Following the bounces in new- and existing-home sales in October, all eyes are on Pending Home Sales to complete the trifecta of 'proof' that housing is back baby... and it did rising 3.5% MoM (beating expectations of a 1.0% gain). The driver of the surge was The South (up 7.4% MoM) as September's 3% hurrican tumble is erased. September's data was revsised slightly lower (from 0.0% to -0.4%) but October's jump is the biggest since Feb.. The surprise surge was driven by a huge rebound in The South: Northeast up 0.5%; Sept. rose 1.2% Midwest up 2.8%; Sept. rose 1.4% South up 7.4%; Sept. fell 3% West fell 0.7%; Sept. rose 1.5% (note- the 2010 surge and purge was the pre- and post- moves around the homebuyer tax credits' expiration" “Home shoppers had better luck finding a home to buy in October, but slim pickings and consistently fast price gains continue to frustrate and prevent too many would-be buyers from reaching the market,” Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, said in a statement. “Until new home construction climbs even higher and more investors and homeowners put their home on the market, sales will continue to severely trail underlying demand.”
It’s Black Friday, and in keeping with the Holiday weekend tradition, media commentator Mark Dice traveled to Wal-Marts and other stores to document the “zombie apocalypse” of half-awake consumers hell-bent on elbowing past their peers so they can be sure to get the best deals on electronics, books, video games, clothes and any number of other popular holiday gift items. Of course, as Dice points out, many of the same deals can also be found on a little website called Amazon.com without the hassle of pushing through crowds. After last year’s disappointing sales totals, retail analysts expect holiday weekend spending to come roaring back this year: According to Fox Business, spending per capita is expected to climb 47% compared with last year’s holiday weekend, up from $505 to $743. An estimated 164 million people are planning to shop or are considering shopping during the Thanksgiving weekend, according to a survey by the National Retail Federation. In a rare, positive piece of news for America's beleagured retailers, Americans had already spent $1.52 billion, which is a 17% increase from last year. The warm autumn means fashion sellers are looking to offload masses of unsold coats, boots and woollens. But for everyone who isn’t participating in the retail madness, plenty of videos and images have already emerged on social media of brawls, fistfights and stampedes in the US and around the world as the traditional Black Friday hysteria sets in. The Riverchase Galleria in Alabama, a group of shoppers shouted and pounded one another with their fists while an unlucky few were trampled. Meanwhile, a midnight brawl broke out at one California mall as two shoppers brutally pummeled each other. Of course, the carnage wasn’t limited to the US. One video circulating on Twitter depicted a mass of shoppers swarming a game store in Cape Town, South Africa. Black Friday on Flakka Level. pic.twitter.com/1oBQ9xScLD — Sandile ???????? (@SirVincent_M) November 24, 2017 ...and a multiperson brawl erupted outside the Eastgate Shopping Center in Johannesburg. A scuffle breaks out outside The Checkers in the Eastgate Shopping Centre. #BlackFriday @TeamNews24 Plenty of security guards on duty. pic.twitter.com/R6ihJUkCte — Sharlene Rood (@ssharim) November 24, 2017 At another American all, a scuffle broke out over...toilet paper? Scuffle breaks out over toilet paper #BlackFriday: https://t.co/18qK0R7zbi via @YouTube — Kachi Sam A (@samonyeoo) November 24, 2017 One radical feminist protester hijacked Black Friday sales at a Kiev sweet shop by throwing items around topless. The protester identified with the Femen movement, which has staged many similar protests in Russian and Ukraine.The shop - owned by Roshen - was named after former Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko, whose family famously owned a chocolate empire, as the Daily Mail pointed out. At a shop in Sao Paulo, Brazil's biggest city, huge crowds can be seen struggling to get hold of huge Samsung TVs. In another of the images, a worker climbed a stack of electronics and attempted to marshal the chaos by using a vuvuzela horn. But his efforts failed to stem the swarming crowds. According to local media reports quoted by the Mail, at least 68% of the Brazilians bought something during Black Friday, a number that compared with the 61% of last year and shows a slow increase of the economy. Even in Athens, where the shaky Greek economy has only recently returned to growth, shoppers lined up in search of deals. Photos taken show some happy customers carrying away TVs. In the UK, where Black Friday isn’t as chaotic as it is in other parts of the world, shoppers are expected to spend nearly £8 billion this weekend. In New York City, Macy's Herald Square finally opened its doors at 5pm on Thanksgiving Day for thousands of early Black Friday shoppers in search of amazing sales, door buster deals, and limited-time-offers. Macy's CEO Jeffrey Gennnette has said that spending so far on Black Friday is already slightly better than it was last year. But the day is still young, and as the hours pass, we imagine more outrageous stories of brawls, shootings and other shocking behavior will emerge on social media... ...and we'll be here to chronicle all of it.
Somebody should tell Wal-Mart they’re doing it wrong. In what the Wall Street Journal described as an attempt to lure customers back to its brick-and-mortar locations, Wal-Mart has been quietly raising prices for some food and household products sold on its US website, including Kraft Macaroni & Cheese, Colgate toothbrushes and bags of Purina dog food. Of course, we weren’t in the room when this plan was being vetted by whoever is in charge of corporate strategy at the retailing behemoth. But we find it hard to believe that nobody pointed out the simple fact that, if customers notice that prices have been raised on Wal-Mart’s website, customers can simply buy the same product, or a similar one, from Amazon or another competing retailer. Before this latest shift in strategy, Wal-Mart previously planned to keep online and in-store prices equal for many of its most popular products, WSJ says, unless competition organically drove them lower. But now the company is experimenting with a new pricing system that is raising prices on certain goods that would otherwise be unprofitable to ship. To be sure, the pressure on Wal-Mart to drive foot traffic to its stores has never been greater, especially since the now-Amazon owned Whole Foods Market has been slashing prices left and right in a push to wrest market share away from its rivals. Meanwhile, the strategy of charging more online has been used by other big-box retailers like Costco Wholesale Corp. but the move is unusual for Wal-Mart, which has long embraced the strategy of outcompeting on price in accordance with its “everyday low price” message, and has worked to keep online prices at least as low as shoppers find in its 4,700 U.S. stores. In some cases, product listings on walmart.com show an “online” and “in the store” price. Often the online price matches Amazon. But this system is changing now that the store is focusing on preserving its in-store dominance while also trying to expand its online presence. “We always work to offer the best price online relative to other sites,” a Wal-Mart spokeswoman said. “It simply costs less to sell some items in stores. Customers can access those store prices online when they choose to pick up the item in store." According to WSJ, a box of Kraft Thick n’ Creamy Macaroni & Cheese Dinner was $1.48 on walmart.com as of Friday, the same as Amazon’s price but more than Wal-Mart’s $1.28 store price (listed online). A similar comparison for a twin-pack of Betty Crocker Hamburger Helper showed the price as $3.30 online. but $2.50 if purchased at a Wal-Mart store in Illinois. Wal-Mart is investing billions to boost e-commerce sales, which rose 60% in the US in the most recent quarter, but some shareholders worry the effort could drag on profits. Marc Lore, head of Wal-Mart’s U.S. e-commerce unit, told investors in October that “this year should be the largest loss in e-commerce, and we’ll see slight improvement next year.” The company overall expects profit margins to be slightly down this year. It is scheduled to report third-quarter earnings on Thursday. Wal-Mart e-commerce workers responsible for product sales have been instructed to boost profits along with sales, according to the people familiar with the situation, and are “no longer obligated to follow store pricing,” one of them said. The company is also asking suppliers to sell more of their merchandise in bulk versions instead of single boxes, an effort to increase order sizes and make them more profitable, the people said. For inexpensive items, “there’s no cheaper way to get these products to consumers than have them come in the store and pick it off the shelf themselves,” Lore said at last month’s investor conference. He said he hopes shoppers will come to stores for the best price and place larger orders online to offset the cost of shipment. In an effort to try and compete with Amazon’s “Amazon Prime” service, Wal-Mart offers free two-day shipping on millions of items on any order above $35. Lore, who founded online retailer Jet.com Inc., which Wal-Mart bought last year for $3.3 billion, said that since he became head of Wal-Mart’s U.S. e-commerce division, the company has become more experimental with online marketing and pricing, including offering more discount codes and working with companies that publicize discounts through mobile applications. Amazon is also trying new pricing models. It started lowering prices on products sold by outside vendors by as much as 9% in recent weeks, ratcheting up a price war with other retailers ahead of the holidays. The company is also asking suppliers to sell more of their merchandise in bulk versions instead of single boxes, an effort to increase order sizes and make them more profitable, the people said. For inexpensive items, “there’s no cheaper way to get these products to consumers than have them come in the store and pick it off the shelf themselves,” Mr. Lore said at last month’s investor conference. He said he hopes shoppers will come to stores for the best price and place larger orders online to offset the cost of shipment. The change in Wal-Mart’s strategy comes at a particularly risky time - the holiday shopping season when retailers typically book their highest revenues and profits. If the strategy works, investors should have some idea of exactly how successful it has been by the time the company publishes its fourth-quarter earnings report. However, raising prices in an era of unprecedented online competition could be particularly damaging. Considering the rapid growth Wal-Mart has seen in its online sales this year, raising prices could cause that trend to come to a complete stop.
This morning's announcement of Abercrombie's failed sale process served as a startling reminder of just how toxic mall-based retailers have become to investors in the post-Amazon era. News that not a single suitor was willing to touch the once high-flying, teenage-catering, cologne-infused, mall-based wonderland has wreaked havoc, yet again, today on retail apparel chains, with Abercrombie down over 20% and several others plunging to new all-time lows. Of course, it's not just the specialty apparel stores that are getting crushed. As we've noted several times in the past, the beloved anchor tenants of mall REITs have been among the hardest hit as a new generation shoppers have shunned over-priced department store products. As the Wall Street Journal points out today, department stores like Macy's, Sak's and Lord & Taylor are even being forced to discount their last bastion of hope in order to lure customers into their dying stores: cosmetics. Desperate to get shoppers in the door, department stores are discounting the one item they had long been able to sell at full price: cosmetics. Last month, Lord & Taylor offered 15% off almost all cosmetics and fragrances. Bloomingdale’s gave members of its loyalty program a $25 reward card for every $100 beauty purchase. The moves followed a decision by Macy’s to offer 15% off cosmetics, which it touted in nationally televised advertisements this spring. “We’ve seen our competitors start to discount items like cosmetics, and I’m sure they’re saying we’re doing it,” said Jerry Storch, the chief executive of Saks Fifth Avenue and Lord & Taylor parent Hudson’s Bay, on a conference call last month. “Once you get into that kind of a situation, everyone is fighting for every inch.” A decade ago, shoppers would have been hard-pressed to find any Estée Lauder lipsticks, Bobbi Brown mascara or Shiseido blush on sale. These “prestige” brands are sold mainly at department and specialty stores and tend to be pricier than the so-called mass cosmetics sold at drugstores. Meanwhile, today's move isn't really a new trend for the department stores... Of course, as the former CEO of Bloomingdale's notes, discounting the one product where you still make margin is just a "short-term" fix that will inevitbly speed up the 'race to the bottom' for mall-based retailers... Some department-store industry executives say discounting is a short-term fix. While promotions initially encourage shoppers to buy, they can damage brands over the long term. And because shoppers soon become numb to the deals, retailers are forced to offer ever-deeper price cuts. “Department stores shoot themselves in the foot when they do this,” said Michael Gould, a former CEO of Bloomingdale’s, who ran the upscale department store chain for 23 years until his retirement in 2014. “It’s like they’re putting themselves on drugs.” ...as it fails to address the underlying issue which is shifting consumer habits. Sales of prestige makeup in the U.S. are growing, totaling $8 billion in the 12 months to May, an 11% increase over the same period a year ago, according to market-research firm NPD Group Inc. But department stores’ share of the market fell to 19% in North America last year from 23% a decade ago, according to Euromonitor International data analyzed by Bernstein Research. Over the same period, specialty beauty retailers increased their share to 20% from 14%. But perhaps nothing sums up why the mall-based retailers are doomed than the following comment from a former Lord & Taylor executive: “It’s a disease that retailers have to discount more to make the sales numbers,” said Barbara Zinn Moore, who was Lord & Taylor’s vice president of cosmetics and fragrance from 2001 until last month. “But how else do you get the sales growth?” Last we checked, profit per square foot is what generates returns for shareholders...not revenue per square foot...
Contracts to buy previously owned U.S. homes declined in March after rising a month earlier by the most since 2010, as perhaps the seasonal exuberance gives way to affordability constraints. Despite NAR's comments that "home shoppers are coming out in droves this spring," it is evident from the chart below that pending home sales have been stagnant for almost two years. 2013 deja vua ll over again? Regionally, only The South saw a sales increase: The PHSI in the Northeast decreased 2.9 percent to 99.1 in March, but is still 1.8 percent above a year ago. In the Midwest the index declined 1.2 percent to 109.6 in March, and is now 2.4 percent lower than March 2016. Pending home sales in the South rose 1.2 percent to an index of 129.4 in March and are now 3.9 percent above last March. The index in the West fell 2.9 percent in March to 94.5, and is now 2.7 percent below a year ago. Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says sparse inventory levels caused a pullback in pending sales in March, but activity was still strong enough to be the third best in the past year. "Home shoppers are coming out in droves this spring and competing with each other for the meager amount of listings in the affordable price range," he said. "In most areas, the lower the price of a home for sale, the more competition there is for it. That's the reason why first-time buyers have yet to make up a larger share of the market this year, despite there being more sales overall." Yun worries that the painfully low supply levels this spring could heighten price growth — at 6.8 percent last month — even more in the months ahead. Homes in March came off the market at a near-record pace 1, and indicating an increase in the likelihood of listings receiving multiple offers, 42 percent of homes sold at or above list price (the second highest amount since NAR began tracking in December 2012). "Take my money!!"
Via Jeff Thomas of InternationalMan.com, Recently, I was in a pharmacy and overheard the pharmacist say to someone, “There’s so much unpleasantness on the news these days, I’ve stopped watching.” The pharmacist has my sympathy. I’d love to be able to ignore the deterioration of the First World. It is, at turns, tedious, depressing, disturbing, and infuriating. Unfortunately, we’re now passing through what, before it’s over, will be the most life-altering period in our lifetimes. As much as we’d like to behave like ostriches right now, we’d better keep our heads out of the sand and be as honest with ourselves as we can if we’re going to lessen the impact that these events will have on us. I cannot emphasize too strongly the importance of a possible shortage of food. History is filled with examples of cultures that would endure most anything and still behave responsibly… but nothing causes greater, more unpredictable, or more violent behaviour in a people than a lack of food. Interesting to note that whenever I converse with people on the finer points of the Great Unraveling, when I mention the words “famine” or “food riots,” even those who are otherwise quite comfortable discussing the subject tend to want to discount the possibility that these will be aspects of the troubles that are headed our way. For this very reason, I believe that we should shine a light on this eventuality. The Present State of the Industry In America, the food industry is not in good shape. Normally, the food industry relies on a low-profit/high-volume basis, leaving little room for error. Add to this fact that many business owners and managers in the food industry have given in to the temptation to build up debt over the years. Following the 2008 crash, many have been struggling to get on top of that debt. Inflation has made that task especially difficult. Some have been keeping their noses above water; others have gone under. Hyperinflation In future years, hyperinflation is a very real possibility. Historically, whenever a government creates massive debt and greatly increases the printing of currency, dramatic inflation, if not hyperinflation, results. Those businesses that are already on the ragged edge will find that when they’re paid, they cannot buy the same volume of goods for the same amount of dollars. This will be true throughout the entire food-supply chain. Of course, little inflationary blips are the norm in business, and businesses adjust to them. The problem comes when there are large increases that continue steadily over a period of months. When this occurs, we’ll see a greater frequency of food-supply businesses going belly up. In a normal business climate, the failure of some businesses would aid the competition, as they would have new markets to take on, but if the remaining businesses are already having trouble, they will not be in a condition to expand. The disappearance of large numbers of providers will result in a failure of delivery to the next business down the chain. Nationwide, distribution will become inadequate. This, of course, will not be uniform. Some areas will suffer worse than others. Those types of areas that are already chronically problematic will be hit hardest. Those who are the most likely to go down the earliest will be those who have the highest overheads and the lowest volume. Typically, these are the small stores—the ones on street corners in every city. These stores are critical. If a supermarket in the suburbs experiences a shortage, purchasers may drive across town to another supermarket. Not so in the city. If a corner store has empty shelves, or worse, closes completely, the purchasers in that neighbourhood must walk to the next neighbourhood to buy, and they might not be welcome there if the people in that neighbourhood are already having problems with supply at their local store. Worse, should the second store also close, the number of purchasers is redoubled. When the shoppers from two stores arrive at the third store, physical conflict between shoppers is a near certainty. Panic Sets In Food panic doesn’t necessarily occur if a retailer carefully assesses his increased market and rations sales so that everybody gets a slightly lesser share. In fact, I’ve personally seen this work well in the event of a natural disaster in my home country. The panic does occur when the availability suddenly becomes non-existent (even for a brief time) and the shoppers are unsure when it will be resumed. In an inner city, this is exacerbated by three factors: Shipments from suppliers become erratic and insufficient. A significant increase in the number of shoppers cleans out the store. Individual shoppers become unreasonably demanding. This last factor, in any inner-city situation, is almost always responsible for the chaos that evolves into a riot. It works like this: A mother complains that there is no bread for her children to have a sandwich. Her husband becomes angry at the problem and goes down to the corner store, demanding a loaf of bread. The store manager says that he cannot release the bread until the next morning, when the neighbourhood knows they can each come and buy one loaf only. The man, becoming angrier, goes in the back and takes a loaf of bread. The manager resists and is shot. The man, on his way out, grabs a carton of cigarettes and a couple of six-packs of beer for good measure. The store, now unmanaged, is looted. Those shoppers who are normally peaceful people begin to panic and realize that it’s time to grab what you can. In these situations, the food stores are generally cleaned out quickly. In a very short period of time, a full-scale riot may be in play. In most inner-city riots, the liquor stores are hit early on, then the appliance stores, and so on down the line. But this is no ordinary riot. Unlike a riot triggered by, say, a TV news clip of some policeman beating a seemingly innocent man, the trigger is ongoing and, more importantly, it is not, at its heart, anger-based—it is fear-based. And it is self-perpetuating. Shipments are not resumed to a store that has no one running it. Worse, additional store owners close for fear that they’re next. The situation escalates very fast. Enter the Cavalry While the US and Europe have seen many riot situations and we can therefore study how they play out, a series of self-perpetuating riots has not taken place before. It’s likely that, within weeks, a national emergency would be declared, and rightly so. But how to deal with it? Certainly, the president and state governors would quickly begin to work with wholesalers to ensure that food got to the cities (and any other locations that are also troubled). Needless to say, suppliers will refuse, stating that, in such a situation, they cannot get paid for any food that they deliver. Truckers will state that they cannot accept the danger that their drivers will be exposed to. Politicians, feeling the pressure from their constituencies, will want to act decisively, even if their decisions prove ineffectual. In such cases, those politicians who are more conservative may decide to send in truckloads of food to be handed out for free, with the control of the Department of Homeland Security to (hopefully) keep order. Those politicians who are more liberal will believe that the right solution is to nationalise food supply in their states (and possibly nationally)—to take over the control of delivery. As can be imagined, the results will vary from suburban situations in which the store staff are still in place and the provision of food at the retail level remains orderly, to inner-city situations in which trucks will be routinely ransacked. The evening news will show a clip of a “shopper” running down the street with a case of boxes of cornflakes while heads of lettuce roll on the pavement, some to be picked up, others to be trampled. Meanwhile, at the other end of the supply chain, the wholesaler is trying to explain to the politicians that if he’s not paid in some way for the food he sends out, he simply cannot continue. Politicians (especially the more liberal ones), not understanding the workings of business, regard the businessman as simply being greedy and fail to understand that, without an orderly flow of money, business stops. The politicians place a temporary ban on all food containers being shipped overseas (even though the overseas customers may be the only truly reliable payers). The politicians advise the wholesalers that they will be paid “eventually.” If the money does not exist in the state’s treasury, some politicians may even promise future tax credits as payment. As a result, the supply of food breaks down on a major scale. How It All Shakes Out Historically, there’s nothing so chaotic as famine. As long as people have a crust of bread and as long as it arrives regularly, there’s a chance that events may be controlled. It’s the very unpredictability of supply that causes panic. And the greater the concentration of potential recipients, the greater the panic. Small wonder that, when I speak to friends and associates about the Great Unraveling, this one facet often makes them recoil in a desire to avoid the subject entirely. Once this particular house of cards begins to fall, it will fall much faster than the economy in general, and the results will unquestionably be extreme. So, if the politicians are unlikely to effect a workable solution (at least in the short term), how does this all play out? After all, no famine lasts forever. What historically happens during a famine is that chaos ensues for a period of time. Some people are killed in attempting to take food from the authorities who control the distribution. Other people are killed on their way home by others who want the food they are carrying. Others are killed in their homes when raided by those who are hungry. Still others die of starvation. It’s horrific to say, but, after a time, in such situations, famine becomes “the new norm” and, as illogical as it would seem, this is the turning point. Chaos eventually devolves into hopelessness and listlessness, and the panic disappears. Then, at some point, the lines of supply are slowly restructured, generally on a more limited scale than before. Is there a timeline for the above to occur? This is for the reader to decide. Each of us will have some general picture in our heads regarding the likelihood and timing of a second crash in the stock market, the rapidity and degree of hyperinflation, and the many other aspects that make up the Great Unraveling of the economy. Therefore, those who accept that harder times are looming but would rather not consider the likelihood of food riots and famine would be advised to read the above article a second time and then begin to plan. Those who do not presently have “backdoor” situations in place may wish to set the wheels in motion and to internationalise themselves. One thing is certain: Once riot situations begin, there will not be enough time to plan. * * * You might think these food shortages and riots will only hit the inner cities. Maybe the chaos will simply pass you by… Unfortunately, that’s unlikely. In fact, your nice neighborhood could make you an easy target. The masses—and more critically, the government—may try to grab the money and resources you’ve diligently tucked away. The truth is there’s only one way to opt out of this kind of economic and social breakdown. It’s the absolute best way to protect yourself, your family, and your finances. But chances are you haven’t done it yet. That’s why New York Times best-selling author Doug Casey just released this critical video explaining how to prepare for and profit from the next financial crisis. It’s coming, whether you’re ready or not. Click here to watch it now.
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
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
Donald and Doris Fisher opened a little shop in San Francisco in 1969 with $63,000. The first year's sales were about $2 million, mostly in Levi's jeans and LP records. BY 2014, some 45 years later, Gap Inc., including its namesake Gap brand, Banana Republic, Old Navy, Athleta, Intermix, and the now-closed Piperlime, reached almost $16.5 billion in sales, with about 3,700 stores worldwide. Stop here, and it sounds like a colossal success story. However, as we are all well aware, and as the numbers so vividly show, Gap Inc. rose like a rocket in its growth phase, but is now on the edge of a slippery slope down, further greased by the Great Recession and a lingering global economic mess. And its leadership trajectory looks a slow, Sears-like descent to the bottom. What went wrong? Under the watch of then CEO, Millard "Mickey" Drexler, the brand was driven into ubiquity in the late '90s and first two years of the Millennium. With a Gap on every corner, cool turned to cold and its descent began. Ironically, Drexler would leave the helm of the brand that he guided through two decades of meteoric growth from $480 million in revenues upon his arrival in 1983 as president, to almost $14 billion in 2000, an amazing 2,400 percent increase when he left. Indeed, his success earned him the moniker of the "prince of all merchant princes." Unable to right the ship when it started to sink, Drexler retired in 2002. Comp store sales had dropped 5 percent in 2000, their first decline since 1989, and then a whopping 13 percent in 2001, with the overall Gap brand down 12 percent. Somewhere in the blur of skyrocketing growth, opening 731 new stores in 2000 and hitting sales of $13.6 billion, Mickey Drexler and his Gap brands lost their cool. The rapid growth and store openings made the brand ubiquitous, and today ubiquity is antiquity--the anti-cool to the Gap's core consumers, the young. As a result, Gap began to lose their customers in droves. Enter Paul Pressler From the "Magic Kingdom" Paul Pressler came in as the new turnaround CEO in the fall of 2002. An alumnus of the Disney store chain, his strengths were supposedly in the areas of operations and supply chain. Pressler was essentially a numbers guy who knew little of the nuances of fashion. Were his operational skills what Gap needed? It took Gap's board and owners five long years to answer that question, precious years that could have been used working toward a turnaround. Instead, by 2005 the brand was led into its descent by inexperience at best, and what would turn out to be a total lack of merchandising skills at worst. As Gap's business fell into a more accelerated decline, and the brand's relevance, positioning, image, consumer base and business continued to unravel, Wall Street bestowed Pressler the nickname of "dead man walking." Between June 2004 and December 2006 (eight months before Pressler would be replaced), comparative store sales declined in every month but three. Pressler stepped down in 2007. It shouldn't surprise anyone that Gap Inc.'s publicly stated qualifications for its next CEO at the time read: "...with deep retailing and merchandising experience, ideally in apparel, and who understands the creative process." The search firm that served up the next CEO apparently did not read those qualifications, however--or else Gap's board and owners decided to override them with their own qualifications. Because what came next was, if possible, even worse. From the Magic Kingdom to Canadian Drug Stores In July 2007, Gap announced that Glenn Murphy, previously CEO of Shoppers Drug Mart in Canada, was to be the new CEO of Gap Inc. I scratched my head then. And of course, seven years hence, while the Gap brand may have yet another new CEO--Art Peck--it is still without a compass. The proverbial Gap brand star was indeed falling when Murphy came on board. By 2010, sales at Gap Inc. were about $14.6 billion, merely a smidgeon higher than their 2000 level. The Gap brand had lost 30 percent of revenues, or $1.5 billion, since 2004. Unfortunately, it took Murphy another four years to learn that the organizational changes made prior to his arrival--essentially replacing the key staffers of Paul Pressler-- did not, in fact, accomplish the necessary support of placing high-quality management in those areas of the business where he had less experience. In 2011, Murphy fired Marka Hanson, then President of the Gap brand, and replaced her with Art Peck. Peck had been president of Gap's outlet Stores, and before that, had spent 20 years at the Boston Consulting Group. This is the man who replaced Murphy as CEO in the fall of 2014. As an aside, but a really, really big one, back in 2011 Art Peck wrote a blog as Gap's new president, saying that if anyone Googled him, "...you won't find much." He went on to say, "That's right. I'm not a merchant." Again, am I missing something? The new president of the Gap is not a merchant? And now this guy is its new CEO? Designer Déjà Vu Amazingly, even after a decade of -1 percent (yes, that's a minus), topline growth and less than 10 percent bottom line growth, Mr. Murphy (and his predecessors) never figured out that the Gap brand's real problem was not just product. It was the brand name itself and all that it stood for, both real and perceived by its consumers. And those consumers that left the brand at the turn of the century did, in fact, leave the brand altogether, and product alone will not bring them back. Mr. Murphy apparently thought that another high-profile designer would save the brand, and he hired Rebekka Bay as creative director in 2012. Ms. Bay was the highly respected designer of H&M's minimalist brand, Cos. At least Murphy selected someone with experience in the fast fashion business, which had been stealing many of Gap's targeted millennial consumers. But too little, too late. Catch a Falling Star Glenn Murphy exits. Art Peck takes over. It matters not who the players are because there has been a revolving door full of them for the past 15 years, all declaring how they would return Gap to its once dominant position as the cool apparel brand for America's youth. All of them failed to do so, and there is no reason to believe Art Peck will have any better luck. Actually, even luck would not be enough to reverse the ultimate fate of this storied brand. The point I want to make is that once a hot, cool brand turns cold and boring in a world of an excessive over-abundance of equally compelling brands, it's finished. And nailing the Gap coffin were the up-and-coming Millennials, who were then, and still are, redefining cool. Gap is not in their lexicon. No matter how much capital and time is invested in attempting to return the brand to its cool status and an energetic growth trajectory, at best it will simply limp along, lucky to eke out a living. I predict it will eventually die, not unlike this last dying decade for Sears. Like the once iconic and enormous Sears brand, Gap will continue its descent with a whimper and sink slowly. Or in a worse case, it may finalize the collapse that started at the turn of the century with a quick and loud bang, as the Gap brand crashes and burns. About the Author Robin Lewis has over forty years of strategic operating and consulting experience in the retail and related consumer products industries. He has held executive positions at DuPont, VF Corporation, Women's Wear Daily (WWD), and Goldman Sachs, among others, and has consulted for dozens of retail, consumer products and other companies. In addition to his role as CEO and Editorial Director of The Robin Report, he is a professor at the Graduate School of Professional Studies at The Fashion Institute of Technology. -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.
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!