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Friday, 30 January 2015

Stocks and Funds

Peter Thal Larsen

StanChart's woes stretch far beyond corner office

30 January 2015

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.


Greek deposits fly between a rock and a hard place

30 January 2015

One remedy to capital flight would be to give so-called emergency liquidity assistance to Greek banks. But heavy use of ELA could mean big losses if Greece left the euro. The alternative is to copy Cypriot capital controls. That, though, would be politically toxic in Greece.

An aircraft is silhouetted by the sun.

Qatar stake is vote of confidence in BA-owner IAG

30 January 2015

Taking a 10 pct stake worth $1.7 bln makes Qatar Airways the biggest investor in British Airways’ parent company. The immediate strategic benefit is limited: the groups already cooperate and IAG gets no new capital. But a deep-pocketed, long-term backer can be helpful.

A neon Google logo is seen as employees work at the new Google office in Toronto.

Google and Amazon glimpse big-spending futures

30 January 2015

The search giant reported mediocre Q4 results due to high outlays. The online shopping firm did better but also shelled out hefty sums. Neither can count any longer on economies of scale to boost margins sky-high. They need to make pricey investments just to stay in the game.

Bids and Buyouts


Why the sky-scraping deal fees over Canary Wharf?

30 January 2015

Qatar’s $4 bln swoop on Wharf-owner Songbird didn’t take long. Once big shareholders folded, the defence against the lacklustre offer collapsed. Yet the target’s support team could pocket up to $45 mln. M&A due process certainly doesn’t come cheap.

Energy pipelines

An $18 bln deal straightens out twisted pipelines

26 January 2015

The convoluted structure at Energy Transfer Equity isn’t doing it any favors. Combining two master limited partnerships it controls may generate some savings. More importantly, it makes the company slightly easier for increasingly skeptical oil and gas investors to understand.

Buildings are seen in the Canary Wharf business district in east London

Qatar’s hostility pays off in Canary Wharf battle

28 January 2015

The Gulf state has won over the three other big investors in Songbird, the AIM-listed majority owner of the London financial district. Songbird’s board was caged in: with justification, it sees the $4 bln bid as cheap. But minority investors could suffer by holding out.

Packages travel on conveyor belts to be sorted at the UPS facility in Hodgkins, Illinois.

U.S. $16 bln paper deal requires precise folding

26 January 2015

Rock-Tenn and MeadWestvaco shareholders will split their combined company evenly, with a balanced board. Investors are already inking in $300 mln of annual cuts, pushing both stocks up. Mergers that look equal, though, can still provoke business and cultural upheaval.

Money and Markets

The Delta IV Heavy rocket with the Orion spacecraft lifts off from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Cape Canaveral, Florida.

Stolid Q4 U.S. growth provides platform for 2015

30 January 2015

A 2.6 pct rate of expansion in the quarter and 2.4 pct growth for 2014 hardly represent a boom. But it’s still a stronger story than most developed economies. With pay rising, confidence strong and inflation, interest rates and gasoline prices low, the upside remains promising.

A sign displaying the logotype of VTB Bank, covered with icicles, is seen above the bank office in central Moscow.

Russian central bank chooses banks over rouble

30 January 2015

A surprise interest rate cut suggests the central bank is more concerned about the economy than the value of the currency. Worries about the banking sector’s solvency could explain the move. The downside: Russia could end up with both high inflation and a deep recession.

Eagle Fed

Review: What the Great Depression taught the Fed

30 January 2015

Ben Bernanke is an expert on the famous crash. But Barry Eichengreen argues in his new book that the Fed boss during the 2008 crunch hadn’t learnt the lessons of the boom preceding the bust. Bernanke’s knowledge helped with crisis management, but it is too early to say how much. 

Labourers rest as a boy playfully shovels coal at a yard in the western Indian city of Ahmedabad November 20, 2014

Modi market mania faces test in $3.7 bln coal sale

30 January 2015

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.