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Friday, 27 February 2015


Combination photo shows Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis (L) and German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaueble at the start of an extraordinary euro zone Finance Ministers meeting (Eurogroup) to discuss Athens' plans to reverse austerity measures agre

Europe can afford to cut Greece some slack

27 February 2015

Athens wants to slice its primary fiscal surplus to one-third of the level agreed in its current bailout programme. That might leave debt too high for comfort – yet there is room for a compromise that Greece’s euro zone partners could afford.

Signage is seen at the front of a branch of Lloyds TSB bank, in the City of London.

Lloyds investment case hinges on its next dividend

27 February 2015

The UK bank’s first payout since 2008 is an encouraging milestone. But it’s largely symbolic. The critical valuation issue is whether Lloyds’ pledge to pay out at least half its future earnings represents a floor or a ceiling - and whether the regulator allows fatter payouts. 

Peter Thal Larsen

Review: Building HSBC's sprawling, flawed empire

27 February 2015

The Hong Kong bank grew into one of the world’s biggest financial institutions. But poor results and a furore over Swiss tax make for an unhappy 150th anniversary. A new history shows how hands-off management and breakneck M&A under former chairman John Bond are partly to blame.

A worker checks books in a library

Simpler is better for Reed Elsevier

26 February 2015

The dual-listed media giant is fixing a baroque corporate setup. That should lure new investors and cut the discount on its Dutch shares. A simultaneous rebrand as “RELX” is ungainly – but at least this helps distance the largely digital group from the printed past.

An aircraft is silhouetted by the sun.

Weak euro can lift Airbus profit further

27 February 2015

The European aircraft maker pleased investors with higher-than-expected operating profit and a 60 pct dividend hike. Higher profitability was driven by a weaker euro. With that currency tailwind likely to persist, the annual results give a foretaste of future improvements. 

Logo of Europe's biggest insurer Allianz is pictured in Tokyo

Never mind Bill Gross: Allianz is thriving

26 February 2015

The star investor’s acrimonious departure from Pimco caused huge outflows and hurt operating profit at Allianz, the German owner of the U.S. bond-fund firm. That obscures Allianz’s real strength. Annual results underline the insurer’s renewal under outgoing CEO Michael Diekmann.

Rob Cox

Rob Cox: Welcome to the new, global Tangentopoli

26 February 2015

Corruption is causing trouble for elites from Sao Paulo to Virginia and Santiago to London. Inequality can be a tolerable byproduct of free-market capitalism, but not when the winners are profiting from a rigged system. As a new book argues, such gains encourage radicalism.