Sunday, December 8, 2013
5:29 AMMexico unveils radical bill to open up energy market
- Legislators in Mexico are today due to start debating a draft bill to open up the country's energy industry and end the decades-long monopoly of state-run Pemex, which suffers from inefficiency, falling output and chronic under-investment.
- The measures would allow private oil companies to explore for, produce, and refine oil and gas, as well as share and market the resources they extract. Firms would also be able to include the projected income of long-term contracts on their balance sheets, something that is crucial for obtaining funds. However, the proposals stop short of offering firms full-blow concessions - a loaded term in Mexico.
- If the bill becomes law, it could add 50-100 bps to Mexico's GDP and prompt rating agencies to give the country's debt a positive outlook, says economist Pedro Tuesta.
- Congress is expected to pass the legislation this week, as it's supported by the main opposition party as well as by the government, although it faces significant public hostility.
- ETFs: UNG, USO, OIL, UCO, EWW, GAZ, SCO, UGAZ, BOIL, DBO, DTO, BNO, DGAZ, UNL, CRUD, KOLD, USL, NAGS, DBE, GASZ, RJN, DNO, SZO, OILZ, UWTI, DWTI, OLO, DCNG, UOIL, JJE, UMX, RGRE, ONG, DOIL, SMK, OLEM, TWTI, UBN
5:25 AMSupreme Court justice blocks last-ditch try to stop AMR-US deal
- The merger of American Airlines (AAMRQ) and US Airways (LCC) is all set to take off tomorrow after Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg denied a last-minute effort by consumer groups and travel agents to prevent the deal from taking place.
- The plaintiffs fear that the deal will force prices up, hurt services and make planes more crowded.
5:24 AMSEC widens probe into hiring practices at banks
- Goldman Sachs (GS), Deutsche Bank (DB) and Credit Suisse (CS) have reportedly joined JPMorgan (JPM) on the list of banks being investigated for their hiring practices in China. Morgan Stanley and Citigroup are also being scrutinized.
- The SEC is looking at whether the banks breached laws relating to foreign bribery by recruiting the family members of the well-connected in order to win business.
- The probe into JPMorgan has uncovered an email from a senior JPMorgan executive in Hong Kong saying that the bank's recruitment program for family members of senior government and other officials - called Sons and Daughters - had an almost "linear relationship with winning assignments to advise Chinese companies." A spreadsheet tracks JPM's record for converting hires into business deals.
- However, documents that JPMorgan has handed over as part of the investigation don't indicate that executives at the bank's New York HQ knew of the recruitment strategy.
5:15 AMFreezing weather hits airlines, freight companies
- Airlines have canceled over 1,000 flights, while freight companies and online retailers have delayed deliveries, due to severe winter weather across the U.S., particularly in the south.
- American Airlines (AAMRQ, LCC) has been especially affected after more than 400 flights from Dallas/Fort Worth, American's largest hub, were scrapped.
- FedEx (FDX) and UPS (UPS) have also felt the impact of the weather, while eBay (EBAY) has warned of shipment delays.
- Meanwhile, ice storms have cut power to over 200,000 homes from Texas to Tennessee.
- More freezing weather is predicted for tomorrow.
- It's likely to take a while for the economic cost of the storm to be calculated. Insurer Aon (AON) reckons that the losses from the tornadoes and thunderstorms that hit the U.S. last month will top $1B. Allstate (ALL) may take a large hit after towns in Illinois, where it is the second-biggest insurer, were among those to feel the full wrath of the storms.
- ETFs: KIE, IAK, KBWP, KBWI
5:06 AMChina's trade surplus rises to high of almost five years
- China's trade surplus increased to the highest level in nearly five years in November, rising to $33.8B from $31.1B in October and easily topping consensus of $21.7B.
- Exports climbed 12.7% on year vs +5.6% in October and exceeding forecasts of +7.1%.
- Imports grew 5.3% vs +7.6% and +7.2%.
- Exports to Europe +18.4% and to the U.S. +17.7%.
- "There are signs that the global activity and trade cycle is gaining momentum, driven by the recovery in high income countries, and China's exporters are benefiting from that," says RBS economist Louis Kuijs.
- The data is the first in a number of reports due out this week, including inflation, industrial production and retail sales. (PR - use Google to translate)
- ETFs: FXI, PGJ, GXC, FXP, HAO, CYB, YINN, CNY, TAO, CHIQ, CHIX, MCHI, YANG, PEK, CQQQ, XPP, QQQC, DSUM, YAO, ASHR, CHXX, CHII, FXCH, CHXF, ECNS, CHIE, YXI, CHIM, KWEB, KFYP, TCHI, FCA, CHLC, CHNA
5:02 AMBain, Golden Gate enter battle for Compuware
- Bain and Golden Gate Capital have reportedly teamed up to make a bid for software provider Compuware (CPWR), whose market cap is $2.34B.
- The private-equity firms agreed to acquire larger rival BMC Software (BMC) in May, although they wouldn't necessarily merge Compuware with BMC.
- Bain and Golden Gate could face competition from Thoma Bravo and Vista Capital.
- Any deal could represent an exit for activist investor Elliot Management, Compuware's largest shareholder with an 8.6% holding. Elliot tried to buy Compuware a year ago but was rebuffed.
5:01 AMWTO finally agrees to new trade pact after years of talks
- A meeting of ministers at the World Trade Organization has agreed to a "trade facilitation decision" that is designed to cut the cost of trade by 10-15%, which could add $400B-$1T to the global economy and create 21M jobs.
- Once the deal is adopted - slated for July 2014 - it should "speed up customs procedures; make trade easier, faster and cheaper; provide clarity, efficiency and transparency; reduce bureaucracy and corruption; and use technological advances."
- The pact came at the latest round of the Doha talks, which have been going on since 2001, and is much weaker than the original goals of the discussions. There was much concern that a deal wouldn't be agreed this week, a failure that would have hurt the stature of the WTO. (PR)
4:58 AMObamacare Web site improving but problems still remain
- The government's HealthCare.gov Web site for Obamacare was failing to accurately transmit around 10% of applications to insurers - as of Friday - although that represents a vast improvement on the error rate in October.
- Still, up to 25% of the enrollment records for people who bought coverage in October and November could contain mistakes, raising doubts about whether those customers would be insured if the policies take effect from January 1, as scheduled.
- Meanwhile, insurers are working with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) on a short-term back-up system that will enable the government to pay the firms for the income-based subsidies that many consumers qualify for under Obamacare.
- More on Obamacare.
- Relevant company tickers: AET, HNT, HUM, UNH, WLP, MOH.
- ETFs: XLV, XHE, VHT, FXH, IHF, IHI, IYH, PTH, RYH, PSCH, RXL, RXD, XHS.