ZeroHedge – Frontrunning – 21 July 2014

  • ZeroHedgeFighting erupts in Ukraine as crash investigators arrive (Reuters)
  • Russian Billionaires in ‘Horror’ as Putin Risks Isolation (BBG)
  • Israel kills militants entering from Gaza, death toll tops 500 (Reuters)
  • The other Gaza: In violent weekend, at least 40 people shot in Chicago (Reuters)
  • Barclays Dark Pool Drew Early Alarms (WSJ)
  • Finance Industry Bonus Hit in Poll as Revenue Disappoints (BBG)
  • Severstal to Sell North American Units (WSJ)
  • Yum, McDonald’s apologize as new China food scandal brews (Reuters)
  • Yellen Wage Gauges Blurred by Boomer-Millennial Workforce Shift (BBG)
  • Ukraine Offers to Hand Over Malaysia Airlines Probe to Dutch (WSJ)
  • House Republicans Take Aim at Dodd-Frank (WSJ)
  • A Fox-Time Warner deal would give Murdoch new heft in China (Reuters)
  • GM Tells NHTSA Problems With Midsize Car-Ignition Switches Surfaced in 2003 (WSJ)
  • Kerry to visit Egypt for meetings on Gaza situation (Reuters)

Overnight Media Digest


* House Financial Services Committee Republicans are mounting fresh criticism of the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial law in a report to be released Monday, contending that it failed to end the prospect of future government bailouts for large, complex financial firms and exacerbated the belief that some of the firms are “too big to fail.” (

* Trading firms and employees raised concerns about high-speed traders at Barclays Plc’s dark pool months before the New York attorney general alleged in June that the firm lied to clients about the extent of predatory trading activity on the electronic trading venue, according to people familiar with the firms. (

* Elliott Management Corp has taken a stake of more than $1 billion in EMC Corp and plans to push the data-storage giant to break itself apart, according to people familiar with the matter. Elliott will seek to convince EMC that the company’s lagging stock would receive a substantial boost if it were to spin off VMware Inc a pioneer in computer-server software, these people said. (

* One of Allergan Inc’s top shareholders has sold nearly all of its holdings in the stock, leaving the Botox maker without the support of a large and long-term investor as it tries to stave off a $53 billion hostile takeover by Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc and activist William Ackman. (

* General Motors Co changed the design of ignition switches in certain midsize cars in 2003 and 2004 after discovering that the force of a swinging, heavy key chain could turn the vehicles off, but company officials didn’t treat the problem as a safety issue and order a recall of the vehicles until June 2014, according to a document filed with federal regulators on Friday. (

* Holcim Ltd and Lafarge SA have begun formally notifying regulators how the cement giants will tackle antitrust concerns, Holcim Chief Executive Bernard Fontana said, as the companies move to create a $50 billion building-materials powerhouse. (

* DeVry Education Group Inc said the New York state attorney general’s office is investigating whether the for-profit education company’s marketing violates laws against false advertising. (

* Verizon Communications Inc’s FiOS TV and broadband service, grappling with slowing growth, is making a big push in an area where it has an edge over cable — internet speeds. On Monday, FiOS will unveil much faster upload internet speeds for its customers, boosting the available bandwidth customers can use when uploading videos or pictures to the Web. (



British Bankers’ Association report shows the number of British officials working in the European Union is sharply declining as they approach retirement, with no replacement in place.

Dividend payouts fall to their lowest levels in three year in the second quarter as a strengthening pound continues to hurt company profits.

A report to be published Monday by consultancy firm Mercer shows that more than 50 percent of banks in Europe intend to use cash allowances as compensation to bypass a cap on bonuses for higher-paid employees.

General Motors told the Financial Times that the manufacturer is planning a compact SUV to be introduced to the European market as part of a move toward the entry level segment in the continent.

Russian steelmaker Severstal will sell its North American assets for $2.3 billion to U.S.-based Steel Dynamics and AK Steel in its attempt to cut costs.



* An intricate web of shell companies disclosed in filings by Alibaba <IPO-BABA.N> connects the company to the sons and grandsons of the most powerful men in China. (

* Bradford Smith, general counsel at Microsoft, uses the skills he learned as a Washington lawyer to advocate change in government policies that affect Microsoft and the industry. (

* Millions of Americans are receiving auto loans they cannot possibly afford, in a lending climate marked by some of the same lack of caution seen in the housing industry before its 2008 implosion. (

* Bulgarian bank Corporate Commercial Bank will remain closed as officials continue to debate whether the state should bail it out or find private investors to rescue it. (

* Whirlpool is threatening to pull out of the troubled Energy Star labeling program unless Congress bans class-action lawsuits. (

* Hasbro Inc, along with other brands and big retailers, are starting to sell technology and using it to lure shoppers, while manufacturers see opportunity in mass customization. (




* Just past 100 days into a fresh mandate, the Quebec government is making few new friends after adopting a budget and ongoing spending and taxation reviews that promise austerity for the first half of Premier Philippe Couillard’s mandate. (

* A widely respected law professor originally from Toronto has been gunned down in his Florida home, but police are saying little about the circumstances of his death other than to confirm it is being investigated as a homicide. (

Reports in the business section:

* Natural gas prices are lagging the lofty predictions of just a few months ago, skidding on cool summer weather and heaping pressure on the shares of energy producers that had been on a roll. Prices for the fuel, which surged during this year’s frigid winter, are sharply lower in Canada and the United States than even month-ago levels following a string of large weekly storage injections. (


* Air Canada says a flight from Edmonton landed safely in Toronto on Sunday morning after declaring an emergency. Spokeswoman Isabelle Arthur said in an email the emergency was declared after a flight control indication light came on. (

* The family of a Canadian teacher detained in an Indonesian jail on allegations of child sexual assault has been trying to enlist Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird to help win his release. Bantleman’s brother Guy, speaking from his family’s home base in Burlington, Ontario, is heading efforts in Canada to raise awareness about the case, he said, adding that he has been in touch with Baird’s office. (


* Buried in the fine print of the recent Ontario budget is a measure that promises to saddle affluent families with an ever-growing tax burden. While the budget delivered hefty immediate tax increases for taxpayers in Ontario’s two new top tax brackets, the real damage over the coming years will be courtesy of the fact that these tax brackets will not be indexed for inflation. (

* A corruption probe in China is reaching deeper into PetroChina’s operations in Canada’s oil industry, with four high-ranking company officials involved in oil sands deals now believed to be under investigation. (


Hong Kong


— Beijing’s confidence in Hong Kong as a financial centre could be shattered if the Occupy Central protests spiral out of control, the former head of the Hong Kong Monetary Authority warned. Joseph Yam Chi-kwong said it was “natural” for Beijing to work on a “Plan B”, such as bolstering its drive to make Shanghai a financial hub. (

— The Hong Kong government will commission a study and consult the biodiesel industry about widening the use of the clean fuel. The study would look at the cost and benefits of using biodiesel and whether and how to ensure it came from sustainable sources, said the undersecretary for the environment, Christine Loh Kung-wai. (

— Hong Kong Financial Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah has warned prospective homebuyers to be aware of the market risks amid signs the lower end of the housing market is picking up. Tsang said there were indications the market was “heating up”, especially for low-cost homes of those in the region of HK$4 million ($516,100). (


— An anti-Occupy Central signature campaign in Hong Kong has collected around 380,000 names since it kicked off on Saturday. The spokesman for the pro-Beijing Alliance for Peace and Democracy said those who signed up included children, secondary school and university students, elderly, office staff, celebrities and maids. (

— Apparel supplier Fast Retailing said it opened 32 Uniqlo stores in China during the first half, rapidly expanding its brand in the mainland. Uniqlo accelerated the pace of new store openings outside of Japan to boost its visibility. (

— Potential buyers have warmly welcomed Cheung Kong residential project Mont Vert despite being denied access to the exact unit they want to purchase. Cheung Kong priced another 117 units at the Tai Po project, taking total flats available for sale to 377. (


— Nine Dragons Paper Holdings Ltd Executive Chairwoman Cheung Yan said the paper products maker is studying to move back a 500,000-tonnes production capacity expansion plan to China following unrest in Vietnam, and its goal of having 14 million tonnes of production capacity by 2016 will be delayed.


The Times



BSkyB is pushing ahead with plans to create a European pay TV giant by buying Twenty-First Century Fox Inc’s satellite broadcasting assets in Germany and Italy.



Bankers and brokers accused of wrongdoing face investigations going back far longer as regulators are granted double the amount of time they previously had to look at allegations of market abuse and financial misbehaviour.

The Guardian



The Co-Operative Group Ltd Chairman Len Wardle, who resigned over the Paul Flowers scandal, has broken his silence to urge members of the supermarkets-to-funeral homes group to reject the plans for corporate governance reforms.



Royal Mail Plc will this week face a stormy shareholder protest when the company holds its first annual meeting since its controversial privatisation.

The Telegraph



The Serious Fraud Office is poised to launch the first criminal investigation into alleged rigging of the 3 trillion pound-a-day foreign exchange markets at leading City banks.



Fraspens will on Monday announce its intention to float on Aim and is seeking to raise about 4 million pound, giving it a market value of approximately 40 million pound.

Sky News



TSB Banking Group, the UK’s seventh-biggest lender, is plotting an audacious takeover bid for a 1.5 billion pound taxpayer-owned mortgage portfolio just weeks after floating on the London Stock Exchange.



One of the City’s top financiers Ian Hannam, a banker who became known as the “king of mining M&A” after engineering some of the world’s biggest natural resources mergers, is to accept the watchdog’s original verdict after losing an appeal in May.



Fly On The Wall Pre-Market Buzz

No major domestic economic reports scheduled for today.



ASML (ASML) upgraded to Outperform from Sector Perform at Pacific Crest
Apple (AAPL) upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform at JMP Securities
Baker Hughes (BHI) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Guggenheim
Fifth Third Bancorp (FITB) upgraded to Outperform from Neutral at RW Baird
M&T Bank (MTB) upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform at Keefe Bruyette
Qlik Technologies (QLIK) upgraded to Overweight from Equal Weight at Barclays
Seaspan (SSW) upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform at Wells Fargo
TAL International (TAL) upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform at Wells Fargo


AU Optronics (AUO) downgraded to Sell from Neutral at UBS
America Movil (AMX) downgraded to Underweight from Equal Weight at Morgan Stanley
DaVita (DVA) downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at Raymond James
Glimcher Realty Trust (GRT) downgraded to Market Perform at Raymond James
International Game (IGT) downgraded to Hold from Buy at Stifel
Materion (MTRN) downgraded to Hold from Buy at KeyBanc


Adeptus Health (ADPT) initiated with a Buy at Goldman
Adeptus Health (ADPT) initiated with a Hold at Deutsche Bank
Adeptus Health (ADPT) initiated with an Overweight at Piper Jaffray
Amphastar (AMPH) initiated with a Buy at Jefferies
Amphastar (AMPH) initiated with an Outperform at BMO Capital
Amphastar (AMPH) initiated with an Overweight at Piper Jaffray
GoPro (GPRO) initiated with a Hold at Stifel
GoPro (GPRO) initiated with a Neutral at Citigroup
GoPro (GPRO) initiated with a Neutral at RW Baird
GoPro (GPRO) initiated with an Equal Weight at Barclays
GoPro (GPRO) initiated with an Overweight at JPMorgan
GoPro (GPRO) initiated with an Overweight at Piper Jaffray
Imprivata (IMPR) initiated with an Outperform at William Blair
Imprivata (IMPR) initiated with an Overweight at JPMorgan
Imprivata (IMPR) initiated with an Overweight at Piper Jaffray
Materialise (MTLS) initiated with an Overweight at Piper Jaffray
Signature Group (SGGH) initiated with a Buy at B. Riley
TCP International (TCPI) initiated with a Buy at Deutsche Bank
TCP International (TCPI) initiated with an Overweight at Piper Jaffray
Xunlei (XNET) initiated with a Perform at Oppenheimer


Steel Dynamics (STLD) to acquire Severstal Columbus for $1.63B
AK Steel (AKS) to acquire Severstal Dearborn for $700M cash
Tesco (TSCDY) named Unilever’s (UN, UL) Dave Lewis as CEO, effective October 1
Gas Natural (EGAS) rejects latest $13 unsolicited takeover offer by Algonquin Power
The U.S. Department of Education said it took additional steps to ensure Corinthian Colleges’ (COCO) students and the American taxpayer are protected by announcing that Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom & Affiliates, under the leadership of former U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, has been selected to take on the role of monitoring various aspects of the career college company
Standard General working with American Apparel (APP) to restructure loan


Companies that beat consensus earnings expectations last night and today include:
Sierra Bancorp (BSRR), Badger Meter (BMI)

Companies that missed consensus earnings expectations include:

Companies that matched consensus earnings expectations include:
Hasbro (HAS)


R.J. Reynolds (RAI) hit with $23.6B in damages in lung cancer case, WSJ reports
Elliott Management to push EMC (EMC) to break up, sell VMware (VMW) stake, WSJ reports
McDonald’s (MCD), KFC (YUM) face expired food scandal in China, AP reports
Anglo American (AAUKY) plans to sell South African platinum mines, Sunday Times says
Capital Research sells nearly all its Allergan (AGN) stake, WSJ reports
Mondelez (MDLZ), D.E Master Blenders consider brand sales as coffee pact looms, Reuters says
Roche (RHHBY) not looking for big acquisitions, Reuters reports
GM (GM) issues stop-sale on certain 2014 Cadillac CTS sedans, Bloomberg reports
Juniper (JNPR) shares could rise over 30%, Barron’s says
AbbVie (ABBV) purchase of Shire (SHPG) worth the premium, Barron’s reports
Caterpillar (CAT), Teradata (TDC), Kennametal (KMT), Capital One Financial (COF), T. Rowe Price Group (TROW), and Chesapeake Energy (CHK) should benefit from global recovery, Barron’s says
Halliburton (HAL) shares could rise 20%, Barron’s says
Syntel’s (SYNT) current price could be entry opportunity, Barron’s says
TSMC (TSM) could drop over 10%, Barron’s says


Compressco (GSJK) files to sell 15.3M common units
Diamondback Energy (FANG) files to sell 5M shares of common stock
Global Ship Lease (GSL) files to sell 10.74M shares of common stock for holders
Intercloud Systems (ICLD) files to sell 1.425M shares of common stock
United Natural Foods (UNFI) files to sell 111,887 shares for holders
Vulcan Materials (VMC) files to sell 689,592 shares for holders / link to original article

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