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Apr 25, 2011
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New NYSE synergies deliver both good and bad news

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

Deutsche Boerse and NYSE Euronext shouldn’t feel too proud of themselves for pulling $145 million more of cost cuts from their merger hat. The boost may allow the German exchange to sweeten its offer to help fend off a higher joint bid from Nasdaq OMX and IntercontinentalExchange. But it also suggests the NYSE and its partner grossly underestimated their aggressive rivals.

Apr 21, 2011
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Morgan Stanley deal redoubles pressure to improve

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

Chalk one up for Morgan Stanley boss James Gorman. Persuading Mitsubishi UFJ Group to convert $7.8 billion of preferred stock into common shares early will save his bank almost $800 million a year in dividend payments and lift its common equity. It’s a smart and opportunistic move to offload the expensive capital that saved the Wall Street firm’s hide in the 2008 meltdown.

Apr 13, 2011
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Crisis winner tag does little for JPMorgan value

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

JPMorgan came through the financial crisis as a winner. And the bank’s $5.6 billion first-quarter profit reinforces its position as a market leader with strong risk management. But the tag has not done much for the bank’s valuation. At less than 10 times expected 2011 earnings, JPMorgan trades at a lower multiple than its big U.S. bank brethren.

Apr 11, 2011
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NYSE backs itself into uncomfortable corner

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

By Antony Currie

NYSE Euronext’s board has backed itself into an uncomfortable corner by rejecting out of hand Nasdaq and ICE’s $11.3 billion bid. The Big Board’s directors may be emphasizing strategy over price in saying the agreed, lower-priced deal with Deutsche Boerse still makes more sense. But shareholders probably aren’t as blinkered.

Apr 7, 2011
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Jefferies could yet turn into a Goldman — or a DLJ

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

Jefferies keeps bucking the trend. As many of its larger Wall Street rivals pare operations, the relative minnow has been expanding. The question is whether the firm has the wherewithal to sustain the pace and become a Goldman Sachs in time, or if it will instead go the way of Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette.

Apr 5, 2011
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ICE gets better end of joint Nasdaq bid for NYSE

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

The stock market seems to think IntercontinentalExchange is getting the raw end of the NYSE Euronext deal. The derivatives exchange’s shares have fallen some 4 percent since its joint $11.3 billion bid with Nasdaq OMX was announced on Friday, while its partner’s have shot up almost 9 percent. But by most measures, ICE comes out on top.

Apr 5, 2011

Goldman wallops pay restraint with one-two punch

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

By Antony Currie

NEW YORK (Reuters Breakingviews) – The culture of entitlement is back at Goldman Sachs.

Apr 1, 2011
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With NYSE bid Nasdaq stretches to avoid obscurity

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

By Antony Currie

Nasdaq OMX boss Robert Greifeld faced a tough choice as rivals merged around him: compete, but put his shareholders and his balance sheet under strain; or forgo the chance and be forgotten on the sidelines. He has chosen the former — teaming up with IntercontinentalExchange (ICE) to make an $11.3 billion cash-and-stock counteroffer for NYSE Euronext that trumps Deutsche Boerse’s bid by 19 percent.

Mar 31, 2011
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Barclays’ HQ move talk puts regulators on the spot

It should come as no surprise that New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg welcomes the idea of Barclays moving its headquarters to Manhattan. It would be a prominent feather in his cap in the long-standing feud with London over who is the dominant global financial center. But U.S. regulators would be unlikely to match the mayor’s warm welcome.

Barclays executives are considering making the Big Apple their new home if UK capital charges end up going too high. If it weren’t for the financial crisis, such a move would be little more than a matter of lost tax revenue and national pride. But it would be the most glaring example yet of global regulatory arbitrage. It would also be ironic: U.S. banks have been complaining that new rules in last year’s Dodd-Frank Act give Europeans the upper hand. And JPMorgan Chief Executive Jamie Dimon said in a speech on Wednesday that he feared U.S. bank capital requirements could end up more onerous than elsewhere.

Mar 23, 2011
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Blocked BofA dividend at least shows fed using teeth

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

By Antony Currie
The Federal Reserve was right to block Bank of America’s plan to increase its dividend later this year. After all, the Charlotte-based bank remains deep in recovery mode. But nor is the regulator turning a deaf ear to BofA’s progress — it’s allowing the bank to submit a revised plan for an increased payout and other capital-related moves. It all makes it look as though the Fed is on top of keeping banks’ balance sheets healthy. But the U.S. central bank should still reveal more about its rationale.

    • 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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