- Geithner allegations beg Fed reform (Reuters)
- BOJ Adopts Abe’s 2% Target in Commitment to End Deflation (BBG)
- Bundesbank Head Cautions Japan (WSJ)
- In speech, Obama pushes activist government and takes on far right (Reuters)
- Atari’s U. (Read more…)S. Operations File for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy (BBG)
- Israel goes to polls, set to re-elect Netanyahu (Reuters)
- Apple May Face First Profit Drop in Decade as IPhone Slows (BBG)
- EU states get blessing for financial trading tax (Reuters)
- Indian Jeweler Becomes Billionaire as Gold Price Surges (BBG)
- Europe Stocks Fall; Deutsche Bank Drops on Bafin Request (BBG)
- Algeria vows to fight Qaeda after 38 workers killed (Reuters)
- GS Yuasa Searched After Boeing 787s Are Grounded (BBG)
- Slumping pigment demand eats into DuPont’s profit (Reuters)
Overnight Media Digest
* U.S. President Barack Obama began his second term on Monday by setting an agenda for the next four years built on bedrock Democratic social policies, in a provocative speech coming at a time of deep partisanship in the capital and lingering economic uncertainty across the country.
* Jonathan Baum, chairman and chief executive of Bank of New York Mellon Corp’s mutual-fund unit, has left the firm, the company said Monday.
* International investigations into the battery malfunctions that grounded Boeing Co’s 787 jet are accelerating, with U.S. and Japanese experts pursuing some new and possibly differing leads.
* Wal-Mart Stores Inc is warning suppliers that it is adopting a “zero tolerance policy” for violations of its global sourcing standards, and soon plans to immediately sever ties with anyone who subcontracts work to factories without the retailer’s knowledge.
* Japan’s central bank agreed to adopt a 2 percent inflation target and strengthened its monetary-easing program in a bid to rid the economy of long-running deflationary pressures.
* Bundesbank President Jens Weidmann warned Japan not to “politicize” its exchange rate by pursuing an overly aggressive monetary policy, reflecting mounting concern in Europe that other central banks may cheapen their currencies as a means of stimulating economic growth.
* Federal officials are expected to slap a Deutsche Bank AG unit with a $1.5 million penalty in coming days after concluding that its energy-trading arm extracted illicit profits from the California electricity marketplace in 2010.
* Mary Jo White, who made her name pursuing terrorists, mobsters and white-collar criminals as a federal prosecutor in New York, is the Obama administration’s likely pick to lead the Securities and Exchange Commission, according to people familiar with the administration’s search.
* House Republicans on Monday moved to extend U.S. borrowing authority until May 19, setting a timeline for the next phase of budget wrangling between the White House and Congress.
RULES ON OFFICE-FLAT CONVERSION TO EASE Developers will be able to convert office buildings into blocks of flats without asking councils for permission under radical changes to the English planning system. (link.reuters.com/keh45t) WEIDMANN WARNS OF CURRENCY WAR RISK The erosion of central bank independence around the world threatens to unleash a round of competitive exchange rate devaluations, which leading economies have so far avoided during the financial crisis, the president of Germany’s Bundesbank warned. (link.reuters.com/qeh45t)
OBAMA DEFENDS ROLE OF STRONG GOVERNMENT Barack Obama mounted a vigorous defence of interventionist government and the role of a social safety net in an uplifting and uncompromising speech that marked the formal opening of his second term as president. (link.reuters.com/seh45t) HEATHROW AND BA DID NOT ACT ON SNOW ALERT The operator of Heathrow and airlines led by British Airways decided against taking pre-emptive measures to deal with snow that could have prevented the airport’s descent into chaos on Friday, the Financial Times has learnt. (link.reuters.com/heh45t)
GRADE TO STEP DOWN AS OCADO CHAIRMAN Online grocer Ocado will reveal on Tuesday that Michael Grade will step down as chairman later this year. Grade has been chairman of Ocado for seven years and brought the lossmaking company to market in an 800 million pound float three years ago. (link.reuters.com/geh45t)
HUAWEI IN PLEDGE TO DISCLOSE MORE INFORMATION Huawei has pledged to start disclosing more detailed financial and shareholding information as the Chinese telecoms equipment maker tries to dispel fears over suspected ties to the Chinese military, which are hampering its global expansion. (link.reuters.com/veh45t)
FRUIT FARMERS LOOK TO FOREIGN LABOUR INFLUX British ministers are under pressure to allow migrant workers from Russia, Ukraine and Turkey into the UK to mitigate a predicted shortage of fruit pickers which is threatening the 3 billion pounds a year horticulture industry. (link.reuters.com/duh45t)
* U.S. President Barack Obama ceremonially opened his second term on
Monday with an assertive Inaugural Address, arguing that “preserving our
individual freedoms ultimately requires collective action.”
The Bank of Japan set an ambitious 2 percent inflation target and
pledged to ease monetary policy “decisively” by introducing open-ended
asset purchases, following intense pressure from the country’s audacious
new prime minister, Shinzo Abe.
* As Facebook and Twitter
become as central to workplace conversation as the company cafeteria,
federal regulators are ordering employers to scale back policies that
limit what workers can say online. The agency has pushed companies
nationwide, including giants like General Motors, Target Corp and
Costco, to rewrite their social media rules.
represents the latest frontier for China, which is eyeing parts
manufacturers, materials producers, leasing businesses, cargo airlines
and airport operators. The country now rivals the United States as a
market for civilian airliners. And the new leadership named has publicly
emphasized long-range missiles and other aerospace programs in its push
for military modernization.
* Atari’s U.S. unit, Atari
Interactive, filed for Chapter 11 protection on Monday as part of an
effort to cleave itself from its French parent.
* After four
months of fierce bidding between two Asian tycoons, a
multibillion-dollar battle for control of Fraser & Neave appears to
have reached its end. A bidding deadline on Monday evening came and
went, meaning the victor will probably be TCC Assets, which is
controlled by Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi of Thailand.
Maloof family has agreed to sell a controlling stake in the Sacramento
Kings, one of the NBA’s most troubled and well-traveled franchises, to
an investment group led by Christopher Hansen, a hedge fund manager who
intends to move the team to Seattle by next season and rename them the
* A report from the International Labor
Organization predicted jobless levels to rise to 202 million worldwide
this year, and said government budget-balancing was hurting employment.
Jeroen Dijsselbloem, the new president of the group of ministers
overseeing the euro, said on Monday he wanted to heal the rift over
austerity policies that had bred mistrust between southern and northern
nations using the currency
THE GLOBE AND MAIL
* The demand for university education is not slowing down, as high school students continue to apply to Ontario institutions in record numbers. Preliminary figures released by the Ontario Universities’ Application Centre showed that the number of high school students applying to first-year programs in the fall climbed by 2.4 per cent over the previous year.
* Cable sweepers and “hydrophobic” coatings are part of the British Columbia government’s new plan to winterize the Port Mann Bridge, where last month vehicles and motorists were pummelled with ice falling from overhead cables. More than 340 insurance claims have been filed since the Dec. 19 snowstorm, according to ICBC spokesman Adam Grossman.
Reports in the business section:
* Rona Inc’s two largest shareholders are taking matters into their own hands, installing a turnaround expert who is familiar with reducing costs to lead the board of directors.
The hardware retailer named Robert Chevrier as executive chairman, replacing Robert Paré, a Montreal lawyer who took the chairman’s role in May, but who had little retail or operational experience.
* Sun News Network is pinning its hopes for survival on a ruling by Canada’s broadcast regulator. Canada’s newest and most controversial news channel has argued its signal must be broadcast into every Canadian home if it is ever going to recover from losses that have already reached C$17 million a year.
* Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government said on Monday it will not include Governor General David Johnston in any future policy discussions with First Nations, further clouding its battle of wills with aboriginal leaders.
* Dan Ross, the former assistant deputy minister of defence materiel, has blamed the Stephen Harper government’s culture of secrecy and a lack of accountability at all levels for the failure of the F-35 stealth fighter program.
* Bank of Canada will deliver a one-two punch on Wednesday, combining its latest interest rate decision with the central bank’s latest quarterly outlook for the domestic and global economies.
* The Alberta provincial government said on Monday that its March 7 budget for 2013-14 will make a course correction from big spending to big belt tightening as a shortage of pipeline space and competition in oil production in the United States have tempered the surge in global oil prices.
CHINA SECURITIES JOURNAL
–A total of 1,271 funds in 70 fund companies made profits of 104.6 billion yuan ($16.81 billion) in the fourth quarter of last year, from a loss of 179.6 billion yuan in the third quarter, data showed.
–China’s National Development and Reform Commission said it will reduce credit card comissions next month, with analysts expecting it could help merchants save 4 billion yuan a year.
SHANGHAI SECURITIES NEWS
–A netizen has demanded U.S. fruit distributor Chiquita explain why slices of apples sold in FamilyMart stores in Shanghai fail to turn brown after 80 hours, sparking a debate online whether the steps Chiquita is taking to protect apple slices from oxidizing are unhealthy.
SHANGHAI DAILY (www.chinadaily.com.cn)
–Subsidised license plates for new energy vehicles in Shanghai received a lukewarm welcome, with only one customer applying for the plates on the first day they were made available.
CHINA DAILY (www.chinadaily.com.cn)
–Chinese vehicle exports topped 1 million units for the first time in 2012, up 29.7 percent.
–Shanghai saw a contraction in total trade in 2012, the first time in three years.
–China’s central government will invest 122.2 billion yuan to support the domestic spring ploughing industry, the finance ministry said.
Fly On The Wall 7:00 AM Market Snapshot
ASML (ASML) upgraded to Buy from Hold at ABN Amro
ASML (ASML) upgraded to Hold from Sell at Deutsche Bank
Bank of Kentucky (BKYF) upgraded to Outperform from Neutral at RW Baird
Goodrich Petroleum (GDP) upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform at BMO Capital
Precision Castparts (PCP) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at UBS
Research in Motion (RIMM) upgraded to Outperform from Sector Perform at Scotia Capital
Viacom (VIAB) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Goldman
VimpelCom (VIP) upgraded to Overweight from Neutral at HSBC
WESCO (WCC) upgraded to Outperform from Neutral at Credit Suisse
ARM Holdings (ARMH) downgraded to Hold from Buy at Benchmark Co.
Amgen (AMGN) downgraded to Neutral from Outperform at Credit Suisse
Becton Dickinson (BDX) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Mizuho
Diamond Offshore (DO) downgraded to Neutral from Outperform at Credit Suisse
F5 Networks (FFIV) downgraded to Hold from Buy at Needham
FirstEnergy (FE) downgraded to Underperform from Hold at Jefferies
Fortinet (FTNT) downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at JMP Securities
LRR Energy (LRE) downgraded to Neutral from Outperform at RW Baird
Och-Ziff Capital (OZM) downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at Keefe Bruyette
Open Text (OTEX) downgraded to Hold from Buy at Stifel Nicolaus
Roche (RHHBY) downgraded to Neutral from Outperform at Exane BNP Paribas
Trinity Biotech (TRIB) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Roth Capital
Urban Outfitters (URBN) downgraded to Neutral from Overweight at Atlantic Equities
Uroplasty (UPI) downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at JMP Securities
ExactTarget (ET) initiated with an Outperform at Credit Suisse
LivePerson (LPSN) initiated with a Neutral at Credit Suisse
PBF Energy (PBF) initiated with a Hold at Deutsche Bank
PBF Energy (PBF) initiated with an Outperform at Credit Suisse
S&W Seed (SANW) initiated with an Overweight at Piper Jaffray
Verint Systems (VRNT) initiated with a Neutral at Credit Suisse
Ericsson (ERIC) to acquire IT services capabilities from Devoteam in France
KKR (KKR), Blackstone (BX) said to be among those in talks for Life Technologies (LIFE), Bloomberg reports
Caterpillar (CAT) to record $580M goodwill impairment charge in Q4
Shaw Communications (SJR) reported Shaw family acquired 750,000 class B shares
SeaCube (BOX) to be acquired by Ontario Teachers’ Pension for $23 per share
NeoPhotonics (NPTN) subsidiary to acquire OCU unit from LAPIS Seminconductor for $36.8M
BGI-Shenzhen extended tender offer for Complete Genomics (GNOM)
FDA approved Botox (AGN) to treat overactive bladder
FDA approved Mallinckrodt’s (COV) Gablofen prefilled syringe
OM Group (OMG) divested Advanced Materials business for up to $435M (FCX)
DaVita (DVA) formed JV with RHC in Taiwan
Daimler AG (DDAIF) created subsidiary for innovative mobility services
Pearson (PSO) sees tough market conditions continuing into 2013
Companies that beat consensus earnings expectations last night and today include:
DuPont (DD), Signature Bank (SBNY), TAL Education (XRS)
Companies that missed consensus earnings expectations include:
Verizon (VZ), Sierra Bancorp (BSRR)
International investigations into the battery troubles that grounded Boeing’s (BA) Dreamliner 787, are growing, with U.S. and Japanese experts pursuing some new and possibly differing leads, the Wall Street Journal reports
Apple’s (AAPL) future is getting harder to read. Their move into new markets and its more complex supply chain are making its growth prospects more difficult to understand and predict, say longtime investors and analysts, the Wall Street Journal reports
Microsoft (MSFT) CEO Steve Ballmer is not the right leader for the software company but holds his grip on it by systematically forcing out any rising manager who challenges his authority, claims former senior executive Joachim Kempin, who has written a book about his time at the company, Reuters reports
South Africa’s Competition Tribunal today gave the green light to the proposed takeover of global miner Xstrata (XSRAY) by Glencore (GLNCY). But the tribunal attached some conditions to the $33B deal to limit the merger’s impact on job losses in the mining sector, Reuters reports
Consumption of high fructose corn syrup, used to sweeten products from Coca-Cola (KO) to H.J. Heinz (HNZ) ketchup and linked to obesity, is falling in the U.S. as health-conscious consumers drink less soda, Bloomberg reports
The world’s biggest investors are moving away from allocating money to government bond markets based on their amount of debt, a strategy that has favored the largest borrowers for three decades, Bloomberg reports
A $14 per share LBO undervalues Dell (DELL)
Rockwell Automation, ABB provide good opportunities for robotics (ROK, ABB, ADEP, CGNX)
Crocs’ (CROX) operational shifts could raise 2013 EPS by 11% to $1.55
Fossil (FOSL) could reach over $120 per share as earnings are reported
Data usage providing return on LTE investment for Verizon (VZ), AT&T (T)
Intel’s (INTC) “branch prediction” on hybrid PCs a risky move
Performant Financial (PFMT) files to sell 7M shares of common stock
[VIA Zero Hedge]