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Sep 26, 2013

FTC Puts Conditions on Mylan's Proposed Acquisition of Agila from Strides: NFA | Rules and Regulations September 26, 2013.

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Settlement Preserves Competition in Current and Future Markets for Generic Injectables
The Federal Trade Commission will require Mylan, Inc., and Agila Specialties Global Pte. Ltd and Agila Specialties Pvt. Ltd. (collectively, Agila) to divest 11 generic injectable drugs as a condition of allowing Mylan’s proposed acquisition of Agila from Strides Arcolab Ltd. (Strides).
According to the complaint, in each of these 11 markets, Mylan and Agila are two of only a limited number of current or likely future competitors.  The number of suppliers in generic pharmaceutical markets matters because prices generally decrease as the number of competing generic suppliers increases.  In addition, the injectable generic products of concern are highly susceptible to supply disruptions caused by the inherent difficulties of producing sterile liquid drugs.  The complaint alleges that by reducing the number of competitors in these markets, the acquisition as originally proposed would eliminate important competition and likely lead to higher prices, absent the remedies required by the proposed consent agreement.
“This proposed settlement will ensure that these important generic injectable medications, which are used to treat conditions ranging from heart disease and hypertension to cancer, remain available at a competitive price, now and in the foreseeable future,” said Deborah Feinstein, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Competition.  “Preserving existing competition is especially important in markets for injectable drugs where supply disruptions have led to shortages.”
Mylan proposes to acquire Agila for approximately $1.85 billion, under an agreement dated February 27, 2013.  The FTC’s complaint charges the deal as proposed would violate the antitrust laws, by substantially reducing competition in the markets for 11 generic injectable drugs.  The FTC alleges the deal would reduce current or future competition in six product markets and future competition in five other markets.  A list of all 11 drugs, along with the structure of the relevant markets, can be found in the analysis to aid public comment for this matter on the FTC’s website.
The complaint alleges that the proposed acquisition would eliminate existing or imminent competition in markets for the following six generic drugs:
  • Amiodarone hydrochloride injection, an anti-arrythmic heart drug used to treat patients with frequently recurring ventricular fibrillation or unstable ventricular tachycardia;
  • Etomidate injection, an anesthetic used during surgery;
  • Fluorouracil injection, which is used to treat several types of cancer, including breast and pancreatic;
  • Labetalol hydrochloride injection, which is used to treat severe hypertension;
  • Mesna injection, a detoxifying agent used to prevent urinary tract damage caused by a particular chemotherapy drug; and
  • Methotrexate sodium preservative-free injection, which is used to treat several types of pediatric cancers, as well as certain autoimmune disorders.
The FTC’s complaint also alleges that the proposed transaction would reduce future competition for four drugs by increasing the likelihood that the combined company would forego or delay the launch of these generic products or otherwise reduce important price competition.  These drugs include:
  • Acetylcysteine injection, which is used to prevent or minimize liver damage caused by acetaminophen overdose;
  • Fomepizole injection, which is used to treat accidental poisoning caused by ethylene glycol or methanol;
  • Ganciclovir injection, an antiviral drug used to treat patients with weakened immune systems to slow the growth of a form of herpes that can lead to blindness; and
  • Meropenem injection, an antibiotic used as a last resort to treat serious bacterial infections in the ICU.
Finally, the FTC’s complaint alleges that the proposed acquisition would likely reduce competition in the future market for generic mycophenolate mofetil injection, which is currently only available as a branded drugMycophenolate mofetil is used in transplant medicine to reduce the chance of organ transplant rejection.  Roche Palo Alto, LLC currently sells the branded version of this drug.  When generic entry occurs, Mylan and Agila would likely be among a limited number of suppliers.  Thus, the proposed acquisition reduces the number of likely future generic competitors in this market.
The proposed consent order is designed to remedy the alleged anticompetitive effects that the proposed acquisition otherwise would have in each of the 11 drug markets.  It requires Mylan to divest either Mylan or Agila/Strides products as follows:  1) Mylan’s fluorouracil injection and methotrexate sodium preservative-free injection to Intas Pharmaceuticals Ltd.; 2) Mylan’s etomidate injection, ganciclovir injection, meropenem injection, and mycophenolate mofetil injection, as well as Agila/Strides’amiodarone hydrochloride injection and fomepizole injection to JHP Pharmaceuticals, LLC; and 3) Agila/Strides’ acetylcysteine injection and mesna injection to Sagent Pharmaceuticals.  The proposed order also requires Mylan to release all of its rights relating to labetalol hydrochloride injection to Gland Pharma Ltd.  Finally, the proposed consent order contains supply and technology provisions to ensure the acquirers can immediately and effectively compete in the marketplace.
The Commission vote to accept the consent agreement containing the proposed consent order for public comment was 4-0.  The FTC will publish a description of the consent agreement package in the Federal Register shortly.  The agreement will be subject to public comment for 30 days, beginning today and continuing through October 28, 2013, after which the Commission will decide whether to make the proposed consent order final.  Interested parties can submit written comments electronically or in paper form by following the instructions in the “Invitation To Comment” part of the “Supplementary Information” section.
Comments in paper form should be mailed or delivered to:  Federal Trade Commission, Office of the Secretary, Room H-113, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, DC 20580.  The FTC is requesting that any comment filed in paper form near the end of the public comment period be sent by courier or overnight service, if possible, because U.S. postal mail in the Washington area and at the Commission is subject to delay due to heightened security precautions. Comments also can be filed electronically.
NOTE:  The Commission issues an administrative complaint when it has “reason to believe” that the law has been or is being violated, and it appears to the Commission that a proceeding is in the public interest.  When the Commission issues a consent order on a final basis, it carries the force of law with respect to future actions.  Each violation of such an order may result in a civil penalty of up to $16,000. 
The FTC’s Bureau of Competition works with the Bureau of Economics to investigate alleged anticompetitive business practices and, when appropriate, recommends that the Commission take law enforcement action.  To inform the Bureau about particular business practices, call 202-326-3300, send an e-mail to antitrust{at}ftc{dot}gov, or write to the Office of Policy and Coordination, Bureau of Competition, Federal Trade Commission, 601 New Jersey Ave., N.W., Room 7117, Washington, DC 20001.  To learn more about the Bureau of Competition, read Competition Counts.  Like the FTC on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and subscribe to press releases for the latest FTC news and resources.
MEDIA CONTACT:
Mitchell J. Katz,
Office of Public Affairs
202-326-2161
STAFF CONTACT:
Amy Posner,
Bureau of Competition
202-326-2614

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NFA | Notice to Members September 26, 2013: Effective Date of Amendments to NFA Compliance Rule 2-45 and its Related Interpretive Notice

DealBook P.M. Edition September 26, 2013: Detroit Manager Seeks to Freeze Pension Plan


Thursday, September 26, 2013
TOP STORY
Kevyn Orr, a Washington bankruptcy lawyer, is the emergency manager of Detroit, which has nearly 12,000 retired workers.
Detroit Manager Seeks to Freeze Pension Plan Detroit's emergency manager wants to freeze the city's pension system for public workers, in light of evidence it was operated in an unsound manner for many years, contributing to the city's financial downfall.
  • DEALBOOK » | DealBook: Detroit Spent Billions Extra on Pensions
  •  
  • DEALBOOK HIGHLIGHTS
    Longtime Madoff Accountant Is Arrested
    Longtime Madoff Accountant Is Arrested The arrest of Paul J. Konigsberg, a longtime accountant in Bernard L. Madoff's inner circle, represents a deepening of the federal criminal investigation of Mr. Madoff's multibillion-dollar Ponzi scheme.
    First-Round Bidding to Begin in Auction of IMG Talent Agency
    First-Round Bidding to Begin in Auction of IMG Talent Agency First round bids for the IMG, which represents athletes and entertainers including Peyton Manning and Justin Timberlake, are due on Monday, according to people familiar with the matter.
    Create a Caption: Mr. Dimon Goes to Washington
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    Under Pressure From Ackman, Air Products Shakes Up Board Air Products and Chemicals, a producer of industrial gases, is adding three new directors to its board and beginning a search for a new chief executive.
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    Strauss-Kahn Joins Investment Firm Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the former head of the International Monetary Fund whose career was damaged by a series of sexual scandals, will join an investment banking boutique based in Luxembourg.
    Lixil of Japan to Buy Grohe for $4.1 Billion
    Lixil of Japan to Buy Grohe for $4.1 Billion The deal for the German bathroom fittings maker Grohe is the second this month to involve a Japanese acquisition of a European company.
    Buzz Tracker
    Chrysler's Owners Race for the Cliff The preliminary prospectus filed by the automaker suggests that the company's chief executive is willing to go to extremes to scuttle its proposed I.P.O., Floyd Norris writes in the High & Low Finance column for The New York Times.
    EBay to Acquire Payments Start-Up EBay is acquiring Braintree, a Chicago payments start-up whose clients include Rovio, Uber, OpenTable, Fab and Airbnb, for $800 million in cash, Jenna Wortham reports on the Bits blog. EBay plans to merge the business with PayPal.
    LOOKING AHEAD
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Wall Street at Close Report by MarketWatch September 26, 2013: U.S. stocks rise on brightened jobs picture


By Kate Gibson, MarketWatch 
 
NEW YORK (MarketWatch)U.S. stocks rose on Thursday, with the S&P 500 rebounding from its longest losing streak this year, as a larger-than-expected drop in jobless claims mostly overrode worries about a budget standoff on Capitol Hill. 
 
“The strong jobs data were constructive, but we think it’s going to be a nervous period for risk assets. Washington is going to be driving the bus really for the next few weeks,” said Jim Russell, senior equity strategist for U.S. Bank Wealth Management. 

There is “fear about a possible government shutdown and a very contentious debate is likely over the debt ceiling. If the past is any guide, this is going to be a food fight like no other, and it will not put America in the best light on the global stage,” Russell said. 

But the likely volatility that comes with Wall Street reacting to headlines out of Washington does represent an opportunity for investors. “At the end of the day, you have to fund the government, you have to raise the debt ceiling, so if markets decline due to short-term issues, buy good quality names on sale,” Russell advised. 

After a five-session losing streak, the Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA +0.36%  rallied as much as 113.9 points, and ended with a gain of 55.04 points, or 0.4%, to 15,328.30. 
 

Traders watching J.C. Penney
Barron's columnist Brendan Conway takes a look at today's three stocks to watch: J.C. Penney, Bed Bath & Beyond and Hertz. Photo: Getty Images 

Also up after a five-session drop, the S&P 500 index SPX +0.35% climbed 5.90 points, or 0.4%, to 1,698.67, with telecommunications pacing gains that included all but utilities among its 10 major industry sectors. 

Equities came off session highs after House Speaker John Boehner said on Thursday that his party will push for a bill that will tie increasing the debt ceiling — and continue funding the government past Oct. 1 — to more cuts in federal spending. The comments by the Ohio Republican did not completely derail market gains as the S&P 500 rebounded from its longest stretch of losses since late December. Stocks got a second wind after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said his chamber plans to have a stopgap budget bill finished by Sunday

Stocks are not far from all time-highs “while being held hostage to the dysfunction in Washington,” said Art Hogan, market strategist at Lazard Capital Markets. 

A strong opening came in response to near-term oversold conditions, Hogan said. “Although it hasn’t been deep, the sellout was long,” he said. 

“I think the debt ceiling [will be] raised; I don’t think we’re going to see a default,” said Chris Gaffney, senior vice president and senior market strategist at EverBank Wealth Management. 

The Senate on Wednesday moved toward advancing a bill that would keep the government open after Monday without wiping out funding from the health-care law. Also Wednesday, Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew told Congress the Treasury will only have $30 billion in cash by Oct. 17, putting the nation on the brink of default. 

Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. BBBY -0.03%  rose 4.5% after hiking the low end of its 2013 earnings outlook. J.C. Penney Co. JCP -4.03%  rose 3% after the retailer fought back against critics. Hertz Global Holdings Inc. HTZ +0.51% dropped 16% after trimming its outlook. 

The Nasdaq Composite COMP +0.70%  gained 26.33 points, or 0.7%, to 3,787.43.

For every five stocks falling, more than nine rose on the New York Stock Exchange, where nearly 603 million shares traded. Composite volume neared 2.8 billion. 

Treasury prices declined, with the yield on the 10-year note 10_YEAR -0.04%   used in figuring mortgage rates and other consumer loans up 1 basis point at 2.648%, while the dollar gained against the currencies of major U.S. trading partners.
 
Energy costs rose for the first session in six, with crude-oil futures for November delivery CLX3 -0.16%  up 37 cents, or 0.4%, to end at $103.03 a barrel. Gold futures for December delivery GCZ3 -0.07%  dropped $12.10, or 0.9%, to finish at $1,324.10 an ounce. 

Stocks had extended gains after a report from mortgage-buyer Freddie Mac put the average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage at 4.32% this week, with the rate the lowest since August. With mortgage rates backing off, “we’ll likely see any fence sitter get off to take advantage of the drop because it likely won’t last,” emailed Peter Boockvar, chief market strategist at the Lindsey Group LLC, of expectations that potential home buyers would move ahead of an anticipated rise in interest rates. 

Economic reports included the National Association of Realtors reporting sales contracts on homes falling 1.6% in August, weekly jobless claims exceeding expectations, and the economy growing at an unrevised 2.5% pace last quarter. 

The Labor Department reported the number of new applications for unemployment benefits fell by 5,000 to 305,000 last week, with the number slightly below what economists had expected, but still above 300,000, “which is still an important line,” said Gaffney. “The labor sector isn’t going as well as we would like to see.” 

Separate data had the U.S. economy growing an unrevised 2.5% in the second quarter, less than the 2.7% projected by economists surveyed by MarketWatch. But from Gaffney’s perspective the number “was actually good. “We thought it could tick to 2% or even below 2%,” he said. 

Thursday’s session came with a number of Fed officials speaking. In Sweden, Jeffrey Lacker, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, said the U.S. central bank will “face risks as it pursues its ‘exit strategy’ from recent unconventional policies.” Lacker is a nonvoting member of the Fed’s policy-making committee. 

Participating on a panel in Germany, Fed Gov. Jeremy Stein, a voting member, said the U.S. central bank should develop a methodical approach to tapering by linking reduced asset purchases to the unemployment rate. 

In Houghton, Mich., Minneapolis Fed President Narayana Kocherlakota, who votes next year, said the central bank should do “whatever it takes” to bolster the labor market. Read about Fed speakers reflecting taper discord.
 
Kansas City Fed President Esther George, a voting member, gives a speech on the U.S. economy in Denver in the evening. 

“We think the Fed takes a back seat here for just a little while, and Washington becomes the point of focus. Later in the year, in October or December, the Fed comes back into focus as an investor issue,” said Russell. 

Kate Gibson is a reporter for MarketWatch, based in New York. Follow her on Twitter @MWKateGibson.





ADVFN III Evening Euro Markets Bulletin September 26, 2013.

ADVFN III Evening Euro Markets Bulletin
Daily world financial news Thursday, 26 September 2013


London Market Report
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Stocks pulled higher after US jobless claims
It
was a mixed finish for European equity markets on Thursday but the FTSE
100 managed to push into positive territory by the close after some
better-than-expected labour-market data in the States.

London’s benchmark FTSE 100 index ended the day up 14.06 points at 6,565.59, rebounding after hitting a two-week low of 6,551.53 on Wednesday.


“Today has very much been a day of two halves, with fear dominating the
morning session until US optimism dragged the FTSE back out of the
red,” said Alastair McCaig, Market Analyst at IG. “Traders have
spent much of the week waiting for today’s economic figures and, now
that they’re out, a sense of anti-climax has shrouded the trading
floor,” he said.

US jobless claims dropped from a
revised 310,000 to 305,000 in the week ended September 20th, surprising
the consensus of analysts who had expected a jump to 325,000. IT issues
in a number of regions had distorted figures the week before leading to a
lower number of claims, so benefits were forecast to rise sharply
today.

“While the lingering issues in California could result
in a further uptick in continuing claims in coming weeks, it appears
that the improved initial claims numbers are more a result of improved
labour-market conditions than technical issues,” said analyst Cooper
Howes from Barclays.

Following a mid-afternoon rally on markets, gains were limited by the close after some US housing figures disappointed. Pending-home sales
fell for the third straight month, dropping 1.6% in August after a
revised 1.4% decline the month before. Analysts had expected a fall of
just 1%.

Economic data from the States continues to be closely watched in the aftermath of the Federal Reserve’s
surprise decision last week to hold off from tapering stimulus as it
await a stronger recovery. Conflicting comments from Fed officials since
then have sparked further uncertainty over the future for US monetary
policy with analysts now looking ahead to the October meeting for a
potential ‘taper’.

Uncertainty surrounding US budget negotiations in Washington has also been weighing on market sentiment
this week. Investors are hoping that politicians can agree on an
extension to the current debt-ceiling limit of $16.7tn ahead of the
deadline on October 1st to avoid a government shutdown when the new
fiscal year begins.

Markets largely gave a subdued reaction to in-line economic data from the UK, as the second and final revision to UK gross domestic product growth for the second quarter held steady at 0.7%. US GDP growth meanwhile was unrevised at an annualised rate of 2.5%.

FTSE 100: TUI Travel jumps after lifting guidance

Tour operator TUI Travel
jumped after hiking its profit guidance for the full year on the back
of a strong summer season and early bookings for the winter.

Compass Group
gained after saying expectations for the full year were unchanged with
organic revenues set to have risen by just over 4% and profit margins to
have grown slightly.

Tullow Oil also rose after
announcing a new oil discovery in Northern Kenya. The group said results
of drilling, wireline logs and samples of reservoir fluid indicate a
potential net oil pay in the Auwerwer and Upper Lokone sandstone
reservoirs of between 60 and 100 metres.

British Gas owner Centrica and utility group SSE
were leading the downside, extending losses after this week’s proposal
by Labour leader Ed Miliband to freeze energy bills if the party is
voted back into power in 2015.

Banking and financial stocks were also providing a drag, with Barclays, Hargreaves Lansdown and Standard Chartered among the worst performers. Insurer Admiral however was bucking the trend, registering decent gains by the close.

FTSE 250: Soco Intl retreats after yesterday's good news

Soco International
retreated one day after revealing its drill stem tests thus far on the
TGT-10XST1 exploration well on the H5 fault block of the Te Giac Trang
field, had "exceeded all pre-test expectations". It said combined peak
production from two of the three zones tested is over 16,500 barrels of
oil per day.

Ladbrokes slumped after warning that 2013
profits for its digital operations would come in a long way below
current market forecasts. It said it expected 2013 Digital operating
profits to be between £10m and £14m compared with a market consensus of
about £27.5m. Numis and Canaccord Geunity downgraded their ratings for the stock this morning.

Tour operator Thomas Cook
also fell sharply after reporting a decline in bookings in the UK over
summer and flat sales in Europe. In a trading update ahead of the
company’s full-year 2013 results in November, the group said UK bookings
were down 3% on last year with a capacity reduction of 2.5%.

Iron ore producer Ferrexpo was a high riser after Macquarie upgraded its rating on the stock to 'neutral' and lifted its target from 155p to 180p.

FTSE 100 - Risers
TUI Travel (TT.) 370.40p +3.93%
Whitbread (WTB) 3,035.00p +3.34%
Compass Group (CPG) 849.50p +2.35%
G4S (GFS) 253.40p +1.97%
Schroders (SDR) 2,623.00p +1.94%
Glencore Xstrata (GLEN) 344.75p +1.56%
Admiral Group (ADM) 1,248.00p +1.55%
BAE Systems (BA.) 468.00p +1.45%
Land Securities Group (LAND) 933.50p +1.25%
British Land Co (BLND) 590.50p +1.03%

FTSE 100 - Fallers
Centrica (CNA) 366.90p -2.32%
SSE (SSE) 1,460.00p -1.95%
Hargreaves Lansdown (HL.) 995.50p -1.63%
Experian (EXPN) 1,199.00p -1.40%
Barclays (BARC) 269.20p -1.39%
easyJet (EZJ) 1,287.00p -1.23%
Standard Chartered (STAN) 1,507.50p -0.89%
Legal & General Group (LGEN) 202.00p -0.79%
Pearson (PSON) 1,253.00p -0.71%
Travis Perkins (TPK) 1,650.00p -0.66%

FTSE 250 - Risers
Man Group (EMG) 87.25p +4.43%
Polymetal International (POLY) 689.50p +4.15%
AZ Electronic Materials SA (DI) (AZEM) 310.80p +4.12%
Centamin (DI) (CEY) 47.29p +3.82%
African Barrick Gold (ABG) 163.70p +3.02%
Xaar (XAR) 799.00p +2.90%
IP Group (IPO) 144.00p +2.86%
Diploma (DPLM) 650.00p +2.77%
Workspace Group (WKP) 444.80p +2.63%
Ferrexpo (FXPO) 182.00p +2.59%

FTSE 250 - Fallers
Soco International (SIA) 394.00p -8.37%
Ladbrokes (LAD) 173.80p -7.60%
Thomas Cook Group (TCG) 145.30p -6.62%
Mitchells & Butlers (MAB) 408.90p -4.62%
Dunelm Group (DNLM) 936.50p -4.00%
Playtech (PTEC) 721.00p -3.03%
Redrow (RDW) 230.20p -2.42%
Countrywide (CWD) 544.50p -2.42%
Oxford Instruments (OXIG) 1,281.00p -2.36%
Millennium & Copthorne Hotels (MLC) 543.00p -2.16%


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FTSE 100EuronextDax perfCAC 40
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Stocks little changed after batch of economic reports
FTSE 100: 0.06%
DAX: -0.16%
CAC 40: -0.31%
FTSE MIB: -1.21%
IBEX 35: 0.13%
Stoxx 600: -0.12%

European stocks were mixed at Thursday’s close as investors digested a raft of economic data in the US, Europe and the UK.

Eurozone loans, UK GDP


Private sector loans in the Eurozone fell by 2% in August compared to a
year earlier, signalling that small companies and households are still
struggling to benefit from the European Central Bank's (ECB) monetary
easing.

The data pointed to an ongoing credit crunch in which
companies and households are having a tough time trying to secure
funding.

It also showed that one of the ECB’s key problems is
still not fixed despite providing what some consider is sufficient
liquidity to banks.

ECB President Mario Draghi has discussed
the possibility of new long-term refinancing operations, but it remains
to be seen whether the extra liquidity will boost economic recovery.


Also weighing on markets on Thursday was the release of Italy’s retail
sales, which fell by a seasonally adjusted 0.3% in July compared to a
0.2% drop in June.

On a brighter note, France's consumer
confidence rebounded in September, to reach a seven-month high. INSEE’s
indicator for consumer sentiment rose from 84 last month to 85, in line
with the consensus estimate.

The UK economy grew in line with market expectations in the second quarter, according to the Office for National Statistics.

GDP rose by 0.7% when compared to the previous three months when it increased at the same quarterly rate.

Spain's Rajoy addresses unemployment


Spain's Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said the government may ramp up
the overhaul of labour laws following advice from the Organisation for
Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Bloomberg reported.


The government is reviewing the impact of the 2012 overhaul and will
submit the assessment to the OECD in an effort to reduce the country's
26% unemployment rate.

“If it were necessary or useful to do a touch-up so that things worked better, have no doubt that we would do it,” Rajoy said.

Thomas Cook, Ladbrokes

Thomas Cook plunged after the tour operator said summer bookings were broadly flat and winter got off to a slow start.

Ladbrokes tumbled after issuing a profit warning for its digital division due to lack of competitiveness and lower-than-planned margins.

Mapfre dropped after Bankia SA sold a 12% stake in Spain’s biggest insurer.

Interdealer broker ICAP
declined after agreeing to pay £55m to UK and US regulators as part of
the long-running scandal over the alleged manipulation of the London Interbank Offered Rate by three former employees between 2006 and 2011.

H&M rallied after reporting a 22% rise in third quarter profit to 4.43bn kroner, beating analysts’ expectations.

Vinci advanced following reports the European builder could sell all or part of its parking unit.

Alcatel Lucent gained after reports Nokia Oyj was evaluating a linkup with the French global mobile phone manufacturer.

Brent crude climbs

Brent crude futures rose $0.551 to $108.920 per barrel on the ICE.

The euro fell 0.27% to the 1.3489 US dollar.

US Market Report
Stocks rise following unemployment data
Dow Jones Industrials: 0.25%
Nasdaq Composite: 0.50%
S&P 500: 0.19%

The main US stock benchmarks
are now registering modest gains following the release of some slightly
positive economic data, particularly as regards initial unemployment
claims.

"Equity markets have been sliding since the Federal Reserve decided
to keep its quantitative easing scheme unchanged last week. Since
tapering was postponed last week, any positive news for the economy will
be viewed as negative for the equity market," an analyst explained to
Sharecast.

Fed officials Jeremy Stein, Narayana Kocherlakota
and Sandra Pianalto will speak in the US on Thursday, which might
provide more indication as to where the central bank is headed in its
plans for quantitative easing.

Worth taking into account,
earlier in the day Jeffrey Lacker – the President of the Federal Reserve
bank of Richmond  reportedly remarked that it is going to be harder for
the Fed to communicate credibly in the future.

Also high on
the agenda is the budget, as Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew said on
Wednesday the US will hit its debt ceiling by October 17th.

Lew
said unless the US is allowed to extend its borrowing limit, currently
set at $17trn, the government will be left with $30bn of cash - half the
money it needs to pay its bills. “Clearly investors hate the
uncertainty surrounding these talks,” said Alpari Market Analyst,
Craig Erlam. “Investors are currently concerned about the possibility
of a partial government shutdown if no budget for the next year is
passed by next week, followed by a default on US debt in the middle of
the month, should the debt ceiling not be raised.”

Turning to company news, Caesars Entertainment Corp. fell as the casino operator started selling 10m new shares.

Hertz Global Holdings declined after cutting its forecast for full-year revenue and profit due to weaker than expected car rentals at US airports.

Bed Bath & Beyond
rallied after the retailer said it raised its forecast for full-year
adjusted earnings per share to between $4.88 to $5.01 from a previous
range of $4.84 to $5.01.

Slightly positive economic data

Pending home sales in the US dropped by 1.6% on the month in August, versus consensus estimates for a drop of 1.0%.


Initial US weekly unemployment claims fell unexpectedly in the seven
days ending on September 14th, by 5,000 to reach 310,000 Consensus:
325,000.

Second quarter gross domestic product growth estimates
have revealed that the economy expanded at a 2.5 per cent pace during
said period, just a smidgen below the 2.6 per cent clip which had been
penciled in by economists.

Commenting on the numbers economists at Barclays Research
had this to say: “All in all, the report provides no new information
for policymakers, who will be more keenly focused on forward-looking
growth indicators. On this front the picture remains mixed - our GDP
tracking estimate, for example, currently suggests some easing in the
third quarter as it stands at 1.7%.”

Subdued trading in other asset classes

US 10-year bond yield is rising by 1 basis point to the 2.64%.

Front month West Texas crude futures are now down by 0.30% to the 102.99 dollar per barrel mark on the NYMEX.

S&P 500 - Risers
Air Products & Chemicals Inc. (APD) $113.53 +5.78%
Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. (BBBY) $77.74 +4.79%
Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. (REGN) $303.04 +3.70%
eBay Inc. (EBAY) $56.07 +3.43%
Genworth Financial Inc. (GNW) $13.10 +2.87%
Micron Technology Inc. (MU) $17.45 +2.83%
Cabot Oil & Gas Corp. (COG) $36.57 +2.81%
Yahoo! Inc. (YHOO) $32.22 +2.81%
First Solar Inc. (FSLR) $41.45 +2.62%
Juniper Networks Inc. (JNPR) $20.61 +2.56%

S&P 500 - Fallers
Jabil Circuit Inc. (JBL) $22.34 -6.90%
McCormick & Co. (MKC) $66.36 -2.48%
Eli Lilly and Company (LLY) $51.31 -2.47%
Windstream Holdings Inc (WIN) $8.36 -2.34%
Western Digital Corp. (WDC) $64.42 -1.54%
PG & E Corp. (PCG) $41.38 -1.17%
AvalonBay Communities Inc. (AVB) $129.60 -1.01%
GameStop Corp. (GME) $50.33 -0.93%
Valero Energy Corp. (VLO) $34.57 -0.89%
Seagate Technology Plc (STX) $43.49 -0.87%

Dow Jones I.A - Risers
Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) $33.00 +1.52%
Verizon Communications Inc. (VZ) $47.55 +1.28%
American Express Co. (AXP) $76.91 +1.21%
General Electric Co. (GE) $24.51 +1.16%
International Business Machines Corp. (IBM) $191.60 +1.12%
AT&T Inc. (T) $34.40 +1.03%
JP Morgan Chase & Co. (JPM) $52.23 +1.03%
Home Depot Inc. (HD) $76.25 +0.97%
Unitedhealth Group Inc. (UNH) $72.66 +0.94%
United Technologies Corp. (UTX) $110.10 +0.77%

Dow Jones I.A - Fallers
Intel Corp. (INTC) $23.59 -0.44%
Cisco Systems Inc. (CSCO) $24.35 -0.33%
Alcoa Inc. (AA) $8.32 -0.06%
Pfizer Inc. (PFE) $28.48 -0.04%

Nasdaq 100 - Risers
Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. (BBBY) $77.74 +4.79%
Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. (REGN) $303.04 +3.70%
eBay Inc. (EBAY) $56.07 +3.43%
Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Inc. (GMCR) $78.12 +3.03%
Micron Technology Inc. (MU) $17.45 +2.83%
Yahoo! Inc. (YHOO) $32.22 +2.81%
Celgene Corp. (CELG) $148.84 +2.26%
Liberty Media Corporation - Class A (LMCA) $148.42 +2.13%
Alexion Pharmaceuticals Inc. (ALXN) $115.42 +2.10%
Gilead Sciences Inc. (GILD) $62.91 +1.91%

Nasdaq 100 - Fallers
Western Digital Corp. (WDC) $64.42 -1.54%
Seagate Technology Plc (STX) $43.49 -0.87%
Intel Corp. (INTC) $23.59 -0.44%
Express Scripts Holding Co (ESRX) $62.42 -0.34%
Cisco Systems Inc. (CSCO) $24.35 -0.33%
Sears Holdings Corp. (SHLD) $59.62 -0.17%
Mondelez International Inc. (MDLZ) $32.06 -0.12%
Kraft Foods Group, Inc. (KRFT) $52.59 -0.09%
Monster Beverage Corp (MNST) $54.29 -0.09%
Catamaran Corp (CTRX) $48.17 -0.08%

Broker Tips
African Barrick Gold: Deutsche Bank ups target from 137p to 145p and maintains a hold recommendation.

African Minerals:
Macquarie reduces target from 307p to 280p and reiterates an outperform
rating. Deutsche Bank cuts target from 450p to 423p, while its buy
recommendation is kept. Investec places its target prev.: 246p under
review, while keeping its buy recommendation.

Altitude Group: WH Ireland suspends its forecasts.

Amerisur Resources: Investec shifts target from 71p to 73p and keeps a buy recommendation.

Anglo American: Deutsche Bank lowers target from 840p to 830p leaving its buy recommendation unchanged.

Atkins (WS): Canaccord Genuity increases target from 1100p to 1400p and reiterates a buy recommendation.

Avacta Group: Numis shifts target from 1.40p to 1.70p and stays with its buy recommendation.

BHP Billiton: Deutsche Bank increases target from 2290p to 2500p and maintains a buy recommendation.

Countrywide: Jefferies raises target from 560p to 604p and keeps a buy recommendation.

Crawshaw Group: WH Ireland moves target from 5.50p to 10p and retains its buy recommendation.

Diploma: Jefferies ups target from 690p to 720p and retains a buy recommendation.

Entertainment One: N+1 Singer initiates with a target of 258p and a buy recommendation.

Faroe Petroleum: Panmure Gordon lowers target from 190p to 184p, while its buy recommendation is kept.

Ferrexpo:
Macquarie raises target from 155p to 180p upgrading to neutral.
Deutsche Bank cuts target from 360p to 338p and retains a buy
recommendation.

Fresnillo: Deutsche Bank ups target from 970p to 1000p, while its hold recommendation remains unaltered.

Glencore Xstrata: Deutsche Bank moves target from 379p to 367p, while its buy recommendation is kept.

Hilton Food Group: Investec raises target from 352p to 450p and keeps an add rating.

ICAP: Espirito Santo shifts target from 353p to 356p and reiterates a neutral rating.

Judges Scientific: WH Ireland increases target from 1550p to 1900p and maintains an outperform rating.

Kazakhmys:
Westhouse Securities initiates with a target of 345p and an add rating.
Deutsche Bank lowers target from 250p to 240p and downgrades to sell.

Keywords Studio: Numis upgrades to buy with a target of 150p.

Ladbrokers: Numis downgrades to add with a target of 210p. Daniel Stewart
cuts target from 225p to 200p and reiterates a hold recommendation.
Canaccord Genuity reduces target from 220p to 190p and downgrades from
buy to hold.

Liontrust Asset Management: N+1 Singer
increases target from 230p to 282p maintaining a buy recommendation.
Numis lowers target from 261p to 269p, while downgrading to add.

London Mining:
Macquarie ups target from 185p to 200p and stays with its outperform
rating. Investec raises target from 98p to 130p keeping its hold
recommendation.

Mothercare: N+1 Singer upgrades from hold to buy with an unchanged target of 450p.

Mountfield Group: WH Ireland shifts target from 2p to 2.20p keeping a buy recommendation.

Premier Farnell: UBS lowers target from 235p to 225p and reiterates a neutral rating.

Randgold Resources: Deutsche Bank takes target from 4840p to 5050p and maintains its buy recommendation.

REXAM: Bank of America lowers target from 630p to 620p, but still recommends buying.

Rio Tinto: Deutsche Bank raises target from 4300p to 4570p and stays with its buy recommendation.

RPS Group: Panmure Gordon moves target from 295p to 303p maintaining a buy recommendation.

Segro: Panmure Gordon ups target from 270p to 295p, while downgrading from buy to hold.

TUI Travel: Numis upgrades to add with a target of 400p.

Vedanta Resources: Deutsche Bank cuts target from 1205p to 1100p leaving its hold recommendation unaltered.

WANdisco: Panmure Gordon places both its target and its hold recommendation under review.

European Markets at Close Report by MarketWatch September 26, 2013: European stocks waver on Italy, U.S. debt fears


By Sara Sjolin, MarketWatch 
 
LONDON (MarketWatch) — European stock markets struggled for direction on Thursday as worries about renewed political instability in Italy and debt-ceiling negotiations in Washington partly offset better-than-expected U.S. jobless-claims data. 

The Stoxx Europe 600 index XX:SXXP 0.00%  ended at 313.02, the same closing level as Wednesday. 


Government shutdown looms
Overseas markets are worried about a potential U.S. gov't shutdown. Bed Bath & Beyond reports after the bell, and the S&P 500 looks to snap a five-day losing streak that may depend on the latest estimate for second-quarter U.S. . Photo: AP 

“We’re waiting for some directions to where to go from here. There is no point in worrying about the debt ceiling until we know what the implications are. We’ve been here before and it seemed like the market reaction in 2011 was a bit overdone,” said Peter Dixon, strategist at Commerzbank in London. “It has the potential to cause the markets to take a leg down, but until we have the full information, markets don’t want to move. If you sell now and nothing happens, you will just have to buy back into the market later at a higher price.” 

“In addition we’re waiting for some definitive signals on where the economy is going,” he added and said recent upbeat data from Europe shouldn’t necessarily push the markets much higher from here because much of the good news is already priced in. 

“I just don’t feel like there’s any appetite for a bull run right now. But who knows, once we start to move into the third-quarter earnings season,” he said. 

Shares of Ladbrokes PLC UK:LAD -7.60%  posted the biggest drop in the index, off 7.6%, after the betting firm said 2013 operating profit for its digital division will fall below current market expectations. 

“Our digital earnings have been disappointing, reflecting a lack of competitiveness in sportsbook, lower margins than planned and a greater disruptive impact than expected from the transition necessary to grow digital for the long term,” Chief Executive Richard Glynn said in a statement. 

On a more upbeat note, shares of Hennes & Mauritz AB SE:HMB +6.75%  gained 6.7% after the Swedish fashion retailer reported a 22% rise in third-quarter profit and said sales in China had been particularly strong during the period. 

U.S. data

More broadly, European stock markets briefly moved into positive territory in afternoon action after U.S. stocks opened higher on the back of upbeat jobless claims data. New applications for unemployment benefits fell by 5,000 last week to 305,000, beating expectations of a 327,000 print. Meanwhile, the Commerce Department said the U.S. economy grew by 2.5% in the second quarter, unchanged from a previous estimate. 

The data came as U.S. lawmakers struggle to agree on a budget before the new fiscal year begins next week, with a failure to pass the bill possibly leading to a government shutdown. Read: What’s next in the government shutdown saga
 
On Wednesday, the Senate took the first of several procedural votes to enact funding for the fiscal year, agreeing unanimously to debate a bill passed by the House that would remove funding of the 2010 Affordable Care Act. Democrats in the Senate aim to replace that bill with a stopgap measure that will maintain funding. 

Additionally, Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew told legislators that he’ll run out of options to avoid hitting or surpassing the debt limit by Oct. 17 or sooner. Moody’s Investors Service warned on Tuesday that a failure to raise the debt limit would result in a worse outcome for financial markets than a government shutdown. The ratings agency argued that market participants would view a decision not to raise the debt limit as having a higher probability of sovereign default. 

“The main risk to the U.S. economic outlook remains political. Our baseline outlook is that policy makers continue to avoid the government shutdown or interruption of debt payments that serve as threat points in the ongoing fiscal brinkmanship in the U.S. capitol,” analysts at Barclays said in a note. 

“But the perpetual conflict and political discord of recent years has led to increased uncertainty, sizable fiscal drags in the resolution (e.g., sequestration), and temporary market disruptions. In other words, recent experience tells us the risk need not be fully realized in order to affect financial markets; walking close enough to the edge is sufficient,” they added.

Italian instability

In Europe, the instability in the Italian political system was back in the spotlight. Supporters of Silvio Berlusconi late Wednesday threatened to leave parliament if the former prime minister is ousted from senate due to a tax-fraud conviction, prompting a rebuke from President Giorgio Napolitano. The President on Thursday reportedly accused the Berlusconi supporters of undermining Italy’s parliamentary system and said the threat—if carried out—could pressure him into dissolving parliament.

Getty Images Enlarge Image
Silvio Berlusconi.
The FTSE MIB index XX:FTSEMIB -1.20%  dropped 1.2% to close at 17,872.53. 

Among other country-specific indexes in Europe, France’s CAC 40 index FR:PX1 -0.21%  lost 0.2% to 4,186.72, and Germany’s DAX 30 index DX:DAX -0.02%  was slightly lower at 8,664.10. The U.K.’s FTSE 100 index UK:UKX +0.22%  rose 0.2% at 6,565.59.
Providing support in London, shares TUI Travel PLC UK:TT +3.93%  climbed 3.9% after the holiday firm said it had a strong summer season and raised its full-year guidance for underlying operating profit to growth of at least 11%, up from 10% expected previously. 

Outside the major indexes, shares of Vestas Wind Systems AS DK:VWS +7.86%  gained 7.9% after the wind-turbine maker said it has received a 400MW order in the U.S. 

Shares of Mapfre SA ES:MAP -3.09%  lost 3.1% in Madrid after Bankia SA ES:BKIA +0.97% completed the sale of a 12% stake in the insurance firm. Bankia shares rose 1%.
 
Sara Sjolin is a MarketWatch reporter based in London. Follow her on Twitter @sarasjolin.

FTC | Enforcement Actions September 26, 2013: FTC Files Amicus Brief Supporting Class Action Suit that Challenges Payday Lender’s Arbitration Practices

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The Federal Trade Commission filed an amicus brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit supporting a class action lawsuit brought by consumers who are challenging a payday lender’s practice of requiring them to submit to arbitration at a Native American reservation in South Dakota.
The FTC has an interest in the class action case because, in a separate action, the agency has sued the payday lender, Payday Financial, LLC, for unfair and deceptive collection practices in connection with its attempts to garnish consumers’ pay checks. The agency expanded the case against Payday Financial to allege unfair and deceptive conduct associated with its practice of filing collection suits against consumers in the Cheyenne River Sioux tribal court, which allegedly lacked jurisdiction. The case remains in litigation.
The amicus brief argues that although arbitration is not an issue in the FTC’s case, the Commission’s allegations are relevant to the issue raised in the class action case -- specifically, whether the defendants can legally compel consumers to submit to tribal arbitration.
“For the vast majority of consumers, who can little afford the expense, travel to the Reservation to participate in either arbitral or court proceedings is simply infeasible,” the brief states.
The brief notes that as a general matter, Native American tribes and tribal courts have legal authority over their own members and not over non-members, unless non-members conduct activities inside the reservation or enter into a commercial relationship with the tribe or a member of the tribe. According to the brief, consumers who take out payday loans from these companies do so via the Internet, and they do not conduct business on the reservation.
To learn more about alternatives to payday loans, see Payday loans.
The FTC vote to join the amicus brief filing was 4-0.
The Federal Trade Commission works for consumers to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices and to provide information to help spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint in English or Spanish, visit the FTC’s online Complaint Assistant or call 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357). The FTC enters complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to more than 2,000 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad. The FTC’s website provides free information on a variety of consumer topics. Like the FTC on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and subscribe to press releases for the latest FTC news and resources.
MEDIA CONTACT:
Betsy Lordan
Office of Public Affairs

202-326-3707
STAFF CONTACT:
Michelle Arington
Office of the General Counsel
202-326-3157

Related Items:

Deborah Jackson v. Payday Financial, LLC, No. 12-2617 (7th Cir.) (September 13, 2013)
Brief of the Federal Trade Commission in response to an invitation from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit to present the Commission’s views. The brief explains that, although the FTC’s separate litigation challenging defendants’ practices inducing consumers into Tribal Court presents distinct issues, aspects of the defendants’ conduct that make it unfair and deceptive under the FTC Act are relevant to whether the clause in the loan contracts requiring tribal arbitration of consumer claims is unconscionable.
For Consumers:
More news from the FTC >>