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Monday, March 31, 2014

Frontrunning: March 31

Submitted by Tyler Durden on 03/31/2014

  • US, Russia talks fail to end Ukraine deadlock (AP)
  • Russian forces 'gradually withdrawing' from Ukraine border (AFP)
  • Turkish PM Erdogan tells enemies they will pay price after poll (Reuters)
  • And Goldman arrives: Credit markets open to Argentina for first time in years (Reuters)
  • Regulators Twice Failed to Open GM Probes (WSJ)
  • Bad loan writedowns soar at China banks (FT)
  • Investors Breathe Life Into European Banks' Bad Loans (WSJ)
  • Euro zone inflation drops to lowest since 2009 (Reuters)
  • Yellowstone National Park rattled by largest earthquake in 34 years (Reuters)
  • Biggest ETF Flow From U.S. Debt Since ’10 Signals Rate Rise (BBG) - or just more confused algorithms
  • Swiss Antitrust Regulator Probes Eight Banks Over FX-Rigging (BBG)
  • Deutsche Bank Said to Mull Forgoing IPO Amid China Probes (BBG)
Overnight Media Digest
* Congressional investigators looking into why General Motors Co took nearly a decade to recall vehicles with faulty ignition switches said on Sunday that federal regulators twice declined to open formal probes into complaints about the cars and that GM rejected a proposed fix for the problem in 2005 because it would have taken too long and cost too much. (
* Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC is close to appointing a Credit Suisse investment banker as its next chief financial officer. The appointment of Ewen Stevenson, who advised on the bailout of the 81 percent government-owned RBS, still needs to be approved by UK regulator Prudential Regulation Authority, according to a person familiar with the matter. (
* Caterpillar Inc, a maker of construction and mining equipment, on Tuesday will become the latest blue chip hauled before the Senate's Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations to explain strategies designed to shrink tax bills. Caterpillar officials are preparing to defend a corporate restructuring in the late 1990s that helped the company reduce U.S. taxes, particularly on sales of parts to foreign customers. (
* The Food and Drug Administration's efforts to speed approvals of drugs to fight antibiotic-resistant bacteria will be front and center on Monday as the agency considers two new antibiotics with possible advantages. The FDA's methods to advance new antibiotics so far haven't generally led to great new drugs, and there has been considerable debate over attempts to speed the approval process. (
* Alibaba Group Holding Ltd <IPO-ALIB.N> said Monday it agreed to pay $692 million to take a roughly 35 percent stake in Chinese department store operator Intime Retail (Group) Co in a bid to link more closely e-commerce and shopping at bricks-and-mortar retail stores. (
* Blucora Inc is preparing an all-cash bid for Brookstone Inc that would challenge Spencer Sprit Holdings Inc's offer, which includes $120 million in cash and the assumption of Brookstone debt, among other things, according to people familiar with the matter. Spencer earlier offered to serve as the lead bidder at an auction for Brookstone, which is preparing to file for bankruptcy protection in the coming days. (
* British entrepreneur Clive Cowdery plans to spend as much as $2 billion of investors' money in the United States over the next several years trying to replicate his success in scooping up life insurers in the UK. (
* Jury selection is scheduled to begin Monday in the Securities and Exchange Commission's civil trial against entrepreneur Sam Wyly and his deceased brother, Charles. In a 78-page complaint filed in July 2010, the agency accused the Wylys of using a web of offshore trusts to conceal more than $750 million of stock sales in companies on whose boards they sat. (
* In a renewed effort to lure a bigger share of the advertising dollars that now flow to major TV networks, YouTube has told marketers it will offer audience guarantees to advertisers that make advance commitments, according to people familiar with the matter. (
* The U.S. Supreme Court is wading into a messy debate over when software deserves a patent - an issue that is important to big technology companies such as Microsoft Corp and Google Inc yet has so far flummoxed the federal judiciary. The high court will hear oral arguments Monday in an appeal brought by Alice Corp, whose patents on a computer program to reduce risk in financial transactions were ruled invalid by lower courts. (
Outgoing chairman of Lloyds Banking Group, Sir Win Bischoff, calls for informal banking regulation opposed to the rule-book style of regulation followed by regulators.
UK's financial services sector is set to add up to 26,000 jobs in the year to June according to an industry survey by the CBI employers' group and PriceWaterHouseCoopers.
The Libyan Investment Authority has accused France's second-biggest bank Societe Generale of funnelling bribes worth tens of millions of dollars to associates of Saif al-Islam, the son of former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.
Glencore Xstrata Plc has reached a preliminary deal for a $1 billion contract for access to railway and port facilities with Mauritania as part of its plans to expand into iron ore mining.
The London-listed telecom giant Vodafone has acquired an e-money licence to expand in Europe, with plans to launch M-Pesa in Romania, after the success of its mobile payment system in sub-Saharan Africa.

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