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from Breakingviews:

China tech rout sifts IPO haves from don’t-needs

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By John Foley 

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

Falling prices of internet stocks are a headache for companies yet to join the market. The sell off that began in the first week of March and broke on April 8 hit Chinese companies particularly hard. It may leave investors pickier about coming initial public offerings of tech companies from the People’s Republic. The haves will be sorted from the don’t-needs.

The recent drop may just be a short-term correction. Shares in Tencent, which operates mobile messaging app WeChat, more than doubled in value in the year to March. The 20 percent fall in the past month, and the greater drop before April 8 in shares of peers Baidu, Jiayuan and Dangdang probably reflects some profit-taking as well as a recognition that Chinese consumer spending is picking up less quickly than hoped. Even so, falling valuations will lead to tough questions for those still hoping to join the market.

Alibaba is least exposed to the market’s swings. The giant e-commerce group’s likely valuation of more than $100 billion and near dominance of online retail in China makes it less volatile than more speculative internet wannabes. More importantly, it can afford to price its shares attractively. The main reason for its mooted offering isn’t to raise cash but to force shareholder Yahoo to sell half of its stake.

from Breakingviews:

Zuckerberg grabs at alternate financial reality

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By Richard Beales

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

Mark Zuckerberg is liking a lot of deals. Right after spending $19 billion on WhatsApp, the Facebook founder is splashing out $2 billion – and possibly more – in cash and stock on a virtual reality newcomer, Oculus VR. It’s arguably a riskier punt than the messaging app. Both deals also suggest a buy, not build, approach.

from Breakingviews:

Chinese remedy offers little salve for Bill Ackman

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By John Foley

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

William Ackman is now tilting at pyramids in China. In the latest phase of the uppity investor’s year-long battle against Herbalife, he argued on Tuesday that the nutritional supplements and diet pill maker violated local laws that ban certain multilevel marketing strategies. The Pershing Square Capital founder raises some good questions. For all the effort, though, it’s hard to see how China will help confirm his ultra-bearish thesis.

from Breakingviews:

No algorithm makes Facebook-WhatsApp deal compute

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By Robert Cyran

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

No algorithm based on terrestrial mathematics can make Facebook’s WhatsApp deal compute. Mark Zuckerberg’s social network is committing to spend $19 billion for the 55-employee, 450 million-user, ad-free messaging service. Facebook says growth is the point, not making money. That’s the kind of magical thinking shareholders signed up for when they surrendered control to the founder.

from Breakingviews:

Twitter a victim of its own measure for success

By Robert Cyran

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

Twitter may be a victim of its own measure for success. The social network is growing and mining lots of user dollars, but not enough to justify a whopping value of 30 times sales. The lofty figure rests on a rise in the company’s highly touted home brew of "timeline views." That number's falling, suggesting tweeters are losing interest.

from Breakingviews:

Apple numbers show scale of China challenge

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By Ethan Bilby

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

Apple may be a dominant player in flogging smartphones in most of the world, but it’s still an also-ran in China. Disappointing global sales increase the pressure on the iPhone maker to gain ground in the People’s Republic. Though its deal with China Mobile should provide a boost, lower-cost rivals will limit its market share gains.

from Breakingviews:

Audit spat pokes hole in China’s financial edifice

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By John Foley

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

China’s legal grey areas have been a source of enormous wealth for investors. Now a U.S. judge is threatening to poke a hole in the entire edifice. The Chinese units of the world’s biggest four auditors face a six-month suspension from auditing U.S.-listed companies after the judge decided they wilfully refused to hand over documents on Chinese clients to U.S. regulators. It’s hard to fault his logic, but upholding the rules could bring a huge cost.

from Breakingviews:

Recovery will only increase inequality

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By Christopher Hughes and Edward Hadas

The authors are Reuters Breakingviews columnists. The opinions expressed are their own.

A normalising world will not be a harmonious world. The massive fiscal and monetary stimulus that is helping revive GDP growth in developed economies favours the privileged directly, and trickles down only slowly to the middle classes, the poor and the unemployed. That tension will worsen.

from Breakingviews:

Predictions 2014: Reversals and Revivals

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By Breakingviews columnists

The authors are Reuters Breakingviews columnists. The opinions expressed are their own.

Breakingviews’ annual compendium of financial foresight sets the agenda for the next 12 months. From Wall Street to the Great Wall, who has most potential to surprise, where are markets heading, and which are the companies to watch? Plus, we predict the winner of soccer’s World Cup.

from Breakingviews:

Merck woes show animal drugs are no panacea

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By Kevin Allison

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

Animal medicine, whether for livestock or pets, is a booming business. Pfizer's recent spin-off, Zoetis, trades at a fat valuation premium to traditional drug makers. But the recent controversy over Zilmax, Merck's feed additive, shows that an increasingly complicated global food chain carries its own investment risks.

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