ZeroHedge – Frontrunning – 7 May 2014

  • ZeroHedgeAlibaba files for what may be biggest tech IPO (Reuters)
  • Early Tap of 401(k) Replaces Homes as American Piggy Bank (BBG)
  • Developers Turn Former Office Buildings Into High-End Apartments (WSJ)
  • Thai court orders Yingluck Shinawatra to step down as PM (Guardian)
  • German industry orders fell 2.8% in March, the biggest drop in one and a half years (RTE)
  • Ukraine Bulls Scatter as Death Toll Mounts (BBG)
  • China Property Slump Adds Danger to Local Finances (BBG)
  • Stein Says Fed May See Bouts of Volatility as It Approaches Exit (BBG)
  • Junk-Bond Traders Pile Onto Hedges Amid Fed After Rally (BBG)
  • Pimco’s bad bets on emerging markets add to firm’s troubles (Reuters)
  • Alibaba Partners Keep Control After Shunning Hong Kong for U.S. (BBG)
  • Fat-Destroying Machine Doubted by Stock Traders (BBG)
  • Encana to Buy Eagle Ford Shale From Freeport-McMoRan for $3.1 Billion (WSJ)

Overnight Media Digest


* U.S. regulators have expanded their investigation into large banks’ hiring practices in Asia, seeking more information from at least five U.S. and European firms. The SEC in early March sent letters to a group of companies including Credit Suisse Group AG, Goldman Sachs Group Inc, Morgan Stanley, Citigroup Inc and UBS seeking more information about their hiring in Asia. (

* Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba <IPO-ALIB.N> filed plans to offer its shares in the United States, valuing itself at more than $100 billion, and confirming its size and scale ahead of what is expected to be one of the largest stock listings in history. (

* Twitter Inc’s early investors and employees got their first big chance to sell their stock on Tuesday since the social-media company went public in November. And they took it. A surge in selling pummeled the stock, sending it down 18 percent and wiping out $4 billion of market value. (

* Target Corp isn’t the only U.S. retailer looking for a new boss – and new ideas. Department store chain J.C. Penney Co, teen retailer American Eagle Outfitters Inc and a handful of others are also on the hunt for chief executives. The turnover at the top – and in some cases the extended searches for replacements – are further evidence of the pressure on an industry where once successful models are out of step with Americans’ new shopping habits. (

* Merck & Co is getting out of the business of making Claritin allergy medicines and Coppertone sunscreens, selling off its over-the-counter business to Bayer AG for $14.2 billion. The deal is the latest in a wave of mergers and acquisitions that is reshaping the global pharmaceutical industry. (

* New York’s spring auctions got off to a trotting, if not sprint-speed, start Tuesday as Christie’s sold $285.9 million worth of Impressionist and modern art. (


Chinese internet giant Alibaba (IPO-ALIB.N) filed documents for what could be one of the largest U.S. initial public offerings on record, pitching itself as a way to invest in the rapid growth of ecommerce in China and beyond.

Almost two-thirds of voters, including half of Tory supporters, want the next government in the United Kingdom to be tougher with big business, amid widespread concern over high executive pay and ethics, according to a Financial Times opinion poll.

Shares of social media website Twitter tumbled nearly 18 per cent on Tuesday after the end of restrictions on insider sales following its IPO last November.

Swedish Finance Minister Anders Borg told the Financial Times that he viewed Pfizer’s pledge to keep AstraZeneca jobs in Britain and Sweden with scepticism after a similar deal in 2002 when Pfizer took over Swedish company Pharmacia.

Surging equity markets made 2013 one of the highest earning years since the financial crisis as the world’s 25 best-paid hedge fund managers took home a combined $21.1bn, 50 per cent more than in 2012.


* Chinese e-commerce behemoth Alibaba Group (IPO-ALIB.N) filed paperwork on Tuesday in the United States to sell stock to the public for the first time. The company is expected to raise $15 billion to $20 billion, which would make it the biggest American IPO since Facebook Inc’s $16 billion offering in May 2012. (

* Yahoo Inc most likely will receive $10 billion to $15 billion for the 9 percent stake that it is required to sell in Alibaba Group. The Chinese e-commerce company’s IPO will bring an end to the long honeymoon of Yahoo’s chief executive, Marissa Mayer. She will have to prove to Wall Street that she has a viable plan to save Yahoo and will use the Alibaba windfall wisely. (

* German drug-maker Bayer AG said it has agreed to acquire Merck & Co Inc’s consumer care business for $14.2 billion, a deal that will make Bayer one of the largest providers of over-the-counter products. Bayer gains control of several well-known brand names, including Claritin, Coppertone and Dr. Scholl’s. (

* Walt Disney Co reported net income for its second quarter of $1.92 billion, or $1.08 per share, an increase of 27 percent. No single business or entertainment offering was responsible for Disney’s overall spike in profit, although the runaway success of “Frozen” may have been the largest contributor. (

* The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority has fined Morgan Stanley $5 million, saying that the firm did not follow proper procedures in the initial public offerings for 83 companies including Facebook Inc and Yelp Inc. (

* Two senior partners in Apollo Global Management’s private equity division, Stan Parker and Jordan Zaken, plan to leave the firm. They would be following Ali Rashid, another senior partner who quietly left this year. The departures of these three partners underscore the growing pains that Apollo is facing as it adjusts to life as a publicly traded company. (

* The new Fiat-Chrysler Automobiles laid out an ambitious business plan on Tuesday that relies heavily on growing sales of its Jeep sport utility vehicles. Mike Manley, chief of the Jeep division, said Fiat Chrysler expects to sell one million Jeeps this year – a significant increase from the 800,000 the company had projected. (

* Shares of Twitter Inc went into free fall on Tuesday as early investors became eligible to sell their shares on the market for the first time. The company’s shares dropped 17.8 percent, to close at $31.85, their lowest level since the company’s initial public offering in November. (

* General Electric Co’s $13.5 billion bid for the power generation and transmission units of the French company Alstom poses a grave challenge for Siemens AG. While the French government last week indicated that it preferred the Siemens bid, President François Hollande now seems mainly trying to induce a better offer from G.E. (

* General Motors Co is recalling about 56,000 Saturn Aura sedans from the 2007-8 model years because a transmission shifter cable could break, which would keep the driver from being able to shift the transmission into park. The company said it was aware of 28 crashes and four injuries related to the defect over the last seven years. (

* The United States trade deficit narrowed in March to $40.4 billion, down 3.6 percent from a revised February imbalance of $41.9 billion, the Commerce Department reported on Tuesday. The February trade gap was the biggest in five months. Exports rebounded to the second-highest level on record, led by strong gains in sales of aircraft, autos and farm goods. (

* AstraZeneca PLC, the British drug maker, on Tuesday made an impassioned defense for itself as a stand-alone company, just a day after the American pharmaceutical giant Pfizer Inc again pressed its case for a $106 billion takeover offer. AstraZeneca’s Chief Executive Pascal Soriot called his company’s pipeline of drugs in development one of the best in the industry and said the talent it had acquired and the restructuring it had undergone in the last 18 months made a strong case for remaining on its own. (

* Office Depot Inc said it would close at least 400 stores because its merger with OfficeMax Inc resulted in overlapping locations. The company had about 1,900 stores in the United States at the end of the first quarter. (

* Whole Foods Market Inc cut its profit outlook for the third time in recent months on Tuesday, signaling the intensifying competition the grocery chain is facing in the market for organic and natural foods. Whole Foods now expects to earn $1.52 to $1.56 per share this year, down from its previous forecast of $1.58 to $1.65 per share. (



* Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper rejects the notion that he has shown disrespect to Supreme Court of Canada Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin, and refuses to withdraw, clarify or apologize for his assertion that she acted improperly. The Prime Minister’s Office said last week that Chief Justice McLachlin sought to involve him in an inappropriate conversation about a case that eventually came before the Supreme Court. (

Reports in the business section:

* Canadian sports channel TSN said on Tuesday that it was launching three new channels this fall, bringing its own suite of 24-hour sports properties to five. The move is a testament to a growing belief in the industry that, with an exploding array of TV options for viewers, large audiences can only be earned by live events such as professional sports. (


* As Europe reels from Moscow’s belligerence and utter dependence on its oil and gas supplies, the Stephen Harper government is positioning itself as a reliable partner ready to offer energy security to the continent. Canada’s Natural Resources minister Greg Rickford was out advertising the country’s formidable crude oil and natural gas resources to energy ministers of Germany, France, Italy, Japan, the UK and United States in Rome on Tuesday. (

* Canada’s prisons are so jam-packed with inmates that many are forced to “double-bunk” in shared cells. Moreover, although recent construction will resolve the over-crowding in the short term, Correctional Service Canada has failed to develop expansion plans to properly take into account the growing number of inmates, according to a report released on Tuesday by Auditor General Michael Ferguson. (


* Toronto is on the verge of becoming the second Canadian city where the average price of a detached home hits the $1 million mark. Results released by the Toronto Real Estate Board for April sales show increased pressure on the single family portion of the resale housing market, pushing prices in the old city of Toronto close to $1 million for a detached piece of property. (

* Veteran Canadian fashion retailer Boutique Jacob Inc is closing its doors after years of pressure from global fashion players. The Montreal-based company, which has 92 stores across Canada, will liquidate its inventory in the coming weeks after filing a notice of intention under the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act. (

Hong Kong

— A 49-year-old man in Sichuan died of H5N6 bird flu in the first known human infection of the strain in the world. (

— Reforming the board and clarifying the mission of the MTR Corporation will help the government reassert control over the rail company after a delay to the high-speed rail link exposed its weak oversight, transport and management experts say. (

— Disappointed by poor sales during the May Day holiday, mainland developers are expected to deepen their price cuts in a bid to reverse market sentiment as there is no sign of any relaxation in China mortgage policies. (


— Tencent has attracted 80 billion yuan ($12.85 billion) for its wealth management product Licaitong in less than four months since its launch, taking its daily inflow to 727 million yuan. This lags behind rival Alibaba’s Yuebao platform, which had pulled in an accumulated 541.3 billion yuan by March 31. (


— A corruption case involving senior management of Sun Hung Kai Properties and a former top Hong Kong government official is set to go to trial in High Court on Thursday. The trial is expected to run for 70 days.


— Guotai Junan Securities Co Ltd, the parent of Hong Kong-listed Guotai Junan International Holdings Ltd, is planning a listing in China’s A share market, raising about 20 billion yuan ($3.21 billion), according to market estimates.


The Telegraph


Carphone Warehouse and Dixons Retail are on the cusp of agreeing a near 4 billion pound merger to create a powerful UK retailer with 1,300 stores. (


British regulators could be forced to hand over decision-making powers on fining and banning banks, brokers and asset managers to an independent body amid criticism of the way the authorities currently handle the penalty process.(

The Guardian


AstraZeneca has hit back following an unwanted 63 billion pound takeover approach from Pfizer by setting out a new growth plan that targets a 75 percent rise in annual revenue by 2023. (


George Osborne is under further pressure to scale back the Treasury’s Help to Buy mortgage scheme after calls from a leading thinktank for a clampdown on easy credit to bring “excessive” house prices under control. (

The Times


Chinese internet giant Alibaba <IPO-ALIB.N> is set to float in what is expected to be one of the largest technology debuts in American stock market history. (


Royal Mail is running the risk of alienating its chairman after it headed off a potential clash with the government by ruling out a pay rise for its chief executive, Moya Greene. (

The Independent


Barclays chief executive Antony Jenkins is set to announce sweeping changes after profits at its investment bank division halved. (


Tesco is seeking to replicate the success of its budget tablet, Hudl, by launching its own Android smartphone before the end of the year. (

Fly On The Wall 7:00 AM morning summary


Domestic economic reports scheduled today include:
Nonfarm productivity for Q1 at 8:30–consensus down 1.2%
Consumer credit for March at 15:00–consensus $15.5B



ARRIS (ARRS) upgraded to Strong Buy from Outperform at Raymond James
AbbVie (ABBV) upgraded to Overweight from Equal Weight at Morgan Stanley
Advanced Energy (AEIS) upgraded to Strong Buy from Outperform at Raymond James
Celluar Dynamics (ICEL) upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform at Leerink
Chipotle (CMG) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Longbow
Eagle Bancorp (EGBN) upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform at Keefe Bruyette
Electronic Arts (EA) upgraded to Outperform from Neutral at RW Baird
FirstEnergy (FE) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Jefferies
Forest Oil (FST) upgraded to Equal Weight from Underweight at Morgan Stanley
Hecla Mining (HL) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Roth Capital
Hilton (HLT) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at MKM Partners
Hilton (HLT) upgraded to Overweight from Equal Weight at Morgan Stanley
Infinity Pharmaceuticals (INFI) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Jefferies
J.C. Penney (JCP) upgraded to Neutral from Sell at UBS
Legacy Reserves (LGCY) upgraded to Outperform from Neutral at RW Baird
Office Depot (ODP) upgraded to Outperform from Neutral at Credit Suisse
Office Depot (ODP) upgraded to Outperform from Neutral at Credit Suisse
Planar Systems (PLNR) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at B. Riley
TripAdvisor (TRIP) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Cantor


Aegerion (AEGR) downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at Cowen
eBay (EBAY) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at SunTrust
Essential Energy (EEYUF) downgraded to Hold from Buy at Canaccord
GNC Holdings (GNC) downgraded to Hold from Buy at Deutsche Bank
GNC Holdings (GNC) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Longbow
Infosys (INFY) downgraded to Sell from Neutral at UBS
Marriott (MAR) downgraded to Equal Weight from Overweight at Morgan Stanley
Primerica (PRI) downgraded to Outperform from Strong Buy at Raymond James
ReachLocal (RLOC) downgraded to Equal Weight from Overweight at First Analysis
Veresen (FCGYF) downgraded to Hold from Buy at Canaccord
Whole Foods (WFM) downgraded to Hold from Buy at Deutsche Bank
Whole Foods (WFM) downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at BMO Capital
Whole Foods (WFM) downgraded to Neutral from Overweight at Piper Jaffray
Whole Foods (WFM) downgraded to Sell from Hold at Cantor
Zoetis (ZTS) downgraded to Underweight from Equal Weight at Morgan Stanley


Bluerock Residential (BRG) initiated with a Buy at Wunderlich
CBS Outdoor Americas (CBSO) initiated with a Buy at Citigroup
CBS Outdoor Americas (CBSO) initiated with a Buy at Goldman
CBS Outdoor Americas (CBSO) initiated with a Neutral at BofA/Merrill
CBS Outdoor Americas (CBSO) initiated with an Equal Weight at Evercore
CBS Outdoor Americas (CBSO) initiated with an Outperform at Wells Fargo
CBS Outdoor Americas (CBSO) initiated with an Overweight at JPMorgan
CBS Outdoor Americas (CBSO) initiated with an Overweight at JPMorgan
CBS Outdoor Americas (CBSO) initiated with an Overweight at Morgan Stanley
Dover (DOV) initiated with a Market Perform at Bernstein


Chinese internet giant Alibaba formally filed with the SEC for an IPO for up to $1B worth of stock
Freeport McMoRan (FCX) will sell Eagle Ford interests for $3.1B to Encana (ECA) subsidiary
Disney (DIS) reported earnings and revenue that topped expectations, including revenues at its studio entertainment segment that grew 35% to $1.8B
FireEye reported a mixed quarter and gave Q2, FY profit outlooks that disappointed. The company also announced the acquisition of nPulse


Repsol (REPYY) sold an 11.86% YPF (YPF) stake to Morgan Stanley (MS)
Caesar’s (CZR) announced plans to list stock for its Caesars Entertainment Operating subsidiary
Electronic Arts (EA) reported profit and sales that widely beat expectations and announced a new $750M stock repurchase program
Siemens (SI) said it would acquire the Rolls-Royce Energy (RYCEY) aero-derivative gas turbine and compressor business for EUR 950M


Companies that beat consensus earnings expectations last night and today include:

Strayer (STRA), Spectra Energy (SE), Talisman Energy (TLM), Hawaiian Electric (HE), Cognizant (CTSH), Vitamin Shoppe (VSI), Voya Financial (VOYA), Humana (HUM), Gran Tierra (GTE), Lumos Networks (LMOS), Agrium (AGU), Era Group (ERA), Liberty Global (LBTYA), Energy Transfer Partners (ETP), American Financial Group (AFG), Midstates Petroleum (MPO), WPX Energy (WPX), Radian Group (RDN), Galena (GALE), Cimarex Energy (XEC), Sapient (SAPE), National Interstate (NATL), ReachLocal (RLOC), Sunoco Logistics (SXL), Marathon Oil (MRO), Aegerion (AEGR), ICU Medical (ICUI), Microchip Technology (MCHP), Myriad Genetics (MYGN), Potbelly (PBPB), RealPage (RP), Limelight Networks (LLNW), Jive Software (JIVE), Move, Inc. (MOVE), Enphase Energy (ENPH), Silver Spring Network (SSNI), GSI Group (GSIG), ONEOK Partners (OKS), Western Gas Partners (WES), Sparton (SPA), GenMark (GNMK), First Marblehead (FMD), Pioneer Natural (PXD), Cytokinetics (CYTK), Live Nation (LYV), Tornier (TRNX), Tremor Video (TRMR), Thoratec (THOR), ZAGG (ZAGG), U.S. Auto Parts (PRTS), Groupon (GRPN), First Solar (FSLR), ARRIS (ARRS), Activision Blizzard (ATVI), Allstate (ALL), Electronic Arts (EA), Fiesta Restaurant (FRGI), Viasystems (VIAS)

Companies that missed consensus earnings expectations include:

Hydrogenics (HYGS), Dawson Geophysical (DWSN), NTELOS (NTLS), Susser Holdings (SUSS), Susser Petroleum Partners (SUSP), Lamar Advertising (LAMR), Achillion (ACHN), USA Compression (USAC), Memorial Production (MEMP), AB InBev (BUD), Endeavour (END), Truett-Hurst (THST), Renewable Energy (REGI), Summit Midstream (SMLP), Air Transport Services (atsg), Nevsun Resources (NSU), Regency Energy Partners (RGP), Energy Transfer Equity (ETE), Papa John’s (PZZA), Southwest Gas (SWX), North American Energy (NOA), Masonite (DOOR), Blueknight Energy Partners (BKEP), American States Water (AWR), Prospect Capital (PSEC), Forestar Group (FOR), Bacterin (BONE), Renewable Energy (REGI), Powell (POWL), Bio-Rad (BIO), Intermolecular (IMI), Oclaro (OCLR), zulily (ZU), Trimble Navigation (TRMB), GNC Holdings (GNC), Aviat Networks (AVNW), QuinStreet (QNST), eGain (EGAN), ExamWorks (EXAM), Cyan (CYNI), MacroGenics (MGNX), Genomic Health (GHDX), Legacy Reserves (LGCY), Frontier Communications (FTR), Cedar Realty Trust (CDR), Endurance (EIGI), Axcelis (ACLS), TripAdvisor (TRIP), Matson (MATX), Evolving Systems (EVOL), ACADIA (ACAD), Whole Foods (WFM), Datalink (DTLK), Vitesse (VTSS), Infinity Pharmaceuticals (INFI)

Companies that matched consensus earnings expectations include:

Mazor Robotics (MZOR), Rockwood (ROC), Alamo Group (ALG), DCP Midstream (DPM), FMC Corporation (FMC), QIAGEN (QGEN), Wesco Aircraft (WAIR), Spansion (CODE), Extreme Networks (EXTR), ARC Document Solutions (ARC), FireEye (FEYE), Avanir (AVNR), Conversant (CNVR), Guidance Software (GUID)


Alstom (ALSMY) interested in taking over GE’s railway signaling unit, WSJ reports
Target (TGT) seeks to find new CEO from outside firm, Bloomberg reports
Fiat (FIATY) Chairman says CEO Marchionne ‘staying with us,’ Detroit News reports
U.S. regulators widen probe into banks’ (CS, GS, MS, C, UBS, JPM) hiring practices in Asia, WSJ reports
HP (HPQ) plans to invest over $1B to develop, offer cloud computing, Reuters says
HCA Holdings (HCA) in lead for Healthscope (CG) with A$5B bid, Australian reports
JetBlue (JBLU) CEO considers leaving when contract expires in 2015, Bloomberg says


Alibaba registers for $1B IPO
GasLog Partners (GLOP) 8.4M share IPO priced at $21.00
Martin Midstream Partners (MMLP) 3.6M share Secondary priced at $41.51
Radian Group (RDN) files to sell 15.5M shares of common stock
Sabra Health Care (SBRA) files to sell 7M shares of common stock / link to original article

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