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from Breakingviews:

Gold’s geopolitical ledge won’t hold up

By Ian Campbell

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

The Ukrainian crisis and Middle Eastern conflict have provided a respite for the price of gold. After going over a cliff and dropping from heights of $1,700 an ounce during 2013, it has found a ledge at around $1,300. The ledge is eroding.

The 25 percent plunge was precipitated by investors fleeing exchange-traded funds. In 2013 they sold 880 tonnes of gold, equivalent to about one-third of the annual demand for use in jewellery. Holders of gold bars and coins dismissed the ETF crowd as lemmings without conviction, but the true believers themselves now look less confident. Their second-quarter purchases of 275 tonnes were 56 percent below the level of a year earlier. Total investment demand in the year to June was 893 tonnes - the least since 2007.

The reality is the ETF lemmings were prescient. The outlook for gold remains bad. Its appeal is hurt by a rising dollar, the imminent end to Federal Reserve money-printing and the eventual approach of higher U.S. interest rates. More investors are likely to leap.

from Breakingviews:

Tragedy may reshape Brazil economy, not just vote

By Martin Hutchinson and Richard Beales

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

Add Marina Silva to the challenges facing Dilma Rousseff. Brazil’s president faces a new opposition candidate in October’s election after Eduardo Campos’ death in a plane crash, and Silva looks a far bigger threat. If she ousts Rousseff, which polls show is possible, Brazil could gain economically from less state meddling.

from Breakingviews:

SoftBank’s U.S. mobile retreat is least bad option

By Peter Thal Larsen 

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

Masayoshi Son has been forced to scale back his mobile phone ambitions in the United States. The chief executive of Japan’s SoftBank has belatedly bowed to hostile regulators and abandoned plans for his Sprint unit’s $32 billion takeover of T-Mobile US. He has chosen the least bad option.

from Breakingviews:

Apple winds up earnings hope for new gadgets

By Rob Cyran

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

Apple is winding up investors’ earnings hopes for new gadgets. The $570 billion iPhone maker racked up another period of so-so growth in the quarter to June 28, but still with astonishing cash flow. The lower share count may fuel a stock run-up if Apple soon unveils another must-have device.

from Breakingviews:

The perks and pitfalls of depending on Jack Ma

By John Foley 

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

Buy a share in Alibaba and you place your trust in Jack Ma. The Chinese e-commerce giant’s founder, executive chairman and spiritual sultan will remain a controlling force even after the company completes its massive initial public offering later this year. The $100 billion-plus question for prospective shareholders is whether they can depend on him to always act in their best interests.

from Breakingviews:

China’s “De-IOE” campaign takes a bite out of tech

By Rob Cyran 

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

China’s “De-IOE” campaign is taking a bite out of some Silicon Valley stalwarts. For those unfamiliar with the term, it’s being used by tech executives to describe Beijing’s nudging of state enterprises to wean themselves off U.S. software and service firms, chiefly IBM, Oracle and EMC. The drive, which has been going on for at least a year, but accelerated after Washington indicted Chinese army officials, has dimmed the brightest star in Big Tech’s otherwise dull constellation.

from Breakingviews:

Chinese internet stocks deserve their discount

By Robyn Mak 

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

China’s internet stocks are red hot but investors would rather pay more for their U.S. counterparts. Shares of Chinese companies including gaming and social media giant Tencent and search engine Baidu trade at lower multiples than those of Facebook, Google and other American dotcoms when expected earnings growth is taken into account. The discount is deserved.

from Breakingviews:

Alibaba is case study in U.S.-China legal gulf

By Richard Beales

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

Alibaba’s coming U.S. initial public offering will probably value the Chinese e-commerce firm at more than $100 billion. But will shareholders actually own the business? That’s the timely concern raised by a U.S. congressional commission. Lack of clarity in PRC law is mainly to blame.

from Breakingviews:

Triple financial mystery remains unsolved

By Edward Hadas

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

The world of finance is ensnared in a triple mystery: falling bond yields, falling inflation and rising debt. The ignorance is dangerous.

from Breakingviews:

Hurrah for low volatility, a sign of saner markets

By Edward Hadas

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

Traders are moaning about the extraordinary calm which has beset financial markets. Everyone else should be happy at what looks like an inadvertent outbreak of common sense. If only it could last.

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