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Monday, 20 October 2014


Morgan Stanley homes in on underwhelming target

17 October 2014

The Wall Street firm’s Q3 showing came in just shy of CEO James Gorman’s 2015 goal of a 9 pct return on equity. It’s the result of another consistent overall performance. But until the bank can find its way to more lucrative returns, it’s dullsville for the stock price.

A driver with the ride-sharing service Lyft waits for a customer on a street in Santa Monica, California.

Airbnb and Uber lack full spirit of sharing

17 October 2014

Most of the $10 bln home rental service’s New York listings are illegal, a top lawman has found. And Pennsylvania judges put the kibosh on the $18 bln taxi app. Many regulations are outdated for the likes of Airbnb and Uber, but a more cooperative attitude would help their cause.

Chesapeake Energy Corporation's 50 acre campus is seen in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

Chesapeake gets double win in $5.4 bln shale sale

16 October 2014

The U.S. gas driller’s market cap jumped 17 pct, or about $2 bln, after rival Southwestern agreed to buy some wells. The acquirer’s 11 pct share-price slide suggests the deal favors Chesapeake. But it also gives CEO Doug Lawler a one-shot fix for his company’s balance sheet.

A multiple exposure photo of an emergency exit sign.

Jammed exits amplify global market gyrations

16 October 2014

It’s the worst financial turbulence since the euro zone crisis. Waning economic confidence and contagious fear can explain some of the rush out of stocks and into safe bonds. The decline of active market-makers is magnifying the movements. 

Peter Breiter, CEO of Raiffeisen Gammesfeld eG bank, works with an old adding-machine at the bank in Gammesfeld, Baden-Wuerttemberg January 29, 2013.

Spreadsheet bungles alive and well in high finance

17 October 2014

No less a practitioner than Goldman Sachs double-counted some of Tibco Software’s shares in calculating the company’s value in a sale worth $4.3 bln – oops, sorry, $4.2 bln. The mistake probably didn’t change much. What’s telling is that no one spotted a fairly obvious blunder.

A US. Foods truck is shown on  delivery in San Diego, California.

U.S. food merger may choke on antitrust precedent

16 October 2014

Sysco says its $3.5 bln purchase of US Foods preserves local competition. Critics argue that’s irrelevant because the two operate nationally. Similar logic led watchdogs to nix AT&T’s $39 bln deal for T-Mobile US. They could find it hard to swallow the food distributors’ union.

A trader works inside the Goldman Sachs stall on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange.

Goldman pulls every lever to make machine run

16 October 2014

Bankers and traders helped the firm increase profit 50 pct from a year ago. Investments like Tesla supplier Mobileye contributed, too. Socking away less for pay, though, provided the real fillip to 11.8 pct return on equity. In tough times especially, that’s how it should work.