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Thursday, 23 October 2014

BREAKINGVIEWS

Tesco Plc. CEO Dave Lewis arrives for Tesco's interim results announcement in London October 23, 2014.

Tesco fails to answer key strategy questions

23 October 2014

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.

Brady W. Dougan, CEO of Credit Suisse

Credit Suisse's future is mid-table drabness

23 October 2014

The Swiss group’s investment bank trumped Wall Street in Q3. But it’s no longer a top-tier player in any standalone business line, and questions linger over its ability to maintain strong fixed income returns if rates rise. Muted expectations should apply to other divisions too.

Mobile phones made by Nokia are pictured in this photo illustration taken in Warsaw May 8, 2012.

Nokia shows there’s life after phones

23 October 2014

It’s six months since Microsoft closed the purchase of Nokia’s once-great handset business. A big earnings beat shows the Finnish group is now thriving in network equipment, even as rivals struggle. Still, questions remain over U.S. telco capex and profitability in mapping.

A man walks past a terrace of houses in London

Foxtons alert points at housing momentum reversal

23 October 2014

The London-focused real-estate agent says booming sales volumes have suddenly slowed. That fits with other evidence the market peaked earlier in the year. Foreign buyers may assist a soft landing. But, as Foxtons hints, UK political uncertainty could act as a powerful brake. 

A woman walks past a branch of the Australian state-owned health insurer Medibank Private in Sydney October 20, 2014.

Mega Medibank IPO sets tone for Aussie sell-off

23 October 2014

A valuation of up to $4.8 bln for the state-owned private health insurer rests on the potential for cutting costs. But not being too greedy now will make it easier to flog some of the huge pipeline of Australian assets lined up for privatisation to stock market investors.

Drones at the U.S. Capitol

Drones and lawyers could give each other a buzz

22 October 2014

Unmanned aircraft need help navigating rules that have grounded commercial flights. Law firms could use a boost against earnings headwinds. With Morrison Foerster and others touting drone expertise, the two industries’ potential for mutual assistance may be more than hot air.

A sign for Bank Street is seen in London

EU bank resolution pain fairer than it looks

22 October 2014

Large lenders in France face shouldering the biggest chunk of a new fund to resolve trouble-hit European banks. But the larger the contributions, the more clout their state has over deploying the funds. That should cut the chance of profligate banks in other states getting a free ride. 

Maurice Levy, French advertising group Publicis Chief executive

Publicis better show it has a cure for "hiccup"

23 October 2014

The French advertising group says focus on the failed merger with Omnicom explains its weak performance in the last quarter. It also has excuses for different parts of the business. The pressure is on to show at its next strategy update how it intends to shake its growth problem.

Chairman of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz cars Dieter Zetsche gets out of the new Mercedes-AMG GT car on media day at the Paris Mondial de l'Automobile, October 2, 2014.

Daimler can turbo-charge up its cash return

23 October 2014

The German carmaker is boasting of record sales, rising margins and rich proceeds from asset disposals. But its dividend has not grown in line with a recovery in performance. After years of parsimony, Daimler can afford to be more generous to shareholders.

Humanoid robot of British company RoboThespian "blushes" during the opening ceremony of the Hanover technology fair Cebit March 9, 2014, where Britain is this year's partner country. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay

Robots may spell "Control-Alt-Delete" for workers

23 October 2014

Researchers think automatons could displace half of all existing U.S. jobs. If that happens rapidly, it could push humans into a strife-torn future in which lack of wage income hobbles prosperity even in capable societies. Yet governments can make the transition less stressful.

Janet Yellen

U.S. central bank can do without higher inflation

22 October 2014

One regional Fed boss worries CPI is below the institution’s 2 pct target. Yet EU-like deflation fears don’t travel. American prices are up an average of almost 2 pct a year since the crisis. And measures of future inflation expectations are still close to the target, too.

GSK’s deal-making days may just be starting

22 October 2014

The struggling pharma group is mulling an IPO of its HIV unit, which would go straight into the FTSE-100. It’s also holding next year’s dividend flat. The extra financial flexibility is welcome. But there’s also scope for a more radical strategy to realise value from disposals.

Brazil's Social Democratic Party (PSDB) presidential candidate Aecio Neves is pictured in front of a Brazilian flag before a campaign rally in Brasilia October 8, 2014.

Brazilian challenger offers reform without clout

22 October 2014

An ambitious agenda is helping Aecio Neves give President Rousseff a run for her money. But without more allies in Congress, his platform of lower deficits, slower wage growth and higher gas prices looks unrealistic. Keeping the economy steady may be the most he can deliver.

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Columns

Rob Cox

Rob Cox: Fragility bigger worry than volatility

21 October 2014

Recent rollercoaster markets are a symptom of a more concerning malady. They reflect the shock accompanying recognition that widely accepted assumptions about everything from monetary policy to geopolitics, and even the state of global health, are dangerously flimsy.

Hugo Dixon

Hugo Dixon: Markets right to worry about euro zone

20 October 2014

The epicentre of last week’s fright was the 18-nation currency bloc, whose three big economies – Germany, France and Italy – are in their own ways stuck. There is a grand bargain sketched out by Mario Draghi that might shift the malaise. But it won’t materialise soon, if at all.

Features

Opus Dei pulls few strings in Spanish business

17 October 2014

The Madrid beatification of an early leader of the Catholic group gathered a big crowd and high-powered sponsors. Critics say Opus has undue influence in its homeland. But its clout has declined in modernising Spain. Still, a strong work ethic creates professional opportunities. 

Review: The worst of both Mao and markets

17 October 2014

Nicholas Lardy’s new book describes a China in which the state is retreating. He has the numbers to demonstrate the private sector’s steady gains, but official statistics are deeply misleading. In the PRC, the public-private line is blurred by the triumph of crony capitalism.