The sage of Omaha packed yet more folksy wisdom into his shareholder letter marking 50 years atop Berkshire Hathaway. He also revealed some ironies ranging from how his firm works, to corporate governance, to Wall Street’s usefulness. Success, it seems, requires contradictions.
Borrowing for education has soared over the past decade, ballooning to $1.2 trln and growing far faster than GDP. With serious delinquencies at 11 pct and Washington on the hook, there’s a mess in the making. A Breakingviews calculator shows how big Uncle Sam’s exposure could get.
Regulators are giving consumers a boost by preventing broadband providers from offering favorable treatment to certain clients. But the telecoms giant expressed its discontent in Morse code and then in old typeset. Disagreeing is fine. Taunting your overseer, though, is a risky move.
The U.S. mega-bank may trim some Wall Street operations if returns don’t improve. It’s bad news for smaller rivals if one of the biggest players in rates and derivatives can’t make money in some areas. But if clients end up paying more, bank investors will eventually benefit.
Delta, United and American want trade deals changed, arguing Gulf rivals are unfairly subsidized. That’s rich, given the bailouts, antitrust exemptions and other goodies these three enjoy. Blowback from domestic peers may persuade them that whining to Uncle Sam won’t fly.
U.S. light crude has rallied 12 pct from last month’s six-year low but is still shy of where shale drillers can profit. Higher demand and less capital spending may push prices up while steady output from Saudi Arabia and others limits their rise. About $60 a barrel looks likely.
Like Citi, the bank sprung a legal settlement on investors. Unlike its rival, Morgan Stanley has shunted the cost into the previous year, making 2014 profit barely more than half what was reported. That’s handy, if cynical, for a Wall Street firm keen to trumpet its turnaround.