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Frontrunning: February 22

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Tyler Durden.

  • Obama Administration Said Set to Release Corporate Tax-Rate Plan Today (Bloomberg, WSJ)
  • Greece races to meet bail-out demands (FT)
  • IAEA ‘disappointed’ in Iran nuclear talks (FT)
  • Hilsenrath: Fed Writes Sweeping Rules From Behind Closed Doors (WSJ)
  • Fannie-Freddie Plan, Sweden FSA, Trader Suspects, CDO Lawsuit: Compliance (Bloomberg)
  • Bank of England’s Bean Says Greek Deal Doesn’t End Disorderly Outcome Risk (Bloomberg)
  • Greece Second Bailout Plan an ‘Important Step,’ Treasury’s Brainard Says (Bloomberg)
  • Shanghai Eases Home Purchase Restrictions (Bloomberg)
  • Australian foreign minister resigns (WaPo)
  • Osborne urged to cut taxes on business (FT)
  • Gillard Backed by ‘Vast Majority’ of Government, Shorten Says (Bloomberg)

Overnight Media Summary

WSJ

* The Obama administration will propose lowering the top income-tax rate for corporations to 28 percent from 35 percent, but would raise overall tax revenue by eliminating dozens of deductions in an effort to restructure corporate taxes.

* The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau said it will target bank overdraft fees, aiming to help consumers avoid unexpected charges.

* Greece’s bailout and debt deal will leave it with a huge debt burden and presents implementation challenges that may derail the program and prevent a return to growth.

* Citigroup is facing a multibillion-dollar write-down as it begins unwinding its minority investment in the Morgan Stanley Smith Barney brokerage.

* Johnson & Johnson picked Alex Gorsky to be its next chief executive. He will take over from longtime leader William Weldon in April.

* A federal judge dismissed a foreign bribery case against 16 business people arrested in a sting involving a phony military contract as the Justice Department quit the case after two trial setbacks.

* Beer heavyweights including Anheuser-Busch InBev NV , on the hunt for assets in faster-growing markets, are examining a possible purchase of the owner of Czech lager Staropramen in a deal that could be valued at as much as $3 billion, according to people familiar with the matter.

FT

WELLS FARGO TO BUY ENERGY LOAN PORTFOLIO

Wells Fargo has agreed to buy an energy loan portfolio from BNP Paribas with a historical value of $11 billion. http://link.reuters.com/zyc76s

BC PARTNERS RAISES 6.5 BLN EUROS FOR NEW DEALS

London-based buy-out firm BC Partners has completed one of the largest private equity capital raisings since the global financial crisis by collecting 6.5 billion euros ($8.62 billion)for its latest European fund. http://link.reuters.com/bad76s

GREEK RACE TO UNLOCK BAILOUT

The Greek government is racing to complete a lengthy checklist of reforms demanded by international lenders before the end of February to unlock a 130 billion euros bailout agreed in the early hours of Tuesday after months of high-stakes bargaining. http://link.reuters.com/cad76s

UK POLICE INVESTIGATE THREADNEEDLE ROGUE TRADE ATTEMPT

Police in London are investigating a suspected $150 million trading fraud attempted by a former trader at the British investment house Threadneedle. http://link.reuters.com/dad76s

UK’S OSBORNE URGED TO CUT TAXES ON BUSINESS

British finance minister George Osborne has come under renewed pressure from some members of Britain’s ruling Conservative Party to cut business taxes and simplify labour laws in next month’s budget. http://link.reuters.com/fad76s

WELDON TO STEP DOWN AS J&J CHIEF

William Weldon will retire as chief executive of Johnson & Johnson, marking an end to a tenure that has been marred by an embarrassing string of product recalls. http://link.reuters.com/gad76s

SINGER CHURCH SET TO SETTLE HACKING CASE

Singer Charlotte Church is on the verge of settling her phone-hacking case against the News of the World, raising the prospect that Rupert Murdoch’s newspaper group will face no High Court trial over the scandal, it emerged on Tuesday. http://link.reuters.com/had76s

M&B HOMES IN ON CHIEF EXECUTIVE

Mitchells & Butlers has drawn up a shortlist of three candidates to be chief executive after the job was spurned by three high-profile industry executives amid concerns at the influence wielded by the pub group’s dominant shareholder, Joe Lewis. http://link.reuters.com/jad76s

MAZDA PLANS $2.1 BILLION CAPITAL RAISING

Mazda, the Japanese carmaker, is planning to raise about 170 billion yen ($2.1 billion) in capital to expand its production network overseas, according to people familiar with the matter. http://link.reuters.com/kad76s

NYT

* President Obama will ask Congress to scrub the corporate tax code of dozens of loopholes and subsidies to reduce the top rate to 28 percent, down from 35 percent, while giving preferences to manufacturers that would set their maximum effective rate at 25 percent, a senior administration official said on Tuesday.

* Even after European leaders appeared to have averted a chaotic default by Greece with an eleventh-hour deal for aid, worries persist that a debt disaster on the Continent has merely been delayed.

* A year before recalling an artificial hip, an executive at Johnson & Johnson reported in an internal e-mail that the Food and Drug Administration had refused to approve the device, after reviewing company studies that showed it had failed prematurely in “significant” numbers, requiring repeat surgeries for patients.

* William C. Weldon, who presided over Johnson & Johnson during one of the most tumultuous periods in its history, will step down as chief executive in April, the company announced Tuesday.

* Taxpayers have advanced almost $50 million in legal payments to defend former executives of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in the three years since the government rescued the giant mortgage companies, a regulatory analysis has found.

* The holidays turned out to be a lot brighter at the high end, judging by the results of four major retailers who reported earnings on Tuesday.

Walmart, Macy’s, Home Depot and Saks Fifth Avenue all reported sales increases for their fourth quarters ending in January. But while Walmart had to lower prices so aggressively that it hurt its profit, retailers focusing on higher-income customers crowed about the solid prices those shoppers paid.

* The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is beginning an inquiry into how banks levy overdraft fees they charge customers who bounce checks or withdraw more than they have in their accounts using debit cards or automated teller machines, the head of the agency said Tuesday.

European Economic Update

  • Eurozone PMI Composite for February 49.7 – lower than expected. Consensus 50.5. Previous 50.4.
  • Eurozone PMI Manufacturing for February 49.0 – lower than expected. Consensus 49.4. Previous 48.8.
  • Eurozone PMI Services for February 49.4 – lower than expected. Consensus 50.6. Previous 50.4.
  • Eurozone Industrial New Orders n.s.a. for December -1.7% y/y – higher than expected. Consensus -2.8% y/y. Previous -2.7% y/y. Revised -2.5% y/y.
  • Sweden Unemployment rate 8.0% – higher than expected. Consensus 7.9%. Previous 7.1%.
  • Norway Unemployment rate (AKU) 3.3% – lower than expected. Consensus 3.4%. Previous 3.4%.
  • Italy CPI (NIC incl. tobacco) for January 0.3% m/m 3.2% y/y – in line with expectations. Consensus 0.3% m/m 3.2% y/y. Previous 0.3% m/m 3.2% y/y.
  • Italy CPI-EU Harmonized for January -1.8 m/m 3.4% y/y – in line with expectations. Consensus -1.8% m/m 3.4% y/y. Previous -1.8% m/m 3.4% y/y.
  • Iceland Wage Index 0.0% m/m 9.1% y/y. Previous 0.3% m/m 9.2% y/y.
  • Germany PMI Manufacturing 50.1 – lower than expected. Consensus 51.5. Previous 51.0.
  • Germany PMI Services 52.6 – lower than expected. Consensus 53.9. Previous 53.7.
  • France CPI – EU Harmonised -0.4% m/m 2.6% y/y – lower than expected. Consensus -0.2% m/m 2.7% y/y. Previous 0.4% m/m 2.7% y/y.
  • France Consumer Price Index -0.4% m/m 2.3% y/y – lower than expected. Consensus -0.2% m/m 2.5% y/y. Previous 0.4% m/m 2.5% y/y.
  • France PMI Manufacturing 50.2 – higher than expected. Consensus 49.0. Previous 48.5.
  • France PMI Services 50.3 – lower than expected. Consensus 52.0. Previous 52.3.
  • Russia Gold & Forex Reserve USD 504.4B. Previous 509.1B.
  • Czech Republic PPI (Industrial) 1.0% m/m 4.1% y/y – higher than expected. Consensus 0.9% m/m 4.2% y/y. Previous 0.1% m/m 4.6% y/y.

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