decision: They chose Swiss fund-management firm GAM Holding AG.

* Apple Inc named corporate controller Luca Maestri to be its next chief financial officer, promoting an executive with a record of shareholder-friendly policies and extensive international experience.

* General Motors Co Chief Executive Mary Barra is taking charge of the auto maker's response to a mishandled recall that has escalated into an early test of her ability to cope with a threat to the company's reputation and its credibility with federal regulators.

* Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV said it would drop a controversial request that Canada's government subsidize retooling of a minivan factory in Windsor, Ontario, and upgrades for another Canadian plant, and instead will finance the projects on its own.

* RadioShack Corp plans to dramatically cut back its store count, after a sharp drop in sales over the holidays left it with a $400 million loss last year. The electronics retailer said it could close as many as 1,100 U.S. stores - one out of every four that it operates itself.

* BP PLC said Tuesday that it would create a new business to manage its onshore oil and natural-gas assets in the United States's lower 48 states.



The United States has demanded that Russia should pull its troops out of the Crimean peninsula in Ukraine after Vladimir Putin said Russia would use further military action only as a "last resort".

Lehman Brothers' main UK subsidiary administrators will be left with 5 billion pounds ($8.34 billion) of surplus cash to distribute after fully repaying all unsecured creditors.

Independent investment bank Moelis & Co published its filing for a U.S. initial public offering, looking to raise about $150 million or more.

The United States is mulling imposing sanctions similar to ones on Iranian institutions on selected Russian financial institutions if Russia invades eastern Ukraine.

The appointment of Luca Maestri as Apple Inc's chief financial officer could spark hopes of further increase of its share buybacks and dividends. Maestri was described by one analyst last year as a "champion of shareholder return" in his past roles.



* Products virtually identical to e-cigarettes are known by names like e-hookahs or vaping pens, thwarting efforts by health officials to track their use, especially among young people.

* Walt Disney Animation won its first animated-feature Oscar on Sunday for "Frozen," and with it a new lease on life after a difficult transition to computer-aided filmmaking.

* A newly obtained government document explains why the picture is still clouded on the question of what JPMorgan Chase bankers knew about Bernard Madoff's Ponzi scheme.

* Payouts for the top executives in private equity have rocketed into the stratosphere, thanks to a soaring stock market and shrewd maneuvers by their firms in the aftermath of the financial crisis.

* A staff member of Lafayette College in Pennsylvania played a small role in the investigation that resulted in the shutdown of Silk Road, the online marketplace where drugs and weapons could be bought with Bitcoin.

* Bart Chilton, a commissioner on the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, said President Obama's $280 million request for the agency in the next fiscal year was inadequate for the agency's expanded mission.

* Former Goldman Sachs trader Fabrice Tourre had been scheduled to teach an undergraduate course on economic analysis beginning March 31. But a University of Chicago spokesman said on Tuesday that he would no longer be an instructor.




* Ice-hockey team Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk, a Canadian-Ukrainian, met with Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird and Kiev's ambassador to Canada on Tuesday regarding the crisis in Ukraine, making the rounds on what he describes as "some of the darkest days in the country's history."

* A safety enforcement blitz in British Columbia sawmills that triggered 13 stop-work orders in just three months shows that the forest industry and its regulators are not doing enough in response to two deadly mill explosions, the top union official representing mill workers said.

Reports in the business section:

* Chrysler Group LLC said it is moving forward with a major redevelopment of its Canadian operations, despite abruptly withdrawing its request for financial assistance from the federal and Ontario governments.

* Another round of stellar quarterly profits has provided Canadian banks with the ammunition they need to hunt for a new round of acquisitions. Three of the country's biggest six banks achieved record profits this quarter while five reported capital levels well in excess of regulatory requirements.


* A fire-damaged navy supply ship could be headed for the scrap heap, leaving Canada with only one vessel to support its maritime force.

* Excluding law school graduates from working in Nova Scotia because they attended a university that prohibits same-sex intimacy would be discriminatory, the university's president told the province's bar society Tuesday.


* Automaker Chrysler Group LLC withdrew request for government aid for a planned $3.6 billion investment in its Ontario plants, saying the projects had became a "political football". ()

* TransCanada Corp filed a preliminary project description of its $12 billion Energy East oil pipeline with the federal regulator and said it will ask the next Quebec government to mandate a separate strategic environmental review for the project.




- China could fasten the speed of its currency reform and the two-way fluctuations in the yuan could become a reality soon, the newspaper said in a commentary.


- The Shanghai Stock Exchange is looking at setting up a "Strategic Emerging Industries" board, a second board aimed at large and mature firms in emerging industries, its chairman said.


- Based on the fact that Russia and Ukraine have deep cultural, historical and economic connections, it is time for Western powers to abandon their Cold War thinking, stop trying to exclude Russia from the political crisis they have failed to mediate, and respect Russia's unique role in mapping out the future of Ukraine, says a Xinhua Commentary.


- China should build up a solid institutional foundation for its ongoing political reform, the paper which acts as a party mouthpiece said in an editorial. This comes as the country is having its annual parliamentary meeting in Beijing.



The Telegraph


Barclays Bank's Chief Executive, Antony Jenkins, says lower pay would have meant clients and employees would have been less likely to use Barclays.


Russian energy giant Gazprom has increased the price of gas supplies to Ukraine, sending a chilling reminder of the power Russia holds over European energy markets.

The Guardian


One of the architects of the EU's cap on bankers' bonuses has called for the UK government to be sued for allowing banks to sidestep the new rules as two more high street banks were preparing to hand their bosses up to 1 million pounds in extra pay to avoid the clampdown.


London Central Portfolio launches 100 million pounds fund to buy one- and two-bed apartments in capital's most exclusive districts.

The Times


Savers marked the fifth anniversary of record low interest rates by accusing the Bank of England of costing them 117 billion pounds as part of the largest and most undemocratic redistribution of wealth in generations.


The Office of Fair Trading launched an investigation into the residential property management industry to determine if leaseholders were "getting a fair deal" and to assess how well the market was working.

The Independent


The world's biggest commodities and mining group Glencore Xstrata on Tuesday looked set to strike a near $1 billion deal in Russia despite the threat of war in Ukraine.



Fly On The Wall 7:00 AM Market Snapshot


Domestic economic reports scheduled for today include:
ADP employment change for February at 8:15 am--consensus 150K
ISM non-manufacturing composite for February at 10:00 am--consensus 53.5
Federal Reserve’s Beige Book at 2:00 pm



21st Century Fox (FOXA) upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform at BMO Capital
CIRCOR (CIR) upgraded to Buy from Hold at KeyBanc
Capital City Bank (CCBG) upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform at Keefe Bruyette
DST Systems (DST) upgraded to Overweight from Equal Weight at Evercore
Lazard (LAZ) upgraded to Positive from Neutral at Susquehanna
Pandora (P) upgraded to Neutral from Sell at MKM Partners
Randgold Resources (GOLD) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Nomura
Trimble Navigation (TRMB) upgraded to Overweight from Neutral at JPMorgan
Valley National (VLY) upgraded to Market Perform from Underperform at Keefe Bruyette


BJ's Restaurants (BJRI) downgraded to Neutral from Overweight at Piper Jaffray
Crosstex Energy LP (XTEX) downgraded to Hold from Buy at Wunderlich
Dillard's (DDS) downgraded to Neutral from Outperform at Credit Suisse
Eastern Virginia Bankshares (EVBS) downgraded to Market Perform at Keefe Bruyette
Essex Property Trust (ESS) downgraded to Hold from Buy at Stifel
Global Partners (GLP) downgraded to Sector Perform from Outperform at RBC Capital
Lamar Advertising (LAMR) downgraded to Neutral from Conviction Buy at Goldman
NGL Energy Partners (NGL) downgraded to Neutral from Outperform at RW Baird
New Source Energy (NSLP) downgraded to Neutral from Outperform at RW Baird
Pennsylvania REIT (PEI) downgraded to Hold from Buy at Stifel
Plains GP Holdings (PAGP) downgraded to Neutral from Outperform at RW Baird
Rockwood (ROC) downgraded to Neutral from Outperform at Macquarie
Silver Bay Realty (SBY) downgraded to Market Perform at Keefe Bruyette
South Jersey Industries (SJI) downgraded to Hold from Buy at Brean Capital
Springleaf (LEAF) downgraded to Underperform from Neutral at BofA/Merrill
Staples (SPLS) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at B. Riley
Summit Midstream (SMLP) downgraded to Neutral from Outperform at RW Baird
Tallgrass Energy (TEP) downgraded to Neutral from Outperform at RW Baird
TiVo (TIVO) downgraded to Neutral from Overweight at JPMorgan
Unit Corp. (UNT) downgraded to Hold from Buy at Brean Capital
Whiting USA Trust (WHZ) downgraded to Underperform from Neutral at RW Baird


Allscripts (MDRX) initiated with an Equal Weight at Barclays
American Homes 4 Rent (AMH) initiated with an Outperform at Keefe Bruyette
AmerisourceBergen (ABC) initiated with an Overweight at Barclays
athenahealth (ATHN) initiated with an Equal Weight at Barclays
Arrowhead Research (ARWR) initiated with a Buy at Deutsche Bank
Arrowhead Research (ARWR) initiated with an Outperform at RBC Capital
Cardinal Health (CAH) initiated with an Overweight at Barclays
Carrizo Oil & Gas (CRZO) re-initiated with an Outperform at Imperial Capital
Catamaran (CTRX) initiated with an Equal Weight at Barclays
Cerner (CERN) initiated with an Overweight at Barclays
Egalet (EGLT) initiated with a Buy at Canaccord
Evoke Pharma (EVOK) initiated with a Buy at Ascendiant
Express Scripts (ESRX) initiated with an Overweight at Barclays
Forbes Energy (FES) initiated with an In-Line at Imperial Capital
Foundation Medicine (FMI) initiated with an Outperform at Wedbush
MedAssets (MDAS) initiated with an Equal Weight at Barclays
Nimble Storage (NMBL) initiated with a Neutral at UBS
The Advisory Board (ABCO) initiated with an Overweight at Barclays
Xoom (XOOM) initiated with an Underweight at Evercore


Bob Evans (BOBE) reported Q3 earnings that missed estimates and lowered its FY14 outlook, citing effects of severe winter weather
S&P affirmed DDR Corp.'s (DDR) 'BB+' and 'BBB-' ratings, Outlook revised to Positive from Stable
XOMA (XOMA) said results from its Phase 2 trial of gevokizumab did not support movement to pivotal development. The company also reported a Q4 loss that was wider than expected, though revenues topped expectations
Thoratec (THOR) issued worldwide urgent medical device correction letter to update its labeling and training materials for the HeartMate II LVASPocket System Controller
CytRx (CYTR) on track to initiatve Phaes 3 trial of Aldoxorubicin in Q1
USEC (USU) to implement financial restructuring plan under Chapter 11
Twitter (TWTR) said tweets about Oscars viewed over 3.3B times worldwide


Companies that beat consensus earnings expectations last night and today include:
Bazaarvoice (BV), Gentherm (THRM), Cal Dive (DVR), Systemax (SYX), Smith & Wesson (SWHC), YY Inc. (YY), Chef's Warehouse (CHEF), Cell Therapeutics (CTIC)

Companies that missed consensus earnings expectations include:
Endeavour (END), Mid-Con Energy (MCEP), JBT Corporation (JBT), XOMA (XOMA), Bob Evans (BOBE), HCI Group (HCI), IMRIS (IMRS)

Companies that matched consensus earnings expectations include:
Alon USA Partners (ALDW), ABM Industries (ABM)


EBay (EBAY) CEO says company stronger with PayPal, WSJ reports
Yahoo (YHOO) ceases Facebook (FB), Google (GOOG) sign-in on its web properties, Re/code reports
DISH (DISH) wins all licenses in airwaves auction, Re/code reports
Morgan Stanley (MS) may sell Swiss private bank, Reuters reports
Novartis (NVS), Roche (RHHBY) fined by Italy for alleged collusion on drug sale, WSJ reports
Honda (HMC), Nissan (NSNAY) report spike in February Chinese sales, Nikkei reports
BP (BP) CEO says company standing by Russian investments, Reuters reports
Apple (AAPL) is expected to end production of the 13-inch MacBook Pro in 2H14, DigiTimes reports
Apple's (AAPL) incoming CFO Maestri is 'shareholder-friendly,' NY Post reports


ACADIA (ACAD) 6.4M share Secondary priced at $28.50
Armstrong World (AWI) files to sell 3.9M shares of common stock for holders
BankUnited (BKU) 10.3M share Spot Secondary priced at $33.50
Bankrate (RATE) 14M share Secondary priced at $18.25
BioMarin (BMRN) files to sell 1.5M shares of common stock
Bloomin' Brands (BLMN) 18M share Secondary priced at $24.50
Carlyle Group (CG) 12M share Secondary priced at $33.50
Ceres (CERE) 20M share Secondary priced at $1.00
CorMedix (CRMD) sells 2.96M shares at $2.50 in registered direct offering
Nielsen (NLSN) files to sell 30M shares of common stock for holders
Norwegian Cruise Line (NCLH) to sell 15M shares for holders
Oaktree Capital (OAK) files to sell 5M Class A units for holders
Spirit AeroSystems (SPR) 6.19M share Spot Secondary priced at $28.62
Synageva (GEVA) files to sell 2M shares of common stock
Vantiv (VNTV) files to sell 18.78M common shares for holders

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