Breakingviews

Hedge fund wobbles hand ammunition to fee fighters

September 1, 2015

Big names from Greenlight to Pershing to Third Point have taken a pounding from recent market turmoil. It’s just a month’s bad performance. But if high-priced managers can’t provide a hedge to regular investments, it lends extra weight to Calpers and others who are ditching them.

Migration crisis echoes age-old test of finance

September 1, 2015

The flow of desperate people to Europe has a financial-world parallel. For companies, high returns attract new entrants who threaten incumbents’ comfortable state. The options for EU leaders are similar too: shut out competition, or find new, better ways to create profit.

Focus Media relisting defies China’s market rout

September 1, 2015

The advertising group is trying to list again in Shenzhen after a previous attempt in June fell through. But despite the stock market slump, Focus Media’s $7.2 bln valuation is unchanged. Other U.S.-listed companies eyeing a return to the mainland may need to be more realistic.

Silicon Valley rule of thumb points right way

By Guest Contributor
August 31, 2015

In a land that fetishizes revenue growth over profitability, there’s a new sanity check for software firms to see if the two rates add up to at least 40 pct. A Breakingviews analysis suggests it can be a useful guideline. Investors should just be wary of extrapolating too much.

Hugo Dixon: Greek election may reopen can of worms

By Hugo Dixon
August 31, 2015

Given that no party is likely to emerge from next month’s vote with a majority, it may be hard to form a strong government that can implement the country’s new bailout deal. There’s even a risk that there will be yet more elections. That could tip Greece back into crisis.

Slowing growth exposes Chinese banks’ debt debris

August 31, 2015

Dodgy credits on the balance sheets of China’s four biggest lenders rose 28 pct in the first half of the year – much faster than the banks replenished provisions. Though overall bad debt levels remain low, continued deterioration threatens to reverse years of profit growth.

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.