In recent days, Barclays, Citi, Credit Suisse, Deutsche and RBS have socked away big sums for legal expenses, much of it related to forex rate manipulation. That suggests many U.S. and UK regulators are working together on a rare single settlement. It’d be good for all concerned.
Exxon, Chevron and Conoco reported solid earnings and remained optimistic despite falling prices. Shale drilling, for example, is profitable at current rates. But investment cuts won’t hit other projects for a few years, making price rises unlikely. Investors may get antsy.
The ECB chief might fantasise about taking big decisions with a one-vote margin, as the Bank of Japan leader just did. But realpolitik requires a goodly majority. The euro zone’s inevitable compromises complicate Draghi’s fight against stubbornly low inflation.
Latest earnings suggest the once-fizzy beer company is becoming ordinary. AB InBev’s valuation reflects its history of M&A-fuelled growth. More big deals may come. But even if future revenue growth is flatter, its dividend ambitions will support the share price.
Obama, Xi, Putin and Abe will have much to disagree about when they meet with other national leaders in Beijing next week. The host city’s odd theatrics add to the awkwardness. But the fact that top people from around the Pacific want to show a united front helps keep the peace.
The democracy debate is dividing the city. For companies, keeping quiet is less risky than expressing an opinion that could irk customers, staff, or Beijing. It’s even harder for employees who must tread the blurry line between free speech and representing corporate interests.
Having to slash $600 mln from recently disclosed earnings because of new regulatory developments is an unwelcome surprise for investors. The bank blames fast-moving investigations. If rivals don’t follow suit, though, the excuse may not be enough cover for Citi’s top brass.
UK bank shares rallied after the regulator published requirements for equity-to-assets of up to 4.95 pct, but not until 2019. The BoE’s move to peg gross leverage to risk-weighted thresholds should prevent arbitrage, but fails the simplicity test. It is also a work in progress.
France’s largest listed bank rebounded from a U.S. mega-fine with an 11 pct rise in Q3 profit. A big drop in volatility helped everything but trading. Now, though, volatility is up and the upcoming temporary dollar-clearing ban for U.S. sanctions breaches may cause more pain.
Auditor-related technicalities have grounded one of the largest European share issues this year. The Aena airports sale will probably go ahead in early 2015. But the IPO process will be easier to re-rail if the government makes its commitment unequivocal.
The Bank of Japan is cranking up its bond-buying just as the Federal Reserve winds down. But even the Japanese central bank is becoming more sceptical of quantitative easing. If 2 percent inflation proves elusive, the BOJ will need even bolder policies - or to throw in the towel.
Our alternative growth index hit its lowest levels since April 2009 last month. Housing investment is leading the downturn with the slowest pace of growth in over two years. In the past, more bank lending was seen as the answer. This time, it doesn’t seem to be helping at all.
Sales at the $60 bln coffee chain’s established locations increased less than expected. Even so, 10 pct revenue growth is a problem the likes of McDonald’s would love to have. Savvy marketing and smart acquisitions should help Starbucks keep pace with changing consumer tastes.