Breakingviews

Pfizer’s pricey non-split may only defer problem

September 26, 2016

After years of study costing $600 mln, the drugmaker says it won't break itself up. Boss Ian Read always seemed keener on acquisitions. It's true the process helped close a conglomerate discount. But Pfizer's sprawl and tendency to overpay means the gap may soon reappear.

Dubai could create its own demographic dividend

September 26, 2016

The emirate has weathered low oil prices, but an unbalanced workforce means it is missing an economic opportunity. Only one in 23 active workers is a local, official data suggests. If Dubai can't turn citizens into workers, it might as well turn skilled workers into citizens

Asian cull makes Goldman Sachs look rattled

September 26, 2016

The Wall Street bank is laying off nearly a third of its Asian investment bankers. Lumpy deal flow, fierce competition and low fees are endemic in Asia, but Goldman's pullback suggests the scandal over Malaysia's 1MDB may have also dampened its appetite for risk.

Corbyn is global symbol not of rage but confusion

September 23, 2016

The UK Labour Party leader, facing re-election this weekend, has split the left in two. Divisive figures like Jeremy Corbyn and Donald Trump reflect a new difficulty in identifying heroes and villains. An old foe, globalisation, is in retreat, yet perceived inequality persists.

Hadas: Central banks play with monetary absurdity

September 23, 2016

Monetary authorities have taken recourse in increasingly empty promises. The Bank of Japan's Haruhiko Kuroda has taken this verbal drama to a new and ultimately dangerous level. Central banks could rely on deeds, not words, if their tools and targets were more realistic.

Vodafone tops up for a fight in India

September 23, 2016

Injecting $7 bln of cash will help the mobile giant's Indian unit compete in a mega spectrum auction and in a price war against new entrant Jio. It also suggests an IPO of the wholly owned business is off the table for now. India may become a big drag on its London-listed parent.

Latest Apple rumor may vanish as fast as a McLaren

September 22, 2016

The iPhone giant may have approached the British supercar firm. Apple, though, has made few acquisitions, even to help it pioneer smartphones. While McLaren is high-tech, it's hard to see it taking Apple's car ambitions far. Fancy can run free when a company has $230 bln of cash.

Coal rally may already be out of steam

September 22, 2016

The steel-making fuel is likely to give producers like BHP Billiton and Anglo American unexpected earnings boosts but there are few reasons to believe in a lasting rally. Weak Chinese metals demand and a potential revival in domestic supply could make gains fragile for investors.

China gets steelier about debt restructuring

September 22, 2016

Metals trader Sinosteel has agreed a $4 bln workout. The deal is a fudge, but spreads the pain more widely than expected. Meanwhile, a smaller miner has been allowed to fail. Both episodes suggest China is getting a bit tougher about debt problems in moribund sectors.

Fed “forward guidance” blows too much smoke

September 22, 2016

The U.S. central bank again declined to raise rates, leaving what hedgie Dan Loeb called the crack cocaine of loose monetary policy in place. The Fed counts talking to the market as one of its tools. But its story has changed so much that it might do better being less chatty.