Worries about bad debts and a sliding share price have raised doubts about Chief Executive Peter Sands’ future. The main challenge for the emerging market lender is to boost returns and retain capital as growth slows. If Sands leaves, his successor will face the same issues.
The government is selling a 10 percent stake in the lumbering monopoly to meet its deficit target. A pledge to ramp up domestic production makes it easier to lure buyers. Still, investor enthusiasm for Coal India shares will set the tone for a big pipeline of chunky deals.
The e-commerce group’s shares fell after a Chinese regulator lambasted its sales habits. Alibaba must convince investors it was blindsided, and prevent its beef with the watchdog escalating. It’s an insight into how contradictory and value-destructive the Chinese state can be.
Newly merged brokerage Shenwan Hongyuan is worth $41 bln – more than Charles Schwab. Its peers trade at triple the valuations of most global securities houses. The mania is part excitement over China’s stock markets, and part misguided belief the state can keep things afloat.
Alibaba’s boss, like the U.S. group’s Jeff Bezos, has built online retail dominance. But there are downsides. Unpredictable earnings are Exhibit A. The Chinese group also has fickle regulators. It may not be the last time investors suffer nearly $40 bln of losses in two days.
For a country that says employment is its top priority, China’s jobs data is surprisingly unhelpful. Besides the 47 million or so official unemployed, many more are stranded in unproductive or unnecessary posts. That’s bad for growth. Fixing it requires reformist elbow grease.
The states of India need a break. They have lived with spending curbs that New Delhi has never accepted for itself. But this has bred angst. The upcoming budget is a chance to boost regional spending even as the federal government cuts back. The rebalancing will spur GDP growth.