Frontrunning: March 15

  • What to watch at the Fed meeting (FT)
  • Dutch vote in test of anti-elite sentiment in Europe (Reuters)
  • Where Are the Battlegrounds in the Dutch Election? (BBG)
  • Erdogan says Dutch have ‘rotten character’ as row escalates (FT)
  • How the Fed Convinced Markets It’ll Raise Rates This Week (BBG)
  • GOP Senators Say Health Bill Won’t Pass Unless Changed (WSJ)
  • Merkel, Trump Face Host of Troubling Differences (WSJ)
  • Oil Gains as IEA Says Time Needed to Drain Glut (BBG)
  • Trump to nominate Chris Giancarlo to head CFTC (FT)
  • Saudi deputy crown prince, Trump meeting a ‘turning point’: Saudi adviser (Reuters)
  • How to Lose $4 Billion: Bill Ackman’s Long Ride Down on Valeant (BBG)
  • Conservative news site sole media outlet on Tillerson Asia trip (Reuters)
  • Tillerson’s email alias was prompted by business needs, Exxon says (Reuters)
  • Auto Industry Aims to Roll With Trump’s Nafta Changes (WSJ)
  • House Republicans Take Their Own Path on Trump’s Border Wall (BBG)
  • Trump Shift Puts Landmark Korean Trade Pact at Risk (WSJ)
  • It’s a Good Time to Find a Job in These Countries, But Don’t Expect a Big Raise (BBG)
  • Citi: Le Pen Win Would Wipe Out 25% From French Bank Shares (BBG)
  • Steve Cohen Said to Eye Computers to Model Top Traders’ Thinking (BBG)
  • UK Jobless Rate Matches Lowest Since 1975 (BBG)
  • After six years, Assad now secure but his country carved up as war thunders on (Reuters)
  • Zara Owner’s Margin Shrinks to Eight-Year Low on Currencies (BBG)
  • G-20 Checks In for Detox as Germany Seeks Backing for Free Trade (BBG)
  • Heavy fighting as Iraqi forces set sights on Mosul’s Grand Mosque (Reuters)


Overnight Media Digest


– Neiman Marcus Group Ltd is in talks to sell itself to the parent of Saks Fifth Avenue, according to people familiar with the matter, as the two upscale chains struggle with a shift away from traditional stores, even among the wealthiest shoppers.

– Volkswagen AG Chief Executive Matthias Müller on Tuesday fueled speculation about a potential alliance with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV when he said he was open to talks with his counterpart at the Italian-American auto maker.

– Fox News said in a statement that it released Megyn Kelly from the network on March 9, almost four months before her contract expires on July 1, so she can start working at NBC News. She announced in January that she will be anchoring a daily morning show at NBC along with a Sunday evening program.

– Hostess Brands Inc said sales and profit rose as it brought Twinkies and other treats to more stores in the fourth quarter, the first since its resurrection as a public company.

– U.S. officials are planning to unveil charges related to the theft of personal data that affected hundreds of millions of Yahoo Inc users and disrupted the company’s sale to Verizon Communications Inc , according to people familiar with the matter.

– A judge in South Dakota has cleared the way to trial of a lawsuit claiming ABC News “pink slime” coverage caused $1.9 billion worth of damage to the business of Beef Products Inc., which makes the meat product tagged with the term.



The Bank of England’s new deputy governor, Charlotte Hogg, has resigned for failing to declare a potential conflict of interest about her brother’s role at Barclays Plc which prompted an unprecedented rebuke from Parliament.

Unilever Plc is conducting a sweeping review of the Anglo-Dutch company that could result in a return of cash to shareholders, medium-sized acquisitions and more aggressive cost cuts.

Support for Scottish independence is at its highest ever but anti-EU sentiment has also reached a record high, according to a survey by ScotCen’s Scottish Social Attitudes.

Incoming GlaxoSmithKline Plc Chief Executive Emma Walmsley will receive lower pay than long-serving predecessor Andrew Witty, reflecting her lack of experience in the role.



– The reputation of Roundup, whose active ingredient is the world’s most widely used weed killer, took a hit on Tuesday when a federal court unsealed documents raising questions about its safety and the research practices of its manufacturer, the chemical giant Monsanto.

– President Trump rounded out his financial regulatory team on Tuesday, announcing plans to select J. Christopher Giancarlo to run the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

– Another Goldman Sachs executive is being hired for a senior government role in Washington — this time at the Treasury Department. James Donovan, a longtime Goldman banking and investment management executive, has been named to be the deputy to the Treasury secretary, Steven Mnuchin.

– Neiman Marcus, the struggling high-end retailer, is in talks to sell itself to the Hudson’s Bay Company, the Canadian retail giant, according to a person briefed on the discussions. A deal would put Neiman Marcus under the same umbrella as Saks Fifth Avenue and Lord & Taylor.




** Mortgage lender Home Capital Group says several of its current and former executives have been served with enforcement notices from the Ontario Securities Commission over the company’s disclosure of its investigation into fraudulent mortgage documents.

** Workers at a Lear Corp automotive seat-making plant in Whitby, Ontario, are battling to save their jobs amid demands by the company that hourly labour costs be reduced by 40 percent.

** President Donald Trump’s nominee for United States Trade Representative, Robert Lighthizer, is vowing to end the long-running softwood-lumber dispute with Canada – whether by cutting a deal or fighting it out in trade court – and take Ottawa to task for not cracking down on counterfeit goods destined for the United States.


** Minutes after Dallas-based luxury retailer Neiman Marcus told the world Tuesday that it was “undertaking a process to explore and evaluate potential strategic alternatives,” it was reported that Toronto-based Hudson’s Bay Co is in talks to buy the struggling chain.

** After inking a deal to send 1.5 billion cubic feet per day more Western Canadian natural gas to Toronto, domestic companies are now considering sending another 500 million cubic feet per day to Chicago as Canadian liquefied natural gas projects are stalled.

** Inter Pipeline (Corridor) Inc’s credit rating is currently under review, following a major oilsands deal last week that will alter the company’s shipping commitments on a major pipeline artery in northern Alberta.



The Times

* The Bank of England has been plunged into crisis by the resignation of its deputy governor, Charlotte Hogg, following withering criticism from members of parliament over a perceived conflict of interest concerning her brother.

* Transport Secretary Chris Grayling suggested that first-class carriages could be scrapped on busy commuter trains under radical plans to ease overcrowding on the rail network.

The Guardian

* GlaxoSmithKline’s new chief executive, Emma Walmsley, will be paid 25 percent less than her predecessor, Andrew Witty. Walmsley will be paid about 8.8 million pounds a year compared to Witty’s 11.6 million pounds a year.

* David Abraham is to stand down as chief executive of Channel 4 after seven years. Abraham is understood to already have preparations in place to launch his own venture next year.

The Telegraph

* Christine Lagarde has signalled that the International Monetary Fund will upgrade its UK growth forecasts next month, as she said the global economy was gathering momentum.

* Macquarie has sold off its final stake in Thames Water, bringing an end to the Australian investment bank’s 11 years of investment.

Sky News

* Two dozen Conservative members of parliament are understood to be under police investigation over claims they overspent on their local campaigns during the 2015 general election in which spending limits are tight.

* Cosmetics and perfume company Coty has announced plans to close a UK factory affecting 400 jobs, months after it took over the plant from former owner Procter & Gamble.

The Independent

* Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has issued a direct challenge to Theresa May, pointing out that she was voted in on a clear manifesto commitment to Scottish independence but that the prime minister “is not yet elected by anyone”.


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Celebrities band together to tell the story of a young Syrian refugee

Arab News
Wed, 2017-03-15

DUBAI: A host of celebrities have banded together in a new video campaign to mark seven years of fighting in Syria.
The video campaign, titled “Enough is Enough,” is for War Child, an organization which is campaigning to bring an end to the suffering of children in Syria.
British actress Carey Mulligan, an ambassador for War Child, is joined by the likes of Sam Smith, James Bay, Jude Law and Nicole Scherzinger.
“The prime minister needs to come to parliament with a clear plan to help bring this brutal conflict to an end,” Mulligan said in a statement, according to the BBC.
“The UK must outline what it will do to put pressure on the Syrian regime to stop fighting.”
The clip follows the story of 17-year-old Syrian girl Fatima who now lives with part of her family in Jordan as a refugee.
In the video, she -through the celebrities — talks about how it felt when she found out her brother had been killed.
Mulligan, who visited Fatima, described her as “an inspirational and intelligent young woman, full of passion and honesty” in a statement.
“She had the courage to talk about her experience of the war in Syria and what she had witnessed — something no young girl should have to go through.”


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“Jail Time!” Trump Slams Snoop Dogg Assassination Video, Mocks MSNBC’s Tax Leak

After a several day self-imposed silence, Trump took to Twitter on Tuesday morning, slamming both Snoop Dogg’s recent controversial music clip and last night’s MSNBC leak of his 2005 tax return.

Two days after rapper Snoop Dogg released a music video in which he shoots a “f–king clown” dressed as Trump with a toy gun, an angry Trump tweeted  “Can you imagine what the outcry would be if @SnoopDogg, failing career and all, had aimed and fired the gun at President Obama? Jail time!”

Can you imagine what the outcry would be if @SnoopDogg, failing career and all, had aimed and fired the gun at President Obama? Jail time!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 15, 2017

As reported before, in the video Snoop Dogg says “this is the final call,” before pointing a gun at the head of a cigarette-puffing clown dressed as Trump and pulling the trigger, at which point a “bang” flag shoots out from the music star’s gun.

Others criticized Snoop’s “artistic” vision previously: “We’ve had presidents assassinated before in this country, so anything like that, people should really be careful about that kind of thing,” Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) told TMZ after news of the music video broke. “He should think about that a little bit. If the wrong person sees that and gets the wrong idea, you could have a real problem. I think people can disagree on policy, but we’ve got to be very careful about that kind of thing.”

In a second tweet, in response to last night’s highly anticlimatic MSNBC prime time event, in which Rachel Maddow publicized Trump’s leaked 2005 tax return, and which showed the president making $150 million on which he padi a 25% tax rate, Trump lashed out asking “Does anybody really believe that a reporter, who nobody ever heard of, “went to his mailbox” and found my tax returns? @NBCNews  FAKE NEWS!”

Does anybody really believe that a reporter, who nobody ever heard of, “went to his mailbox” and found my tax returns? @NBCNews FAKE NEWS!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 15, 2017

Ironically, Maddow’s reveal may have backfired, because as discussed last night it showed that not only Trump made more money in a period in which many speculated he was in financial dire straits, but also paid a generous tax rate higher than that of Barack Obama, Mitt Romney and even Bernie Sanders. As such, because it case the president’s tax filings in a favorable light, many immediately suggested that it was Trump himself who delivered the tax return to MSNCB contributor David Cay Johnston.

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