Frontrunning: May 22

  • Trump Arrives in Israel, May Show His Cards on the Peace Process (BBG)
  • Taxes, Budget Are Focus for White House Despite Probes (WSJ)
  • Paul Manafort’s Lucrative Ukraine Years Are Central to the Russia Probe (BBG)
  • Ford set to fire CEO Mark Fields as shares founder (Reuters)
  • Producers Set to Extend Cuts as Rally Stalls: OPEC Reality Check (BBG)
  • Times Square Driver Says He Tried to Get Mental Help (BBG)
  • America’s Cities Are Running Out of Room (BBG)
  • Here’s Why the Fed Will Stay Central to Markets (WSJ)
  • Commodity Traders Have a Really Big Problem (BBG)
  • The Quants Run Wall Street Now (WSJ)
  • Huntsman, Clariant Agree to Merge, Creating $14 Billion Chemicals Giant  (WSJ)
  • EU Discusses Brexit Position as U.K. Threatens to Quit Talks (BBG)
  • British PM May’s election lead halves after ‘dementia tax’: surveys (Reuters)
  • Solar-Energy Giant Manipulated Sales Data, Say Former Managers (WSJ)
  • Trump to Propose Deep Cuts to Anti-Poverty Programs and Medicaid (BBG)
  • Venezuela holds 5,000 Russian surface-to-air MANPADS missiles (Reuters)
  • Seth Klarman Scores Preakness Win (WSJ)
  • Bomb Injures Dozens at Bangkok Army Hospital on Coup Anniversary (BBG)
  • Why Millennials Are (Partly) to Blame for the Housing Shortage (WSJ)
  • Ghost of the 1997 Crisis Stalks Hong Kong’s Economy (BBG)
  • China Seeks More Private Money for Its Massive State-Owned Energy Companies (WSJ)
  • Move Over Tesla, Europe’s Building Its Own Battery Gigafactories (BBG)
  • Hackers hit Russian bank customers, planned international cyber raids (Reuters)
  • Hospitals around the country are scrambling to stockpile vials of a critical drug (NYT)

Overnight Media Digest


– Huntsman Corp and Clariant AG are near an agreement to merge in an all-stock deal that would create a chemical manufacturer worth about $14 billion as companies in the industry seek ways to cut costs and boost revenue.

– In an effort to make its bloated state-owned energy sector more competitive, China said it would inject more private investment into its oil and gas enterprises and consider cutting the industry’s vast workforces.

– The 11 countries left in the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement have backed a proposal to continue with the pact, despite U.S. President Donald Trump pulling out of it in January, New Zealand Trade Minister Todd McClay said on Sunday.

– Allegations by executives at meat processor JBS SA that they paid bribes to the president and his two predecessors mark an escalation of the clash between Brazil’s political establishment and its business magnates, putting the company and the government at further risk.

– U.S. President Donald Trump is limited in his ability to cooperate with Moscow because of investigations of possible connections between Russia and his 2016 campaign, a top adviser said.

– Oil producers are enthusiastic about extending crude output cuts by nine months, Saudi energy minister Khalid al-Falih said on Sunday, the latest positive sign for efforts to trim a supply glut and prop up prices days before an OPEC gathering in Vienna.



– Huntsman Corp and Switzerland’s Clariant are set to unveil a $14 bln all-stock merger. The new business to be named HuntsmanClariant will be head by Peter Huntsman, while Clariant’s head Hariolf Kottmann will become the combined company’s chairman.

– Israel’s prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered his ministers to attend a greeting ceremony for Donald Trump ahead of the U.S. president’s arrival on Monday, after finding out that several planned not to show up.

– Brazil’s bar association voted to back Brazilian President Michel Temer’s impeachment. This move can trigger parliamentary action and the bar association said it would soon file its request in the lower house of Congress.

– Switzerland has voted to start exiting nuclear power as part of a revised energy strategy. The vote follows Germany’s decision in the wake of Japan’s 2011 Fukushima disaster to shut down all 17 of the country’s nuclear reactors by 2022.



– In a shake-up reflecting the pressures on the American auto industry, Ford Motor Co is replacing its chief executive, Mark Fields, according to officials briefed on the move.

– A small Boston company, founded by the inventor of a popular corporate encryption technology called RSA SecurID, sued Apple Inc and Visa Inc, arguing that the Apple Pay digital payment technology violates its patents.

– America’s biggest television networks invited advertisers to New York institutions such as Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center last week, giving them an early glimpse at their fall lineups and treating them to lavish parties and a parade of stars including Stephen Colbert, Kim Kardashian and Tony Romo, all with the aim of attracting billions of dollars in advertising by the end of the summer.

– Nine months after Uber Technologies Inc rolled out self-driving vehicles in Pittsburgh, the city’s relationship with the ride-hailing company has soured.

– Huntsman Corp is close to a deal to merge with a Swiss counterpart, Clariant AG, and create a large trans-Atlantic chemical maker at a time of consolidation within the industry, a person briefed on the matter said Sunday evening.

– Suppliers of a simple, critical medication — sodium bicarbonate solution — have run out, leaving doctors to postpone chemotherapy treatments and surgeries.




** The Bank of Canada looks all but certain to stick with its cautious tune when it issues its latest interest-rate decision this week, as growing economic optimism should take a back seat to tepid inflation and worries on the housing and trade fronts.

** Canadian Advantage Petroleum Corp, a entity backed by Chinese investors, is quietly studying a proposal to bring crude on trains to the Vancouver area and then pump it into tankers – if it can secure authorization from a local First Nation.

** Vancouver billionaire Jim Pattison has boosted his bet on a shipping terminal that has been rocked by the threat of an export ban on thermal coal. Pattison has acquired another 724,600 of Westshore Terminals Investment Corp’s shares over the course of four business days from May 4- May 9 provincial election date, according to regulatory filings.

** Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne said on Friday that the province is moving ahead with preliminary design work for a high-speed rail corridor connecting Toronto and Windsor, as well as investing C$15 million ($11 million) for an environmental assessment.

** The Canadian federal government’s suggestion it may trash plans to buy “interim” fighter jets from aerospace giant Boeing Co may open up a window for F-35 producer Lockheed Martin Corp to swoop into.



The Times

– Top law firm Edwin Coe is investigating allegations of fraud at Ve Interactive, the one-time tech “unicorn” whose backers included a member of Bananarama and Elton John’s husband. It looking into claims that millions of pounds were channelled from the online retail software developer into separate companies owned by its founder, David Brown, his ex-wife, and his girlfriend.

– North Korea fired a medium-range ballistic missile today, the 10th such weapons test of the year and the second in a week. The launch, which was denounced by foreign governments, confirms Kim Jong-un’s determination to accelerate his missile programme and his indifference to threats of sanctions.

The Guardian

– Shell shareholders including the Church of England, European pension funds and Dutch activists will send a signal to its board this week by voting for it to set new climate change goals. The challenge comes from a Dutch group of retail investors, who have tabled a resolution for Shell’s annual general meeting on Tuesday, asking the company to establish carbon emission reduction targets.

The Telegraph

– A spat has blown up between British Airways and Heathrow over the airport’s hopes to increase domestic flights once it gets a third runway. Heathrow has written to the Government asking it to “ring-fence” a proportion for domestic flights of the extra take-off and landing slots created.

– Majority of Apple Pay tills in the UK can now accept mobile payments above 30 pounds($38.97), bringing the tech giant’s vision of replacing the wallet a step closer. Jennifer Bailey, the head of Apple’s payments business, said over half of contactless payment terminals in the UK are now able to take Apple Pay transactions of any value.

Sky News

– Staffline is in detailed talks about a takeover of NHS Professionals even as a pre-election row rages over the privatisation of vital public services. Staffline, is one of two final bidders for NHS Professionals, which is valued at about 50 million pounds.

– David Montgomery is close to securing tens of millions of pounds to fund an audacious takeover of the Express newspaper titles and the celebrity magazine OK! He asked for banks to pitch last week to secure a role in the potential purchase of Northern & Shell’s media assets from the tycoon Richard Desmond.

The Independent

– Fast food chain Leon is planning to open its first U.S. outlets after securing a new 25 million pound investment. It plans to open its first U.S. restaurants in the second half of 2017.


Source: ZeroHedge