Breakingviews

Review: Ben Bernanke and a global monetary plague

By Edward Chancellor
August 28, 2015

Ever since the collapse of Lehman Brothers, the Federal Reserve has engaged in financial experimentation that has delivered the weakest rebound on record while spreading deleterious effects around the globe that author Brendan Brown, in a forthcoming book, likens to a plague.

Freeport-McMoRan leaves Carl Icahn lots of targets

August 28, 2015

Big cuts in spending and staff sent the struggling miner’s stock soaring – just before the activist revealed an 8.5 pct stake. The pre-emptive strike won’t be enough to satisfy the feisty billionaire. High debt and low commodity prices suggest he has asset sales in his crosshairs.

Google EU antitrust spat riddled with holes

August 28, 2015

The search giant’s robust response to a European challenge over price comparison tools ratchets up a complex theoretical battle over what makes a monopoly. Yet the dispute misses a broader point: it’s hard to see how any likely outcome will make a massive difference to consumers.

With strong new backer, Olam gets what Noble needs

August 28, 2015

Mitsubishi is backing a Singapore-listed trader bashed by short-sellers, paying $1.1 bln at a big premium. Noble needs such a vote of confidence. But the Japanese group is actually endorsing Olam – a firm supported by Temasek that has been spared the worst of the commodity rout.

Coke’s sparkling H2O talk is a bit too fizzy

August 27, 2015

The soft-drinks giant has done more than many corporations to nurture water resources. Now CEO Muhtar Kent reckons he can hit Coke’s goal of replenishing every liter it uses five years early. But the company’s claim that it will be water neutral doesn’t yet pass the taste test.

Rob Cox: Double-duty CEOs are a worrisome trend

August 27, 2015

Fiat boss Sergio Marchionne may don another hat to run Ferrari. Like Jack Dorsey and Elon Musk, however, he’s only human. Investors in public companies, especially young or challenged ones, require full attention from a leader. That’s all but impossible when he’s running two.

Fake Goldman Sachs belies a real China strength

August 27, 2015

The U.S. investment bank joins a long list of counterfeits that includes Apple stores, police stations and British villages. They’re easy to mock, but also veil a broader readiness to bend rules in search of profit. Properly channelled, that ingenuity and pluck could be powerful.

Luxury faces tough quest for next big market

August 27, 2015

China’s slowdown and weaker currency have hit share prices of bauble-peddlers LVMH and Swatch. The hunt is on for luxury’s next hotspot. India and Brazil show promise, but a mix of scale, rising incomes and inequality is elusive. Better opportunities may be closer to home.

Stock rout will blow hole in China’s deal pipeline

August 27, 2015

The selloff has brought an abrupt end to a record-breaking run for share sales in the People’s Republic. This will hurt local brokers, which dominate onshore listings, more than foreign banks. A sharp slowdown in Chinese M&A, up 70 pct so far this year, also looks inevitable.

Monsanto leaves Syngenta facing awkward questions

August 26, 2015

The world’s largest seed maker has given up pursuit of its Swiss rival. The $46 bln deal required aggressive assumptions and carried risks. Syngenta’s management now needs to prove its reluctance to talk was worth it.