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Sunday, 26 October 2014

Stocks and Funds

Apple CEO Tim Cook speaks in the demonstration room after the Apple event introducing the new iPad in San Francisco, California March 7, 2012.

Apple's promise justifies return to old big self

24 October 2014

The iPhone maker’s $615 bln market capitalization is nearing its own record of two years ago, which eclipsed Microsoft’s peak valuation before the dot-com bust in 2000. This Apple share-price runup may not go far enough. But there’s no bubble fantasy math involved if it does.

A woman runs past a poster of luxury fashion house Gucci outside a shopping mall in Beijing's central business district.

Gucci makeover still a work in progress

24 October 2014

The flagship brand of French luxury and lifestyle group Kering posted disappointing sales in the last quarter, sending the shares down. Gucci is struggling with an image problem. At least it can point to early signs that its new strategy is bearing fruit.


Duracell jolt highlights the value of focus at P&G

24 October 2014

Investors were energized by the consumer-goods giant’s plan to offload its struggling batteries arm. Spinning off a low-growth commodity business won’t create much value on its own. But it’s a solid step in boss A.G. Lafley’s campaign to simplify the sprawling $225 bln firm.

An Indian mechanic works at the Volvo truck division in Bangalore.

Most of the heavy lifting lies ahead for Volvo

24 October 2014

An unexpected earnings jump propelled shares in the Swedish truck maker up 10 pct. But Volvo is facing an uphill struggle. The outlook for its core European market is weak, and its new cost cutting targets are ambitious. 

Bids and Buyouts

A statue of a bull is seen next to a Spanish flag hung on a fence.

Ferrovial is back in conquistador mode

22 October 2014

The Spanish group is chasing deals worth 1.8 bln euros in three countries including Australia. The spree echoes its 2006 pursuit of airport operator BAA, which nearly dragged it down. But these acquisitions look less risky. Thanks to savvy sales, Ferrovial has cash to spend.

A Denver Broncos player wears Reebok boots before competing against the Dallas Cowboys in their NFL football game in Denver October 4, 2009.

Adidas can't afford to be sentimental about Reebok

20 October 2014

The German sports group is reportedly set to receive a $2.2 bln offer for the unit. Having overpaid for Reebok in 2006, Adidas has since turned it round and may be loath to sell. But Reebok has little strategic use. Fiduciary duty demands a cold appraisal of its financial value.


Two useful AbbVie inversions to pay for failed one

20 October 2014

Turning tail on the $54 bln Shire deal exposes the U.S. drugmaker’s folly chasing a lower tax bill. Investors facing a $1.6 bln break fee should push for other AbbVie flips: boss Richard Gonzalez’s compensation and the company’s governance in the form of an independent chairman.

A farmer dispenses feed to his herd in his cowshed in Seranvillers Forenville near Cambrai, northern France, January 25, 2013.

Nutreco’s $3 bln buyout shows value of food chain

20 October 2014

The Dutch fish and animal-feed giant is about to be gobbled up in a $3.4 bln friendly deal. The buyer is SHV, the family outfit behind the Makro cash-and-carry chain. With no synergies, this deal is better seen as a long-term bet on growing global demand for protein.

Money and Markets

Martin Hutchinson

Review: World needs agreed ground rules for peace

24 October 2014

Henry Kissinger’s “World Order” bemoans the lack of one, as the West’s prevailing approach of nation states with limited conflict isn’t reflected in non-Western traditions. However the Vienna Congress innovation allowing intervention only to protect stability might work better.

Estate RMBS

U.S. mortgages sputter on demand more than supply

23 October 2014

Plenty of home loans are available, industry data show. But a lukewarm economy has made potential borrowers skittish. With the likes of ex-Fed boss Bernanke complaining about getting turned down, blaming stingy banks is easy. It’s the other side of the equation that needs work.

Police officers stand outside the Hefei Intermediate People's Court, where Gu Kailai is being tried for murder, in Hefei, Anhui Province August 9, 2012 REUTERS/Aly Song

China's new reform: rule of law for some

24 October 2014

The latest leadership pow-wow ended with a pledge to reduce political meddling in court cases, and fight legal graft. Yet foreign companies are unlikely to get a fairer hearing from regulators, and the ruling Party remains untouchable. It’s justice with Chinese characteristics.

A sign for Bank Street is seen in London

EU bank tests: the good, the bad and the ugly

23 October 2014

The best European lenders will pass Sunday’s exercise outright based on their Dec. 31 balance sheet. Potentially some big names will fail that test, but pass on capital raised since. As for banks still deemed outright failures today, their bosses cannot expect to keep their jobs.