It's Thanksgiving, which means that media commentator Mark Dice is back to his annual tradition of shaming the "Black Friday Zombie" shoppers lined up by the hundreds at Best Buy, Target, Walmart, and other Box Box retailers. In his characteristic style, he urges viewers to "have a look at these parasitic consumers who can't wait to buy more flatscreen televisions, tablets, and toasters, while they go deeper into credit card debt." As the video below shows, there was not even the faintest reaction to Dice's public shaming. To be sure, while most of the so-called "zombies" were docile, waiting patiently in line for deeply discounted items, we reported that violence had already broken out, when earlier today a man was shot and killed at a south Jersey mall. In Reno, Nevada, a Walmart customer was gunned down during a fight over a parking spot just after doors were opened Thursday night. And in Tennessee, a person also was shot Thursday at a Memphis mall while shoppers were taking part in early Black Friday sales. Less than lethal violence broke out In another video, this time from a Walmart in Bainbridge, Georgia The American Mirror showed shoppers fighting to grab every last towel from the display. Elsewhere, in a Houston Walmart shoppers tussled over a $99 12-Volt convertible car for children. Shoppers began grabbing the large boxes as quickly as they could, with one man digging for the bottom box and nearly losing his pants. He repeatedly threw elbows and slaps, and fought off another man trying to grab the box, before another tried to claim it, too. The following video taken shortly after midnight on Friday at the Modesto mall, shows punches being thrown after tempers flared. It was not immediately clear what prompted the fight. Welcome to the Modesto mall... pic.twitter.com/IWWfMJh5lj — Frankryan (@FrankryanM) November 25, 2016 It wasn't just the US: in South Africa, a fight broke over rolls of toilet paper for sale in Durban. What a [email protected] fight! @ewnreporter Chaos over toilet paper. CE #BlackFriday pic.twitter.com/7B1apKs9RO @G_Skev @AkiAnastasiou @PoppyIsMyName https://t.co/Fi9LgP3ili — Jay J Botes (@jayjbotes) November 25, 2016 Another fight broke out over deeply discounted electronics at a Walmart in Columbus, Mississippi: * * * Not enough? Here is an assorted compilation of Black Friday fights from both 2016 and previous years. We expect to add more clips to this list as the day goes on.
Президента Египта Абдулу Фаттаха ас-Сиси выставили на продажу на интернет-аукционе eBay. Лоты появились после того, как накануне египетский лидер публично заявил, что готов на решительные меры для преодоления национального долгового кризиса, вплоть до продажи самого себя. В качестве продавцов выступили сразу несколько человек под никами dr_motown, midoali110 и shoppers-drug-mart. Ставки по одному из лотов поднялись до 100 тысяч долларов, в то время как на ас-Сиси со стартовой ценой в 99 американских центов ставок пока нет.Стоит отметить, что в Египте весьма строго расценивают шутки над главой государства в интернете. В прошлом году египетский студент получил три года тюрьмы за "фотожабу" на ас-Сиси, опубликованную в Facebook, на которой президент страны был изображен с ушами Микки Мауса.Фото: Скриншот страницы на eBay
На интернет-аукционе eBay выставили на продажу Абдула Фаттаха ас-Сиси. Президента Египта продают сразу несколько человек. Лоты появились после того, как египетский лидер публично заявил 24 февраля, что готов на решительные меры для преодоления национального долгового кризиса, вплоть до продажи самого себя. В качестве продавцов выступают некие dr_motown, midoali110, shoppers-drug-mart. При этом ставки по одному из лотов поднялись до 100 тысяч долларов, а на ас-Сиси со стартовой ценой 99 американских центов ставок пока нет. Напомним, в Египте весьма строго расценивают шутки над главой государства в интернете. В декабре 2015 года египетский студент получил три года тюрьмы за «фотожабу» на президента – юноша выложил в Facebook фото Абдула Фаттаха ас-Сиси, которому пририсованы уши Микки Мауса.
August was a slow month for retailers as shoppers enjoyed summer weather and stayed away from the malls. The Thomson Reuters Same Store Sales Index showed a gain of 3.5%, above the earlier final estimate of 3.1%, but when the drugstore sector was excluded, Same Store Sales grew just 2.9%, missing the 3.2% final estimate. Overall, August 2013 compared well with August 2012, when SSS sales grew by just 1.1%. However, the ex-drug figure was considerably lower compared to last year’s gain of 6.5%. Slow back to school sales Retailers mounted a number of discount promotions to attract shoppers, but the back to school season got off to a slow start. Mall traffic improved during the Labor Day weekend, but with August ending on that weekend’s Saturday, most of the holiday sales will be reflected in September numbers. Some brands also had a difficult time matching last year’s numbers, with American Apparel’s healthy 3.0% gain comparing to a spectacular 14% increase a year ago. Still, the strongest result came from Walgreens, which received a boost from its pharmacy division. On the flip side, Gap registered a 2.0% SSS, weaker than its 2.2% estimate. Both its Banana Republic and Gap Global divisions were the strongest performers at 2.0% SSS. Meanwhile, its Old Navy Global segment missed its 1.3% SSS estimate, with a 1.0% result. These results are based on nine retailers; six retailers beat estimates; one met, while two missed. Those that missed (Gap and L Brands) are two of the heaviest-weighted retailers in the index. Sector Breakdown Among discount stores, actual SSS in August were up 3.9%, edging the 3.7% estimate. Costco came out on top with a 4.0% gain, beating an estimate of 3.8%. Fred’s matched its flat SSS estimate. In apparel, overall SSS were up 2.0%, slightly less than the 2.1% estimate. The Gap had a 2.0% SSS gain vs. a 2.2% estimate. Its Banana Republic Global was up 2.0%, beating -0.4% estimate; Old Navy Global eked out a 1.0% increase, missing the 1.3% estimate. Gap Global rose 2.0%, missing its 2.8% estimate. Among other apparel brands, Stein Mart performed well, with a 3.8% gain vs. 3.0% estimate. L Brands missed the 2.2% estimate, registering just a 2.0% rise. Bath & Body Works struggled to a 1.0% rise; Victoria’s Secret was up 3.0% and La Senza powered to an 8.0% gain. The teen apparel was relatively flat, with an actual gain of 1.8% improving over the 1.2% estimate. Zumiez was strongest at 3.0%, vs. the 2.5% estimate. The Buckle is the other teen retailer in the index and its SSS were up 1.0%, above the 0.4% estimate. The Buckle had a difficult comparison, as its year-ago SSS was 4.5%. The drugstore sector was fairly strong, with an actual gain of 4.8%, blowing past the 2.8% estimate. The strongest result in the index came from Walgreens, which received a boost from its pharmacy division. Receive stories like this to your inbox as they are published. Subscribe here and follow us @Alpha_Now on Twitter. If you are looking to access Thomson Reuters data or analytics, register for a free trial.
UN Insecptors to leave Syria early, by Saturday morning (Reuters) Yellen Plays Down Chances of Getting Fed Job (WSJ) JPMorgan Bribe Probe Said to Expand in Asia as Spreadsheet Is Found (BBG) No Section 8 for you: Wall Street’s Rental Bet Brings Quandary Housing Poor (BBG) Euro zone, IMF to press Greece for foreign agency to sell assets (Reuters) Brothels in Nevada Suffer as Web Disrupts Oldest Trade (BBG) U.S., U.K. Face Delays in Push to Strike Syria (WSJ); U.S., U.K. Pressure for Action on Syria Hits UN Hurdle (BBG) Renault Operating Chief Carlos Tavares Steps Down (WSJ) Vodafone in talks with Verizon to sell out of U.S. venture (Reuters) Dollar Seen Casting Off Euro Shackles as Fed Tapers (BBG) Libor Rate-Probe Spotlight Shines on Higher-Ups at Citigroup, Other Banks (WSJ) Thai Rubber Farmers Protest Over Prices (WSJ) BOJ policymaker warns emerging markets may see more outflows (Reuters) Overnight Media Digest WSJ * White House deliberations over a successor to Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke are entering their final stages, and the Fed's No. 2, Janet Yellen, is playing down her chances of getting the job. Yellen has indicated to some associates that she sees herself as the underdog and is uncomfortable with the contentious public spectacle that the succession has become. President Barack Obama is expected to announce his choice for the job sometime after Congress returns from recess on Sept. 9. * Federal regulators retreated from a proposal that would have toughened rules for the mortgage securities market, a defeat for advocates of tighter standards and a victory for the housing lobby. Six regulators on Wednesday issued new proposed rules that would require banks and other issuers of mortgage-backed securities to retain 5 percent of the credit risk of the bonds on their books, as mandated by the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial-overhaul law. * Ally Financial Inc plans to submit a revised capital plan to the Federal Reserve next week as the government-owned auto lender moves ahead with efforts to repay its crisis-era $17.2 billion bailout. * Wal-Mart is planning to respond to questions from investors over its sourcing practices in Bangladesh during a briefing on Thursday, indicating that its shareholders have some concerns about a series of deadly disasters at overseas garment factories that make clothes for Wal-Mart and other retailers. * Workers at a United States Steel Corp's mill in Canada are expected Friday to reject the company's latest offer on a new five-year contract, prolonging a five-month lockout that is weighing heavily on a firm trying to reverse its sagging fortunes. * Verizon and Vodafone have rekindled talks over a buyout of the U.K. company's stake in their U.S. wireless joint venture, a deal that would likely cost Verizon north of $100 billion. In a sign that the talks, which had cooled off in recent months, have reached a more serious level, one of the people said Verizon is in discussions with banks about the tens of billions of dollars in loans it would need to complete the deal. * Sales of BlackBerry's keyboard-equipped Q10 smartphone have been dismal, according to carrier executives and retailers in the United States and Canada. In another indication the new BlackBerry devices aren't selling well, used phone dealers aren't reporting the flood of old BlackBerrys that typically comes when updated devices are released. * Northrop Grumman agreed to buy the defense unit of Australian flag carrier Qantas Airways in a deal that highlights the drive for defense contractors to boost revenues at a time of declining military budgets. * The private company that conducted the last background check of former NSA contractor Edward Snowden blamed the federal government for not catching any problems with its 2011 investigation of the man who has said he leaked top-secret documents. * The industry group overseeing the Nasdaq data feed at the center of last week's three-hour trading outage plans to meet next week to dissect the breakdown and discuss ways to prevent another one, according to the group's head. FT Bank of England Governor Mark Carney's second attempt to convince investors that BoE will hold interest rates at record lows for possibly three more years did little to alter market expectations. G4S Plc, the world's largest security services firm, raised almost 350 million pounds through a share placing as its new chief Ashley Almanza seeks to cut debt and repair its battered reputation. A judge rejected a second request by BP Plc for an injunction to suspend compensation payments under the settlement over the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, saying there was no "credible evidence" to support the company's allegations of fraud in the claims process. Shares in mainland energy giant PetroChina dived almost 5 percent on Wednesday after reports that four key executives were detained in relation to a corruption probe. Britain's competition watchdog ordered Ryanair Holdings Plc to sell most of its stake in Irish rival Aer Lingus Group Plc, in a keenly anticipated ruling that the low-cost carrier vowed to appeal. Online retailer Amazon.com Inc has hired one of Washington's most prominent lawyers Ted Olson to take to the U.S. Supreme Court the high-stakes legal battle about taxation of its shoppers in New York state. NYT * Switzerland and the United States are close to announcing an agreement to end their long dispute over how to punish banks that helped Americans evade taxes, banking and government officials said on Wednesday. * Globant, an Argentine software and information technology services company, has filed to go public on the New York Stock Exchange, in a move to broaden its reach. * A number of private equity groups have been knocked out of the running to acquire Hutchison Whampoa Ltd's ParknShop, the Hong Kong supermarket chain owned by the billionaire Li Ka-shing that is considering selling itself in a deal that could command $3 billion to $4 billion, according to people with knowledge of the matter. * Nintendo Co Ltd on Wednesday introduced a new portable gaming system, the Nintendo 2DS. The device will cost $130, or $40 less than its 3DS sibling. It is capable of running all the games made for the 3DS, but without 3-D effects. * The Advertising Council and the United States Army, hoping to lower absenteeism in schools across the country, are introducing a public service campaign this week aimed at helping parents keep track of their children's absences. * Fewer people signed contracts to buy American homes in July, but the level stayed close to a six-and-a-half-year high. The modest decline suggests that higher mortgage rates have yet to slow sales sharply. * The Bank of England's new governor took his ideas for spurring Britain's sluggish economy on the road on Wednesday, traveling to the heart of the country to convince households and managers that interest rates will remain low and that he will not follow the United States in reining in the bank's stimulus efforts just yet. * Portugal is finding that increasing exports is the way to pull its economy out of a recession. Portuguese authorities said this month that rising exports were the main reason Portugal posted the strongest growth in the second quarter among the nations of the European Union. * A federal bankruptcy court judge granted the city of San Bernardino eligibility for bankruptcy protection on Wednesday, raising the possibility that the city will propose a plan to dig itself out of debt by cutting money promised to the public pension system. Canada THE GLOBE AND MAIL * Justin Trudeau, the leader of the Liberal Party, is banking on multimillionaire Stephen Bronfman to turn around the Liberal Party's financial fortunes in order to take on the formidable Conservative fundraising machine. * Toronto Mayor Rob Ford says he has smoked "a lot" of marijuana, but is not saying when that drug use took place. Ford's comments follow those made by federal Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau, who told reporters last week he smoked pot as recently as three years ago. * Police are still unable to say whether two female escorts found dead in a New Westminster apartment block in Vancouver were murdered, or even if their deaths are related, after autopsies on both women have now come back inconclusive. Reports in the business section: * Bombardier Inc is moving aggressively to boost its presence in Russia with preliminary deals to sell 100 Q400 NexGen turboprop aircraft, valued at $3.4-billion that would be assembled in the country. * Capital Power Corp is selling assets in the United States - a deal that will result in a loss related to the transaction - and shuttering offices in order to focus its business on Alberta. * National Bank of Canada's shares surged after the lender reported a record profit that beat analyst expectations. Its earnings rose on higher capital market trading and wealth management fees, which also helped rivals Bank of Montreal and Bank of Nova Scotia post higher third-quarter profits. NATIONAL POST * An Ottawa court has awarded more than $330,000 to an aspiring lawyer who tripped on a curb and injured her shoulder. Michelle Botosh caught her left foot on the inch-and-a-half high curb slope and tripped, throwing her right arm forward to break her fall on Nov. 8, 2003. The Byward Market sidewalk had been under construction, but there were no signs warning pedestrians of the changes to the curb. * Parti Québécois Democratic Institutions Minister Bernard Drainville on Wednesday downplayed the significance of Montreal's resolution saying Quebec's proposed charter of values goes too far. Refusing to view the resolution adopted by council Tuesday evening as a setback, Drainville turned things around to say he welcomes all input into the debate. * An English-language school board in Montreal says enrolment numbers have dropped by nearly 10,000 students since a decade-old bill tightened restrictions on who is eligible to learn in English. FINANCIAL POST * Loblaw Cos Ltd, which last month announced a $12.4-billion deal to buy Shoppers Drug Mart Corp, will submit its application to the competition bureau after investors vote on the deal next month, Shoppers' chief executive said on Wednesday. * If you are sitting on the sidelines hoping for the condo market to crash, the Conference Board of Canada says you'll have to wait. The report, funded by Genworth Canada, the largest private provider of mortgage default insurance in the country, says the sector will avoid a major downturn because of population growth and employment gains which will drive demand and soak up supply. Hong Kong SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST -- Shanghai private investment conglomerate Fosun International Ltd Vice-chairman Liang Xinjun said early next month the company would announce a multi-billion-yuan investment in a global brand, followed by investments of several billion yuan in retail projects and a finance project in Europe. -- Sino Land Co Ltd chairman Robert Ng Chee Siong said the city's property market had been undergoing changes as a result of economic and property-related policies. The group is mindful of the upcoming uncertainties in a challenging market and management will be responsive to market changes. -- Lenovo Group Ltd chief financial officer Wong Wai-ming confirmed that production has commenced on x86-standard servers, which are embedded in storage equipment from strategic partner EMC, the world's top enterprise storage systems maker. He did not say whether that operation began in the quarter to June or in the current quarter. HONG KONG ECONOMIC JOURNAL -- Qinhuangdao Port, China's largest coal marina which originally planned an initial public offering in Shanghai, has submitted its listing application to the Hong Kong stock exchange, aiming to raise about $500-700 million, sources said. It is expected to be listed by the end of this year. HONG KONG ECONOMIC TIMES -- Luggage maker Samsonite International S.A. is looking for acquisition opportunities in Europe, Asia and the United States, with the main focus on low-grade and medium-grade leisure products, said chairman Timothy Charles Parker. The company is capable of making an acquisition worth $1 billion, he added. -- China Rongsheng Heavy Industries Group Holdings Ltd Chief Financial Officer Sean Wang said the company has plans and arrangements to repay about 10 billion yuan ($1.63 billion) of short-term debt due in 12 months. It does not have financing plan so far, Wang added. The company is China's largest private shipbuilder. THE STANDARD -- China Huiyuan Juice Group Ltd chairman Zhu Xinli said the injection of his personal upstream assets into the listed firm is expected to be completed within the second half Of the year. (link.reuters.com/dyx62v) Fly On The Wall 7:00 AM Market Snapshot ANALYST RESEARCH Upgrades AMC Networks (AMCX) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at B. RileyCash America (CSH) upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform at FBR CapitalEntergy (ETR) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at ISI GroupMohawk (MHK) upgraded to Strong Buy from Outperform at Raymond James Downgrades ABB (ABB) downgraded to Underweight from Neutral at HSBCAutoNavi (AMAP) downgraded to Underperform from Outperform at MacquarieThe Fresh Market (TFM) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at UBSWipro (WIT) downgraded to Neutral from Overweight at HSBC Initiations ServiceNow (NOW) initiated with a Neutral at RW BairdSovran Self Storage (SSS) initiated with an Outperform at Raymond JamesStemline (STML) initiated with a Buy at JefferiesTeradata (TDC) initiated with a Neutral at Longbow HOT STOCKS Bill Ackman sold J. C. Penney (JCP) stake to Citigroup (C) for $492.35M, or $12.60 per shareVerizon (VZ), Vodafone (VOD) renewed talks on Verizon Wireless stake, DJ reportsNorthrop Grumman (NOC) to buy Qantas' defense services unitBombardier (BDRBF), Deutsche Bahn signed vehicle contract worth $289MCarlyle Group (CG) to invest $200M in strategic partnership with Shanghai Yupei EARNINGS Companies that beat consensus earnings expectations last night and today include:K12 (LRN), Shanda Games (GAME), Delta Apparel (DLA), Casella Waste (CWST), Guess (GES), eGain (EGAN), Culp (CFI), Tilly's (TLYS) Companies that missed consensus earnings expectations include:JA Solar (JASO), SWS Group (SWS) Companies that matched consensus earnings expectations include:ACETO (ACET), The Fresh Market (TFM) NEWSPAPERS/WEBSITES Regulators in the U.S. and U.K. are probing up to a dozen banks (UBS, BCS), including Citigroup (C), in connection with alleged efforts to manipulate Libor, in order to benefit their trading positions. They want to know whether senior executives knew of, or participated in, illegal activity, the Wall Street Journal reports Many companies are turning to operations like Amazon Web Services (AMZN) or Rackspace Hosting (RAX) instead of buying and maintaining their own systems. That adds to a growing list of pressures for makers of servers (HPQ, INTC, AMD, CSCO, CRM, DELL, VMW), a crucial class of computers whose growth and profitability is being squeezed, the Wall Street Journal reports The $300T privately traded U.S. derivatives markets could be on the verge of the biggest change in their 30-year history if investors embrace new electronic trading platforms that would reduce the market dominance of large banks (JPM, CME), Reuters reports Josef Ackermann, chairman of Zurich Insurance (ZURVY) and former Deutsche Bank (DB) head, resigned today over the apparent suicide of the insurer's CFO, further roiling the top ranks of the firm, Reuters reports An SEC and DOJ probe of JPMorgan Chase’s (JPM) hiring practices in China has uncovered red flags across Asia, including an internal spreadsheet that linked appointments to specific deals pursued by the bank, sources say, Bloomberg reports SYNDICATE LRR Energy (LRE) files $400M mixed securities shelfLRR Energy (LRE) files to sell 8.57M common units for selling holdersPrima BioMed (PBMD) files to sell $60M of American Depositary Shares Tasman Metals (TAS) files $25M mixed securities shelf ACTIVIST/PASSIVE FILINGS S.A.C. Capital reports 5.1% passive stake in Diamond Foods (DMND)
Obamacare, tepid U.S. growth fuel part-time hiring (Reuters) Cameron was behind UK attempt to halt Snowden reports (Reuters), Britain defends detention of journalist's partner (Reuters) Goldman Options Error Shows Peril Persists One Year After Knight (BBG) China expresses 'shock' as Japan's nuclear crisis deepens (Reuters) Inquiry into China insurance firm rattles industry (Caixin) Cheaper rivals eat into Apple’s China tablet share (FT) Exporting fast food: Subway Targets Europe With as Many as 1,000 New Outlets in 2014 (BBG) Reserve Bank of India boosts liquidity to ease pressure on banks (FT) Justice Department Plans New Crisis-Related Cases (WSJ) - Holder doing his cutest attempt to pretend the TBTProsecute aren't Syrian Opposition Alleges Gas Attack, Which Government Denies (WSJ) NYSE Said to Choose JPMorgan, SocGen for Euronext IPO (BBG) Ferrari Plans Hybrids to Follow $1.34 Million LaFerrari (BBG) Overnight Media Digest WSJ * Insurers and the Obama administration are racing to sign Hispanics up for coverage under the federal health overhaul, eager to reach a segment of the U.S. population that offers huge opportunity but also presents many challenges. * Mary Jo White is the Securities and Exchange Commission's third boss in nine months. In barely the past year, four of the agency's five divisional chiefs have stepped down, including the top SEC officials for trading and markets, corporation finance and enforcement, along with four of the 11 regional directors in offices scattered across the United States. * Goldman Sachs Group Inc sent waves of erroneous orders into the stock-options market on Tuesday morning, the latest technical glitch to roil market prices and bedevil traders and regulators. * Aubrey McClendon, one of America's best known wildcatters, is betting again on striking it big in Ohio as he builds a new oil and gas exploration company. McClendon is close to completing an agreement to get more than $500 million from the Energy & Minerals Group, a Houston firm run by John Raymond, son of former Exxon Mobil Corp Chief Executive Lee Raymond, according to people close to the deal. * The National Security Agency, which possesses only limited legal authority to spy on U.S. citizens, has built a surveillance network that covers more Americans' Internet communications than officials have publicly disclosed, current and former officials say. * Attorney General Eric Holder said the Justice Department is nearing decisions on a number of probes involving large financial firms and that he plans to announce new cases stemming from the economic meltdown in the coming months. FT Diversified trader and miner Glencore Xstrata's chief defended the deal that created the commodities group even though the company took a $7.7 billion hit on its assets. JPMorgan Chase has hired a venerable New York law firm to carry out an internal investigation into whether the Wall Street investment bank hired the children of powerful Chinese officials to help it win business in China. Linda Hudson, chief executive of BAE Systems Inc, will retire in March, leaving a gap in the critically important autonomous U.S. division of Europe's biggest defence company. Dawn Airey, former chairman and chief executive of UK commercial TV broadcaster Five, will run Yahoo's operations in Europe. The death of a 21-year-old intern at Bank of America has triggered calls for banks in the City of London to overhaul their working culture for younger staff. Some of the biggest investment banks including Nomura, Citigroup and Bank of America have begun hiring dealmakers and traders in Europe in a sign that hiring is gathering pace following a two-year cull that saw thousands of bankers lose their jobs. NYT * Premiums for employer-provided health insurance have increased by relatively modest amounts this year, according to a new survey, a further sign that once-torrid health care inflation has abated for now. * The SEC is examining whether JPMorgan Chase & Co tried to win business in China by hiring the children of two senior Chinese officials, in possible violation of American anti-corruption statutes. * Lawmakers and central bankers in India, Indonesia, Turkey and several emerging market economies are scrambling to contain the damage from falling currencies and to keep foreign investors from heading for the exits. Money has poured out of those economies over the last few weeks, pushing down the prices of a wide array of assets, including stocks, bonds and currencies. * As New York City continues to promote the rise of Silicon Alley start-ups, the state comptroller's office is doing its part for the cause. On Tuesday, the office of Thomas DiNapoli plans to promote its investments in two technology companies, RebelMouse and CoopKanics, as part of its initiative to invest in New York businesses. * Premiums for employer-provided health insurance have increased by relatively modest amounts this year, according to a new survey, a further sign that once-torrid health care inflation has abated for now. * Barnes & Noble Inc's founder and chairman, Leonard Riggio, disclosed on Tuesday that he had shelved his plan to buy the company's bookstores, as the embattled chain grapples with an uncertain future. His disclosure accompanied the retailer's latest results, which included a loss that more than doubled from the same time last year. Canada THE GLOBE AND MAIL * Quebec is heading into another fierce debate over the future of religious freedom in the province. A news report suggested that the minority government wants to prohibit public employees from wearing items such as hijabs, turbans and kippa in a broad ban that could extend from elementary and university teachers to nurses and child-care workers. * A new survey commissioned by Bell and Telus suggests Canadians don't want Ottawa to give special treatment to foreign competitors. The Nanos Research telephone survey of 2,000 Canadians found that 81 per cent of Canadians preferred that neither foreign, nor Canadian-owned telecommunications companies are favoured when Ottawa conducts an auction of highly-coveted wireless spectrum in January. Reports in the business section: * U.S. ice cream company Cold Stone Creamery has been acquired by a group of Canadian entrepreneurs with ambitious plans to double the number of locations with partner Tim Hortons Inc. * Loblaw Cos Ltd, which is offering $61.54 a share to buy Shoppers Drug Mart Corp, initially bid much less - $45 a share - for the drugstore chain in early 2011. The secret takeover talks might have contributed to the delay in Shoppers' process of finding a new CEO, which dragged on that year. NATIONAL POST * A family friend who kidnapped a 16-year-old girl had a 20-hour jump on authorities, who discovered he used a timer to set fire to his rural home where the girl's mother and younger brother were found dead, a San Diego County Sheriff's Department spokeswoman said Tuesday. FINANCIAL POST * The federal government did not court Verizon Communications Inc and Ottawa's policy on the wireless market does not live or die by the U.S. carrier's decision about whether to enter the market, according to Canada's industry minister James Moore. () China CHINA SECURITIES JOURNAL - China Merchants Securities Co Ltd said it made a profit of 1.05 billion yuan ($171.44 million) in the first half of this year, a 10.37 percent year-on-year increase. SHANGHAI SECURITIES NEWS - Everbright Securities Co Ltd has suspended Yang Jian Bo, the manager of its strategic investment department, to cooperate with the probe into its trading systems, the company told the paper on Tuesday. SHANGHAI DAILY - China's state-owned enterprises made a profit of 1.3 trillion yuan ($212.26 billion) in the first seven months of this year, according to data released by the Ministry of Finance on Tuesday. CHINA DAILY - China plans to buoy the shipping industry by offering favourable tax policies and technical assistance to shipyards for the development of greener ocean vessels, regeneration of old ships and support for public vessels for domestic needs, said Chen Bin, director-general of the National Development and Reform Commission. PEOPLE'S DAILY - China should take note of General Secretary Xi Jinping's plans to strengthen party ideology as expressed in his speech on Tuesday, said an editorial. The country should advance the struggle to promote the cause of socialism with Chinese characteristics, it said. Fly On The Wall 7:00 AM Market Snapshot ANALYST RESEARCH Upgrades Garmin (GRMN) upgraded to Neutral from Sell at GoldmanNational Retail Properties (NNN) upgraded to Outperform at FBR CapitalQuestcor (QCOR) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at BofA/MerrillRoyal Caribbean (RCL) upgraded to Overweight from Equal Weight at Morgan StanleyXueda Education (XUE) upgraded to Neutral from Sell at Goldman Downgrades Agrium (AGU) downgraded to Neutral from Overweight at HSBCChesapeake (CHK) downgraded to Neutral from Positive at SusquehannaHarmony Gold (HMY) downgraded to Sell from Neutral at UBSMosaic (MOS) downgraded to Underweight from Neutral at HSBCPotash (POT) downgraded to Underweight from Overweight at HSBCTupperware Brands (TUP) downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at BMO Capital Initiations First Busey (BUSE) initiated with a Market Perform at FBR CapitalInvestors Bancorp (ISBC) initiated with a Hold at Deutsche BankNavistar (NAV) initiated with a Neutral at SusquehannaPACCAR (PCAR) initiated with a Neutral at SusquehannaWCI Communities (WCIC) initiated with a Neutral at JPMorganWCI Communities (WCIC) initiated with an Outperform at FBR CapitalWesBanco (WSBC) initiated with a Market Perform at FBR Capital HOT STOCKS Facebook (FB) CEO Zuckerberg announced internet.org, a global partnership (QCOM, ERIC, NOK, SSNLF) to make Internet access available to 5B peopleMICROS (MCRS), PayPal (EBAY) to collaborate on point of sale platformQuest Diagnostics (DGX) raised share repurchase authorization by $1BEqual Energy (EQU) rejected offer from Montclair Energy Lowe's (LOW) received approval for acquisition of assets from Orchard Supply HardwareLa-Z-Boy (LZB) aggressively pursuing store expansion programSony (SNE) announced PlayStation 4 to launch November 15 in U.S., CanadaLKQ Corp. (LKQ) formed a JV with insurer Suncorp Group to develop an alternative auto parts business in Australia and New ZealandCourt confirmed Eastman Kodak (EKDKQ) reorganization plan EARNINGS Companies that beat consensus earnings expectations last night and today include:Citi Trends (CTRN), Lowe's (LOW), Globe Specialty Metals (GSM), La-Z-Boy (LZB), Energy XXI (EXXI), Analog Devices (ADI), Bottomline Technologies (EPAY) Companies that missed consensus earnings expectations include:Staples (SPLS), Velti (VELT), 21Vianet (VNET), Tuesday Morning (TUES) Companies that matched consensus earnings expectations include:Toll Brothers (TOL), China Distance Education (DL), Intuit (INTU) NEWSPAPERS/WEBSITES Al Jazeera sued AT&T (T) in Delaware Chancery Court for dropping the Qatari-backed broadcaster's new U.S. channel on the eve of its launch, the Wall Street Journal reports Aubrey McClendon, former Chesapeake Energy (CHK) CEO, is betting again on striking it big in Ohio as he builds a new oil and gas exploration company. He has lined up about $1.2B in equity and debt financing for deals there, much of it coming from two energy-focused private-equity firms, sources say, the Wall Street Journal reports A senior Chinese official put pressure on some 30 foreign firms including General Electric (GE) and Siemens (SI) at a recent meeting to confess to any antitrust violations and warned them against using external lawyers to fight accusations from regulators, sources say, Reuters reports NYSE Euronext (NYX) selected JPMorgan Chase (JPM) and Societe Generale (SCGLY) to help arrange the IPO of its European equity operations, sources say, Bloomberg reports Visa (V) and MasterCard (MA) will pursue a multibillion-dollar antitrust settlement with U.S. merchants over credit card fees even though opposition to the deal reached a level that would have allowed the card firms to walk away, Bloomberg reports Medtronic (MDT) is looking beyond medical devices, seeking to expand within hospitals and connect directly with patients as it moves into a health-services industry projected to grow as Obamacare expands coverage, Bloomberg reports
The Citadel-SAC connection (BBG) - just wait until the Citadel-FRBNY connection emerges Letter backs Yellen for Federal Reserve role (FT) - or said otherwise, the Democrats would like the Fed to rule (and monetize deficits) for ever Obama, Republicans gear up for bruising U.S. budget fight (Reuters) Up for Debate at Fed: A Sharper Easy-Money Message (WSJ) UBS to Pay $885 Million to Settle U.S. Mortgage Suit (BBG), Banks shiver as UBS swallows $885 million U.S. fine (Reuters) Japan finmin Aso: CPI shows gradual shift to inflation from deflation (Reuters) Japan's PM calls for high-level talks with China (Reuters) Holder Targets Texas in New Voting-Rights Push (WSJ) Another Nightmareliner incident: Probe opened as Air India Boeing Dreamliner oven overheats midair (Reuters) Samsung Boosts Capital Spending as High-End Phone Demand Slows (BBG) Zynga Drops After Abandoning U.S. Online-Betting Plan (BBG) Egypt's Mursi accused of murder, kidnapping before rallies (Reuters) Overnight Media Digest WSJ * A Justice Department investigation shines a light on federal authorities' broader scrutiny of physician-owned distributorships. Distributorships act as intermediaries between medical-device makers and hospitals and get a cut of each sale. When surgeons own the distributorship, that commission goes into their pockets. And since surgeons often dictate to their hospitals which devices to buy, they can effectively steer business to themselves. * The Obama administration will use a new legal strategy to try to scrutinize states for possible discrimination against minority voters, Attorney General Eric Holder said. * Halliburton Co will plead guilty to destroying evidence in the wake of the April 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster. The government said Thursday that the company, a contractor involved in drilling the oil well that exploded in the Gulf of Mexico, destroyed computer simulations it performed in the months after the accident. * More than a dozen companies were the target of what prosecutors described as one of the largest data breaches uncovered to date, which resulted in "hundreds of millions of dollars" in losses. * GlaxoSmithKline has named a new head of its business in China amid a government bribery probe that has shaken the company's senior management. * With its new 24-hour sports cable network launching August 17, Fox hopes to mount a serious offensive on ESPN's moneymaking machine. It is a challenge where others so far have failed. * Zynga provided little assurance that its business was on the mend as the online game company posted a small loss on a 31 percent drop in revenue. * Canadian Natural Resources Ltd, Canada's largest independent oil producer, has been unable to stop a series of leaks from underground wells, according to regulators in Alberta, raising questions about a technology the industry has championed as less environmentally disruptive than the open-pit mining of oil sands. * Samsung Electronics Co Ltd said its profit rose 50 percent on solid smartphone sales, but earnings momentum showed signs of slowing with margins squeezed by high marketing costs. * Prosecutors are seeking forfeiture of about $10 billion from SAC Capital Advisors, one of the country's largest hedge-fund firms, as they accused the hedge-fund firm of insider trading on an unprecedented scale. * Time Warner Cable Inc named chief operating officer Rob Marcus to succeed Glenn Britt as chief executive, resolving a question hanging over the No. 2 U.S. cable operator as it comes under takeover pressure. * The pending $4.7 billion sale of Smithfield Foods Inc , the world's largest pork producer, to a Chinese company, has provoked health safety questions about the impact on America's supply of the heart-disease drug heparin. In addition to pork products, Smithfield is one of the largest U.S.-based suppliers of crude heparin, the starting material for a crucial blood thinner used by some 12 million American patients. * The world will use far more of every type of energy in coming decades, the U.S. Energy Department said in a report that predicts China and India will drive growing consumption. FT U.S. prosecutors filed criminal charges against billionaire Steven A. Cohen's $14 billion hedge fund, SAC Capital, in the biggest blow yet in their crackdown on insider trading, a move that could end the career of one of Wall Street's most successful investors. Jeff Bezos-led Amazon.com Inc reported an unexpected second-quarter net loss of $7 million, pushing its shares down, which might cast doubts over the online retailer's ability to generate long-term profits. Shares in Zynga Inc fell more than 14 percent in after-hours trading on Thursday after it said it would abandon its long-running efforts to build a real-money gaming business in the United States and warned of tough times ahead. GlaxoSmithKline Plc has replaced the head of operations in China with one of its top European executives, amid a widening corruption scandal in China that has rocked Britain's biggest drugmaker. U.S. prosecutors said on Thursday they have charged five men with the theft of 160 million credit card numbers as part of a hacking organisation, resulting in what they said will be the largest hacking and data breach scheme ever prosecuted in the United States. Former Goldman Sachs trader Fabrice Tourre on Thursday said he "deeply" regretted an email in which he joked about selling subprime mortgage bonds "to widows and orphans", after being grilled by lawyers in a securities fraud trial. NYT * Federal authorities have delivered a crippling blow to one of Wall Street's most successful firms, SAC Capital Advisors, which has drawn government scrutiny for more than a decade. * Halliburton Co has agreed to plead guilty to destruction of critical evidence after the Gulf of Mexico spill in 2010. The oil services company will pay the maximum allowable fine and be subject to three years of probation, the Justice Department said. * Five Eastern European computer programmers were charged by the United States attorney in New Jersey with hacking into the servers of more than a dozen large American companies and stealing 160 million credit card numbers in what the authorities called the largest hacking and data breach case ever. * Fabrice Tourre's legal team worked to rehabilitate his image in court on Thursday, trying to show a sympathetic side of the ex-trader. * The choice of who will succeed Ben Bernanke to lead the Federal Reserve is roiling Washington as it revives questions about the dearth of women in its top economic policy positions. * Top leaders of the A.F.L.-C.I.O., the nation's main federation of labor unions, on Thursday called on President Obama and the Congress to offer an immediate financial infusion to Detroit, which last week became the largest American city ever to file for bankruptcy. * Three academics set out to see whether there were any clear differences between chief executives of companies where fraud was committed and chiefs of similar companies where fraud did not take place - or at least where it was never detected. And they found evidence that those who are willing to violate other rules are also more willing to violate securities laws. * Amazon's razor-thin profits turned to razor-thin losses in the last quarter, as the Internet commerce giant continued to plow money into warehouses, digital content and other big investments that it says will pay off down the line. * A senior Democrat has proposed that the United States seek stronger trade agreements that would better protect the economy. Canada THE GLOBE AND MAIL * The Royal Canadian Mounted Police are investigating Senator Mac Harb for alleged breach of trust over travel and expense claims he submitted for nearly 10 years between 2003 and 2013. * Justin Trudeau's enthusiastic embrace of the legalization of marijuana has fired up the debate over Canadian drug laws and exposed stark differences among major political parties on the way to treat the country's numerous pot smokers. The stand places the Liberal Party on a collision course on the road to the 2015 elections with the Conservative government. * Federal justice minister Peter MacKay says the Conservative government is considering changes to impaired driving legislation in the Criminal Code. MacKay said he wanted to meet with more victims of impaired driving before announcing the changes the government is contemplating. Reports in the business section: * BCE Inc's George Cope is the latest chief executive of a major wireless carrier to argue in recent days that Ottawa has taken a wrong turn in its attempts to ensure there is a fourth wireless player in every regional market. Cope said he had received assurances from the federal government a year ago that deep-pocketed foreign telecoms such as Verizon Communications Inc would not use "loopholes" in Ottawa's wireless policy to enter the Canadian market. * Crop nutrients producer Potash Corp of Saskatchewan Inc cut its earnings outlook for the year as it struggles with tough market conditions and low prices. * The average Canadian household net worth broke C$400,000 at the end of 2012, beating its American neighbors once again. But the gap has narrowed to C$19,000, half of what it was last year. * Goldcorp Inc says it is looking to improve efficiency and reduce costs at its Penasquito mine in Mexico, after falling gold prices forced the company to write down the project's value and led to a $1.93 billion net loss in the second quarter. NATIONAL POST * At a time when corruption scandals have given Quebec mayors a bad name, Colette Roy-Laroche is providing a welcome boost to the image of municipal leaders, receiving praise for her efforts to unite the town of Lac-Megantic after the devastating rail disaster. * As sex abuse lawsuits mount, the full story of Vancouver Olympics Chief Executive John Furlong has yet to be told. Former students of his from Burns Lake have sued Furlong alleging sexual molestation. * Bulgarian authorities have named a Canadian man, Hassan El Hajj Hassan, 25, as a wanted fugitive and suspected Hezbollah operative involved in last year's bombing of a tourist bus at an airport on Bulgaria's coast that killed five Israelis and their local driver. * Senator Mac Harb allegedly claimed a Senate housing allowance on a home that was "uninhabitable" for three years and in which he only had a 0.01 per cent stake for another four years, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police allege in a court document. FINANCIAL POST * Calgary-based Expander Energy is trying to convert greenhouse gases generated by oil sands processing from an environmental liability into big profits. * Writedowns, plummeting profits and a vast range of realized prices have been key themes in the second-quarter gold earnings reports. Most importantly, the miners are unveiling the cost and capital spending reductions they merely hinted at for most of the year. * Loblaw Cos Ltd is being overly optimistic in projecting $300 million of synergies in three years after the purchase of Shoppers Drug Mart Ltd, according to Perry Caicco, a retail analyst at CIBC Capital Markets. * The downturn in the mining industry is beginning to ripple through brokerage firms and investment banks in Canada, as firms cut jobs, consolidate or close. * A release of methane from thawing permafrost under the East Siberian Sea in the Arctic could speed the melting of sea ice and climate change, with a cost to the global economy of up to $60 trillion over coming decades, according to a paper published in the journal Nature. China 21ST CENTURY BUSINESS HERALD - China is expected to start a railway development fund this year, which plans to raise 100 billion yuan ($16.30 billion), with a focus on development of line construction in poor areas in the country's central and western regions, Premier Li Keqiang said at a State Council executive meeting on Wednesday. SHANGHAI DAILY - Bank of China has been chosen for a pilot programme that will allow overseas branches of Chinese companies to remit offshore yuan back onshore to pay employee salaries, bypassing current daily limits on remittance of offshore yuan. SHANGHAI SECURITIES NEWS - The ministry of industry and information technology released on Thursday a list of companies with outdated production facilities that will be closed by September. The list covered 19 industries, including cement and paper and names 19 listed companies. PEOPLE'S DAILY - China's non-governmental organisations, charitable foundations and private non-enterprise units, among others, may in the future be able to provide pensions for their employees, according to a paper published recently by the ministry of civil affairs. Fly On The Wall 7:00 AM Market Snapshot ANALYST RESEARCH Upgrades Advance Auto Parts (AAP) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Deutsche BankBaidu (BIDU) upgraded to Overweight from Equal Weight at Morgan StanleyBankUnited (BKU) upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform at Keefe BruyetteGilead (GILD) upgraded to Overweight from Neutral at Atlantic EquitiesKennametal (KMT) upgraded to Buy from Hold at BB&TL-3 Communications (LLL) upgraded to Neutral from Underperform at BofA/MerrillLVMH Moet Hennessy (LVMUY) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at UBSLazard (LAZ) upgraded to Neutral from Sell at UBSMeritage Homes (MTH) upgraded to Buy from Fair Value at CRT CapitalOpenTable (OPEN) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at GoldmanRaytheon (RTN) upgraded to Neutral from Underperform at BofA/Merrill Tesla (TSLA) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Deutsche BankVCA Antech (WOOF) upgraded to Overweight from Neutral at Piper JaffrayVantiv (VNTV) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at UBSVeriSign (VRSN) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at B. Riley Downgrades Bed Bath & Beyond (BBBY) downgraded to Hold from Buy at Deutsche BankCerner (CERN) downgraded to Neutral from Outperform at RW BairdConvergys (CVG) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at CitigroupDXP Enterprises (DXPE) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at AscendiantFlir Systems (FLIR) downgraded to Hold from Buy at KeyBancFreescale (FSL) downgraded to Perform from Outperform at OppenheimerGlobal Payments (GPN) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at UBSIPC The Hospitalist Co. (IPCM) downgraded to Hold from Buy at Deutsche BankKennametal (KMT) downgraded to Neutral from Overweight at JPMorganLakeland Bancorp (LBAI) downgraded to Market Perform at Keefe BruyetteMaxim Integrated (MXIM) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at UBSMeritage Homes (MTH) downgraded to Equal Weight from Overweight at BarclaysPernix Therapeutics (PTX) downgraded to Sell from Hold at CantorPrecision Castparts (PCP) downgraded to Hold from Buy at Deutsche BankPulteGroup (PHM) downgraded to Equal Weight from Overweight at BarclaysRobert Half (RHI) downgraded to Equal Weight from Overweight at BarclaysSeadrill (SDRL) downgraded to Neutral from Overweight at HSBCSouthwest (LUV) downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at Raymond JamesStewart (STC) downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at FBR CapitalVantiv (VNTV) downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at Wells FargoVertex (VRTX) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at UBS Initiations Cardiovascular Systems (CSII) initiated with a Buy at WunderlichDelphi Automotive (DLPH) initiated with an Outperform at Wells FargoGoodrich Petroleum (GDP) coverage assumed with a to Buy at CanaccordVishay (VSH) initiated with a Buy at BofA/Merrill HOT STOCKS Activision (ATVI) bought 429M shares from Vivendi (VIVHY) for $13.60 or $5.8BW.P. Carey (WPC) announced proposed merger with CPA:16 - Global Inc.in a deal valued at about $4BUBS (UBS) to pay $885M to settle claims with FHFA (FNMA, FMCC)Halliburton (HAL) pleads guilty in DOJ suit over Deepwater Horizon spillZynga (ZNGA) won’t pursue license for real money gaming in U.S. Viad (VVI) sees FY13 revenue down at a mid single-digit rate vs. FY12 Stanley Black & Decker (SWK) sees stronger 2H13 organic growth performance CBS (CBS) increased authorization of its share repurchase program to $6BTime Warner Cable (TWC) announced $4B share repurchase programHalliburton (HAL) to repurchase up to $3.3B of stock in Dutch auction EARNINGS Companies that beat consensus earnings expectations last night and today include:Helmerich & Payne (HP), Viad (VVI), Tyco (TYC), Stanley Black & Decker (SWK), Newmont Mining (NEM), Activision Blizzard (ATVI), Olin Corp. (OLN), KLA-Tencor (KLAC), Dresser-Rand (DRC), Cliffs Natural (CLF), NetSuite (N), Leggett & Platt (LEG), QLogic (QLGC), VeriSign (VRSN), Edwards Lifesciences (EW), Chubb (CB), Zynga (ZNGA), Netgear (NTGR), Deckers Outdoor (DECK), Starbucks (SBUX) Companies that missed consensus earnings expectations include:Forum Energy (FET), Basic Energy (BAS), Triumph Group (TGI), Dole Food (DOLE), Newpark Resources (NR), Republic Services (RSG), Tempur-Pedic (TPX), Woodward (WWD), Amazon.com (AMZN), Expedia (EXPE) Companies that matched consensus earnings expectations include:Key Energy (KEG), Informatica (INFA), Cerner (CERN), Gilead (GILD), Echo Global (ECHO) NEWSPAPERS/WEBSITES Federal prosecutors charged a cadre of Eastern European hackers with stealing credit-card information and other personal data from companies including Nasdaq OMX (NDAQ) and J.C. Penney (JCP) in a computer crime spree that ran for more than half a decade and netted hundreds of millions of dollars, the Wall Street Journal reports Facebook (FB) is making marketers feel more comfortable with spending money on the social network. It’s benefiting simply because it is one of the few online outlets with a big enough audience for the rapidly expanding group of marketers wanting to put money into mobile, the Wall Street Journal reports In China, time looks to be on the side of Samsung Electronics (SSNLF), not Apple (AAPL), which now has three times the number of retail stores as Apple, and has been more aggressive in courting consumers and creating partnerships with phone operators. It also appears to be in better position to fend off homegrown competitors, Reuters reports GM’s (GM) South Korean workers have approved an annual wage deal, ending 13 days of partial strikes at the base where the U.S. automaker produces over 40% of its Chevy-branded cars, Reuters reports Goldman Sachs (GS) CEO Lloyd Blankein said a lack of U.S. business appetite for risk is constraining a recovery in the world’s largest economy, Bloomberg reports The market for borrowing and lending U.S. government debt, after shrinking 31% in the past five years, risks contracting further as global regulators consider raising capital and leverage standards for banks, Bloomberg reports SYNDICATE Carmike Cinemas (CKEC) 4.5M share Secondary priced at $18.00Liquid Holdings (LIQD) 3.175M share IPO priced at $9.00
Earthquake Sends Kiwis Screaming From Wellington Buildings (BBG) China quake death toll more than doubles to 54, hundreds hurt (Reuters) In 2011, Michigan Gov. Snyder said bankruptcy wasn't an option for Detroit. Two years later, he changed his mind (WSJ) GlaxoSmithKline says Chinese laws might have been violated (FT) SEC Tries Last Ditch Move to Put SAC’s Cohen Out of Business (BBG) Detroit’s Bankruptcy Reveals Dysfunction Common in Cities (BBG) Obama to start new offensive on economy (FT) As WTI and Brent reunite, Gulf of Mexico faces squeeze, not glut (Reuters) Extended Stay Files for Public Offering (WSJ) Apple Developer Website Hacked: Developer Names, Addresses May Have Been Taken (MacRumors) Treasuries Not Safe Enough as Foreign Purchase Pace Slows (BBG) Japan's Abe vows to keep focus on economy after big election win (Reuters) Deutsche Bank set to trim balance sheet by 20 percent (FT) Overnight Media Digest WSJ * Corporate battle lines are being drawn over the congressional effort to overhaul the tax code, pitting giants such as General Electric Co and Microsoft Corp against each other as they maneuver to influence the debate. * A series of disappointing economic reports in recent weeks have dashed economists' hopes from earlier this year that the United States was at last entering a phase of solid, self-sustaining growth. * J.P. Morgan Chase & Co is close to a roughly $410 million settlement of Federal Energy Regulatory Commission allegations that the company manipulated energy markets in California and the Midwest, said people familiar with the conversations. * Detroit Mayor Dave Bing on Sunday left the door open for a federal bailout after the city's bankruptcy filing, saying the nation's response would "set a benchmark" for aiding other struggling cities. * U.S. securities regulators accused Steven Cohen of ignoring "red flags" that should have alerted him to insider trading at his hedge fund firm and moved to ban the billionaire for life from the industry where he made his fortune. * Headaches for Huawei Technologies Co Ltd keep growing, as the U.K. government said that it would conduct a review of the Chinese company and a former U.S. intelligence official accused Huawei of spying for Beijing. * U.S. military spending is likely to stabilize over the next year, giving fresh clarity on the industry's future that could help thaw mergers and acquisitions activity, Rockwell Collins Chief Executive Clay Jones said. * Senators of both parties are rejecting removal of food-stamp funding from a multiyear farm bill, setting up a clash with conservative House Republicans who want to pare back federal nutrition programs that have grown steadily in recent years. FT Germany's biggest lender, Deutsche Bank AG, is expected to announce during its second-quarter results its plans to reach a minimum 3 percent overall equity to loans ratio in the next two and a half years, people briefed on the plans said. Germany's SAP AG said its co-Chief Executive Jim Hagemann Snabe would move to the company's supervisory board next May, abandoning its joint chief executive structure and leaving fellow co-Chief Bill McDermott as sole helmsman at the software maker. Media entrepreneur Bruno Wu, who runs the Chinese media group Seven Stars, and the former Bertelsmann and Arcandor chief executive Thomas Middelhoff are accumulating assets with revenues of $1 billion-$2 billion into a new China-focused media and investment joint venture. Kurdistan-focused oil exploration company Gulf Keystone Petroleum said it would no longer oppose four non-executive directors proposed by shareholders M&G Recovery Fund and Capital Research Global Investors, ending a row with its biggest investors over corporate governance just days ahead of its annual general meeting. In a setback for BP Plc's overall hopes of limiting the cost of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster settlement, federal judge Carl Barbier rejected on Friday the company's call to suspend payments pending an investigation into allegations of misconduct at the office of Patrick Juneau, the claims administrator. State-owned Dutch bank ABN Amro, which was partly bought by Belgian group Fortis in 2007 and nationalised a year later as part of the bailout of Fortis, will be ready for reprivatisation by next summer, Chief Executive Gerrit Zalm said in an interview. NYT * Facebook Inc has been quietly working for more than two years on a project that is vital to expanding its base of 1.1 billion users: getting the social network onto the billions of cheap, simple "feature phones" that have largely disappeared in America and Europe but are still the norm in developing countries like India and Brazil. * As government investigators closed in on billionaire hedge fund manager Steven Cohen in recent years, his defenders argued that the unusual structure of his firm, SAC Capital Advisors, shielded him from any illegal trading by his employees. However, federal regulators made their case on Friday that Cohen was not only aware of suspicious trading activity at SAC but participated in it. * Detroit's pension shortfall accounts for about $3.5 billion of the $18 billion in debts that led the city to file for bankruptcy last week. How it handles this problem - of not enough money set aside to pay the pensions it has promised its workers - is being closely watched by other cities with fiscal troubles. * With freight trains as their caravans, manufacturers like Hewlett-Packard Co are reviving an ancient way to ship products made in China to markets in Western Europe. * As another television programming blackout looms, this time because of a high-stakes negotiation between the CBS Corp and Time Warner Cable Inc, there is a new wrinkle, courtesy of Aereo, the start-up that streams broadcast TV via the Internet. Canada THE GLOBE AND MAIL * Chairman Edward Burkhardt of Montreal, Maine & Atlantic whose train crashed in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec, earlier this month says the firm will stop leaving freight unattended on the main track, even as he questioned the value of additional government regulations. * In the past four weeks, the S&P/TSX capped energy index, which includes big names such as Cenovus Energy Inc, Suncor Energy Inc and Canadian Natural Resources Ltd , has climbed 9 per cent as U.S. crude prices approached, then rocketed above, $100 a barrel. * Canada's two main railways are expected to show continued profit strength in their quarterly earnings reports this week, despite recent signs of sagging grain and coal traffic and slightly lower container shipments. * The federal Competition Tribunal is set to issue a decision on Tuesday on whether rules imposed on merchants by the credit card giants are too restrictive. NATIONAL POST * Slick television ads this year for the Harper government's "economic action plan" appear to be inspiring a lot of inaction. A key measure of the ads' impact is whether viewers check out actionplan.gc.ca, the web portal created in 2009 to promote the catch-all brand. But a survey of 2,003 adult Canadians completed in April identified just three people who actually visited the website. * Canada's foreign affairs minister John Baird has spoken to senior Palestinian and Israeli officials to offer his support in efforts to bring the two sides back to the negotiating table. FINANCIAL POST * If Loblaw Companies Ltd successfully buys Shoppers Drug Mart, it will not only inherit the pharmacy retailer's vast network of stores - particularly key locations in the hearts of Canada's urban centres - it will also benefit from the advantages afforded by the owner-operators of those stores: pharmacists. * Apple Inc has scooped up nascent Toronto-based startup Locationary in a deal that could help the tech giant fine-tune its widely-panned mobile mapping service. China SHANGHAI SECURITIES NEWS - China's decision to scrap the floor on lending rates, announced by the central bank late on Friday, is a key reform that has come quicker than the market had expected and is bound to have a huge impact on the country financial markets in the long run, the newspaper said in a commentary. - China faces fresh challenges to value its yuan currency appropriately as its economic growth is slowing down after three decades of rapid expansion. CHINA SECURITIES JOURNAL - A total of 746 Chinese companies are now on a waiting list to launch stock initial public offerings (IPO), data published by the China Securities Commission shows. Regulators quietly suspended IPOs late last year to help stabilise the sagging stock market. Speculation now is that IPOs may resume as soon as late July. - China is expected to promulgate a programme to curb environment pollution by late July or early August. Air pollution in some major Chinese cities, in particular the capital Beijing, has caused widespread public discontent. PEOPLE'S DAILY - China needs joint efforts from the top leadership to the grassroots mass to fight against environment pollution, experts say. CHINA DAILY - More nations have turned to the yuan for investment and trade settlement, indicating that the Chinese currency is well on its way to become an international currency. SHANGHAI DAILY - China will improve the monitoring of drinking water sources, control poisonous contaminants and step up early warning mechanisms to ensure drinking water safety. Fly On The Wall 7:00 AM Market Snapshot ANALYST RESEARCH Upgrades American Campus (ACC) upgraded to Buy from Hold at MLV & Co.Clear Channel Outdoor (CCO) upgraded to Neutral from Sell at B. RileyCognizant (CTSH) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at GoldmanDick's Sporting (DKS) upgraded to Overweight from Equal Weight at Morgan StanleySonoco Products (SON) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at BofA/Merrill Downgrades CGI Group (GIB) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at GoldmanCrocs (CROX) downgraded to Neutral from Outperform at WedbushJuniper (JNPR) downgraded to Hold from Buy at JefferiesLinnCo (LNCO) downgraded to Neutral from Outperform at RW BairdNokia (NOK) downgraded to Underperform from Perform at OppenheimerOnyx Pharmaceuticals (ONXX) downgraded to Hold from Buy at Deutsche BankTD Ameritrade (AMTD) downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at BMO CapitalTowers Watson (TW) downgraded to Hold from Buy at Deutsche BankVF Corp. (VFC) downgraded to Neutral from Outperform at Credit Suisse Initiations Bruker (BRKR) initiated with an Outperform at CowenEsperion Therapeutics (ESPR) initiated with a Buy at CitigroupEsperion Therapeutics (ESPR) initiated with an Outperform at Credit SuisseKratos Defense (KTOS) coverage assumed with a Hold at JefferiesLuxoft (LXFT) initiated with a Neutral at Credit SuisseLuxoft (LXFT) initiated with an Outperform at CowenNanoString (NSTG) initiated with a Neutral at RW BairdNanoString (NSTG) initiated with an Outperform at LeerinkNanoString (NSTG) initiated with an Overweight at JPMorganNanoString (NSTG) initiated with an Overweight at Morgan StanleyTeck Resources (TCK) initiated with a Hold at Brean CapitalTheravance (THRX) coverage resumed with an Underweight at Morgan StanleyTremor Video (TRMR) initiated with a Buy at JefferiesTremor Video (TRMR) initiated with an Outperform at Credit Suisse HOT STOCKS Apple (AAPL) said developer website taken down after hackingGlaxoSmithKline (GSK) said some China executives may have breached lawHalliburton (HAL) increased share repurchase authorization to $5BSEC rejected settlement with Falcone, Harbinger (HRG)General Electric (GE) settled with FTC, allowing for purchase of Avio's aviation unitUBS (UBS) announced mortgage bond settlement with FHFA (FMNA, FMCC)Himax Technologies (HIMX) signed technology investment agreement with Google (GOOG)USEC (USU) declined to comment on unusual market activityHasbro (HAS), Disney (DIS) expanded strategic merchandising relationshipWestinghouse Solar (WEST) canceled acquisition by Australia’s CBD Energy EARNINGS Companies that beat consensus earnings expectations last night and today include:Sierra Bancorp (BSRR) Companies that missed consensus earnings expectations include:Hasbro (HAS) Companies that matched consensus earnings expectations include:MetroCorp (MCBI) NEWSPAPERS/WEBSITES Apple (AAPL) and its Asian suppliers are testing larger screens for iPhones and tablets, officials at the company's suppliers say. Apple has asked for prototype smartphone screens larger than 4 inches and has also asked for screen designs for a new tablet device measuring slightly less than 13 inches diagonally, the Wall Street Journal reports The sharp reversal in the prices of commodities, from gold to copper and aluminum, is undermining one of the most popular bets in global financial markets: that prices would keep rising, fueled by strong growth in China and other developing economies and the relative scarcity of many raw materials, the Wall Street Journal reports First-half revenue at the six biggest U.S. banks climbed for the first time in four years, fueling profits and vindicating Bank of America (BAC) and Morgan Stanley (MS) leaders who presided over stock slumps, Bloomberg reports Pacific Investment Management Co.’s Bill Gross expects that the Fed won’t tighten monetary policy until 2016 at the earliest, Bloomberg reports BARRON’S Dell (DELL) shouldn't deny holders wanting to benefit from turnaroundYahoo (YHOO) upside is limitedShares of SanDisk (SNDK) will continue to workMicrosoft (MSFT) hurt by weak PC market, uncertainty of reorganizationHess (HES) could rise to mid-$80sGlobal Cash Access (GCA) could reach $8 in the next yearInterpublic Group (IPG) could rise 20% this year,Next Softbank (SFTBF) catalyst is Alibaba.com (ALBCF) IPOCheck Point (CHKP) Fortinet (FTNT), SAIC (SAI) could rise 20%Good prospects with P/Es in the single-digits: MetLife (MET), Prudential (PRU), Apple (AAPL), Valero (VLO), JPMorgan Chase (JPM), Deere (DE), General Motors (GM), Citigroup (C), Hewlett-Packard (HPQ), Marathon Petroleum (MPC), Apache (APA), Western Digital (WDC), Freeport-McMoRan (FCX), Ensco (ESV), and Phillips 66 (PSX) SYNDICATE MannKind (MNKD) files to sell 12M shares of common stock for holdersStreamline Health Solutions (STRM) files $37.5M mixed securities shelfUnited Community (UCFC) files to sell 14.7M shares of common stock for holders
MSM always "ahead" of the curve: Fed’s Messages Raise Volatility in Threat to Profits (BBG) Bernanke Plays Down Link Between Jobless Rate, Fed Moves (WSJ) Draghi to Carney Face Test Backing Guidance on Rates (BBG) China will replace America as the leading superpower, global attitudes survey finds (SCMP) Nonqualified mortgages make up as much as $1.5 trillion of the $10 trillion home-loan market (BBG) House Republicans Vote to Delay Obamcare Mandates (Reuters) China media accuses Japan PM of dangerous politics (Reuters) Dell $24.4 Billion Buyout Plan Is a Nail-Biter as Vote Looms (BBG) Republicans could see more bruising Senate primaries (Reuters) GM delays Chevy Cruze debut by a year (Reuters) Peltz needs support for PepsiCo restructuring dealsa (FT) Sweaty Wall Streeters Skip Booze for Spin-Class Meetings (BBG) US Airways, American offer EU concessions over merger deal (Reuters) Overnight Media Digest WSJ * Penn State's board of trustees has authorized payment of roughly $60 million to settle some personal injury claims by men who say they were sexually abused by Jerry Sandusky, according to people familiar with the matter. * JPMorgan and U.S. energy market regulators are close to a settlement over allegations of electricity-market manipulation that could involve the largest payout in the history of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. * Global regulators are pursuing disparate approaches to protecting the financial system against future shocks. * Fed Chairman Bernanke played down the unemployment rate's weight in the central bank's calculation of when to start raising short-term borrowing costs, a fresh example of the challenge the Fed faces in explaining its easy-money policies to an often perplexed public. * Some of Dell's biggest institutional shareholders are expected to vote against a proposed buyout of the computer maker, a blow for deal proponents. * A question-and-answer tool launched with little fanfare on the European Banking Authority's website is stirring up bond markets and upsetting investors. * In separate remarks, Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke called for additional measures to ensure banks can't threaten the economy. * IBM reported second-quarter earnings declined 17 percent, but the large computer, software and services provider raised its profit outlook for the full year in a positive sign for the technology industry. * Alibaba Group founder Jack Ma reportedly labeled the 1989 crackdown on protesters in Tiananmen Square as "the most correct decision" at the time, drawing sharp criticism online. * Pescanova said its chairman resigned after an outside accounting audit claimed financial irregularities at the multinational fishing giant, one of Spain's most well-known companies. * The European Union's competition watchdog has asked Google Inc to make further concessions as part of its investigation into the way the company ranks and displays search results. FT The Bank of England retreated from its flagship asset buying programme as a means to stimulate the economy, instead signalling a more 'mixed' strategy centred on guiding financial markets, minutes of the July Monetary Policy Committee meeting showed. The International Monetary Fund's governing body has backed Finance Minister George Osborne's austerity push, overruling the organisation's staff who have called for looser fiscal policy. Drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline's finance director in China, Steve Nechelput, has been banned from leaving the country, the company confirmed on Wednesday. Prime Minister David Cameron on Wednesday faced questions over his chief election strategist Lynton Crosby's links to the tobacco industry following the government's decision not to ban branded cigarette packaging. Four out of five banks are planning to raise base pay for employees affected by a European Union-wide cap on bonuses, a survey showed. Activist shareholder Nelson Peltz has called on PepsiCo to buy Mondelez in a $60 billion deal to first form a snack foods company before spinning out its soda business to shareholders. Four Deutsche Bank employees have sued the lender after they were fired as part of an internal investigation into the manipulation of benchmark interbank lending rates. NYT * JPMorgan Chase wants to settle accusations by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission that it gleaned profits from power plants via "manipulative schemes". * The European Commission said that Google Inc's proposal for addressing antitrust concerns did not go far enough and that the company will need to come up with a better plan. * Technology investment company SoftBank is joining with Bloom Energy to introduce its "energy server" technology to Japan. * Ben Bernanke said that the Federal Reserve expected the economy to gain strength in the coming months, potentially allowing the central bank to decelerate its stimulus campaign. * IBM's net income fell 17 percent to $3.2 billion, or $2.91 a share, but the technology giant has weathered well as demand drops in a slumping economy. * Intel's lower earnings reflect the trend of fewer personal computer sales worldwide and the trouble Intel has had moving to mobile devices. * The SEC's plan in its lawsuit against a former Goldman Sachs trader was thrown into disarray in several hours of combative testimony on Wednesday. * As more shareholders seem against Dell's founder buyout proposal, some company directors mull postponing a scheduled vote on the $24.4 billion bid. * Bank of America's second-quarter net income rose 63 percent and while revenue rose, it received a lift from much lower expenses. * Steve Nechelput, a British finance executive at the pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline, is prohibited from leaving the country. * U.S. drugmaker Eli Lilly and Co, which expects to lose about 20 percent of its global revenue next year due to the expiration of key drug patents, is suspending base pay increases for most employees in 2014 to cut costs. Canada THE GLOBE AND MAIL * Stephen Harper's office denies that it is withholding from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police an internal e-mail about the C$90,000 ($86,300) cheque that the prime minister's former chief of staff wrote to Senator Mike Duffy. * Language barriers may be putting the sexual health of some new Canadian teens at risk, says a study that suggests sex education must be tailored to the needs of immigrant adolescents. * One day after an autopsy confirmed "Glee" star Cory Monteith died of a toxic mix of heroin and alcohol, police in Abbotsford, east of Vancouver, warned of a surge of overdoses in their city. Reports in the business section: * Stephen Poloz has spelled out what he expects to see from the economy before the Bank of Canada hikes interest rates, and the timeline appears to be a long one. * About 3,000 salaried retirees have won a class-action case against their former employer, General Motors of Canada Ltd, after the auto giant slashed their health and life insurance benefits as it scrambled to stay afloat during the financial crisis. * Real estate players spent a record C$4.9 billion ($4.70 billion) buying and investing in commercial property in the Greater Toronto Area in the latest quarter, but some are questioning whether this is the peak. * Cineplex Inc is looking beyond blockbusters and popcorn with a C$40 million ($38.36 million) takeover of EK3 Technologies Inc, a digital sign maker whose clients include some of the largest retailers and restaurant chains in Canada. NATIONAL POST * Lisa Raitt's return to the front-line makes her one of the two most senior women in Cabinet, alongside Diane Finley, and has already sparked suggestions that she could be a leadership contender when Stephen Harper finally hangs up his enemies list. FINANCIAL POST * A memo to WestJet Airlines Ltd staff reveals the roll out of its new premium economy seats and fares has been rougher than the carrier hoped. * A controversial plan to build a massive quarry in rolling farmland north of Toronto appears officially dead in the water after a $20 billion hedge fund in Boston agreed to sell the land on which the project was to be located. * Loblaw Companies Ltd's planned acquisition of Shoppers Drug Mart Corp put a charge into Canadian consumer stocks this week, but the C$12.4 billion ($12.40 billion) deal isn't the only thing bolstering the sector's share returns of late. A combination of catalysts including M&A and corporate restructuring as well as real estate spinoffs and shareholder activism have turned the country's largest publicly-traded retailers from an afterthought into one of the hottest plays around. * Bank of Canada on Wednesday said its view "balances the many upside and downside risks to inflation" and that will keep interest rates near record lows for some time to come. China CHINA SECURITIES JOURNAL - China will not use large-scale fiscal stimulus measures this year, Minister of Finance Lou Jiwei said on Wednesday at a Sino-U.S. meeting, but will instead introduce 900 billion yuan ($146.69 billion) of tax cuts, focussing on small businesses, to be implemented within two years. - China's June Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) hit $14.389 billion, a 27-month high and an increase of 20.12 percent (excluding banking, securities and insurance field data) from the same month last year, according to figures released by the Ministry of Commerce on Wednesday. CHINA DAILY - China's positive June FDI numbers underline the nation's continuing appeal to overseas investors and the investment should be harnessed to help stabilise the economy, said an editorial. PEOPLE'S DAILY - China's consumer consumption is expected to grow at a faster rate in the second half of this year, Ministry of Commerce spokesman Shen Danyang told a news conference on Wednesday. Fly On The Wall 7:00 AM Market Snapshot ANALYST RESEARCH Upgrades Lincoln National (LNC) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Deutsche BankPinnacle Financial (PNFP) upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform at Raymond JamesQuality Systems (QSII) upgraded to Equal Weight from Underweight at Morgan Stanley Downgrades ASML (ASML) downgraded to Neutral from Overweight at Piper JaffrayAlexco Resource (AXU) downgraded to Sell from Hold at CanaccordCYS Investments (CYS) downgraded to Neutral from Outperform at Credit SuisseCitrix Systems (CTXS) downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at Raymond JamesElizabeth Arden (RDEN) downgraded to Perform from Outperform at OppenheimerMerck (MRK) downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at BMO CapitalNexstar (NXST) downgraded to Equal Weight from Overweight at EvercoreNorthern Trust (NTRS) downgraded to Underweight from Equal Weight at EvercoreNorthern Trust (NTRS) downgraded to Underweight from Neutral at JPMorganRenasant (RNST) downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at Keefe BruyetteSanDisk (SNDK) downgraded to Equal Weight from Overweight at Morgan StanleyWabash (WNC) downgraded to Hold from Buy at BB&TXilinx (XLNX) downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at Wells FargoeBay (EBAY) downgraded to Hold from Buy at Needham Initiations 21st Century Fox (FOXA) initiated with an Outperform at BernsteinChuy's (CHUY) initiated with a Market Perform at Wells FargoFiesta Restaurant Group (FRGI) initiated with an Outperform at Wells FargoGuidance Software (GUID) initiated with a Buy at B. RileyHealth Care REIT (HCN) initiated with a Neutral at CitigroupJ.B. Hunt (JBHT) initiated with a Neutral at MacquarieLandstar System (LSTR) initiated with an Outperform at MacquariePBF Energy (PBF) coverage reinstated with a Neutral at CitigroupPharmacyclics (PCYC) initiated with an Outperform at RW BairdSouthern First Bancshares (SFST) initiated with an Outperform at Keefe BruyetteUnder Armour (UA) initiated with an Outperform at WedbushUniversal Truckload (UACL) initiated with a Neutral at MacquarieVantage Drilling (VTG) initiated with an Outperform at RBC Capital HOT STOCKS Quest Diagnostics (DGX) sold Ibrutinib royalty rights to Royalty Pharma for $485M Allstate (ALL) to sell Lincoln Benefit Life Co. for $600MTo cease issuing fixed annuities at year-endFlagstar Bancorp (FBC) to shift focus of mortgage servicing business to performing servicing assetsNoble Corp. (NE) continuing to work through steps for partial fleet spin off EARNINGS Companies that beat consensus earnings expectations last night and today include: BlackRock (BLK), KeyCorp (KEY), Orbital Sciences (ORB), Danaher (DHR), UnitedHealth (UNH), BB&T (BBT), IBM (IBM), Valmont (VMI), HNI Corporation (HNI), Xilinx (XLNX), Sallie Mae (SLM), American Express (AXP), SanDisk (SNDK), Covanta (CVA), RLI Corp. (RLI) Companies that missed consensus earnings expectations include: Kinder Morgan (KMI), Albemarle (ALB), Cohen & Steers (CNS), eBay (EBAY), Greenhill & Co. (GHL), Select Comfort (SCSS), Intel (INTC) Companies that matched consensus earnings expectations include: Core Laboratories (CLB), Steel Dynamics (STLD), Pacific Continental (PCBK), Cathay General (CATY) NEWSPAPERS/WEBSITES Global regulators are pursuing disparate approaches to protecting the financial system against future shocks, fracturing an agreement forged in the wake of 2008 financial crisis to adopt a coordinated response, the Wall Street Journal reports For decades, car shoppers in the U.S.’s coastal states largely bought Japanese and European imports over Ford (F) and other American brands. But that’s changing for Ford, highlighting the success its new models are having hitting the right notes for consumers looking to buy small and medium size passenger cars, the Wall Street Journal reports US Airways (LCC) and American Airlines (AAMRQ) offered concessions to EU antitrust regulators to win approval for their planned $11B merger to create the world's largest airline. The EC will decide by August 6 whether to clear the deal, Reuters reports Bank of America’s (BAC) balance sheet suffered from rising bond yields in Q2, suggesting that the second-largest U.S. bank may be more exposed to interest-rate risk than some of its major rivals, Reuters reports GM (GM) CEO Akerson sees Telsa Motors (TSLA) as a potentially disruptive force to the automotive industry and he doesn’t want to be caught off guard. So he assigned a small team to study billionaire industrialist Elon Musk’s upstart electric-car maker and how it might threaten GM, Bloomberg reports Japan’s Softbank Corp. (SFTBF), now the majority owner of Sprint (S), formed a joint venture with Bloom Energy Corp. to market and distribute the California firms’s fuel cell technology in Japan, Bloomberg reports SYNDICATE AcelRx (ACRX) files to sell common stockBerry Plastics (BERY) 15M share Secondary priced at $21.63OncoMed (OMED) 4.8M share IPO priced at $17.00TG Therapeutics (TGTX) files to sell common stockUCP, Inc. (UCP) 7.75M share IPO priced at $15.00WhiteWave Foods (WWAV) 29.9M share Secondary priced at $17.75 ACTIVIST INVESTORS Nelson Peltz says PepsiCo (PEP) should buy Mondelez (MDLZ), amounting large stake in DuPont (DD), according to CNBCCarl Icahn told CNBC he feels “pretty good” ahead of Dell (DELL) shareholder meeting Said wants to own Dell, “doesn't care” if Michael Dell raises his bid Icahn said Herbalife (HLF) still undervalued, hasn't sold a share
India Joins Brazil to China in Efforts to Tighten Liquidity (BBG) Seven dead as police and protesters clash in Egypt (Reuters) U.S. senators fail to cut deal, head for showdown on filibuster (Reuters) Gasoline Tankers Beating Crude for First Time on Record (BBG) Smithfield's China bidders plan Hong Kong IPO after deal (Reuters) Bitcoin ETF plan struggles to find support (FT) Big Home Builders Gobble Up Rivals Starved for Cash (WSJ) Putin wants Snowden to go, but asylum not ruled out (Reuters) Zimmerman's lawyer calls prosecutors 'disgrace' to profession (Reuters) McDonald’s to bring Big Mac to Vietnam (FT) Korean Pilots Avoided Manual Flying, Former Trainers Say (BBG) Transparency Suffers as State Department Fails to Report (BBG) Musk to Release ‘Hyperloop’ Tranport Plans Next Month (BBG) China Targets Big Pharma (WSJ) Overnight Media Digest WSJ * The Senate moved closer to a clash that could stall a range of legislative business, after an unusual, closed-door meeting failed to resolve a dispute over President Barack Obama's executive-branch nominees. * Lowering health-care costs is tougher than improving the quality of care, according to first-year results from a key pilot program under the federal health law. * The nation's biggest publicly traded home builders are on a buying spree, snapping up small privately held companies who made it through the housing slump but now are struggling to find financing. * China unveiled a litany of bribery and misconduct allegations against GlaxoSmithKline, a move that industry experts said could presage a broader crackdown in a lucrative market for pharmaceutical and medical companies. * Charles Grassley, the top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, launched an investigation into an arrangement in which the University of Michigan sells early peeks at its consumer-sentiment survey to a select group of investors through Thomson Reuters. * The European Banking Authority said that 3,175 European finance-sector workers earned more than 1 million euros ($1.30 million) each in 2011, the vast majority of them based in the UK. * First Data Corp, owned by private equity firm KKR & Co , will suspend 401(k) contributions to employees and replace cash bonuses with stock as part of its new chief executive's strategy to return the credit-card processor to profitability. * Chinese search giant Baidu Inc said it would buy 91 Wireless Websoft Ltd, one of China's mobile app stores, for $1.9 billion from NetDragon Websoft Inc, as it ramps up to compete for business from China's growing population of smartphone-carrying consumers. * Opposing lawyers said former Goldman Sachs Group Inc executive Fabrice Tourre was either a liar who cost investors $1 billion or a "scapegoat" whom securities regulators intend to blame for risks taken by sophisticated buyers and sellers ahead of the financial crisis. * London-based auctioneer Christie's said it is planning to hold its first sale in India this winter in an expansion that reflects the growing clout of Indian collectors in the global art marketplace. * Bill Gross, manager of the world's biggest bond fund at Pacific Investment Management Co boosted exposure to interest-rate risk in June at time when yields jumped, a move that led to the fund's record quarterly loss in the second quarter. FT Chinese authorities accused drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline of being the ringleader at the center of a half-a-billion-dollar bribery scandal that involved 700 companies. A report by Europe's banking regulator reveals that the UK is home to more top-earning bankers than all other EU members put together. RWE npower has publicly warned that the government's green policies will mean higher energy costs for consumers, saying bills would rise by more than 19 percent by the end of the decade. Two former brokers who worked for RP Martin were charged by Britain's Serious Fraud Office for allegedly attempting to manipulate the yen-Libor rate. Commerzbank said it had agreed to sell the UK operations of its property lending arm to Wells Fargo and private equity company Lone Star in a 4 billion pound ($6.04 billion) deal. Spain's Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy rejected calls for him to step down over a slush fund scandal that has hit his party and warned of the risks of plunging Spain into "political instability." NYT * British safety investigators are examining if a failure in the emergency transmitter, which would send out the plane's location in the event of a crash, caused the plane to catch fire on Friday at the Heathrow Airport in London. Honeywell Aerospace, which supplies the transmitter and the jet's navigation system, said Monday that it had sent technical experts to Heathrow to help the investigators. * AT&T plans to announce on Tuesday a way for customers to upgrade phones sooner. T-Mobile unveiled a similar option last week. * A sprawling factory that churns out the profitable Jeep Grand Cherokee has become a symbol of hope that Detroit's downward spiral can be reversed. * The civil trial of former Goldman Sachs trader Fabrice Tourre, whose work putting together a now-notorious mortgage investment is the focus of the Securities and Exchange Commission's case, began Monday in Federal District Court in Manhattan. * Chinese police on Monday accused British drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline of channeling bribes to Chinese officials and doctors through travel agencies to boost sales illegally and raise the price of its medicines in the country. * Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the former chief of the International Monetary Fund whose career unraveled in a series of sex scandals, was named a board member of the Russian Regional Development Bank, a banking subsidiary of Russian state oil company Rosneft. * BMW has bet considerable resources that the cost advantages of operating an electric car will outweigh the one big disadvantage - range. BMW will sell a motorcycle gasoline engine with the new i3 that helps maintain the charge when the car runs low. * Bill Damaschke, chief creative officer of DreamWorks is increasingly calling the artistic shots as Jeffrey Katzenberg, head of the film studio, focuses on other areas. * A report on ethical conduct surveyed 250 industry insiders, a quarter of whom said they would engage in insider trading to make $10 million if there were no repercussions. * Baidu, China's leading search engine company, said it reached a preliminary agreement to acquire 91 Wireless, a major mobile app developer and app store operator in China. Canada THE GLOBE AND MAIL * Prime Minister Stephen Harper is girding for the next election with a huge cabinet shuffle that enlists and promotes younger ministers to fashion a team he can take into an expected 2015 campaign. () * The Harper government is facing questions about whether Conservative staffers were compiling enemies lists as part of transition plans for Monday's cabinet shuffle. () * Toronto police have one suspect in custody after a triple homicide Monday night. Sergeant Steve Woodhouse confirmed that homicide squad and forensic teams were investigating the murders at a townhouse complex on Old Burnhamthorpe Road in Etobicoke, in Toronto's west end. () Reports in the business section: * Loblaw Companies Ltd announced on Monday an agreement to buy Shoppers Drug Mart Corp for $12.4 billion in cash and stock. * Telus Corp announced on Monday a new "Clear and Simple" pricing plan based on two-year, rather than three-year, contracts. The plan allows customers to pick a device and data plans, and share it among multiple users with different devices. * Toronto Sun's Editor-In-Chief James Wallace, a former reporter and columnist with the paper, who was appointed to the job in 2008, told the staff he would be stepping down Monday afternoon. Executives at Sun Media Corp, who own the Toronto tabloid, didn't respond to requests for comment but confirmed his departure. * Corporate Canada is warmly welcoming new Industry Minister James Moore, saying he will bring a more effective hands-on approach than his predecessor to a job that oversees some of the most contentious files facing the government, including competition in the wireless phone sector. NATIONAL POST * Prime Minister Stephen Harper's office asked Conservative political staffers to develop lists of "enemy" lobby groups, as well as troublesome bureaucrats and reporters to avoid as part of preparations for incoming ministers named in Monday's cabinet shuffle, according to leaked emails sent to Postmedia News by an unidentified source. * A humanitarian relief organization that lost its charity status two years ago over its alleged support for Hamas said Monday it was suspending operations after the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce won court approval to close its accounts. * Toronto police says it has foiled a multi-million dollar fraud scheme that saw a network of 25 people trick major banks into loaning money to phoney businesses. * NDP members in Scarborough-Guildwood, Ontario are questioning the nomination process that saw former city councillor Adam Giambrone become the party's candidate in an upcoming provincial byelection. * One person is in police custody following an apparent triple homicide in Etobicoke, Toronto on Monday night. * The death of an elderly woman in a fatal apartment fire on Saturday is being investigated as a homicide, according to Toronto police, who are hoping to identify a man seen leaving the building shortly before the blaze was reported. FINANCIAL POST * An industry source confirmed that the U.S. pharmaceutical and grocery giant Walgreen Co was leading a group that had come to Canada to consider making an offer for Shoppers Drug Mart Corp. * The $12.4-billion deal between Loblaw and Shoppers Drug Mart announced on Monday could be a boon to consumers if Canada's two retail giants start sharing loyalty programs and products. * Stephen Harper is banking on Jim Flaherty -- his veteran finance minister and the only one to have that job in the Harper government -- to continue cutting the federal deficit and to provide steady, though meagre, growth. * Christian Paradis is out as head of Industry Canada and will be replaced by James Moore, formerly minister of Canadian Heritage. China CHINA SECURITIES JOURNAL - China will announce reforms this year, making the operation of pension funds investment feasible in future, said experts with the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security. - Authorities will likely raise the domestic price of refined oil prices on July 19 by the largest amount since the implementation of the new pricing mechanism in March, analysts said. SECURITIES TIMES - About 30 percent of the 1,530 listed companies that have reported results for the second quarter so far have showed a decline in net profit, according to the newspaper's calculation. SHANGHAI SECURITIES NEWS - The net profit of the securities industry in the first half of 2013 showed the first increase for three years, rising to 24.47 billion yuan ($3.99 billion), up 8.1 percent from a year earlier, said a report by the Securities Association of China. 21ST CENTURY BUSINESS HERALD - The Development and Reform Commission of Guangdong Province will launch a large-scale pilot project for carbon trading as early as September, the commission said. PEOPLE'S DAILY - Following reforms to China's rail cargo system, average daily rail cargo volume was 8.36 million tons year-to-date through July 15, basically unchanged from the same period a year earlier, ending a period of decline, said an official with China Railway Corporation. Fly On The Wall 7:00 AM Market Snapshot ANALYST RESEARCH Upgrades Baidu (BIDU) upgraded to Neutral from Sell at CitigroupGeneral Motors (GM) upgraded to Conviction Buy from Buy at GoldmanInteractive Brokers (IBKR) upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform at Keefe BruyetteKinder Morgan Energy (KMP) upgraded to Outperform from Neutral at Credit SuisseNYSE Euronext (NYX) upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform at Keefe BruyettePerfect World (PWRD) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at CitigroupResolute Forest (RFP) upgraded to Sector Perform from Underperform at RBC CapitalSpectrum (SPPI) upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform at JMP Securities Downgrades Bloomin' Brands (BLMN) downgraded to Neutral from Overweight at JPMorganBrinker (EAT) downgraded to Neutral from Overweight at JPMorganChesapeake Utilities (CPK) downgraded to Hold from Buy at Brean CapitalDCP Midstream (DPM) downgraded to Underperform from Neutral at Credit SuisseDaVita (DVA) downgraded to Sell from Neutral at GoldmanDelphi Automotive (DLPH) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at GoldmanFord (F) downgraded to Buy from Conviction Buy at GoldmanGenesis Energy (GEL) downgraded to Neutral from Outperform at Credit SuisseJoe's Jeans (JOEZ) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at B. RileyJoe's Jeans (JOEZ) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Roth CapitalMercer (MERC) downgraded to Sector Perform from Outperform at RBC CapitalNautilus (NLS) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at B. RileyStamps.com (STMP) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at B. RileyStandard Motor Products (SMP) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at GoldmanTenneco (TEN) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at GoldmanTexas Roadhouse (TXRH) downgraded to Neutral from Overweight at JPMorgan Initiations ARIAD (ARIA) initiated with a Neutral at Credit SuisseBJ's Restaurants (BJRI) initiated with a Buy at StifelBrinker (EAT) initiated with a Hold at StifelBuffalo Wild Wings (BWLD) initiated with a Hold at StifelCheesecake Factory (CAKE) initiated with a Buy at StifelChipotle (CMG) initiated with a Hold at StifelChuy's (CHUY) initiated with a Hold at StifelConstellium (CSTM) initiated with a Buy at CitigroupDarden (DRI) initiated with a Hold at StifelDel Frisco's (DFRG) initiated with a Buy at StifelDomino's Pizza (DPZ) initiated with a Buy at StifelDunkin' Brands (DNKN) initiated with a Hold at StifelGoGo (GOGO) initiated with an Overweight at JPMorganJack in the Box (JACK) initiated with a Hold at StifelMasimo (MASI) initiated with an Outperform at WedbushMcDonald's (MCD) initiated with a Hold at StifelMedAssets (MDAS) initiated with a Buy at JefferiesPanera Bread (PNRA) initiated with a Hold at StifelRuby Tuesday (RT) initiated with a Hold at StifelSonic (SONC) initiated with a Hold at StifelStarbucks (SBUX) initiated with a Hold at StifelTexas Roadhouse (TXRH) initiated with a Buy at StifelTrovagene (TROV) initiated with a Buy at CantorWendy's (WEN) initiated with a Hold at StifelYum! Brands (YUM) initiated with a Buy at Stifel HOT STOCKS Baidu (BIDU) acquired 100% interest in NetDragon subsidiary 91 Wireless for $1.9B McDonald's (MCD) announced developmental licensee for VietnamEQT Midstream Partners (EQM) to acquire pipeline from EQT Corp. (EQT)Wilshire Bancorp (WIBC) acquired Saehan Bancorp for $105.5MJoe's Jeans (JOEZ) to acquire Hudson Clothing for about $97.6MActavis' (ACT) generic version of Lamictal ODT (GSK) received FDA approvalSims Metal (SMS) announced sale of U.S.-based aerospace metals businessNQ Mobile (NQ) acquired remaining 45% stake in subsidiary NationSky for $25.2MHeidrick & Struggles (HSII) to pursue standalone strategy after CEO resigned EARNINGS Companies that beat consensus earnings expectations last night and today include:Mercantile Bank (MBWM), Del Frisco's (DFRG), Brown & Brown (BRO) Companies that missed consensus earnings expectations include:Miller Energy (MILL), Cintas (CTAS), Stanley Furniture (STLY), Joe's Jeans (JOEZ) Companies that matched consensus earnings expectations include:WhiteWave Foods (WWAV) NEWSPAPERS/WEBSITES The largest U.S. publicly traded home builders (LEN, SPF, TOL, DHI, NVR, RYL) are on a buying spree, snapping up small privately held companies who made it through the housing slump but now are struggling to find financing, the Wall Street Journal reports Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA), the top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, launched an investigation into an arrangement in which the University of Michigan sells early peeks at its consumer-sentiment survey to a select group of investors through Thomson Reuters (TRI), the Wall Street Journal reports As China plans to restrict vehicle sales in eight more cities to cut traffic congestion and pollution, car manufacturers (GM, F, TM, FIATY, VLKAY) aren’t concerned, since they expect organic growth in the world's biggest auto market to outweigh any restrictions, Reuters reports Stronger earnings by Citigroup (C) show it’s on the path to recovery but its broad presence in emerging markets, many of which are experiencing slowing economic growth, may temper investors' optimism. Emerging markets have fueled two-thirds of Citigroup revenue growth for the last two years, Reuters reports Tankers (STNG) hauling gasoline and diesel are poised to earn more than crude carriers six times their size for the first time on record as the U.S. exports the most refined-oil products in at least two decades, Bloomberg reports Anadarko Petroleum (APC), a partner in the BP (BP) well that blew up in 2010 and triggered the largest U.S. offshore oil spill, must face a lawsuit claiming it misled investors, said U.S. District Judge Keith P. Ellison in Houston, Bloomberg reports SYNDICATE Access Midstream (ACMP) files to sell $300M of common units for limited partnersAmREIT (AMRE) files to sell 3M shares of common stockBerry Plastics (BERY) files to sell 15M shares of common stock for holdersBoise Cascade (BCC) files to sell 10M shares of common stock for holdersEQT Midstream Partners (EQM) to offer 10M common units for limited partnersHealthcare Realty Trust (HR) files to sell 3M shares of common stockInsmed (INSM) files to sell $60M in common stockPennantPark Floating Rate (PFLT) files to ell 4.7M shares of common stockWhiteWave Foods (WWAV) files to sell 29.9M shares of common stock
Крупнейший в Канаде ретейлер Loblaw Cos Ltd договорился о покупке Shoppers Drug Mart Corp за 12,4 млрд канадских долларов (11,9 млрд долл. США). Слияние, которое пройдет в форме комбинированной сделки, предусматривающей выплату денежных средств и обмен акциями, должно укрепить позиции канадских торговцев в их борьбе наступающим из США Wal-Mart Stores Inc. Покупка крупнейшей в Канаде фармацевтической сети позволит Loblaw создать глобальную розничную сеть с оборотами более чем в 42 млрд канадских долларов (40,4 млрд долл. США) и выходом на быстрорастущий рынок локальных небольших городских магазинов.
Loblaw's (LBLCF.PK) C$12.4B ($11.93B) acquisition of Shoppers Drug Mart (SHDMF.PK) will create a company that generates over C$42B a year and comes amid increasing competition from Target (TGT) and Wal-Mart (WMT). "With scale and capability, we will be able to accelerate our momentum and strengthen our position in the increasingly competitive marketplace," says Loblaw Executive Chairman Galen Weston. (PR)
Loblaw's (LBLCF.PK) C$12.4B ($11.93B) acquisition of Shoppers Drug Mart (SHDMF.PK) will create a company that generates over C$42B a year and comes amid increasing competition from Target (TGT) and Wal-Mart (WMT). "With scale and capability, we will be able to accelerate our momentum and strengthen our position in the increasingly competitive marketplace," says Loblaw Executive Chairman Galen Weston. (PR) Post your comment!
Крупнейший в Канаде ритейлер пищевых продуктов Loblaw приобретет компанию Shoppers Drug Mart за C$12,4 млрд ($11,9 млрд) в связи с усилением конкуренции со стороны сетей Target и Wal-Mart Stores. Так, предложение Loblaw в размере C$61,54 за каждую бумагу на 27% превышает последнюю цену закрытия. Компания Loblaw заявила, что посредством данной сделки намерена создать "ритейлера-гиганта" с общим объемом выручки в размере C$42 млрд.
Loblaw (LBLCF.PK), Canada's biggest food retailer, has agreed to acquire the country's biggest pharmacy chain, Shoppers Drug Mart (SHDMF.PK), for C$12.4B ($11.93B) in cash and stock. Loblaw's offer of C$61.54 a share represents a premium of 27% premium to Shoppers' closing price on Friday. (PR)
Loblaw (LBLCF.PK), Canada's biggest food retailer, has agreed to acquire the country's biggest pharmacy chain, Shoppers Drug Mart (SHDMF.PK), for C$12.4B ($11.93B) in cash and stock. Loblaw's offer of C$61.54 a share represents a premium of 27% premium to Shoppers' closing price on Friday. (PR) Post your comment!
TORONTO - Loblaw Companies Ltd. (TSX: L) has a friendly deal to purchase Shoppers Drug Mart Corp. (TSX: SC) for $12.4 billion in cash and stock — a deal that will combine Canada's largest grocery and pharmacy chains.Using the Friday closing price, the offer is worth $61.54 per Shoppers Drug Mart common share — about 29 per cent above the recent average trading price for the Shoppers stock.Under the terms of the agreement, which is still subject to approvals, Shoppers will keep its brand name and operate as a separate division of Loblaw."This transformational partnership changes the retail landscape in Canada," said Galen G. Weston, executive chairman of Loblaw."With scale and capability, we will be able to accelerate our momentum and strengthen our position in the increasingly competitive marketplace."Canadian retailers have faced increasing competition from large U.S. chains, such as Target, which began to roll out its stores across the country earlier this year. It joins Walmart and Costco and as well as domestic retailers such as Sobeys that offer a combination of merchandise, pharmacy products and groceries.Domenic Pilla, president and CEO of Shoppers Drug Mart, said the deal provides "significant and immediate value" for shareholders."For our Associate-owners and employees, who are a valued part of the equation, it provides the opportunity to pursue rewarding careers as we grow together. And for our customers, it provides more locations with an enhanced mix of products and offerings that contribute to the good health of Canadians."Loblaw is offering $33.18 in cash plus about six-tenths of a Loblaw common share for each Shoppers Drug Mart common share.In a related move, George Weston Ltd. (TSX:WN) will subscribe for 10.5 million additional shares of Loblaw — its main subsidiary — valued at $500 million. Weston will py $47.55, the closing price for Loblaw shares on Friday.Proceeds from the Weston stock purchase will be used to pay a portion of the Shoppers purchase. George Weston will control about 46 per cent of the Loblaw voting rights after the acquisition.W. Galen Weston, executive chairman of Weston and the father of Loblaws executive chairman Galen G. Weston, said the investment "underscores our strong support of this transaction and the value that can be generated by combining Loblaw, Canada's leading food retailer, and Shoppers Drug Mart, the country's leading pharmacy retailer."
Loblaw Cos Ltd, Canada's largest food retailer, will buy Shoppers Drug Mart Corp for C$12.4 billion , as it faces increasing competition from Target Corp and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. By acquiring Canada's ...
(Reuters) - Loblaw Cos Ltd, Canada's largest food retailer, will buy Shoppers Drug Mart Corp, the country's biggest pharmacy chain, for C$12.4 billion ($11.9 billion) to bulk up against intensifying competition from U.S. retail giants as well as from consolidating local rivals.
Preface: All capitalist systems have some inequality. We don’t want to prevent all inequality … just economy-wrecking levels: Lawrence Katz, a Harvard economist, adds that some inequality is necessary to create incentives in a capitalist economy but that “too much inequality can harm the efficient operation of the economy.” And you might assume that conservatives don’t worry about rampant inequality … but that is a myth. Inequality - Which Hurts the Economy - Is Skyrocketing A who’s-who’s of prominent economists in government and academia have all said that runaway inequality can cause financial crises. Extreme inequality helped cause the Great Depression, the current financial crisis ... and the fall of the Roman Empire. But inequality in America today is actually twice as bad as in ancient Rome , worse than it was in in Tsarist Russia, Gilded Age America, modern Egypt, Tunisia or Yemen, many banana republics in Latin America, and worse than experienced by slaves in 1774 colonial America. Inequality has grown steadily worse: It is worse under Obama than under Bush. A recent study shows that the richest Americans captured more than 100% of all recent income gains. And see this. There are 2 economies: one for the rich, and the other for everyone else. Alan Greenspan said: Our problem basically is that we have a very distorted economy, in the sense that there has been a significant recovery in our limited area of the economy amongst high-income individuals… *** They are fundamentally two separate types of economies. Why is Inequality Going Through the Roof? The world’s top economic leaders have said for years that inequality is spiraling out of control and needs to be reduced. Why is inequality soaring even though world economic leaders have talked for years about the urgent need to reduce it? Because they're saying one thing but doing something very different. And both mainstream Democrats and mainstream Republicans are using smoke and mirrors to hide what's really going on. And it’s not surprising … Nobel prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz says that inequality is caused by the use of money to shape government policies to benefit those with money. As Wikipedia notes: A better explainer of growing inequality, according to Stiglitz, is the use of political power generated by wealth by certain groups to shape government policies financially beneficial to them. This process, known to economists as rent-seeking, brings income not from creation of wealth but from "grabbing a larger share of the wealth that would otherwise have been produced without their effort" Rent seeking is often thought to be the province of societies with weak institutions and weak rule of law, but Stiglitz believes there is no shortage of it in developed societies such as the United States. Examples of rent seeking leading to inequality include the obtaining of public resources by "rent-collectors" at below market prices (such as granting public land to railroads, or selling mineral resources for a nominal price in the US), selling services and products to the public at above market prices (medicare drug benefit in the US that prohibits government from negotiating prices of drugs with the drug companies, costing the US government an estimated $50 billion or more per year), securing government tolerance of monopoly power (The richest person in the world in 2011, Carlos Slim, controlled Mexico's newly privatized telecommunication industry). (Background here, here and here.) Stiglitz says: One big part of the reason we have so much inequality is that the top 1 percent want it that way. The most obvious example involves tax policy .... Monopolies and near monopolies have always been a source of economic power—from John D. Rockefeller at the beginning of the last century to Bill Gates at the end. Lax enforcement of anti-trust laws, especially during Republican administrations, has been a godsend to the top 1 percent. Much of today’s inequality is due to manipulation of the financial system, enabled by changes in the rules that have been bought and paid for by the financial industry itself—one of its best investments ever. The government lent money to financial institutions at close to 0 percent interest and provided generous bailouts on favorable terms when all else failed. Regulators turned a blind eye to a lack of transparency and to conflicts of interest. *** Wealth begets power, which begets more wealth …. Virtually all U.S. senators, and most of the representatives in the House, are members of the top 1 percent when they arrive, are kept in office by money from the top 1 percent, and know that if they serve the top 1 percent well they will be rewarded by the top 1 percent when they leave office. By and large, the key executive-branch policymakers on trade and economic policy also come from the top 1 percent. When pharmaceutical companies receive a trillion-dollar gift—through legislation prohibiting the government, the largest buyer of drugs, from bargaining over price—it should not come as cause for wonder. It should not make jaws drop that a tax bill cannot emerge from Congress unless big tax cuts are put in place for the wealthy. Given the power of the top 1 percent, this is the way you would expect the system to work. Bloomberg reports: The financial industry spends hundreds of millions of dollars every election cycle on campaign donations and lobbying, much of which is aimed at maintaining the subsidy [to the banks by the public]. The result is a bloated financial sector and recurring credit gluts. Indeed, the big banks literally own the Federal Reserve. And they own Washington D.C. politicians, lock stock and barrel. See this, this, this and this. Two leading IMF officials, the former Vice President of the Dallas Federal Reserve, and the the head of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, Moody’s chief economist and many others have all said that the United States is controlled by an “oligarchy” or “oligopoly”, and the big banks and giant financial institutions are key players in that oligarchy. Economics professor Randall Wray writes: Thieves … took over the whole economy and the political system lock, stock, and barrel. No wonder the government has saved the big banks at taxpayer expense, chosen the banks over the little guy, and said no to helping Main Street ... while continuing to throw trillions at the giant banks. No wonder crony capitalism has gotten even worse under Obama. No wonder Obama is prosecuting fewer financial crimes than Bush, or his father or Ronald Reagan. No wonder: All of the monetary and economic policy of the last 3 years has helped the wealthiest and penalized everyone else. See this, this and this. *** Economist Steve Keen says: “This is the biggest transfer of wealth in history”, as the giant banks have handed their toxic debts from fraudulent activities to the countries and their people. Stiglitz said in 2009 that Geithner’s toxic asset plan “amounts to robbery of the American people”. And economist Dean Baker said in 2009 that the true purpose of the bank rescue plans is “a massive redistribution of wealth to the bank shareholders and their top executives”. Quantitative easing doesn’t help Main Street or the average American. It only helps big banks, giant corporations, and big investors. And by causing food and gas prices skyrocket, it takes a bigger bite out of the little guy’s paycheck, and thus makes the poor even poorer. As I noted in March 2009: The bailout money is just going to line the pockets of the wealthy, instead of helping to stabilize the economy or even the companies receiving the bailouts: Bailout money is being used to subsidize companies run by horrible business men, allowing the bankers to receive fat bonuses, to redecorate their offices, and to buy gold toilets and prostitutes A lot of the bailout money is going to the failing companies’ shareholders Indeed, a leading progressive economist says that the true purpose of the bank rescue plans is “a massive redistribution of wealth to the bank shareholders and their top executives” The Treasury Department encouraged banks to use the bailout money to buy their competitors, and pushed through an amendment to the tax laws which rewards mergers in the banking industry (this has caused a lot of companies to bite off more than they can chew, destabilizing the acquiring companies) As I wrote in 2008: The game of capitalism only continues as long as everyone has some money to play with. If the government and corporations take everyone’s money, the game ends.The fed and Treasury are not giving more chips to those who need them: the American consumer. Instead, they are giving chips to the 800-pound gorillas at the poker table, such as Wall Street investment banks. Indeed, a good chunk of the money used by surviving mammoth players to buy the failing behemoths actually comes from the Fed. Government Policy Is Increasing Inequality Without the government’s creation of the too big to fail banks (they’ve gotten much bigger under Obama), the Fed’s intervention in interest rates and the markets (most of the quantitative easing has occurred under Obama), and government-created moral hazard emboldening casino-style speculation (there’s now more moral hazard than ever before) … things wouldn’t have gotten nearly as bad. Goosing the Stock Market Moreover, the Fed has more or less admitted that it is putting almost all of its efforts into boosting the stock market. Robert Reich has noted: Some cheerleaders say rising stock prices make consumers feel wealthier and therefore readier to spend. But to the extent most Americans have any assets at all their net worth is mostly in their homes, and those homes are still worth less than they were in 2007. The “wealth effect” is relevant mainly to the richest 10 percent of Americans, most of whose net worth is in stocks and bonds. AP writes: The recovery has been the weakest and most lopsided of any since the 1930s.After previous recessions, people in all income groups tended to benefit. This time, ordinary Americans are struggling with job insecurity, too much debt and pay raises that haven’t kept up with prices at the grocery store and gas station. The economy’s meager gains are going mostly to the wealthiest. Workers’ wages and benefits make up 57.5 percent of the economy, an all-time low. Until the mid-2000s, that figure had been remarkably stable — about 64 percent through boom and bust alike. David Rosenberg points out: The “labor share of national income has fallen to its lower level in modern history … some recovery it has been – a recovery in which labor’s share of the spoils has declined to unprecedented levels.” The above-quoted AP article further notes: Stock market gains go disproportionately to the wealthiest 10 percent of Americans, who own more than 80 percent of outstanding stock, according to an analysis by Edward Wolff, an economist at Bard College. Indeed, as I reported in 2010: As of 2007, the bottom 50% of the U.S. population owned only one-half of one percent of all stocks, bonds and mutual funds in the U.S. On the other hand, the top 1% owned owned 50.9%.*** (Of course, the divergence between the wealthiest and the rest has only increased since 2007.) Professor G. William Domhoff demonstrated that the richest 10% own 98.5% of all financial securities, and that: The top 10% have 80% to 90% of stocks, bonds, trust funds, and business equity, and over 75% of non-home real estate. Since financial wealth is what counts as far as the control of income-producing assets, we can say that just 10% of the people own the United States of America. As Tyler Durden notes: In today’s edition of Bloomberg Brief, the firm’s economist Richard Yamarone looks at one of the more unpleasant consequences of Federal monetary policy: the increasing schism in wealth distribution between the wealthiest percentile and everyone else. … “To the extent that Federal Reserve policy is driving equity prices higher, it is also likely widening the gap between the haves and the have-nots….The disparity between the net worth of those on the top rung of the income ladder and those on lower rungs has been growing. According to the latest data from the Federal Reserve’s Survey of Consumer Finances, the total wealth of the top 10 percent income bracket is larger in 2009 than it was in 1995. Those further down have on average barely made any gains. It is likely that data for 2010 and 2011 will reveal an even higher percentage going to the top earners, given recent increases in stocks.” Alas, this is nothing new, and merely confirms speculation that the Fed is arguably the most efficient wealth redistibution, or rather focusing, mechanism available to the status quo. This is best summarized in the chart below comparing net worth by income distribution for various percentiles among the population, based on the Fed’s own data. In short: the richest 20% have gotten richer in the past 14 years, entirely at the expense of everyone else. *** Lastly, nowhere is the schism more evident, at least in market terms, than in the performance of retail stocks: Saks chairman Steve Sadove recently remarked, “I’ve been saying for several years now the single biggest determinant of our business overall, is how’s the stock market doing.” Privately-owned Neiman- Marcus reported “In New York City, business at Bergdorf Goodman continues to be extremely strong.” In contrast, retail giant Wal-Mart talks of its “busiest hours” coming at midnight when food stamps are activated and consumers proceed through the check-outs lines with baby formula, diapers, and other groceries. Wal-Mart has posted a decline in same-store sales for eight consecutive quarters. CNN Money pointed out in 2011, “Wal-Mart’s core shoppers are running out of money much faster than a year ago …” This trend has only gotten worse: The wealthy are doing great ... but common folks can no longer afford to shop even at Wal-Mart, Sears, JC Penney or other low-price stores. Durden also notes: Another indication of the increasing polarity of US society is the disparity among consumer confidence cohorts by income as shown below, and summarized as follows: “The increase in equity prices has raised consumer spirits, particularly among higher-income consumers. The Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence index for all income levels bottomed in February/March of 2009. The recovery since then has been notable across the board, but nowhere as much as for those making $50,000 or more.” Over-Financialization When a country's finance sector becomes too large finance, inequality rises. As Wikipedia notes: [Economics professor] Jamie Galbraith argues that countries with larger financial sectors have greater inequality, and the link is not an accident. Government policy has been encouraging the growth of the financial sector for decades: (Economist Steve Keen has also shown that “a sustainable level of bank profits appears to be about 1% of GDP”, and that higher bank profits leads to a ponzi economy and a depression). Unemployment and Underemployment A major source if inequality is unemployment, underemployment and low wages. Government policy has created these conditions. And the pretend populist Obama - who talks non-stop about the importance of job-creation - actually doesn't mind such conditions at all. The“jobless recovery” that the Bush and Obama governments have engineered is a redistribution of wealth from the little guy to the big boys. The New York Times notes: Economists at Northeastern University have found that the current economic recovery in the United States has been unusually skewed in favor of corporate profits and against increased wages for workers. In their newly released study, the Northeastern economists found that since the recovery began in June 2009 following a deep 18-month recession, “corporate profits captured 88 percent of the growth in real national income while aggregate wages and salaries accounted for only slightly more than 1 percent” of that growth. The study, “The ‘Jobless and Wageless Recovery’ From the Great Recession of 2007-2009,” said it was “unprecedented” for American workers to receive such a tiny share of national income growth during a recovery. *** The share of income growth going to employee compensation was far lower than in the four other economic recoveries that have occurred over the last three decades, the study found. Obama apologists say Obama has created jobs. But the number of people who have given up and dropped out of the labor force has skyrocketed under Obama (and see this). And the jobs that have been created have been low-wage jobs. For example, the New York Times noted in 2011: The median pay for top executives at 200 big companies last year was $10.8 million. That works out to a 23 percent gain from 2009. *** Most ordinary Americans aren’t getting raises anywhere close to those of these chief executives. Many aren’t getting raises at all — or even regular paychecks. Unemployment is still stuck at more than 9 percent. *** “What is of more concern to shareholders is that it looks like C.E.O. pay is recovering faster than company fortunes,” says Paul Hodgson, chief communications officer for GovernanceMetrics International, a ratings and research firm. According to a report released by GovernanceMetrics in June, the good times for chief executives just keep getting better. Many executives received stock options that were granted in 2008 and 2009, when the stock market was sinking. Now that the market has recovered from its lows of the financial crisis, many executives are sitting on windfall profits, at least on paper. In addition, cash bonuses for the highest-paid C.E.O.’s are at three times prerecession levels, the report said. *** The average American worker was taking home $752 a week in late 2010, up a mere 0.5 percent from a year earlier. After inflation, workers were actually making less. AP pointed out that the average worker is not doing so well: Unemployment has never been so high — 9.1 percent — this long after any recession since World War II. At the same point after the previous three recessions, unemployment averaged just 6.8 percent. – The average worker’s hourly wages, after accounting for inflation, were 1.6 percent lower in May than a year earlier. Rising gasoline and food prices have devoured any pay raises for most Americans. – The jobs that are being created pay less than the ones that vanished in the recession. Higher-paying jobs in the private sector, the ones that pay roughly $19 to $31 an hour, made up 40 percent of the jobs lost from January 2008 to February 2010 but only 27 percent of the jobs created since then. Alan Greenspan noted: Large banks, who are doing much better and large corporations, whom you point out and everyone is pointing out, are in excellent shape. The rest of the economy, small business, small banks, and a very significant amount of the labour force, which is in tragic unemployment, long-term unemployment – that is pulling the economy apart. Money Being Sucked Out of the U.S. Economy ... But Big Bucks Are Being Made Abroad Part of the widening gap is due to the fact that most American companies’ profits are driven by foreign sales and foreign workers. As AP noted in 2010: Corporate profits are up. Stock prices are up. So why isn’t anyone hiring? Actually, many American companies are — just maybe not in your town. They’re hiring overseas, where sales are surging and the pipeline of orders is fat. *** The trend helps explain why unemployment remains high in the United States, edging up to 9.8% last month, even though companies are performing well: All but 4% of the top 500 U.S. corporations reported profits this year, and the stock market is close to its highest point since the 2008 financial meltdown. But the jobs are going elsewhere. The Economic Policy Institute, a Washington think tank, says American companies have created 1.4 million jobs overseas this year, compared with less than 1 million in the U.S. The additional 1.4 million jobs would have lowered the U.S. unemployment rate to 8.9%, says Robert Scott, the institute’s senior international economist. “There’s a huge difference between what is good for American companies versus what is good for the American economy,” says Scott. *** Many of the products being made overseas aren’t coming back to the United States. Demand has grown dramatically this year in emerging markets like India, China and Brazil. Government policy has accelerated the growing inequality. It has encouraged American companies to move their facilities, resources and paychecks abroad. And some of the biggest companies in America have a negative tax rate … that is, not only do they pay no taxes, but they actually get tax refunds. And a large percentage of the bailouts went to foreign banks (and see this). And so did a huge portion of the money from quantitative easing. More here and here. Capital Gains and Dividends According to a study published last month by a researcher at the U.S. Congressional Research Service: The largest contributor to increasing income inequality…was changes in income from capital gains and dividends. Business Insider explains: Drastic income inequality growth in the United States is largely derived from changes in the way the U.S. government taxes income from capital gains and dividends, according to a new study by Thomas Hungerford of the non-partisan Congressional Research Service. Essentially, what Democrats have been saying about income inequality — that it's in a large part due to favorable taxation and deduction policies for high income Americans — is largely right *** The study ... conclusively found that the wealthy benefitted from low tax rates on investment income, which in turn caused their wealth to grow faster. Essentially, taxing capital gains as ordinary income would make the playing field more fair, and reduce over time income inequality. Joseph Stiglitz noted in 2011: Lowering tax rates on capital gains, which is how the rich receive a large portion of their income, has given the wealthiest Americans close to a free ride. Indeed, the Tax Policy center reports that the top 1% took home 71% of all capital gains in 2012. Ronald Reagan's budget director, assistant secretary of treasury, and domestic policy director all say that the Bush tax cuts were a huge mistake. See this and this.
After tentative first steps, e-commerce giant Amazon is going on the offensive in Canada’s burgeoning e-reader market, finally debuting its Kindle north of the border in a direct challenge to the country’s top-selling Kobo. But e-bookworms shouldn’t expect the same prices or selection granted to Kindle users in the U.S. “It’s the big entry,” said Amazon’s vice-president of Kindle Peter Larsen, who flew to Toronto from Seattle to make the announcement. True, Kindle enthusiasts could already purchase Canada’s second most popular e-reader from Amazon.com and pay to have it shipped across the border. But for the first time, six years after making their debut in the U.S., the devices will be available on both Amazon.ca and at 1,000 retailers in Canada such as Shoppers Drug Mart, The Source and Staples. And Canucks will now be able access the Canadian Kindle store’s selection of 1.5 million books directly from their e-readers. (STORY CONTINUES BELOW SLIDESHOW) The launch, announced Wednesday, comes after the company quietly ramped up the number of titles available to Canadians in December when it made its e-book selection available on its Canadian website. By making the Kindle available in Canada, Amazon expects to gain market share against Toronto-based Kobo, which holds 27 per cent of the Canadian e-book market, followed by Kindle at 19 per cent and the iPad with 14 per cent of the market, according to a survey conducted last year by BookNet Canada. The rest of the e-reading market is divided among desktops, laptops, mobile phones and other devices. “In every country where we’ve launched the Kindle e-reading ecosystem, it’s very quickly become the best-selling device in that country, and we’re cautiously optimistic that that same thing will happen in Canada,” Larsen said. Before December, the selection for Amazon e-books was quite limited for Canadian Kindle users as many bestsellers and popular titles were blocked, and those that were available were priced in U.S. dollars. The devices themselves had also been available only on Amazon’s U.S. website. “So you paid in U.S. dollars, a little bit irritating, longer shipping,” Larsen said. “In this case, of course, you pay with Canadian dollars, you get fast shipping because of our warehouses throughout Canada.” Larsen believes Canadians should be a lot happier with the new selection, but he added that differences in publishing and distribution rights between the U.S. and Canada could continue to prevent access to some titles. “We’ve got some big name publishers. We’re improving all the time. Whether you can find the exact book you want, I’m not sure,” he added. As for prices, they’re still a little steeper in Canada. For example, erotic lit hit Fifty Shades of Grey is C$10.99 on the Canadian site and US$9.99 on the U.S. version; the runaway bestselling thriller Gone Girl is C$13.99 on Amazon.ca and US$12.99 on Amazon.com. Larsen explained that Amazon does not always have control over discrepancies between the U.S. and Canadian listings. “When you see differences between the U.S. and Canada, a lot of the time the publishers set our prices and they have rights issues or they have a different strategy in some cases and they set the price between Canada and the U.S. a little bit differently,” he said. “Whenever we have control over the price, we try to make it as close to the U.S. as possible.” E-readers also cost more on Amazon.ca, which the company explained was due to “special offers” for U.S. customers that are not available in Canada. The Wi-Fi and 3G enabled Paperwhite, just released in September, will be priced at C$199, while the most affordable Kindle model costs C$89. That compares with prices as low as US$179 for the 3G Paperwhite and US$69 for the latest version of the Kindle from the U.S. store (which would not ship to a Toronto address as of Tuesday). Toronto-based rival Kobo offers its Touch version for $99 and the 16GB Kobo Arc, its Android-based tablet released in November, for $199. Amazon’s popular Kindle Fire tablet, which sells at regular price for US$214 for a 16GB model in the U.S., will not yet be available in Canada. But Larsen said the company will “make it available in Canada as soon as we can.” While the Canadian-rooted Kobo reigns with readers currently, BookNet’s customer relations director noted last year, even before Kindles were available in Canada, that Kindle and Apple devices could soon catch up as the market matures and more readers are expected to make the switch to e-books. “The next couple of holiday seasons will be important events for e-reader adoption. Then we’ll see if the majority will mimic the early adopters in terms of device preference,” Pamela Millar said in an October release. For now, Kobo will continue to be the winner for some Canadians, especially those who download rented books from libraries, a convenience that is still not possible with a Kindle. “It’s an initiative that we’ve launched in the States, it’s very very popular, and we’re working to bring it over to Canada as fast as we can,” Larsen said. Amazon doesn’t have a specific quota for Canadian content to be offered in its e-books but says its selection will include “the most” books from The Globe and Mail and Le Devoir bestsellers lists, winners of the Giller prize, a selection from leading Canadian authors including Margaret Atwood, Yann Martel and Alice Munro, in addition to 50,000 titles in French. It will also enable independent authors and publishers to make their books available in the Canada Kindle store using Kindle Direct Publishing. Amazon has spent years trying to crack into the Canadian market as it dealt with, among other issues, government red tape. It reached a deal with Ottawa in 2010 to build its first warehouse in Canada in return for the U.S. company's promise to promote Canadian culture and to hire its first-ever Canadian employees. The government reviewed the proposal under the Investment Canada Act, which protects the bookselling business from foreign ownership because it is part of a cultural industry. Canada had been the only country in which Amazon sells books online but did not have a distribution centre. Instead it used a third-party shipping service to get around the country's foreign investment rules that had prevented it from setting up a bricks-and-mortar presence on Canadian soil. The company just opened its second Canadian warehouse, a West Coast fulfilment centre in Delta, B.C., in September, in addition to one located in Mississauga, Ont. And earlier this month, it announced that it would bring its unlimited, two-day shipping service to Canada for an annual fee of $79.