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Friday, 09 October 2015


Current gas prices are shown at a Shell gas station in Encinitas, California October 10, 2014.

U.S. consumers are more than just Sunday drivers

09 October 2015

Lackluster jobs and GDP estimates hint at a possible bump in the recovery. Contrary to earlier suspicions, however, Americans are spending most of their cheap gas windfall, a JPMorgan think tank reckons. It means the oil price may be an even bigger economic factor than expected.

Elon Musk, Chairman of SolarCity and CEO of Tesla Motors in New York October 2, 2015.

Elon Musk whistles past Tesla's graveyard

09 October 2015

Apple poached engineers from the electric-car maker. CEO Musk dismissed the threat, saying: “If you don’t make it at Tesla, you go work at Apple.” His ventures are impressive, but Michael Dell and Steve Ballmer, among others, can attest to the perils of underestimating Apple.

Empty bottles of beer sit at the entrance of Anheuser-Busch InBev plant.

Aggressive AB InBev risks joining sorry M&A club

09 October 2015

The Bud brewer is as close to a hostile bid for SABMiller as possible without formally going directly to shareholders. About half of big, unsolicited, cross-border deals eventually close. The results, however, are often disastrous, as Vodafone, RBS, Mittal and others can attest.

Standard Chartered

StanChart takes bet on management incompetence

09 October 2015

The UK-listed emerging markets lender is to cut a quarter of its 4,000 top people, Reuters reports. Something is definitely needed to improve StanChart’s capital and returns. But this plan will only work if 1,000 high earners aren’t paying their way.  

Spanish actresses Montse Penela and Monica Garcia perform in a classroom as part of the S.P.A.C.E. (Showcasing Performance in Alternative Creative Enviroments) festival of performances in Gijon.

Madrid could go from star pupil to class dunce

09 October 2015

Spain is likely to miss its EU-agreed budget deficit targets this year and the next. Arguably, the bar was set too high and economic growth is quite promising. Even so, Spain can do more to put its finances on a more sustainable path. 

Japan index: Time to prime the third arrow

09 October 2015

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s latest cabinet reshuffle has put his “Abenomics” back in the spotlight. Our index shows why he needs to give reform a fresh push. The summer ended with sluggish spending, flat prices and falling wages.

The Volkswagen logo is seen on a Kombi minibus during a Kombi fan club meeting in Sao Bernardo do Campo December 8, 2013.

Volkswagen just spins its wheels before Congress

08 October 2015

U.S. CEO Michael Horn offered lawmakers a few new tidbits about the carmaker’s emissions scandal and response. He lacked answers to basic questions, though, and the politicians failed to ask tougher ones. Getting to the bottom of the mess requires both sides to kick it up a gear.

Cuba's President Raul Castro, (3rd L), stands as Colombia's President Juan Manuel Santos, (L), and FARC rebel leader Rodrigo Londono, better known by the nom de guerre Timochenko, shake hands in Havana, September 23, 2015.

Peace and fiscal virtue may clash in Colombia

09 October 2015

An end to the Andean state’s half-century-long war with FARC rebels may cost up to $3 bln a year. Yet income from oil, its biggest export, is likely to fall by a similar amount and the economy is slowing. It poses a dilemma for a government that’s careful with the purse strings.

A customer pays for a beer at the Occidental Hotel in central Sydney.

SABMiller's Budweiser fightback lacks punch

09 October 2015

The Peroni brewer’s promise to find $550 mln of new cost savings by 2020 is paltry in the context of the $100 bln approach from AB InBev. SAB might have more powerful defences in its locker. It had better, if it wants to stay independent from the Budweiser brewer.

A pharmacy employee dumps pills into a pill counting machine as she fills a prescription while working at a pharmacy.

Prognosis is bleak for Shire’s troubled Baxalta bid

09 October 2015

The rout in pharma stocks has made the Irish group’s all-share offer less attractive for its recently spun-off U.S. rival. Shire would have to add much more stock to offer Baxalta the $30 bln it initially touted. It should delay – even if it then misses its chance altogether.

An employee counts money on the last workday of the week at a bank in Taiyuan, Shanxi province, June 28, 2013.

China's campaign to stabilise yuan comes at a cost

09 October 2015

After the shock of August’s mini-devaluation, some calm has returned to the currency. Yet restoring stability required hefty central bank intervention and a crackdown on capital outflows. China is still a long way from letting its exchange rate be set by market forces.      

Bill Gross in Chicago, Illinois, June 19, 2014.

Bill Gross gets both personal and legal with Pimco

08 October 2015

The former boss of the $1.5 trln investment firm has sued over his exit last year. He paints former colleagues like Mohamed El-Erian as greedy and duplicitous and argues he’s entitled to more of an expected $250 mln 2014 payout than he received. No one comes out looking good.

U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in Mt Vernon, Iowa, October 7, 2015.

Hillary Clinton lands soft punches on Wall Street

08 October 2015

The White House hopeful has unveiled a slew of ideas for reining in financial excess. Initiatives like imposing risk fees on big banks and improving hedge fund reporting won’t win many friends in the industry. But they’re manageable blows that Wall Street could roll with.



Richard Beales

Review: Steve Jobs, both man and machine

09 October 2015

A new Hollywood biopic directed by Danny Boyle provides a glossy, fictionalized yet revealing glimpse of the human being behind Apple’s iconic products. A recent documentary has a harder critical edge. Four years after his death, Jobs’ flawed genius defies categorization.

Edward Chancellor

The Devil's Dictionary of Post-Crisis Finance

09 October 2015

Ambrose Bierce wrote “The Devil’s Dictionary” a century ago, ranging acerbically across government, commerce and life. Breakingviews’ original re-use of the form for finance – in 2007, when the crisis was barely beginning – is no longer adequate. Herewith part one of the sequel.


Edward Hadas

Edward Hadas: The limits of the sharing economy

07 October 2015

The U.N. and the pope have an agenda for a more prosperous and peaceful world, but politics and societies are built on much smaller scales. The ideal of solidarity can bridge the gap. Some companies are on the right path. The next step could be to globalise the welfare state. 

Rob Cox

Rob Cox: Wal-Mart just shy of target on gun front

06 October 2015

Like CVS with smokes, the retailer stopped selling AR-15 rifles, the kind used in an Oregon college shooting, because it’s bad business. Yet Wal-Mart blocked a Wall Street parish’s plan to make that and similar policies permanent. The church’s case merits Supreme Court review.