Seeking Alpha
  • Today - Tuesday, September 23, 2014

  • 10:35 AM
    • Close to 75% of Hyundai's (OTC:HYMLF) workforce in South Korea walked off the job for four hours to protest a lavish spend by the company on a plot of land for a corporate headquarters.
    • A union repping the workers is pressing the automaker to cancel the deal to focus on employee wage increases.
    | Comment!
  • 9:12 AM
    • Fitch Ratings says an acquisition of SABMiller (OTCPK:SBMRY) by Anheuser-Busch InBev (NYSE:BUD) that included equity funding would help the combined beer giant keep an investment grade rating.
    • The ratings agency notes the tie-up would lead to only a few divestments due to the relatively limited overlap of beer brands.
    • Currency risk would be increased for the brewer, notes Fitch, as a majority of the incoming cash comes in from Latin America, Africa, and eastern Europe - while the debit is denominated in euros and dollars.
    | Comment!
  • 8:38 AM
    • The preliminary HSBC PMI for China rose to 50.5 in September from 50.2 in August. Forecasts had called for a decline to 50.0. It's a mixed picture, says HSBC's Hongbin Qu, noting improvement in new orders and new export orders, but further declines in employment, and intensifying disinflationary pressure.
    • The Shanghai Composite rose 0.9% overnight, with a gauge of industrial shares (NYSEARCA:CHIIup 1.3%.
    | Comment!
  • 7:35 AM
    • Hyundai (OTC:HYMLF) will have to pay $73M in damages to the family of two teenagers killed in a 2011 crash after a judge in Montana overruled the automaker's bid to further reduce the amount.
    • The fatal accident was related to a faulty steering knuckle.
    • The original judgement of $248M was the largest ever levied against Hyundai.
    | Comment!
  • 7:20 AM
    • Yara International (OTCPK:YARIY) is in talks with CF Industries (NYSE:CF) about a possible merger of equals, a deal that would create a fertilizer giant with a market value of over $27B.
    • "The discussions are at an early stage, and there can be no assurances that these discussions will result in any transaction," says Yara in a filing.
    • Norway's government and possibly parliament would have to approve of any deal, as the state holds 36.2% of Yara, plus an additional 5% through state pension fund Folketrygdfondet.
    | Comment!
  • 7:07 AM
    • Microsoft's (NASDAQ:MSFT) says its Xbox One videogame console will launch in China on Sept. 29, but still has not given a reason for its previous launch date (Sept 23) delay.
    • The Xbox One will be the first foreign game console to launch in China, following the lifting of a 14-year-old ban on foreign consoles earlier this year.
    | Comment!
  • 7:00 AM
    • A survey conducted by Asia Gambling Brief indicates that gamblers in China prefer casinos in Macau and Singapore to other alternatives.
    • Analysts think Macau will keep a strong pull on tourists, despite the accelerating pace of casino development in Asia.
    • Macau related stocks: MPEL, MGM, WYNN, LVS, OTCPK:GXYEF, OTCPK:SJMHF.
    | Comment!
  • 5:20 AM
    • Mexico has received its first bid from a consortium led by Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE:ALU) and Ericsson (NASDAQ:ERIC) to build its proposed $10B state-owned mobile network - an effort that will break the hold of Carlos Slim's America Movil (NYSE:AMX) on the industry.
    • If the consortium's bid wins, those companies could be key suppliers of mobile antennae and other gear as well as manage the network.
    • Mexico expects to pick a winner in mid-2015.
  • 4:30 AM
    • The U.S., joined by five Arab allies, launched the first airstrikes on Islamic State targets in Syria Monday night, marking the first U.S. military intervention in Syria since the start of the country's civil war.
    • The U.S.-led strikes opened the war's new front, and is on top of the extra funding approved by Congress last week to train Syrian rebels.
    • About 190 air strikes have already been carried out in Iraq since August.
    | Comment!
  • 3:09 AM
    • After being threatened with severe penalties from Argentina if it does not process a $5M interest payment by Sept. 30, Citigroup (NYSE:C) has returned to court to plead its case in front of the New York judge who originally issued the injunction.
    • Citigroup is now seeking a stay from Judge Thomas Griesa, after an appeals court last week dismissed the bank's request to reverse the ruling.
    • The injunction blocks payments on $8.4B in bonds issued under Argentine law.
    • ETFs: ARGT
    | Comment!
  • Monday, September 22, 2014

  • 3:40 PM
    • "The bet is simple," says Fortress Investment's Gareth Henry, speaking at a conference in San Francisco. "Between now and the election, the probability of [incumbent Dilma Rousseff] winning is going to go a lot lower than it is today."
    • "I actually think she loses the election," says Henry, and there will be a major rally in Brazilian assets following.
    • Henry's comments echo those of Fortress Principal Mike Novogratz a few months back.
    • Previously: Fortess' Novogratz pitches Brazil at Ira Sohn
    • The Fortress Macro Fund is lower by 5.78%, net of fees, through the end of August.
  • 3:38 PM
    • Cyprus-based Oasis Beverages has bought Pabst Brewing for an undisclosed amount.
    • P-E firm TSG Consumer Partners will take a minority position.
    • The rights to beer brands Pabst Blue Ribbon, Rainier, Lone Star, Old Style, Schlitz, and National Bohemian are included as part of the transaction.
    | Comment!
  • 3:30 PM
    • "Mexico is truly a benchmark right now," says Gerardo Rodriguez, the country's former deputy finance minister, now running money at BlackRock. “Mexico is probably right there at the top of a very small list of countries that have shown willingness to reform.”
    • Twenty years after its most recent bailout, Mexico is rivaling Chile as Latin America's best credit risk - its CDS prices fell below Chile for the first time ever last June. Helping are government reforms like opening up the oil industry to investment and spurring competition in telecommunications are helping, and the country's debt as a percentage of GDP is expected to be 48% this year vs. a 53% average for the region and 67% for Brazil. The government of Pena Nieto predicts the reforms will boost GDP growth above 5% by 2018, a level not seen since 2010.
    | 1 Comment
  • 3:00 PM
    • Kellogg (K -0.6%) is one of the first round bidders for United Biscuits, sources tell The Wall Street Journal.
    • The Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan and Turkish firm Ulker Biskuvi Sanayi AS were also involved in the bidding for the private equity-owned food company.
    • The offer prices for United Biscuits is reported to be in the neighborhood of $3.27B.
    | 1 Comment
  • 2:58 PM
  • 11:26 AM
    • Nissan (OTCPK:NSANY) and Dongfeng form a 50-50 joint venture in China.
    • The JV will produce Infiniti vehicles for the growing market.
    • Nissan has a goal to sell 30K Infiniti vehicles in China this year and 100K per year by 2018.
    | Comment!
  • 11:22 AM
    • Iron ore slumped to a new five-year low overnight as China's finance minster said not to expect anything major from Beijing to counter a recent string of weak economic data.
    • “The Chinese government is signaling it won’t be very aggressive in stimulating growth, and that’s scaring investors,” says a hedge funder in Rio, though it'll be upcoming elections as the main driver for the Bovespa.
    • The ASX (NYSEARCA:EWA) fell 1.3% in Sydney, and the aussie (NYSEARCA:FXA) is off 0.7% to $0.8865. Brazil's Bovespa is lower by 2.2%, led by Vale (VALE -4.2%).
    • Brazilian banks: Banco Bradesco (BBD -1.8%), Banco Santander Brasil (BSBR -0.6%), Itau Unibanco (ITUB -2.3%).
    • The iShares MSCI Brazil Index ETF (EWZ -2.7%)
    | 1 Comment
  • 11:13 AM
    • Diageo (DEO -0.5%) announces that its United Spirits subsidiary will sell off an 11.4% stake in Pioneer Distilleries through an open offer process.
    • The company was forced to make the move after failing to hit a 90% ownership threshold which would have allowed it to delist shares.
    | Comment!
  • 9:44 AM
    • The buzz from bankers at the LPC loan conference in New York City is that financing for a massive M&A deal shouldn't be a major issue in the current environment.
    • The development coincides with ongoing speculation that Anheuser-Busch InBev (NYSE:BUD) is lining up an acquisition play for beer rival SABMiller (OTCPK:SBMRY).
    • A bridge loan of $75B-$80B by A-B would be needed to swing the deal, according to some bankers.
    | Comment!
  • 8:17 AM
    • After swearing in Poland's new Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz, President Bronislaw Komorowski announced that the new government should prepare the country for a debate over euro adoption.
    • "Among the great tasks (for the government) is preparing Poland for the unavoidable big debate about strengthening our position in integrating Europe, I mean the decision on eurozone membership," says Komorowski.
    • Poland's official stance is that it will join the eurozone eventually, but it has still not yet set a target date.
    • ETFs: EPOL, PLND
    | Comment!
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