Frontrunning: February 16

  • Futures dip as Wall Street navigates unchartered territory (Reuters)
  • Trump’s Russia crisis deepens (Reuters)
  • Government Landlord Pays Millions Each Year to Trump Company (WSJ)
  • Protests call for U.S. immigrants to stay home from work, school (Reuters)
  • Trump Hates Trade Deficits, But Which Ones Really Matter? (BBG)
  • French Election Puts ‘Frexit’ on the Agenda (WSJ)
  • This Time It’s Different, Prime Minister Says as Iceland Booms (BBG)
  • Malaysia Nabs Third Suspect in Murder of Kim’s Half Brother (BBG)
  • Trump’s Lockheed F-35 Calls Came With a Surprise: Boeing CEO Was Listening (BBG)
  • Russia, Iran Need Each Other, Despite Disagreements (WSJ)
  • The Most-Hated Bear in Solar Isn’t Backing Down (BBG)
  • Trudeau Says EU Must Spread Trade’s Benefits or Risk Its Decline (BBG)
  • Behind the Fortress Deal: A Billionaire’s Huge Ambitions (WSJ)
  • Frenzied Betting, Sleeping Market: Something Must Give in Oil (BBG)
  • Divergent policy outlooks keep Germany-U.S. bond yield gap near one-month high (Reuters)
  • Trump Tax Cuts Could Boost Profit $12 Billion at Big U.S. Banks (BBG)
  • Nestlé Misses Growth Target for Fourth Year (WSJ)
  • French Prosecutors Say Fillon Probe to Continue (WSJ)


Overnight Media Digest


– Snap Inc set a valuation for itself between $19.5 billion and $22.2 billion. The valuation range is near the low end of the $20 billion to $25 billion range Snapchat’s parent company had earlier targeted.

– Digital music company Spotify USA is expanding and relocating its Manhattan office from Chelsea to the World Trade Center, expecting to add 1,000 jobs. Spotify will set up its U.S. headquarters in about 400,000 square feet of space in 4 World Trade Center.

– In a legal case involving one of the most important new gene-editing tools, U.S. patent authorities said patents issued to the Broad Institute giving it the rights to use the technology to edit genes in humans can stand. The ruling is the first outcome in a legal battle pitting the Broad Institute against the University of California, Berkeley; the University of Vienna and the scientist Emmanuelle Charpentier over a technology scientists hope will allow for the altering of genes to treat medical conditions such as hemophilia and cystic fibrosis.

– Restaurants, bakeries and other businesses in the United States will close Thursday as thousands of foreign-born workers participate in a one-day strike to protest President Donald Trump’s immigration policies. Dubbed a “Day Without Immigrants,” the nationwide effort orchestrated by immigrant-advocacy groups calls on foreign-born workers to stay home, avoid shopping and shutter their businesses to demonstrate their impact on the economy.

– The Commerce Department on Wednesday reported stronger-than-expected growth in retail sales in January, and the Fed reported factory output increased last month. The Labor Department said a closely watched gauge of U.S. inflation rose to its highest annual level in nearly five years, the latest sign that years of sluggish price growth could be coming to an end.



DBS Group Holdings Ltd saw net profit drop markedly in the quarter ended December as bad loans increased and net interest margin shrank for the Singaporean banking and financial services company.

Spotify is set add 1,000 jobs in New York by 2018 and move its U.S. headquarters to the World Trade Centre site as part of its ongoing expansion in the United States.

Berlin is furious it received no prior notification that General Motors Co planned to sell its ailing European business to French rival Peugeot SA, as concerns grow that a sale could lead to heavy job losses in Germany just months before an election.

Sheffield Forgemasters, Britain’s oldest steelmaker, received a fresh grant from the government to support its 6.5 million pound investment in new machinery as the lossmaking company attempts to reduce its reliance on sluggish oil and gas markets.



– Union organizers fell far short on Wednesday in a bid to enlist workers at Boeing’s South Carolina facilities in what was widely viewed as an early test of labor’s strength in the Trump era.

– The fast-food executive Andrew Puzder withdrew his nomination to be labor secretary on Wednesday as Republican senators turned sharply against him, the latest defeat for a White House besieged by infighting and struggling for traction even with a Republican-controlled Congress.

– Soon after Yahoo disclosed the first of two enormous data breaches that threatened to upend a $4.8 billion deal it had reached with Verizon Communications, the embattled company began to confront an unpleasant potential future.

– Janet Yellen, the Federal Reserve chairwoman, sparred with House Republicans on Wednesday about the value of financial regulation and the effectiveness of monetary policy in a testy session that showed the gulf between the central bank and the conservatives who control Capitol Hill.




** BCE Inc’s C$3.1 billion ($2.4 billion) takeover of MTS, one of the last remaining regional telephone companies in Canada, finally cleared to close on Wednesday.

** The Supreme Court of Canada on Wednesday declared that Livent Inc’s auditors were “negligent but wholly innocent” in the fraud that unfolded at the live theater company.

** Yukon Supreme Court Justice Scott Brooker declared a mistrial in the case of Michael Nehass, whose mental state deteriorated so severely after more than three years in solitary confinement that he was found unfit to participate in his own sentencing.


** Hunter Harrison is asking for an “exceptionally unusual if not unprecedented” compensation package from CSX Corp worth an estimated $300 million, but analysts say shareholders are likely to vote him into the railway’s top job anyway.

** Liberals and New Democrats signalled their strong support Wednesday night to have the Canadian federal government seek ways to combat rising anti-Muslim sentiment in Canada.

** Canadian government officials say the 2017 budget will be heavy on measures to promote innovation and skills. Sources suggest the government has already reviewed the existing alphabet soup of grants and tax credits.



The Times

Prime Minister Theresa May is facing her first big Brexit industrial crisis after workers’ leaders demanded the government save 3,500 British jobs in danger of being lost in Peugeot SA’s proposed takeover of the European division of General Motors Co.

Nationwide Building Society has refused to take part in an independent assessment of which financial products are good for customers for the second year running.

The Guardian

The government has named and shamed a record 350 firms for underpaying their staff, with the list of offenders topped by Debenhams after nearly 12,000 of the department store’s workers were short-changed.

Lingerie brand Agent Provocateur could be headed for administration after the appointment of restructuring firm AlixPartners to lead a sale process.

The Telegraph Inc is close to launching its own fashion label in the U.K. as part of the online giant’s efforts to corner the $3 trillion global fashion market.

The embattled Toshiba Corp group has asked its banks to extend a stay of execution for a second time this year after multi-billion pound writedowns put the group in danger of violating its loan agreements.

Sky News

Thousands of steelworkers have agreed to a rescue deal with Tata Steel Ltd, the company that owns the Port Talbot steel plant.

Sky News has learnt that Currencies Direct, which is headed by Antony Jenkins, is examining an offer for Cambridge Global Payments that could be worth close to $1 billion.

The Independent

The Bank of England has refused to yield to pressure from protest groups about its use of animal-derived products in bank notes, saying it will not pull any of the existing 5 pound notes from circulation and will print the 10 pound notes as planned.



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