Breakingviews

Bankers get ammo but no ally in regulation tussle

May 22, 2015

Financiers unhappy with tougher regulation can cite new analysis from the BIS. The central banks’ own central bank says new standards will probably change how economies and markets work. But the BIS is firmly focussed on coping with the new paradigm, not returning to the old one.

Review: Modernizing Mexico, one feud at a time

May 22, 2015

Two Mexicos coexist, one an insular land of hard-to-kill monopolies in politics and business, the other more outward-looking, embracing modernity and even the United States. In “Amarres perros” pundit-politician Jorge Castañeda recalls a life of trying to change the balance.

HP’s China deal extracts harmony from awkwardness

May 22, 2015

Selling 51 pct of its Chinese networking unit for $2.3 bln to a state-owned company looks like a partial retreat from an unfriendly market. But the U.S. tech giant now has a powerful ally with deep ties to Beijing. Rivals from Cisco to Microsoft should consider similar matches.

Shake Shack unveils a cluckin’ $250 mln sandwich

May 22, 2015

The value of Danny Meyer’s upscale burger chain shot up 8.5 pct, seemingly on news that it may start outlets serving up chicken-based fare. Investors seeking signs of exuberance in wearables might do better looking at edibles. Shake Shack is now worth 550 times earnings.

CVS-Omnicare portends lower doses of pharmacy M&A

May 21, 2015

The drugstore giant’s $10 bln purchase of the pharma services firm gives it entrance to nursing homes and expands specialty medicine distribution. But the increasingly concentrated industry is already raising antitrust concerns. The era of frantic mergers may be nearing an end.

Renzi is still dodging big Italian pension fight

May 21, 2015

The prime minister has found a clever way to blunt a constitutional court ruling on pensions that threatened to blow a hole in Italy’s budget. That avoids a conflict with Brussels. But he hasn’t bitten the bullet on the bigger pension issue: bloated spending that stifles growth.

Mystery sell-offs test Hong Kong at crucial point

May 21, 2015

Regulators are probing Hanergy, whose $40 bln value halved in a morning. Two once-hot stocks backed by Goldin Group have also plunged. Hong Kong wants to act as a gateway to China for global investors. So maintaining a transparent, orderly market is more important than ever.

Edward Hadas: The uses and abuses of GDP

By Edward Hadas
May 20, 2015

The standard measure of output is a useful indicator of short-term trends. It can also help compare levels of development. In poor countries, faster GDP growth is a good policy goal. But in richer countries, GDP-think misses important economic changes and challenges.

Altice’s $9 bln U.S. foray shows controlled ambition

May 20, 2015

Patrick Drahi’s telecoms group is paying 10.1 times EBITDA to enter the U.S. cable market. But cost-cutting should reduce the multiple, and it could be a springboard for further consolidation. It’s a more conservative step than another mooted deal: a tilt at Time Warner Cable.

Asia’s consumption slump is newest growth hurdle

May 20, 2015

The battle against weak foreign demand is already into its fourth year. Now domestic consumers, too, are going on strike. The fear that Asia may be unable or unwilling to spend its cheap-oil bonanza is coming true. Without bold monetary easing, economic growth might tank.