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Wednesday, 23 July 2014

BREAKINGVIEWS

Apple, Tim Cook, Tech

Apple winds up earnings hope for new gadgets

23 July 2014

The iPhone maker racked up another quarter of so-so growth – and astonishing cash flow. CEO Tim Cook has paid out more than $40 bln over 12 months but added nearly $20 bln to the kitty. The lower share count may fuel a stock run-up if Apple soon unveils another must-have device.

A Saudi trader monitors stocks at the Saudi stock market in Riyadh April 28, 2013. REUTERS/Faisal Al Nasser

Saudi opening puts Middle East on investor maps

23 July 2014

Foreigners may get direct access to the kingdom’s $530 bln stock market from next year. That offers investors a good reason to pay attention to the Middle East beyond oil and war. For an emerging market, Saudi Arabia is well regulated, growing fast, and more stable than most.

Indonesia's presidential candidate Joko Widodo smiles during a speech to his supporters in Serang, Indonesia's Banten province, July 16, 2014.

Indonesia reform hopes rise with clear Jokowi win

23 July 2014

The president-elect’s wide victory margin, and lack of ties to the old regime, give him credibility. If he reins in nationalism and makes Indonesia a better place to do business, the country can make better use of its natural advantages: resource riches and a young workforce.

Bill Ackman

Ackman burnishes blowhard credentials - for now

22 July 2014

The hedgie’s latest Herbalife broadside was lengthy but lacked a smoking gun. The stock recovered more than it lost in anticipation of the revelations. Short-sellers can be proved right in the end, but the Pershing Square boss’s loud, $50 mln campaign isn’t winning followers.

Tourists stand on a beach near the Club Med resort in Saint-Anne

Club Med organisers can welcome latest arrival

22 July 2014

Andrea Bonomi’s Investindustrial is offering 790 mln euros for the all-inclusive holiday group. This may not be a five-star price but it blows a rival Franco-Chinese bid out of the water. And investors have spent years in the wilderness. This is an offer the board can recommend.

Apple Inc. CEO Tim Cook (L) and China Mobile's Chairman Xi Guohua are silhouetted in front of an advertisement board of the iPhone 5s and C at an event celebrating the launch of Apple's iPhone on China Mobile's network at a China Mobile shop in Beijing Ja

Apple's growth in China less impressive close up

23 July 2014

The 48 percent growth in China iPhone sales in the last quarter-year is strong. But seen from the Middle Kingdom, Apple vies with large rivals U.S. consumers have barely heard of, like Xiaomi and Coolpad. As they gain share too, Apple will struggle to be more than an also-ran.

PNC

U.S. banks face lurch from recovery to recession

22 July 2014

Lending at the likes of PNC and U.S. Bancorp is up, and less cash is needed against bad loans. But low interest rates are keeping returns tepid. That raises the risk some may cut corners. It also means there may be no big earnings boom before the economy slows again.

A 'Detroit City Limits' border sign is seen as traffic enters a westside neighborhood in Detroit, Michigan July 22, 2013. Picture taken July 22, 2013.

Pension vote still leaves Detroit renewal in doubt

22 July 2014

Motown’s retirees have accepted the city’s $18 bln bankruptcy plan. But backers of $1.5 bln of pension debt remain important holdouts – and they have a point. The amount earmarked for rebuilding is also $1.5 bln. A lengthy appeal or a big settlement could put that pot at risk.

Former chief executive of Merrill Lynch, John Thain speaks at the Reuters Global Finance Summit in New York November 17, 2009.

Goldman chums return John Thain to semi-importance

22 July 2014

Merrill Lynch’s last boss has been doing penance running lending minnow CIT for four years. Now he’s spending $3.4 bln to buy OneWest, the remains of a bust bank revived by fellow Goldman alums. It’s a smart deal that restores Thain’s membership in the SIFI club, if only just.

BREAKINGVIEWS TV ON INSIDER

Columns

Rob Cox

Rob Cox: Listen to Murdoch's muzzled minorities

22 July 2014

Most Fox believers are relegated to owning non-voting stock, the same second-tier paper on offer to Time Warner shareholders. While there’s broad investor overlap in the two companies, the record shows a clear distaste for the imperialistic ways of media mogul Rupert Murdoch.

Hugo Dixon

Hugo Dixon: What is EU capital markets union?

21 July 2014

Jean-Claude Juncker, the European Commission’s president-elect, has embraced the goal of creating such a framework. But so far it is more of a slogan than a set of policy actions. Here’s an attempt to flesh out the idea.

Features

John Foley

The perks and pitfalls of depending on Jack Ma

21 July 2014

Alibaba’s founder, chairman and spiritual sultan will continue to exert near-total control of the Chinese e-commerce giant even after its massive IPO. For prospective shareholders, the question is whether Ma can be trusted to act in their interest. The answer is a qualified yes.

Peter Thal Larsen

Review: Putting a face on China's vague ambition

11 July 2014

Many books about China strive for a sweeping overview. Evan Osnos’ “Age of Ambition” adopts a refreshingly human perspective. Despite some inevitable gaps, his close-up portraits of people in the People’s Republic are as revealing as a torrent of statistical superlatives.