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Friday, 04 September 2015

Stocks and Funds

American Express and American Express corporate cards.

American Express may face its Microsoft moment

04 September 2015

The $75 bln credit-card firm led by Ken Chenault is ValueAct’s latest target. It’s not clear how breaking up or returning capital will remedy Amex’s subpar growth and lagging stock. Going after the long-serving boss, ValueAct’s successful strategy at the software giant, might.

Martin Winterkorn (L) talks with Hans Dieter Poetsch

Volkswagen gets new chairman decision half-right

03 September 2015

Naming CFO Hans Dieter Poetsch as its new chair should give the German carmaker a better balance between cost discipline and engineering perfection. But a strong external candidate would have made more sense. As it is, Poetsch will start off needing to prove his independence.

Rob Cox

Rob Cox: Wall Street's rave party feels the drop

03 September 2015

Robert Sillerman’s attempt to roll up the electronic dance music business is collapsing not long after UBS, Barclays and Jefferies helped his SFX Entertainment go public. Live Nation may once again turn out to be the buyer of a Sillerman creation, but this time will be different.

An easyJet aircraft prepares to take off from Liverpool John Lennon Airport , northern England November 19, 2013.

Higher dividend is easyJet’s next destination

03 September 2015

The British no-frills carrier has upped its 2015 guidance significantly, sending shares up 6 pct. With earnings per share poised to rise by a fifth, it can easily afford topping up shareholder payouts. But future growth plans limit the scope of another 2013-like special dividend.

Bids and Buyouts

A child rides in a shopping trolley at a Tesco Extra store in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, July 6, 2015.

Tesco's global hopes can survive Korea sale

04 September 2015

Britain’s biggest grocer is close to selling its supermarkets in South Korea, reports say. The mooted 4.3 bln stg proceeds would cut net debt in half and relieve operational headaches. Yet an exit need not be the end of Tesco’s international ambitions. 

Natalie Massenet, founder and chairman of online fashion retailer Net-A-Porter

Yoox glee at Net-a-Porter exit may wear thin

03 September 2015

Shares in the upmarket online retailer popped 5 pct as Net’s founder cashed out of the merger agreed in March. Terms of the severance deal with Natalie Massenet confirm that Yoox bought its rival at a bargain price. But it is losing know-how at an important time.

An aircraft flies over Beijing International Airport on a hazy day in Beijing, August 7, 2015. China called on Malaysia on Thursday to continue investigating what happened to a missing Malaysia Airlines flight after Kuala Lumpur said a piece of a wing tha

Chinese plane-hire deal survives market turbulence

04 September 2015

Bohai Leasing’s $2.6 bln bid for Dublin-based Avolon confirms China’s desire to grow in aircraft rental. The $31-a-share offer is slightly below Bohai’s indicative bid a month ago. But rising interest rates and the falling yuan could have been reasons to drive a harder bargain.

Billionaire Guo Guangchang (L), Executive Director and Chairman of Fosun International, poses with Liang Xinjun, Executive Director, Vice Chairman and CEO, during the annual general meeting of the Chinese conglomerate in Hong Kong, China May 28, 2015.

Fosun global ambition clashes with market reality

03 September 2015

The Chinese conglomerate’s bid for private bank BHF Kleinwort Benson comes with alluring logic and a reasonable premium. That might not be enough. Weak markets in China, and an apparent belief that Fosun will offer more, are pulling in opposite and unhelpful directions.

Money and Markets

Hot air balloons are inflated at sunrise on day one of the 2015 New Jersey Festival of Ballooning in Readington, New Jersey, July 24, 2015.

U.S. workers make Fed's job easier

04 September 2015

The unemployment rate fell to 5.1 pct in August, putting half the central bank’s dashboard right on target. When joblessness last dropped so low in 2005, interest rates were raised to 3.25 pct. With the inflation outlook also stable, moving past zero shouldn’t be heavy lifting.

Artur Mas (R), leader of Convergencia i Unio (CIU) and candidate for the upcoming elections in Catalonia waves with party co-leader Josep Antoni Duran i Lleida during a meeting in Barcelona, November 26, 2010.

Catalan vote a sideshow to national election

04 September 2015

Secessionist parties want to kick-start the road to independence in the Spanish region if they win the election on Sept. 27. But even if they prevail, the hurdles to full-blown independence look high. Investors should fret about Spain’s general election in December instead.

Europe’s fuzzy capital markets union takes shape

04 September 2015

The European Commission is mulling a directive to harmonise member states’ various insolvency regimes. If common principles can be nailed down, bankruptcy will get smoother. And the Juncker commission’s goal of better integrated capital markets would have a hope of success.

Roulette chips are locked down at Caesars in Atlantic City, New Jersey July 5, 2006.

Troubled U.S. firms get the Argentina treatment

03 September 2015

A court says they can’t force holdout creditors to accept less security against loans. A similar ruling led to a standoff between Buenos Aires and hedge fund Elliott. Unlike countries, companies can declare bankruptcy as a fallback. But restructuring is getting tougher for both.