Top of the Morning – Deutsche Bank’s $4.9B Vegas Casinos Exposure

Statoil Buys Brigham in $4.4 Billion Deal (WSJ)

Norway’s Statoil ASA on Monday said it will buy the Texas-based oil firm Brigham Exploration Co. for about $4.4 billion, in a deal that will strengthen the Norwegian oil and gas major’s position in the U.S. oil and gas industry, and give it a stronger foothold in unconventional resources.

Deutsche Bank AG (USA) (NYSE:DB)

BlackBerry Comps User Outage with Free Apps (WSJ)

Research In Motion Ltd. said early Monday it will offer BlackBerry customers a number of premium mobile applications free of charge until the end of the year in a bid to make amends for last week’s embarrassing network outage that affected users across five continents. Waterloo, Ontario-based RIM said mobile apps worth a total of more than $100 will be available to subscribers through its BlackBerry App World site “as an expression of appreciation for their patience during the recent service disruptions.”

Alcoa Looks to China, Sees Opportunity (FT)

It has been so common for Chinese companies to be among the lowest-cost producers in an industry that it comes as something of a shock when they are not. Klaus Kleinfeld says aluminium is an example of an industry in which China has no particular cost advantage, and as a result is likely to become an increasingly significant importer in the next few years. “When you look at the structure of the Chinese aluminium industry, it is not a very competitive industry. It’s very expensive and it’s not particularly clean,” Mr Kleinfeld says. “What you’re seeing here is an industry structure that doesn’t really quite fit. It is very energy-intense and energy is probably the thing that China has least.” China’s relative weakness could create opportunities for Alcoa, Mr Kleinfeld says at the company’s modest New York offices – the largest corporate centre is in Pittsburgh.

Diageo Sets Targets (FT)

Diageo chose a bold moment to break with tradition and provide investors with medium-term guidance. Since late August, when the drinks group announced big targets – which include organic top-line compound annual growth rate of 6 per cent and a 200 basis point increase in operating margins by the end of 2014, with further expansion thereafter – the world has turned bleaker.

European Carmakers Trim Forecasts (FT)

Several carmakers are cutting back production or overtime work at their European plants because of weakening market demand – a further indication that the debt crisis is beginning to hit the real economy. PSA Peugeot Citroen, Renault, General Motors and Ford Motor have all scheduled some non-production days at their European plants this quarter in order to keep inventories tight, amid expectations that the continent’s car market will shrink again in 2012.

Year-End Rally Questions Loom (Yahoo! Finance)

2011 was shaping up to be a washout for the stock market just two weeks ago. Now, it’s within shouting distance of its biggest comeback in nearly three decades. The Standard and Poor’s 500 index has jumped 11.4 percent since hitting its lowest level of the year on Oct. 3, largely because investors have become more confident that Europe will shelter its banks from huge losses on Greek bonds should that country’s government stop making payments on its debt. For much of the summer, investors feared that a Greek default could lead to a freeze of lending between European banks and cascade into a credit crisis similar to the one in 2008.

Hasbro Third Quarter Profit Rose Over 10% (Yahoo! Finance)

Hasbro Inc. said Monday that its third-quarter profit rose more than 10 percent as international growth and sales of its boys’ toys like Nerf dart blasters helped offset weakness in the U.S. But the results missed expectations, and its shares slipped 26 cents to $34.49 in premarket trading.

Deutsche Bank’s Vegas Casinos Exposure Trumps $4.9 Billion (FT)

Deutsche Bank’s exposure to “casino banking” in Las Vegas has reached $4.9bn, rivalling its exposure to countries affected by the eurozone debt crisis. The bank has become one of the biggest investors and creditors in the US gambling capital. It has a $3.9bn credit facility with the 3,000-room Cosmopolitan casino – a wholly owned subsidiary which Deutsche built when the developer defaulted on loans from the bank. It also holds $1bn of debt, and 25 per cent of the equity, in Station Casinos, which owns several casinos in the Las Vegas area.

Anadarko Settles with BP for $4 Billion (WSJ)

BP PLC on Monday said it had reached a $4 billion out-of-court settlement with Anadarko Petroleum Corp. to settle claims related to the deadly explosion and oil spill at a U.S. offshore drilling platform, sending its shares sharply higher. Anadarko followed Japan’s Mitsui & Co. Ltd. and Weatherford International Ltd. in agreeing to pay BP to settle claims related to the Deepwater Horizon platform disaster, which killed 11 and led to the largest accidental marine oil spill in U.S. history. Drilling contractor Transocean Ltd.‘s Deepwater Horizon rig had been leased by BP, while Anadarko and Mitsui also held stakes in the Macondo prospect.

Kinder Morgan to Buy El Paso Corp for $20.7 Billion (Yahoo! Finance)

Kinder Morgan plans to buy El Paso Corp. in a $20.7 billion deal that’s expected to create America’s largest natural gas pipeline operator. Kinder Morgan Inc. is expanding its reach as the U.S. becomes increasingly reliant on natural gas. Drillers are pumping ever-increasing amounts from underground shale deposits across the U.S. Natural gas prices have dropped to less than a third of their level of three years ago, and power companies are using more of the fuel because it emits fewer greenhouse gases than coal.
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