If the cult of economic efficiency is not abandoned, then machines which can emulate and sometimes surpass human thinking are likely to bring lower wages and more unemployment. But robots provide a wonderful opportunity to combine low labour productivity with high prosperity.
Charles Holliday arrives at the Anglo-Dutch major as oil prices slump towards $85 a barrel. After a dismal 2013, Shell is making good progress. But while Holliday has sound experience at DuPont and Bank of America, he will need to learn the tricks of his new trade quickly.
The UK lender has beaten consensus despite enduring a ropey quarter for the investment bank and taking a 500 mln stg provision for forex issues. But it needs regulators not to fast-track leverage targets, as happened last year. Good news will make its revamp look more secure.
Surprisingly good news on profit margins lifted the telecoms equipment firm’s shares. The stock is volatile and still down sharply this year. But Alcatel looks to be coping with a U.S. spending slowdown better than some rivals. Its sweeping restructuring remains on track.
The $230 bln oil giant’s tax-advantaged U.S. pipeline spinoff popped 46 pct on its debut on Wednesday. With an enterprise value of $4.6 bln, it trades on eight times the valuation ratio its parent gets. That kind of uplift makes it a no-brainer for Shell to offload more assets.
The Australian lender plans to offload its Clydesdale unit after years of disappointing results. The improving British economy makes that a possibility. Even then, NAB needs stock markets – or prospective buyers – to play ball. And it will remain on the hook for past misconduct.
The hottest name in sports cars is joining the spinoff bandwagon. Fiat Chrysler will sell 10 pct of Ferrari and hand the rest to investors. Fiat shares zoomed up. Yet the split is largely symbolic. Ferrari needs to stay linked to Fiat, and the cash proceeds will be limited.