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Saturday, 06 February 2016


Pro Chrysler Jeep line technician Bob Basemann shows off a tattoo n Thornton, Colorado December 19, 2008.

Decent U.S. jobs report leaves Fed in quandary

05 February 2016

Wage growth may finally be taking hold. Americans are getting better-paying work, spurring more people to seek it. January’s headline figure of 151,000 new jobs undershot estimates, though. And Janet Yellen et al know they’ll be blamed for global market volatility, too.

Pumpjacks taken out of production temporarily stand idle at a Hess site near Williston, North Dakota November 12, 2014.

Hess stock buyback folly is one for the ages

05 February 2016

The $11 bln oil explorer is selling shares to shore up capital. Not long ago, it repurchased more than twice as many at double the price amid an Elliott insurgence. The toxic mix of a cyclical industry, activism and financial engineering should be a required boardroom case study.

The NFL Super Bowl XLIX football game in Glendale, Arizona February 1, 2015.

Super Bowl 50 could mark peak sports TV

05 February 2016

More than 100 mln people are due to watch the Panthers and Broncos battle for supremacy on Sunday amid $10 mln-a-minute ads. Live sports are pivotal for broadcasters but the $18 bln price tag is getting harder to justify. As cord cutting accelerates, the chalice will be poisoned.

Philippe Dauman of Viacom in Half Moon Bay, California, July 22, 2008.

Viacom's boardroom drama belongs on reality TV

04 February 2016

CEO Philippe Dauman replaced Sumner Redstone as chair of the $18 bln media firm, thwarting the controlling stockholder’s daughter, Vice Chairwoman Shari Redstone. She wanted an independent leader. Investors may not like the soap opera, but it has potential as a much-needed hit series.

A lock icon is seen on an Internet Explorer browser in a photo illustration in Paris April 15, 2014.

Activist + private equity = no M&A for Symantec

05 February 2016

The internet security group netted $5.3 bln from selling Veritas. Pressured by Elliott, it’s now borrowing $500 mln from Silver Lake and returning all the cash to investors rather than keeping a war chest. Symantec’s questionable dealmaking record makes the straitjacket merited.

U.S. President Barack Obama delivers remarks on the economy and fuel standards during a visit to a Safeway Distribution Center in Upper Marlboro, Maryland February 18, 2014.

Obama oil-tax idea deserves at least a test drive

05 February 2016

The U.S. president’s $10-a-barrel fee would fund infrastructure and nudge consumers from fossil fuels. It might also up demand for gas-sipping autos, helping carmakers meet emissions goals. And energy firms could pass on the cost. It will, alas, surely stall in an election year.

Rob Cox

Cox: Bloomberg's White House hurdle is Wall Street

04 February 2016

The media mogul mayor may yet try to be U.S. president. Hands down he’d be the richest contender ever. It would take extreme candidates Bernie Sanders and Ted Cruz as nominees for Michael Bloomberg to run. The bigger issue is that he’d have his deep ties to finance to explain.