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Feb 2, 2012
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Facebook IPO lays bare Wall Street’s laggards

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By Antony Currie

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Morgan Stanley can now officially lord Facebook over its Wall Street rivals. The potentially $100 billion social network’s initial public offering prospectus confirms that arch-rival Goldman Sachs lost the top spot in one of the most widely anticipated stock offerings in a generation. That’s a comedown after it botched an investment round for Facebook, but Goldman still remains on the roster of underwriters, along with JPMorgan, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Barclays and Allen & Co. The bigger embarrassment is for those who didn’t make the cut.

Feb 1, 2012
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NYSE/DB execs deserve spanking for merger failure

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By Antony Currie

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Duncan Niederauer and Reto Francioni deserve a bit of a spanking for their failure to mate. Sure, the chief executives of NYSE Euronext and Deutsche Boerse, respectively, had a good financial case for putting the two exchanges together. They even had a credible argument for why the resulting 90 percent share of Europe’s exchange-traded derivatives market wouldn’t constitute a monopoly. But none of that matters now. They spent a year pursuing a transatlantic tie-up that European regulators never favored, and have now officially nixed.

Jan 23, 2012
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Bank CEO pay suggests Wall Street may be waking up

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By Antony Currie

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Wall Street may be starting to get it – “it” being the post-crisis contempt over excessive bonuses for chief executives. In 2010, some banks unduly increased compensation for their bosses. The Goldman Sachs board, for one, doubled Chief Executive Lloyd Blankfein’s total pay even though the firm’s earnings, returns and stock price all fell. Based on the first few to release information about 2011, executive handouts are less out of whack.

Jan 20, 2012
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Latest U.S. bank stock surge could prove fickle

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By Antony Currie

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

The latest bull run in U.S. bank stocks may prove fickle. The big six, including Goldman Sachs and Bank of America, have added $100 billion of market value since mid-December, a 23 percent jump, despite meager fourth-quarter earnings. Receding fears over Europe have helped better align bank valuations with balance sheet and income realities. But no further rally is warranted with more ugly surprises likely.

Jan 18, 2012
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Goldman bankers rank ahead of shareholders again

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By Antony Currie
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Bankers at Goldman Sachs rank ahead of its shareholders again. The firm is paying less in 2011 for compensation and benefits than it did the previous year. But the chop falls short of the decline in most other metrics investors use to judge investment banks. Deeper compensation cuts would show some respect for its public shareholders while keeping Goldman from wearing a dubious league-table crown.

Jan 13, 2012
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JPMorgan deserves a little more investor love

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By Antony Currie

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

JPMorgan deserves a little more love from its shareholders. Granted, its fourth-quarter earnings weren’t great. But overall, JPMorgan is in a solid position. And yet its stock languishes at around three-quarters of book value. It’s time for investors to overcome their fear.

Dec 27, 2011
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Investors may find Citi’s the joke on them in 2012

By Antony Currie
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.


Investors may soon find that the joke’s on them about Citigroup. The bank has managed to step into every financial mess of the last few decades. In the boom, its business model lagged behind rivals in profitability before it lost tens of billions of dollars on mortgages in the bust, leading to a double government bailout. Any hint of financial distress anywhere seems to send the stock lower; it trades at just over 40 percent of book value. But 2012 may be the year when investors believe this time it’s different at Citi.

Nov 30, 2011
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Governments are now world’s financial engineers

By Antony Currie and Agnes T. Crane
The authors are Reuters Breakingviews columnists. The opinions expressed are their own.

The last financial crisis was supposed to have killed off financial engineering. It certainly seems to have for the most part turned excess leverage and overly complex borrowing structures into a pariah. But Western authorities have embraced them with gusto.

Nov 28, 2011
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Fed’s stress-test revamp brings good and bad news

By Antony Currie
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

There’s good and bad news in the U.S. Federal Reserve’s decision to expand the scope of its annual stress tests of the nation’s top banks. Given the deteriorating economic picture, submitting the 31 largest lenders to even more awful scenarios than in the previous two years makes sense. So does putting the European exposures of the top six banks under the microscope. But the Fed’s latest move will leave many on both sides of the Atlantic unhappy.

Nov 8, 2011
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Crisis anniversary marked with much dead wood

By Antony Currie
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

How long does it take to recover from a crisis? It has been five years to the day since the first signs of the great credit crunch hit. That’s when Meritage Mortgage became the first notable subprime mortgage lender to fail, presaging a far broader collapse that exacted a heavy toll on individuals, banks, investors and governments worldwide. While there are some signs of progress, the U.S. financial system still hasn’t fully recovered.

    • About Antony

      "Antony Currie has more than a decade of experience as a financial journalist, having worked with Euromoney since 1996, most recently as a U.S. editor. He has worked on assignments in the major financial centers of Europe and the U.S. and written stories on capital markets, global economies and the investment banking industry. He holds a bachelor's degree in German language and literature and a master's degree in politics and international relations from the University of Bristol."
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