The iPhone maker’s $615 bln market capitalization is nearing its own record of two years ago, which eclipsed Microsoft’s peak valuation before the dot-com bust in 2000. This Apple share-price runup may not go far enough. But there’s no bubble fantasy math involved if it does.
Investors were energized by the consumer-goods giant’s plan to offload its struggling batteries arm. Spinning off a low-growth commodity business won’t create much value on its own. But it’s a solid step in boss A.G. Lafley’s campaign to simplify the sprawling $225 bln firm.
An unexpected earnings jump propelled shares in the Swedish truck maker up 10 pct. But Volvo is facing an uphill struggle. The outlook for its core European market is weak, and its new cost cutting targets are ambitious.
The online retailer’s 20 pct sales growth in its third quarter was slower than expected, and its $437 mln loss was an ugly record. The firm’s voracious need for investment is a problem. CEO Jeff Bezos’ vision may be limitless, but his company’s ability to finance it is not.
Plenty of home loans are available, industry data show. But a lukewarm economy has made potential borrowers skittish. With the likes of ex-Fed boss Bernanke complaining about getting turned down, blaming stingy banks is easy. It’s the other side of the equation that needs work.
The best European lenders will pass Sunday’s exercise outright based on their Dec. 31 balance sheet. Potentially some big names will fail that test, but pass on capital raised since. As for banks still deemed outright failures today, their bosses cannot expect to keep their jobs.
The Wall Street firm’s Q3 results show boss Ken Jacobs short of his 25 pct margin target for the year. Getting there requires a fair drop in pay in the final quarter. But rising revenue from the urge to merge should allow him to balance the interests of bankers and shareholders.
The flagship brand of French luxury and lifestyle group Kering posted disappointing sales in the last quarter, sending the shares down. Gucci is struggling with an image problem. At least it can point to early signs that its new strategy is bearing fruit.
The Facebook founder surprised and delighted a Beijing audience by answering questions in Mandarin. His linguistic skills probably won’t make the social network any more welcome in the People’s Republic. But other corporate chiefs could learn from his efforts to friend China.
The latest leadership pow-wow ended with a pledge to reduce political meddling in court cases, and fight legal graft. Yet foreign companies are unlikely to get a fairer hearing from regulators, and the ruling Party remains untouchable. It’s justice with Chinese characteristics.
Supplier Takata’s faulty devices have sucked $6.5 bln from Honda’s market cap. Dodgy ignitions helped dent GM’s by $16 bln. Automakers can overcome such woes, as GM’s Q3 earnings imply. Increasing automation adds a new dimension to the risk, making it even harder to quantify.
Investors want a growing yield premium to hold French bonds rather than Dutch, Belgian or Austrian ones and the cost of insuring against a Gallic default is inching up. Blame repeated budget misses and a sluggish economy. Still, a large, liquid debt market has some attractions.
The UK retailer’s accounting error is larger than originally flagged. Sales are falling faster than feared. News that the chairman is being replaced will help. But Tesco’s new CEO missed a big chance to articulate a turnaround plan – despite some obvious remedies.