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Friday, 27 March 2015

BREAKINGVIEWS

Wreckage of the Airbus A320 is seen at the site of the crash, near Seyne-les-Alpes, French Alps March 26, 2015.

Germanwings tragedy requires industry response

27 March 2015

The crash has drawn attention to less evident aspects of flight safety – possible risks posed by crew rather than passengers. That raises questions about procedures at parent Lufthansa and all airlines. But safety is an iterative process that innovates for unforeseen situations. 

Yemen's Foreign Minister Riad Yassin (L) looks on near Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal (R) before meeting ahead of the Arab League Summit in Sharm el-Sheikh, in the South Sinai governorate, south of Cairo, March 26, 2015.

Yemen fighting could lead to lower oil prices

27 March 2015

It’s easy to see danger in the Saudi-led bombing of the strategically located country. But it might end in a standoff in which neither Iran nor Saudi Arabia dominate the Middle East. That could lead to an uneasy truce, much higher Iranian production, and cheaper crude.

China banks eye preference shares

China's banks turn lens on unhappy economy

27 March 2015

Lenders’ annual results give a chance to see what’s happening in corners of the country other data doesn’t show. The numbers reveal companies hit by falling commodity prices, small businesses struggling and consumers losing confidence. Banks may soon be called to the rescue.

The word 'password' is pictured on a computer screen in this picture illustration taken in Berlin.

Hacked JPMorgan can leapfrog peers on cyber danger

26 March 2015

Big U.S. lenders scarcely mentioned the risk in their annual meeting documents in 2014. Since then, though, Jamie Dimon’s firm was hacked and cybersecurity has surged up the agenda. Wells Fargo and Citi said more in this year’s proxies, but JPMorgan could set a new standard.

Financial investor Warren Buffett looks on during an announcement ceremony at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, January 28, 2015.

Buffett-3G juggernaut can keep on truckin'

26 March 2015

Kraft Heinz is the third time the Sage of Omaha and the trio behind AB InBev have joined forces, after swoops on the ketchup maker and Tim Hortons. The partners’ patience, financial firepower and industry experience give them big advantages. Bigger deals may lie down the road.

Euro coins are seen in front of a displayed stock graph in this picture illustration taken in Zenica, March 13, 2015.

Bumper European share sales carry risk of excess

26 March 2015

Banks have hawked big slugs of EU stock in overnight placings, with 5 bln euros worth offered in three days. For now, underwriters have support from QE-powered strong markets, so they’ll risk losses for the sake of league table kudos. But complacency seems to be creeping in.

ZTE smartphones Grand Memo Lite (L) and Grand S are displayed during a news conference in Taipei October 12, 2013.

ZTE's turnaround not as impressive up close

26 March 2015

The Chinese telco equipment maker’s earnings almost doubled in 2014 – an improvement on the losses it was making three years ago. Yet revenue increased just 8 percent. ZTE is banking on smartphones and wearables to drive growth, but users don’t yet seem to be taking the bait.

A scientist works in a laboratory

Novo Nordisk can stay on Glaxo’s level

27 March 2015

The Danish drugmaker’s shares jumped 10 pct on hopes of drug approval. That puts its market cap in line with GlaxoSmithKline’s $114 bln. Both face similar pressures but Novo enjoys a much higher earnings multiple. Given its inventiveness and focus on diabetes, that is deserved.

India's boardroom diversity drive has weird result

27 March 2015

Companies have met demands they dilute male dominance by installing wives and stepmothers as directors. Some women now sit on as many seven boards. Indian corporate governance needs improving and gender diversity can boost financial returns. But mandating change isn’t the answer.

nomura abenomics

Nomura's lonely mortgage stand could yet deliver

26 March 2015

JPMorgan and 15 other banks paid Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac $18 bln to settle home-loan fraud charges, yet the Japanese lender is fighting back at trial. It’s a risky move that may prove shrewd after U.S. court rulings this week. It isn’t a requirement to roll over for Uncle Sam.

The famous euro sign landmark is reflected in a puddle outside the former headquarters of the European Central Bank (ECB) in Frankfurt, late evening January 8, 2015.

Flat euro yield curve is unused windfall

26 March 2015

ECB polices have almost eliminated the extra yield that usually comes with longer-term debt. Euro zone member governments gain from cheaper financing. They could do more. Additional bond-financed investment would stimulate the economy cheaply. That probably won’t happen. 

Adidas

Adidas misses chance of radical fresh start

26 March 2015

The underperforming German company unveiled a new plan designed to push growth and profitability. The goals are ambitious, but the steps incremental. Adidas is shunning drastic measures such as selling its struggling brands. Investors have good reasons to remain unimpressed.

Raghuram Rajan, newly appointed governor of Reserve Bank of India (RBI), listens to a question during a news conference at the bank's headquarters in Mumbai September 4, 2013.

DoCoMo woes challenge India reform rhetoric

26 March 2015

The authorities won’t allow Tata to pay the Japanese telco $1.1 bln to exit a joint venture. The deal will now go to arbitration. It is another example of India’s struggle to attract foreign investment. The government would prefer someone else make the difficult decisions.

Videos

Columns

Rob Cox

Rob Cox: Pirelli flirts with joke version of hell

26 March 2015

That’s where the chefs are British, the lovers Swiss and the mechanics French. Pirelli risks becoming the corporate equivalent: the management Italian (as in the joke), its owner a Chinese state enterprise, and other partners Russian. Minority investors won’t find it funny.

Edward Hadas

Edward Hadas: Deutsche Bank's long round trip

25 March 2015

The German bank spent two decades expanding massively into the capital markets business. Along the way, it lost touch with its original mission of serving German businesses and their owners, without finding a viable new one. The crisis has spurred a return to traditional values.

Andy Mukherjee

India in depth: Fear of Fed gives way to rate cuts

25 March 2015

A revolt by investors during the 2013 taper scare forced authorities to sacrifice output to preserve financial stability. But the risk of the U.S. Federal Reserve playing spoiler is retreating. The quest for growth is back. The economy can afford more monetary stimulus.

Features

Quentin Webb

Review: The lucrative and controversial Blair Inc

20 March 2015

Tony Blair has made a small fortune after stepping down as UK prime minister, advising illiberal leaders from Kuwait to Kazakhstan. A timely new book details his awkward juggling of paid and non-profit work. Blair is an extreme example of a wider challenge to politics.