ZeroHedge – Frontrunning – 11 April 2014

  • Sensitive Market Data Leaked After Government Phone Call (WSJ)
  • This is a actual Bloomberg headline: China Fake Data to Skew More Export Numbers (BBG)
  • This is another actual BBG headline: U.S. as Global Growth Engine Putt-Putts Instead of Purring (BBG)
  • Ukraine wants to buy European gas to boost energy security (Reuters)
  • JPMorgan Profit Falls 19% on Trading, Mortgage Declines (BBG)
  • Record Europe Dividends Keep $2.8 Trillion From Factories (BBG)
  • Why is Goldman shutting down Sigma X: SEC eyes test that may lead to shift away from ‘dark pools’ (Reuters)
  • Ebola Outbreak Empties Hotels as West Africa Borders Closed (BBG)
  • Australian PM says searchers confident of position of MH370’s black boxes (Reuters)
  • Gross Says El-Erian Should Explain Reason for Exit (BBG)
  • PC recalls next: Sony Issues Warning Over Vaio Battery Fire Risk (WSJ)
  • SAC Record $1.8 Billion Insider Plea Caps 7-Year Probe (BBG)
  • Texan Discovers Key to Euro Going Against Consensus (BBG)
  • GM Raises Recall Costs to $1.3 Billion (WSJ)
  • London’s Wealthy Expanding Realms by Buying Out Neighbors (BBG)
  • Coldwater Creek Files Bankruptcy After Apparel Sales Fall (BBG)

Overnight Media Digest


* The fallout from General Motors Co’s troubled recalls escalated on Thursday with the auto maker raising its estimated costs to $1.3 billion and suspending two engineers involved in fateful early decisions.(

* PG&E Corp will offer a $250,000 reward for information resulting in the arrest and conviction of people who attacked its Metcalf transmission substation near San Jose, California, last year.(

* China’s tougher stance on imports of genetically modified corn is roiling U.S. agribusiness, largely halting trade in the biggest U.S. crop in its fastest growing market. By one industry estimate, exports are down by 85 percent compared with last year. (

* After a decade-long probe into SAC Capital Advisors LP, federal prosecutors won approval of a $1.8 billion settlement with the hedge fund but appear to have all but given up efforts to charge its billionaire founder, Steven A. Cohen. (

* The Justice Department is investigating whether a Citigroup Inc unit in California failed to alert the government to suspicious banking transactions along the U.S.-Mexico border that in some cases involved suspected drug-cartel members, said people familiar with the probe. (

* Regulators have stepped up their scrutiny of the booming bond markets, launching an inquiry into Wall Street banks’ trading profits and expanding a probe into how new offerings are doled out to investors, according to officials. (

* Market-sensitive information vitally important to health-insurance companies has once again reached Wall Street before the public, and this time it appears to have come from the government itself. (

* A group of investors with Hollywood ties is seeking to revive bankrupt bitcoin-trading exchange Mt. Gox, according to people familiar with the matter. The investor group, which includes Brock Pierce, a former child actor-turned technology entrepreneur, is offering a token payment of one bitcoin, or about $400, to buy the exchange outright, according to these people. (



Russia’s second-largest bank VTB said the Bank of England had made demands of its UK subsidiary regarding capital and liquidity that were “unjust” although it saw no immediate threat to its business there.

Some UK news websites have begun the use of automatically embedded advertising service provided by the Finnish start-up company Kiosked, which charges a commission of sales via these advertisements, and calls the phenomena the next phase of ecommerce.

BP Plc’s heavy presence in Russia may prove to be a weakness rather than once considered strength for the oil major as tensions between the country and Ukraine continue after its annexation of Crimea.

Gulf carrier Etihad Airways is seeking to become the largest shareholder in Alitalia, and wants to slice off 12,000 staff of the Italian national carrier’s staff, people with direct knowledge said.

Britain’s Co-operative Bank is expected to cancel millions of pounds of bonuses to former employees including former Chief Executive Officer Neville Richardson in an attempt to steer out of controversy over past misconduct.


* General Motors Co on Thursday suspended two engineers and added another repair to its recall of cars with a faulty ignition switch that has been linked to 13 deaths. G.M. said it would cost $1.3 billion in the first quarter to pay for all of its recalls – a significant increase over the $750 million it had previously estimated. (

* The Chinese pork company that bought Smithfield Foods, America’s biggest pork producer, formally began an attempt to raise as much as 41.2 billion Hong Kong dollars, or $5.3 billion, by listing the business in Hong Kong. The combined business has since been renamed WH Group, and its IPO would be the largest in the world since that of a Brazilian insurer, BB Seguridade Participacoes, in April 2013. (

* The potential for harm by the “Heartbleed” bug could extend to the many devices that connect to the Internet, security experts say. Cisco Systems Inc and its rival Juniper Networks Inc, providers of equipment that move traffic through the Internet, said on Thursday that their main products such as routers and servers were unaffected. (

* A federal judge on Thursday approved a plea deal by Steven Cohen’s investment firm that resolved criminal insider trading charges and required a $1.2 billion penalty. Cohen is hoping for a less litigious transition for his firm, now re-christened Point72 Asset Management, that will manage about $9 billion of his own fortune. (

* Investors dumped Internet, biotechnology and other fast-growing companies at a dizzying pace on Thursday, dragging down the rest of the stock market and stirring up painful memories of the dot-com bust in 2000. The anxiety threatens to put a chill over the market for IPOs. (

* The Oversight and Government Reform Committee voted on Thursday to hold a former IRS official in contempt for refusing to answer its questions about her role in holding up applications for tax exemption. The official, Lois Lerner, faced the panel last year and made a statement denying any wrongdoing. Then she refused to answer questions, invoking her Fifth Amendment right to not incriminate herself. (

* Activist-investor Carl Icahn agreed to settle differences with eBay Inc and dropped his demands for two board seats and a spin-off of the company’s Paypal unit. He also agreed to sign a confidentiality agreement. In return, eBay will add a director, David Dorman, a former CEO of AT&T Inc, whom both sides have agreed on. (

* The number of Americans filing new applications for unemployment benefits tumbled last week to the lowest level in nearly seven years, strengthening views of faster job growth. The report on jobless claims on Thursday was the latest sign of economic momentum after an unusually cold winter slowed activity. (

* The Treasury Department said on Thursday that the federal budget deficit for the first half of the 2014 fiscal year totaled $413 billion, down $187 billion from where it stood at this point last year, as tax revenue surged and spending sank. (



* All federal departments using software vulnerable to the so-called Heartbleed bug have been ordered to immediately disable public websites. The directive issued late Thursday calls this a precautionary measure until the “appropriate security patches are in place and tested”. (

* Former Canadian Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, who stepped down from his position last month, died of a heart attack on Thursday. Flaherty changed fiscal conservatism in Canada by delivering one of the largest deficits in modern history. When he quit as finance minister after eight years, he left the country on the road to balance. (

Reports in the business section:

* The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation will cut 657 positions and get out of the business of airing professional sports, a pillar of its programming for more than 60 years, as part of a plan to confront a C$130 million revenue shortfall projected for the 2014-15 broadcast year. (


* Upon hearing of the death of former Canadian Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, doctors expressed worry about the side-effects that treatments for his rare skin disorder do “to the body and mind.” In January 2013, Flaherty told the public he suffered from bullous pemphigoid, an incurable autoimmune skin disorder that causes painful lesions. (

* A Quebec court has ruled that the province’s language police went too far in trying to force such major retailers as Wal-Mart Stores Inc, Gap Inc and Best Buy to add French to their outdoor signs. (


* Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce’s Deputy Chief Economist Benjamin Tal never imagined himself as the defender of the Canadian housing market, but he is doing exactly that as he squares off against a U.S. commentator calling out what he sees as a bloated real estate market. (

* Goldcorp Inc hiked its hostile bid for Montreal-based Osisko Mining Corp on Thursday to C$3.6 billion, or C$7.65 a share in cash and stock. The dollar value is roughly C$1 billion more than what Goldcorp offered in January, when its own share price was significantly lower. (



– China’s decision to allow cross-border stock investment between Shanghai and Hong Kong will boost large-capitalised blue chips on the Shanghai Stock Exchange as well as the overall Chinese stock market, analysts said.

– A study of the 2013 annual results of 22 major Chinese property firms shows their profit margins dropped sharply last year after a slew of government steps to cool housing prices.


– Economists widely expect China’s exports to recover in the second quarter of this year despite weak trade data for the first quarter posted by the government on Thursday.


– China’s state-owned enterprises are searching for changes amid the country’s reform drive as they are losing competitiveness under many years of government protection.


– The keynote speech made by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang at the Boao Forum for Asia in China’s southern island province of Hainan on Thursday signalled China’s intention to use reforms to boost its economy instead of investment stimulus, analysts said.


– The Shanghai Stock Exchange has no plan to abolish its 10 percent daily limit system for individual stocks for now, Xiao Gang, chairman of the China Securities Regulatory Commission, told reporters on Thursday on the sidelines of the Boao Forum.


The Telegraph



Britain is still too reliant on consumer spending to drive growth, and further action is needed to foster stronger exports and investment to ensure the economy is “three engines powered”, according to the head of the International Monetary Fund.



The Co-op Bank will on Friday face fresh questions over its future as it announces losses for last year of as much as 1.3 billion pounds.

The Guardian



Tesco is understood to be working on a high-street takeway-food chain that would compete with Pret à Manger, Eat and Greggs. Analysts said the supermarket is putting the finishing touches to a new format called “Tesco Express food to go” that would be focused on the large London market.



WH Smith is moving into operating franchise stores for other retailers, including Marks & Spencer, as the books-to-paper clips retailer develops a growing portfolio of brands.

The Times



Almost a third of BP’s shareholders refused to back “complacent” management at a stormy annual meeting during which the leadership was accused of turning the oil giant into a “laughing stock” because of spiralling payouts over the Gulf of Mexico disaster.



Former Tesco Plc directors are “dismayed and angry” at the cull of senior talent at the retailer and fear that Philip Clarke, the chief executive, is driving the business “in the wrong direction”.

Sky News



Housing sales have reached their highest level in six years, fuelling fears that many buyers will be priced out of the market, according to the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics).



The investment affairs division of the Association of British Insurers is to merge with the Investment Management Association to create a focal point for asset managers.

Fly On The Wall 7:00 AM Market Snapshot

Domestic economic reports scheduled today include:
PPI final demand for March at 8:30–consensus up 0.1% from prior month
U. of Michigan consumer sentiment index for April at 9:55–consensus 81.0



BofI Holding (BOFI) upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform at Keefe Bruyette
Corporate Executive Board (CEB) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Deutsche Bank
Demandware (DWRE) upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform at BMO Capital
E-Trade (ETFC) upgraded to Overweight from Underweight at Barclays
Ford (F) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Deutsche Bank
Hub Group (HUBG) upgraded to Strong Buy from Outperform at Raymond James
Imperva (IMPV) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Sterne Agee
JAKKS Pacific (JAKK) upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform at BMO Capital
KB Home (KBH) upgraded to Market Perform from Underperform at Keefe Bruyette
LinnCo (LNCO) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at UBS
NewBridge Bancorp (NBBC) upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform at Keefe Bruyette
Principal Financial (PFG) upgraded to Equal Weight from Underweight at Evercore
SQM upgraded to Neutral from Underperform at BofA/Merrill
Sensata (ST) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Longbow
Shutterfly (SFLY) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Goldman
SolarWinds (SWI) upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform at Cowen
TD Ameritrade (AMTD) upgraded to Overweight from Equalweight at Barclays
TE Connectivity (TEL) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at BofA/Merrill
Toyota (TM) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Jefferies
Varonis (VRNS) upgraded to Overweight from Equalweight at Barclays
Zynga (ZNGA) upgraded to Equal Weight from Underweight at Morgan Stanley


Apogee Enterprises (APOG) downgraded to Buy from Conviction Buy at Goldman
Bed Bath & Beyond (BBBY) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Citigroup
Corning (GLW) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at UBS
Ellie Mae (ELLI) downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at FBR Capital
Equity Residential (EQR) downgraded to Underperform from Hold at Jefferies
Gap (GPS) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Janney Capital
Seadrill (SDRL) downgraded to Neutral from Outperform at Credit Suisse
Symantec (SYMC) downgraded to Equalweight from Overweight at Barclays


ASML (ASML) initiated with a Cautious at ISI Group
Analog Devices (ADI) initiated with a Buy at ISI Group
Applied Materials (AMAT) initiated with a Strong Buy at ISI Group
Ares Commercial (ACRE) initiated with a Market Perform at Keefe Bruyette
Aruba Networks (ARUN) initiated with a Buy at SunTrust
Broadcom (BRCM) initiated with a Neutral at ISI Group
CSX (CSX) initiated with an Outperform at Macquarie
Cisco (CSCO) initiated with a Buy at SunTrust
F5 Networks (FFIV) initiated with a Neutral at SunTrust
Freescale (FSL) initiated with a Cautious at ISI Group
Genesee & Wyoming (GWR) initiated with a Neutral at Macquarie
Intel (INTC) initiated with a Neutral at ISI Group
Juniper (JNPR) initiated with a Buy at SunTrust
KLA-Tencor (KLAC) initiated with a Neutral at ISI Group
Kansas City Southern (KSU) initiated with an Underperform at Macquarie
Lam Research (LRCX) initiated with a Strong Buy at ISI Group
Linear Technology (LLTC) initiated with a Cautious at ISI Group
Maxim Integrated (MXIM) initiated with a Neutral at ISI Group
Micron (MU) initiated with a Strong Buy at ISI Group
NVIDIA (NVDA) initiated with a Neutral at ISI Group
NXP Semiconductors (NXPI) initiated with a Strong Buy at ISI Group
Norfolk Southern (NSC) initiated with a Neutral at Macquarie
PNM Resources (PNM) initiated with an Outperform at RBC Capital
Polycom (PLCM) initiated with a Neutral at SunTrust
Qualcomm (QCOM) initiated with a Strong Buy at ISI Group
Riverbed (RVBD) initiated with a Neutral at SunTrust
SanDisk (SNDK) initiated with a Neutral at ISI Group
Tekmira (TKMR) initiated with an Outperform at RBC Capital
Teradyne (TER) initiated with a Buy at ISI Group
Texas Instruments (TXN) initiated with a Neutral at ISI Group
Trulia (TRLA) initiated with a Fair Value at CRT Capital
Trulia (TRLA) initiated with a Neutral at Susquehanna
Union Pacific (UNP) initiated with a Neutral at Macquarie
Zillow (Z) initiated with a Positive at Susquehanna


H&R Block (HRB) announced that it will divest its H&R Block Bank assets to BofI Federal Bank, the banking subsidiary of BofI Holding (BOFI)
Facebook (FB), WhatsApp deal cleared by FTC with caveat
Google (GOOG) said ‘Jelly Bean’ affected by Heartbleed
Gap (GPS) reported March SSS fell 6% and said it expects Q1 gross margins to decline more when compared to the prior year period than they did in the preceding quarter
NQ Mobile (NQ) said it identified an accounting overstatement related to share-based compensation for the three and nine months ended September 30
Zynga (ZNGA) appointed Best Buy’s (BBY) David Lee as CFO, succeeding CFO and CAO Mark Vranesh


Companies that beat consensus earnings expectations last night and today include:
Ceres (CERE)

Companies that missed consensus earnings expectations include:
NQ Mobile (nq)


Cisco (CSCO), Juniper (JNPR) say some products affected by Heartbleed bug, WSJ reports
Sony (SNE) issues warning over Vaio battery fire risk, Reuters reports
DreamWorks Animation (DWA) may look to take a piece of Vevo, Re/code reports
Apple (AAPL): iOS, OSX not affected by Heartbleed flaw, Re/code reports
JPMorgan (JPM) CEO Jamie Dimon hopes to minimize corporate cash, WSJ says
Deutsche Bank (DB) wins dismissal of FHFA case, Reuters reports
Apple (AAPL) may offer high-res iTunes tracks in 2 months, Apple Insider says
GM (GM) beats Volkswagen (VLKAY) in Q1 China deliveries, Bloomberg reports


Arthur J. Gallagher (AJG) 19M share Secondary priced at $43.25
ChinaCache (CCIH) files to sell 3.37M American Depositary Shares for holders
Enable Midstream (ENBL) 25M share IPO priced at $20.00
Farmland Partners (FPI) 3.8M share IPO priced at $14.00
GasLog (GLOG) files to sell 4.25M common shares
NTN Buzztime (NTN) files to sell common stock
Phibro Animal Health (PAHC) 11.765M share IPO priced at $15.00
Relypsa (RLYP) 3.59M share Secondary priced at $24.50
Voxeljet (VJET) 3M share Secondary priced at $15.00
Zoe’s Kitchen (ZOES) 5.833M share IPO priced at $15.00 / link to original


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