- Ukraine Rebels Outfox Army to Dent Poroshenko Troop Goal (BBG)
- Russia Withdraws Most of Forces From Ukraine Border: U.S. (BBG)
- Super-Size Me! China’s ’Mini’ Stimulus Starts Expanding (BBG)
- Option B: The blueprint for Thailand’s coup (Reuters)
- Big investors replace banks in $4.2tn repo market (FT)
- Draghi Shields Catalan Independence Bid From Market (BBG)
- U.S. companies seek cyber experts for top jobs, board seats (Reuters)
- Parsley CEO Emerges as One of Youngest U.S. Billionaires (BBG)
- SpaceX unveils sleek spaceship to fly U.S. astronauts (Reuters)
- U.K. House Prices Rise as Consumer Optimism Improves (BBG)
- Aging Swiss Face Pension Funding Dilemma on Immigration (BBG)
- Siemens to Remove 11,600 Positions as Company Cuts Costs (BBG)
Overnight Media Digest
* Tyson Foods Inc unleashed a $6.1 billion bid for Hillshire Brands Co, the maker of Jimmy Dean sausage and Ball Park hot dogs, setting up a heavyweight battle with Brazilian rival JBS SA for one of the juiciest remaining assets in the meat industry. (http://r.reuters.com/vyc79v)
* Former Microsoft Corp chief Steve Ballmer is first in line to buy the L.A. Clippers with a $2 billion bid for the team, according to people familiar with the process, an offer that would triple the record for an NBA franchise. (http://r.reuters.com/xyc79v)
* KPMG LLP is going long on the market for hedge-fund services. The New York accounting firm on Thursday agreed to buy Rothstein Kass, a New Jersey firm that caters to hedge funds and other alternative investment firms. Buying Rothstein Kass would make KPMG the largest auditor of hedge funds based on client numbers. (http://r.reuters.com/bad79v)
* Ford Motor Co on Thursday added to the year’s massive surge in auto-safety recalls, calling back 1.38 million vehicles in North America for repairs, some of which it previously had ruled out requiring a change. (http://r.reuters.com/fad79v)
* Twitter Inc’s senior vice president of engineering, Christopher Fry, is stepping down effective Thursday. Fry will keep an advisory role at Twitter, the company said in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. No reason was given for the move. (http://r.reuters.com/gad79v)
* The U.S. has added about 650,000 factory jobs since their numbers rebounded after the recession, putting manufacturing workers at 12.1 million and reversing a long decline in such jobs. But uneven growth has created regional disparities in the nation’s overall economic recovery. (http://r.reuters.com/had79v)
Google bowed to European Court of Justice’s decision on the “right to be forgotten”, and said the ruling risked damaging the next generation of internet start-ups and empowered repressive governments looking to restrict online communication.
Britain’s Office for National Statistics report said that sales of illegal drugs and sexual services add around 10 billion pounds ($16.7 billion) to Britain’s economic activity each year, making up just under 1 percent of total economic output.
Mediobanca has appointed former Barclays Capital executive Francesco Canzonieri as the Italian investment bank looks to reposition itself in Europe.
John Mack, a former chief executive and chairman of Morgan Stanley, has decided to leave the board of Russia’s top oil producer, Rosneft, the Kremlin-controlled company said on Thursday.
The Italian government said it planned to seek 1.2 billion euros ($1.63 billion) in damages from two of the world’s biggest drug companies – Novartis AG and Roche Holdings – following a ruling by the country’s antitrust authority that their policies had been detrimental to Italy’s national health service.
* As one of the most moribund housing markets in Europe, Spain has become a magnet for global bargain hunters. Real estate prices are down as much as 50 percent from their peak during a housing bubble, and investors from Asia to the United States and Britain are flocking to Spain to try to catch the uptick. (http://r.reuters.com/zuc79v)
* A recent court ruling in Europe has accelerated requests that Internet search companies expunge individuals’ data. Once a contested item is online, however, the genie will not easily go back in the bottle. (http://r.reuters.com/cyc79v)
* Two health care advocacy groups filed a complaint against CoventryOne, Cigna Corp, Humana Inc and Preferred Medical Plan for what they said was discrimination against people with H.I.V. or AIDS by requiring them to pay high out-of-pocket costs for drugs to treat H.I.V., including generic medications, in Florida.(http://r.reuters.com/dyc79v)
* The United States economy contracted at an annual rate of 1 percent earlier this year, the first quarterly decline in three years. (http://r.reuters.com/kyc79v)
* Kevin Reilly is stepping down as head of entertainment programming at Fox network after three consecutive years of steep declines in ratings for “American Idol”, a show crucial to the network’s profits. (http://r.reuters.com/jyc79v)
* Some colleges are offering a real-world experience of philanthropy by requiring students to investigate nonprofit organizations and give them a portion of grant money. (http://r.reuters.com/myc79v)
THE GLOBE AND MAIL
* Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper told The Globe and Mail in an interview that family planning is an essential part of Canada’s efforts to improve maternal and child health, but abortion remains too divisive to be included in that package. (http://r.reuters.com/pef79v)
* Alberta’s Education Minister Jeff Johnson is looking to address “shortcomings” in the teacher disciplinary process after he overturned suspensions by the union and instead banned four teachers – including two in cases involving sexual misconduct – from ever working in the classroom again. (http://r.reuters.com/sef79v)
Reports in the business section:
* The Joslyn oil sands mine has been shelved indefinitely, a result of rising industry costs that made the C$11 billion project financially untenable. French energy powerhouse Total SA , along with its partners in the Joslyn north oil sands project, unanimously decided to put the project on hold because of rising cost pressures across the entire energy industry, said Andre Goffart, the head of Total’s Canadian division. (http://r.reuters.com/zef79v)
* The C$3.5 billion in new funding for child and maternal health promised by Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper Thursday will pay for several life-saving measures, including vaccines, training midwives, vitamin A supplements – and birth certificates. (http://r.reuters.com/duf79v)
* The Speaker of the House of Commons Andrew Scheer says neither he nor his office was consulted about whether the New Democratic Party could use taxpayer funds to pay staff to work in “satellite” offices outside Ottawa. (http://r.reuters.com/juf79v)
* Decision day is approaching for one of the most important moves of Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s political career – whether to approve the Northern Gateway pipeline – and there is no easy way forward. (http://r.reuters.com/quf79v)
* Despite years of public outrage over lavish executive compensation and regulatory measures to curb it, the pace of CEO pay continues to skyrocket to record highs, especially in the United States. In Canada, CEO pay is an equally a divisive issue although on paper the numbers seem less eye-popping. (http://r.reuters.com/suf79v)
CHINA SECURITIES JOURNAL
– State Grid Corp of China, the country’s largest power distributor, said it would allow non-state capital for the construction of power distribution network and charging infrastructure for electric cars, the third state-owned monopoly in the energy sector to introduce private capital following PetroChina Co Ltd and China Petroleum & Chemical Corp.
– The General Armament Department of the People’s Liberation Army said it supports the participation of private companies in research, production and maintenance of the army’s armament. It will provide preferential policies for private companies such as simplifying the censorship process and establishing online purchase platforms, sources told the paper.
– The Shanghai Stock Exchange has submitted a plan for launching non-ferrous metal futures options to the regulator and trading could start as early as this year, its Vice-President, Ye Chun, said at the Shanghai Derivatives Market Forum on Thursday.
– Party cadre in Xinjiang should focus their work on creating a strong identity of the motherland and Chinese culture to maintain long-term social stability in the province, the paper which acts as a party mouthpiece, said in an editorial.
DRUGS AND PROSTITUTION ADD 10 BLN STG A YEAR TO UK ECONOMY
Prostitution and illegal drugs are contributing around 10 billion pounds a year to the British economy, according to data by the Office for National Statistics.
RUDDERLESS CENTRICA NEEDS TO CHANGE TACK, LEADING ANALYST WARNS
A “rudderless” Centrica should overhaul its strategy and stop trying to be “a poor man’s BG Group”, a leading analyst warned on Thursday after the energy giant confirmed that British Gas boss Chris Weston had resigned.
BANK OF ENGLAND DIRECTOR DEFENDS QE AND LOW INTEREST RATES
Britain would be a significantly poorer country without deep cuts in interest rates and the Bank of England’s emergency injection of 375 billion pounds into the economy through its controversial quantitative easing programme, Andrew Haldane, Bank of England’s executive director for financial stability, has said.
FOOTBALL WORLD CUP TEAM WORKS ON KEEPING BRITAIN’S KETTLES BOILING
Managers at the National Grid are trying to assess what extra power might be needed to cope with a surge in electricity demand as kettles are brewed and lights turned on during England’s opening and late-night game against Italy.
BUSINESS LENDING SLUMPS DESPITE PRESSURE BY BANK
Corporate lending by Britain’s biggest banks collapsed this year, dealing a crushing blow to policymakers’ recent efforts to improve the supply of credit for businesses. Loans made through the Bank of England’s Funding for Lending Scheme fell by £2.7 billion in the three months to April.
TUNGSTEN FINALLY SEALS 30-MLN-STG BANK TAKEOVER
Edi Truell, the founder and chief executive of Tungsten Corp , announced he had at last succeeded in buying First International Bank of Israel, more than seven months after announcing plans for the deal.
EX-RBS CHIEF HOURICAN EYES LONDON BANK FLOAT
A London share listing for Bank of Cyprus is one of a range of options that will be considered by John Hourican, the former boss of Royal Bank of Scotland’s investment banking arm, who took over as its chief executive last October.
TESCO SIGNS DEAL FOR CHINA JOINT VENTURE
Britain’s biggest supermarket chain Tesco Plc has signed a partnership deal to form China’s biggest food retailer. The joint venture will see Tesco combine its 131 outlets with China Resources Enterprise’s Vanguard business that already has 2,986 stores
Fly On The Wall 7:00 AM Market Snapshot
Domestic economic reports scheduled today include:
Personal income for April at 8:30–consensus up 0.3% for the month
Personal spending for April at 8:30–consensus up 0.2% for the month
Chicago PMI for May at 9:45–consensus 61.0
University of Michigan consumer confidence for May at 9:55–consensus 82.5
AmSurg (AMSG) upgraded to Strong Buy from Market Perform at Raymond James
Avery Dennison (AVY) upgraded to Overweight from Neutral at JPMorgan
Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS) upgraded to Outperformer from Sector Performer at CIBC
Exelon (EXC) upgraded to Hold from Underperform at Jefferies
LifePoint Hospitals (LPNT) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Mizuho
Mattress Firm (MFRM) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Longbow
Telephone and Data (TDS) upgraded to Equal Weight from Underweight at Morgan Stanley
Alaska Air (ALK) downgraded to Hold from Buy at Stifel
Gruma (GMK) downgraded to Hold from Buy at Deutsche Bank
Infoblox (BLOX) downgraded to Hold from Buy at Deutsche Bank
Infoblox (BLOX) downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at William Blair
Infoblox (BLOX) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Goldman
Infoblox (BLOX) downgraded to Sector Perform from Outperform at Pacific Crest
OmniVision (OVTI) downgraded to Underperform from Market Perform at Raymond James
ReneSola (SOL) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Roth Capital
Royal Bank of Canada (RY) downgraded to Sector Performer from Outperformer at CIBC
Array BioPharma (ARRY) initiated with a Buy at Cantor
AtriCure (ATRC) initiated with a Buy at Stifel
BB&T (BBT) initiated with a Neutral at Sterne Agee
Comerica (CMA) initiated with a Buy at Sterne Agee
Eaton Vance (EV) initiated with an Equal Weight at Evercore
Fifth Third Bancorp (FITB) initiated with a Buy at Sterne Agee
KEYW (KEYW) initiated with a Buy at Drexel Hamilton
KeyCorp (KEY) initiated with a Neutral at Sterne Agee
M&T Bank (MTB) initiated with a Neutral at Sterne Agee
Matrix Service (MTRX) initiated with a Buy at Stifel
PNC Financial (PNC) initiated with a Buy at Sterne Agee
Preferred Apartment (APTS) initiated with a Buy at MLV & Co.
SunTrust (STI) initiated with a Buy at Sterne Agee
U.S. Bancorp (USB) initiated with a Neutral at Sterne Agee
ViaSat (VSAT) initiated with a Hold at Drexel Hamilton
Waddell & Reed (WDR) initiated with an Equal Weight at Evercore
Zions Bancorp (ZION) initiated with a Neutral at Sterne Agee
Microsoft (MSFT) and salesforce.com (CRM) announced a strategic partnership to create new solutions that connect salesforce.com’s customer relationship management apps and platform to Microsoft Office and Windows so customers can be more productive
Mosaic (MOS) said CEO Prokopanko to take anticipated medical leave, named CFO Stranghoener as interim CEO
OmniVision (OVTI) reported better than expected Q4 resulst and guided Q1 above expectations
Infoblox (BLOX) guided below analyst estimates for Q4 and announcedthat CEO Robert Thomas will step down
Retrophin (RTRX) announced a U.S. license agreement with Mission Pharmacal for Thiola and raised its FY14, FY15 revenue views
Express (EXPR) said it will close 50 stores over the next 36 months
Companies that beat consensus earnings expectations last night and today include:
Big Lots (BIG), OmniVision (OVTI), Avago (AVGO), Nimble Storage (NMBL), Guess (GES), Infoblox (BLOX), Lionsgate (LGF), Splunk (SPLK), Veeva (VEEV), Pacific Sunwear (PSUN)
Companies that missed consensus earnings expectations include:
QAD Inc reports Q1 EPS (1c), Annie’s (BNNY), Exa Corp. (EXA), Esterline (ESL), Express (EXPR)
Companies that matched consensus earnings expectations include:
Bona Film (BONA), Violin Memory (VMEM)
Microsoft (MSFT) could launch smartwatch as early as this summer, Forbes reports
Amazon Prime (AMZN) to launch music streaming service, Buzzfeed reports
DOJ seeks to fine BNP Paribas (BNPQY) over $10B for sanctions violations, WSJ says
Wells Fargo (WFC) settles securities lending suit by paying $62.5M, Reuters reports
Google (GOOG) to bow to EU’s privacy ruling, FT reports
Boeing (BA) expects defense sales to stay flat for next five years, WSJ reports
Netflix (NFLX) says ‘few people’ using Facebook (FB) auto-sharing feature, Re/code reports
Zoetis (ZTS) could climb 25%, Barron’s says
ARAMARK (ARMK) 20M share Secondary priced at $25.50
Caesarstone (CSTE) 5.5M share Secondary priced at $45.50
Cancer Genetics (CGIX) files $100M mixed securities shelf
Crossroads Systems (CRDS) files to sell 2.98M shares of common stock for holders
Glori Energy (GLRI) files to sell 27.24M shares of common stock for holders
Glu Mobile (GLUU) files to sell common stock
Hyatt Hotels (H) files to sell 15.14M shares of Class A common stock for holders
RSP Permian (RSPP) files to sell 8M shares of common stock for holders