Jan 31, 2012 20:12 UTC

Gingrich makes Goldman 4-letter word – to no avail

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By Daniel Indiviglio

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

The Florida Republican primary’s big winner tonight may be Wall Street’s most infamous bank. Front-runners Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney are trying to connect one another to the financial crisis. Gingrich paints his rival as an agent of the giant vampire squid, while Romney criticizes his opponent for being paid handsomely for advising Freddie Mac to inflate the housing bubble. But in a state still in pain from the bust, Romney’s line is winning.

Jan 27, 2012 20:45 UTC

U.S. private sector emerges from government shadow

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By Martin Hutchinson

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

The U.S. private sector is emerging from government’s shadow. Headline annualized GDP growth of 2.8 percent in Friday’s fourth-quarter data looks more anemic when inventory growth is netted out. But overall in 2011, as government has retreated private enterprise has regained strength.

Jan 26, 2012 16:08 UTC

Uninvited guest, Mr 99 Percent, crashes Davos

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By Rob Cox 

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

The most difficult guest to avoid bumping into at the World Economic Forum this year has no badge. He was not invited to the annual gathering in Davos, but he haunts the panels, hallway conversations and politicians’ speeches. He is Mr. 99 Percent, the specter of the unemployed and disenfranchised.

COMMENT

What, like blood flow, capitalism cannot stand is constriction. Put a rubber band around your finger and watch it fall off. Blood pressure is all important as any doctor can tell you. tourniquets are counter-indicated when the problem is dehydration. A transfusion, a massage; more like it.

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Jan 25, 2012 22:37 UTC

Fed doubles risk of being whipsawed by market

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By Martin Hutchinson

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

The U.S. Federal Reserve could be setting itself up for an uncomfortable surprise. It extended its commitment to keep interest rates near zero from about 18 months to three years on Wednesday. Job creation, the departure of Chairman Ben Bernanke or rising inflation could force a damaging reversal before then – or lead the Fed to drag its feet to avoid one.

Jan 20, 2012 18:46 UTC

Latest U.S. bank stock surge could prove fickle

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By Antony Currie

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

The latest bull run in U.S. bank stocks may prove fickle. The big six, including Goldman Sachs and Bank of America, have added $100 billion of market value since mid-December, a 23 percent jump, despite meager fourth-quarter earnings. Receding fears over Europe have helped better align bank valuations with balance sheet and income realities. But no further rally is warranted with more ugly surprises likely.

Jan 19, 2012 21:49 UTC

Alluring subprime debt can still poison investors

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By Agnes T. Crane

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

Subprime mortgage debt has got its mojo back. A growing number of investors reckon there’s life yet in the mortgage market’s toxic sludge from the crisis – and that now’s the time to buy. But buyers should tread carefully.

Jan 17, 2012 11:04 UTC

Stalling German motor is Europe’s other difficulty

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

There’s no downgrading Germany. Standard and Poor’s spared the country in its Friday attack on European sovereigns. No wonder – the German fiscal deficit came in at just 1 percent of GDP in 2011. But Germany is a big problem in another way. Its motor has just stalled again. The euro zone needs growth. Germany, its power plant, can’t even propel itself.

Jan 12, 2012 11:24 UTC

Predictions 2012: Upside down and inside out

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By Robert Cole

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

Planet finance has a propensity to turn itself upside down and inside out. It’s up to its old tricks again. A new collection of commentaries from Breakingviews sets the financial agenda for the next 12 months.

Jan 11, 2012 23:31 UTC

Double-dipping Twinkies tarnish bankruptcy process

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By Agnes T. Crane

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

Wednesday marked a day of mourning for American junk food aficionados – and not for the first time. Hostess Brands, maker of the cream-filled bright yellow Twinkie snack, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy just three years after emerging from the court’s protection. That’s not just a kick in the gullet for Ripplewood Holdings, the private equity owner that sank $40 million into the baker last year. The company’s failure leaves a greasy stain on the American bankruptcy process itself.

COMMENT

Chapter 11 is for creditors. It’s intended to be used when continuing the company will return more to existing creditors than an immediate liquidation (think 20 cents on the dollar instead of 5 cents on the dollar). It is not supposed to ensure the long-term viability of a company. It merely gives creditors a chance to come together a say, “after discounting the 20 cents/dollar forecasted return by the risk that the reorganized company will fail again, the expected return is still higher than the liquidation value of the company, so keep the company in business.”

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Jan 11, 2012 18:19 UTC

Ron Paul’s staying power threatens to alter debate

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By Daniel Indiviglio and Martin Hutchinson

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

Mitt Romney won the New Hampshire primary but Ron Paul’s showing could have as big an effect on the race. After finishing third in Iowa, the Texas Republican placed second in the Granite State, securing nearly one in four votes. That keeps him in the hunt to challenge Romney for now and could inspire him to make a third-party run later. Either way, the longer Paul sticks around, the more the national debate is likely to shift on important economic issues.

COMMENT

Romney CAN NOT BEAT OBAMA … and the gangster GOP machine keeps trying to ignore him … WHY ? Paul can get many independents = and democrats to vote for him … Romney CAN NOT ! … Fox news is lousey and won’t even show ron Paul in the running … yet they show the bottom bunch of the GOP loosers … ????

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