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Wednesday, 01 July 2015

Stocks and Funds

People shop inside an Apple store in central London March 29, 2006.

Apple marching to the drum of its own Beats

30 June 2015

The company’s new subscription music streaming and online radio services could upend markets dominated by Pandora, Spotify and SiriusXM. Their combined annual revenue of $6.4 bln would be equaled by just 6 pct growth in iPhone sales. The hardware angle sets Apple’s effort apart.

A bond trading room

Corporate financiers put brave face on Greek crisis

30 June 2015

Dealmakers would be forgiven for putting almost any plan on ice, pending some sort of resolution of the Greek debt drama. The $18 billion Towers Watson-Willis merger and the IPO of market maker Flow Traders suggest that deals can still get done, even if it’s with gritted teeth.

Rob Cox

Rob Cox: Uber gets a pass on its Wall Street habit

30 June 2015

Big banks break rules and pay fines. Traditionally it’s just a cost of doing business. Uber, meanwhile, pays fines when drivers violate regulations that stand in the way of its business model. Nowadays banks attract outrage, but Uber is often forgiven in the name of disruption.

A electronic board inside a stock exchange market

Chinese stock markets need more than lip service

30 June 2015

The selloff is dramatic but only affects the relatively few people who own equities. A wider risk is that a prolonged slump would slow reforms and undermine faith in China’s rulers. In the short run, overt state support may be the most effective way to avoid losing credibility.

Bids and Buyouts

Emerson Electric Company Canadian headquarters is shown in Markham February 7, 2012.

Breakups, activists presage more industrial M&A

30 June 2015

Emerson said it plans to hive off its struggling network power business, a possible prelude to more spinoffs at the $37 bln conglomerate. And Nelson Peltz took a stake in $12 bln rival Pentair, saying he wants management to do deals. It’s more fuel for the mergers fire.

Dagoberto Morales, of Sarah's Pastries and Candies, delivers a cake shaped as the Willis Tower before a dedication ceremony at the Willis Tower in Chicago, Illinois.

Willis-Towers Watson insure against market turmoil

30 June 2015

The insurance broker and the risk consultant plan to merge. There’s positive logic: combining Towers’ knowhow and Willis’ client relationships could drive revenue. But $125 mln of cost synergies would also help the group weather an insurance sector wrestling with low rates. 

Thalidomide pills made by New Jersey-based Celgene Corp. are shown in this undated photo.

Winners' bets get bolder in the biotech casino

30 June 2015

Celgene is paying a 100 pct premium for a 10 pct slice of two-and-a-half year-old Juno Therapeutics. That sounds bonkers, even for a fast-moving technology like immune cell modification. The sector is on a streak, but the risk of crapping out in drug development remains high.

A general exterior view of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) headquarters in Washington, June 24, 2011.

KKR pioneers dubious sort of private equity deal

29 June 2015

The firm that helped blaze the trail on LBOs four decades ago has become one of the first to settle with the SEC over expenses charged to investors in its funds. KKR will have company, however. Individual sums may be small but, like the fees themselves, they’ll start to add up.

Money and Markets

A woman uses her mobile phone to take a selfie picture at the Trocadero Square near the Eiffel Tower

Sony tests popularity with "selfie" capital hike

01 July 2015

Selling $3.6 bln of shares and convertible bonds is punchy after years of destroying value. But Sony is back in favour with investors. Plus, it has a weak balance sheet and a growth business to fund: sensors for the pin-sharp cameras that go front and back on today’s smartphones.

SoftBank Corp. Chief Executive Masayoshi Son (R) waves with the company's human-like robots named 'pepper' during a news conference in Urayasu, east of Tokyo June 5, 2014.

Fear all working robots, not just big bionic arms

01 July 2015

SoftBank’s Masayoshi Son says automatons may outnumber humans in 30 years. It sounds far-fetched. But robots are 80 percent cheaper now than in 1990, and getting lighter and safer for people to use. That makes them a big risk to many of the world’s 6 billion future workers.

Hugo Dixon

Hugo Dixon: Tsipras looks like he is crumbling

01 July 2015

With Athens defaulting to the IMF, public opinion moving against the Greek PM and the banks closed, Tsipras seems desperate for a deal with his creditors. But it is not clear they will cut him any slack. They may prefer to deal with his successor.

Greece caricatures

New Greek bailout bid mixes chutzpah with caution

30 June 2015

Athens wants a last-minute EU backstop loan to avoid a technical default if it doesn’t repay the IMF on Tuesday. Assuming the answer is no, it might convince Greeks to vote for euro exit. It could also serve as a signal to the ECB not to cut off emergency Greek bank loans.