ZeroHedge – Frontrunning – 28 March 2014

  • ZeroHedgeCrimea Resolution Backed by U.S. Barely Gets UN Majority (BBG)
  • Russian Buildup Stokes Worries (WSJ)
  • As reported here first: China’s Developers Face Shakeout as Easy Money Ends (BBG)
  • U.S. House Poised to Clear Sanctions Called Putin Warning (BBG)
  • Bitcoin Prices Plunge on Report PBOC Orders Accounts Shut (BBG)
  • Search for lost Malaysian jet shifts significantly after new lead (Reuters)
  • Russian fund taps China and Middle East (FT)
  • Long battle looms between U.S. college, athletes seeking to unionize (Reuters)
  • Official warns EU-US trade deal at risk over investor cases (FT)
  • New iPhone likely out in September, Nikkei daily says (AFP)
  • Ukraine’s Tymoshenko to Run for President (WSJ)
  • Deutsche Boerse, Bank of China agree closer cooperation (Reuters)
  • Japan to Front-Load Spending in FY14 Budget as Tax-Bump Looms (BBG)
  • Fed feels backlash over stress tests (FT)


Overnight Media Digest


* Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc said on Thursday it would repay creditors an additional $17.9 billion next week, its fifth distribution since a bankruptcy judge approved its liquidation plan in December 2011. After that money is returned, Lehman’s creditors will have been paid more than $80 billion – $15 billion more than the bank’s initial estimate of how much would be returned to creditors. (

* PG&E Corp said it expects to face federal criminal charges over the 2010 natural-gas pipeline explosion that killed eight in San Bruno, California. The utility said on Thursday it expects to be charged with violating the federal Pipeline Safety Act, which dates back to 1968. (

* Some lawmakers and others are calling on the Securities and Exchange Commission to cut the time that large investors can secretly amass shares in a company. Investors who own 5 percent of a stock get 10 days to announce their holdings, according to a 1968 regulatory. (

* Wal-Mart Stores Inc has sued Visa Inc for more than $5 billion, claiming the card network charged unreasonably high fees when the retailer’s customers paid with plastic. (

* Private-equity firm TPG is in advanced discussions to take a roughly 15 percent stake in Chobani Inc, said a person familiar with the matter, as the maker of Greek yogurt seeks to raise capital that could value it at up to $5 billion. (



Russia’s state-backed fund has tapped money from sovereign wealth funds in China and the Middle East, hoping to show it can attract foreign capital into the country even if the United States and European investors turn away following the annexation of Crimea.

French oil giant Total is in talks to partner with Russia’s Lukoil on its shale oil projects in Russia, as Moscow targets unconventional resources to replace falling production at ageing fields in Siberia.

Satya Nadella, Microsoft’s new chief executive, announced the company’s long-awaited Office suite on Apple Inc’s iPad at his first public appearance, signalling that he is prepared to unbundle Windows to catch up on mobile and the cloud.

Brazilian public prosecutors have asked that courts block the restructuring plan of former billionaire Eike Batista’s oil group and force him to inject $1 billion of his own money into the company.

Graeme Shelley, a former broker at Novum Securities received a two-year suspended sentence after pleading guilty to insider-trading charges, admitting to trading 14 stocks using inside information between 2008 and 2010.



* A day after Citigroup Inc’s capital plan failed the Fed’s stress test for the second time in three years, bank executives were still struggling to understand the decision and how best to respond. (

* As the United States seeks to strengthen sanctions on Moscow for its occupation of Crimea, energy experts say the powerful Russian oil industry would make a robust target. But any penalties on energy investments, technology transfers and financial transactions would most likely also punish Western oil companies like Exxon Mobil that are investing heavily in Russia. (

* Microsoft Corp on Thursday introduced its long-awaited suite of applications for Apple Inc’s iPad tablets. The suite includes Word, PowerPoint and Excel. (

* When CBS Outdoor Americas Inc begins trading on the New York Stock Exchange on Friday, it will represent not only the dawn of a new publicly traded advertising company in a hot market for IPOs, but also the latest step in the evolution of its parent company, CBS Corp. (

* Italian fashion house Versace said it started 2014 on a strong footing thanks to a double-digit rise in sales from its own shops in the first quarter. The luxury brand may seek stock market listing in the future after the recent sale of a 20 percent stake to the private equity group Blackstone. (

* Walmart Stores Inc sued Visa Inc for $5 billion, accusing the credit and debit card network of excessively high card swipe fees, several months after the retailer opted out of a class-action settlement between merchants and Visa and MasterCard. (

* New York State and federal inspectors have completed a second round of safety checks of train tracks and oil tanker cars in an effort to prevent disastrous derailments and spills of volatile crude from North Dakota’s Bakken region. The inspection effort, which generally found only minor and easily correctable defects, is part of a proactive safety effort started in January after several severe accidents. (

* PG&E said it would probably face federal criminal charges for its role in a fatal gas pipeline explosion in the San Francisco Bay Area in September 2010. The company said it had been in discussions with federal prosecutors to reach a resolution, but it now expects prosecutors will say that PG&E’s past operating practices violated the federal Pipeline Safety Act(




* Former Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty’s former chief of staff has been accused of orchestrating a plan to purge government records after Ontario’s controversial cancellation of two gas-fired power plants, according to police documents. (

* Canada’s new Finance Minister Joe Oliver is taking a hands-off approach to the mortgage market, signal ling that unlike his predecessor he does not want to interfere in the rate-setting decisions of the banks. (

Reports in the business section:

* Lululemon Athletica Inc is paving the way for an accelerated international expansion as its new leader looks to pump up the business and patch up its merchandise and image problems. (


* Confirming his status as the front-runner in the Quebec election, Liberal leader Philippe Couillard came under heavy fire from the three other leaders during the campaign’s final televised debate Thursday. (

* Toronto Mayor Rob Ford was unable to avoid questions about his crack cocaine scandal during the second mayoral election debate, which saw other candidates take jabs at his personal problems, and audience members heckle him when he resorted to familiar slogans. (


* Banks in Canada may finally be ready to battle over mortgage rates but the war for customers has been raging for months now. Falling bond yields, which long-term fixed rate loans are priced off of, had already allowed discounters to cut rates well below the 3 percent threshold that makes finance officials in Ottawa nervous. (

* Canada’s largest securities regulator, the Ontario Securities Commission, is attempting to rehabilitate its long-standing image as a toothless tiger by adding new potent weapons to its arsenal of powers it hopes will result in successful prosecutions of market miscreants. (




– China’s securities regulator encouraged companies to list on the National Equities Exchange and Quotations Co, also known as the “New Third Board”, or on overseas stock markets. The regulator is currently dealing with a backlog of firms waiting to list on the country’s main boards.


– The Ministry of Environmental Protection will spend 1,747 billion yuan ($281.18 billion) to curb air pollution, an engineer from the ministry said in an environmental industry conference. The money will be mainly spent on developing clean energy, car pollution controls and stepping up central heating, he added.


– China will establish a national real estate ownership registration system over the next three years, the head of the Ministry of Land and Resources said at a conference. The real estate ownership registration system has been widely expected to pave the way for implementing a property tax in China.


– Lenovo Group says it is aiming to sell 1 million smart TVs in China in 2014.


– Nikon will give Chinese owners of D600 cameras a free replacement after being targeted by state media in a consumer rights probe.

– Eighty percent of Shanghai’s college students set to graduate in June have not found jobs, nor enrolled for further study or plan to travel abroad. Job competition remains fierce for college graduates even as the wider industrial workforce shrinks.



The Telegraph


The boss of Britain’s biggest energy company has warned households they face an “increasing risk” of blackouts because of an investigation into whether the industry is ripping off consumers. (


Rolls-Royce has been awarded a $1.1 billion deal from All Nippon Airways to provide engines for the troubled Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft. (


Gatwick has agreed a seven-year pricing deal with its biggest customer, easyJet, after being freed up by the UK’s airports regulator to strike agreements directly with airlines. (


A new directive from the European Commission has confirmed that the private pensions of hard-working Scots will become “much more expensive” unless Scotland remains part of the UK, according to experts. (

The Guardian


Scotland’s financial services and banking industry would face a long and costly period of disruption if there were a ‘yes’ vote for independence, the sector’s Scottish trade body has warned. (


An engine blew up on an airliner seconds before it was due to leave London City airport, a passenger has said. Four people needed treatment for minor injuries after Geneva-bound LX437 with 74 passengers and four crew on board suffered an engine problem, airport authorities added. (


The video game industry has won a seven-year battle to claim government tax breaks. The European Commission has agreed to extend the credits, which are already available to film and theatre productions, allowing games makers to claim back 25 percent of their qualifying production costs. (

The Times


The number of borrowers being offered dangerously large mortgages is at an all-time high, the Bank of England has warned. (


One of London’s best development sites, a stretch of the Thames between Tate Modern and Blackfriars Bridge, could be put up for sale by U.S. private equity firm Carlyle Group.(


Morrisons’s chief executive has waived his bonus for a second year running and become the latest blue-chip boss to renounce a pay reward after the supermarket chain suffered torrid trading. (

The Independent


Ed Miliband is to answer critics who claim that Labour is “anti-business” by promising that his party would give new rights to small companies and the self-employed if it wins power. (


The planned cap on charges on workplace pensions will drive small schemes out of business and give workers less financial freedom, insurers warned on Thursday. (


Fly On The Wall 7:00 AM Market Snapshot


Domestic economic reports scheduled today include:
Personal income for February at 8:30–consensus up 0.3%
Personal spending for February at 8:30–consensus up 0.3%
Core PCE prices for February at 8:30–consensus up 0.1%
U. of Michigan consumer sentiment index for March  at 9:55–consensus 80.5



Agnico-Eagle (AEM) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Canaccord
Alcoa (AA) upgraded to Neutral from Underperform at Macquarie
Bofi Holding (BOFI) upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform at Raymond James
Cognizant (CTSH) upgraded to Overweight from Equal Weight at Morgan Stanley
El Paso Pipeline (EPB) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Citigroup
Fidus Investment (FDUS) upgraded to Strong Buy from Outperform at Raymond James
Finisar (FNSR) upgraded to Outperform from Sector Perform at RBC Capital
Home Loan Servicing (HLSS) upgraded to Overweight from Neutral at Piper Jaffray
InvenSense (INVN) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Roth Capital
Kinross Gold (KGC) upgraded to Neutral from Sell at Goldman
NICE Systems (NICE) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at UBS
Newpark Resources (NR) upgraded to Overweight from Underweight at First Analysis
Niska Gas (NKA) upgraded to Neutral from Sell at Citigroup
PennyMac (PFSI) upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform at Wells Fargo
SolarCity (SCTY) upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform at Raymond James
TC PipeLines (TCP) upgraded to Neutral from Sell at Citigroup
Tallgrass Energy (TEP) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Citigroup
Veeco (VECO) upgraded to Buy from Outperform at CLSA


Ambac Financial (AMBC) downgraded to Sell from Neutral at MKM Partners
Blackhawk (HAWK) downgraded to Neutral from Overweight at Piper Jaffray
Ciena (CIEN) downgraded to Sector Perform from Outperform at RBC Capital
Citigroup (C) downgraded to Hold from Buy at Societe Generale
Genesis Energy (GEL) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Citigroup
JDSU (JDSU) downgraded to Sector Perform from Outperform at RBC Capital
Nestle (NSRGY) downgraded to Neutral from Outperform at Credit Suisse
PG&E (PCG) downgraded to Hold from Buy at Deutsche Bank
PG&E (PCG) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Citigroup
Pinnacle West (PNW) downgraded at BofA/Merrill
Pinnacle West (PNW) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at BofA/Merrill
Rose Rock Midstream (RRMS) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Citigroup
Ternium (TX) downgraded to Equal Weight from Overweight at Morgan Stanley


Atlas Energy (ATLS) initiated with a Buy at Deutsche Bank
Atlas Resource Partners (ARP) initiated with a Hold at Deutsche Bank
Bill Barrett (BBG) initiated with a Neutral at Mizuho
Carrizo Oil & Gas (CRZO) initiated with a Buy at Mizuho
Colfax (CFX) initiated with a Neutral at Longbow
Columbia Property Trust (CXP) initiated with a Market Perform at JMP Securities
EP Energy (EPE) initiated with a Neutral at Mizuho
Integrated Silicon (ISSI) initiated with a Buy at B. Riley
McGraw Hill Financial (MHFI) initiated with a Buy at Janney Capital
Oracle (ORCL) initiated with a Buy at Cantor
Synergy Resources (SYRG) initiated with an Outperform at Imperial Capital
Valeant (VRX) initiated with a Buy at Cantor


Exact Sciences (EXAS) announced that an FDA advisory panel recommended approval of its Cologuard colorectal cancer screening test
PG&E (PCG) said it expects criminal charges in San Bruno case
Ford (F) announced plans to invest $500M in Ohio engine plant, create 300 jobs to build new F-150
Parametric Sound (PAMT) provided an update following completion of its combination with Turtle Beach and said it expects adjusted EBITDA for FY14 to total $20M-$25M
GCI (GNCMA) said negotiations with Viacom (VIA) stalled
GM’s (GM) Opel unit said sales of Opel brand in China to cease in January 2015
Rolls-Royce (RYCEY) selected by ANA (ALNPY) to provide Trent engines worth $1.1B to power 25 Boeing (BA) 787 Dreamliner aircraft


Companies that beat consensus earnings expectations last night and today include:
Continental Building (CBPX), Oxford Industries (OXM), Red Hat (RHT)

Companies that missed consensus earnings expectations include:
AdCare (ADK), RE/MAX Holdings (RMAX), Conatus Pharmaceuticals (CNAT), Cara Therapeutics (CARA), Metabolix (MBLX)

Companies that matched consensus earnings expectations include:
Progress Software (PRGS), Restoration Hardware (RH)


Amazon (AMZN) denies report of streaming-media service, Variety says
Wal-Mart (WMT) seeks $5B from Visa (V) over swipe fees, WSJ says
Apple (AAPL) to release new iPhone as early as September, Nikkei says
Total (TOT) in talks with Lukoil (LUKOY) for shale partnership, FT reports
Rumors suggest Jazz (JAZZ) looking to buy ARIAD (ARIA), Daily Mail reports
Toyota (TM) recalling Avalon cars for airbag deployments, Detroit News reports
Microsoft (MSFT) sets internal goal of 25M Windows tablets in 2014, DigiTimes says
Baidu (BIDU) prevails in lawsuit over search results, Reuters reports
Target (TGT) lawsuit reveals liable security firm Trustwave, WSJ reports

SYNDICATE (WUBA) 6M share Secondary priced at $38.00
CBS Outdoor Americas (CBSO) 20M share IPO priced at $28.00
Caesar’s (CZR) files to sell 7M common shares
CommScope (COMM) 17.5M share Secondary priced at $22.00
Endocyte (ECYT) 4.5M share Secondary priced at $21.00
Energous (watt) 4M share IPO priced at $6.00
Everyday Health (EVDY) 7.15M share IPO priced at $14.00
Exterran Partners (EXLP) files to sell 5.4M common units representing limited partners
Mercer (MERC) 7M share Secondary priced at $7.15
MoneyGram (MGI) 8M share Secondary priced at $16.50
Sprouts Farmers Market (SFM) 15M share Secondary priced at $33.75
Voxeljet (VJET) files to sell 4.25M American Depositary Shares / link to original article

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