Dec 31, 2013 15:19 UTC
Breakingviews Columnists

Who packs the biggest power to surprise in 2014?

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By Breakingviews columnists

The opinions expressed are the authors’ own.

Difficult jobs abound in the global economy, finance and business in the coming year. But so do incredibly low expectations. That means getting it right could mint legacies, and surprise investors in a good way.

Think of politicians like Brazil’s Dilma Rousseff, who is about to host the world’s biggest sporting event of the year, the soccer World Cup; or John Boehner, the speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, an institution with one of the worst public approval ratings in history. Equally, there are a few chief executives who could defy the current consensus, such as the bosses at Deutsche Bank, Barclays or Microsoft. Herewith, Breakingviews columnists compile a list of those who might surprise us.

Dec 26, 2013 17:14 UTC

Casting Blofeld: Wall Street’s pitchfork mob needs new villain

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By Richard Beales

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

Wall Street critics need a new villain. Goldman Sachs has implemented a successful charm offensive since lawmakers hauled Chief Executive Lloyd Blankfein up to Capitol Hill and regulators extracted a $550 million settlement from the bank a few years ago. The case against JPMorgan boss Jamie Dimon is struggling to take hold. Steve Cohen, the hedge fund Wizard of Oz, is nursing legal wounds. The culture of greed in finance won’t disappoint for long, though.

Dec 24, 2013 12:25 UTC

Buzzword visionaries will rightsize the lexicon

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By Quentin Webb

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

Do executive thought leaders need best-in-class jargon? Can only visionary C-suiters move the needle at the investor day or the Davos interactive panel? It appears embedded in the corporate DNA, but is a laser-like focus on buzzwords mission critical? Join Breakingviews, your end-to-end provider of financial commentary solutions, on a deep dive.

Dec 23, 2013 18:26 UTC

Beware old tech seeking fountain of youth

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By Robert Cyran

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

Beware of old tech seeking the fountain of youth. Hardware makers including Cisco, IBM and Hewlett-Packard – with a combined two centuries of life among them – are increasingly falling prey to natural selection in Silicon Valley. They’re devouring smaller, newer firms to keep pace, but weaknesses are getting harder to hide. That could lead to bigger, desperate deals for richly valued business software and big data companies.

COMMENT

I see the problem as those behemoths are trying to slow technology to match their speed. But no matter what, they can’t keep up. They often buy a smaller company not to exploit the technology, but to squash it. Also they think they are going to get he techies from that new purchase too. But that often fails to work as they leave for other smaller companies, not wanting the bureaucracy of the large corps that really want them to do …. nothing. Big corporations can not innovate. They must buy it. They are simple “Me Too” organizations. Apple is making it because it is almost entirely selling to the public at large. The other behemoths mentioned are trying to sell to businesses that are plain just not buying.

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Dec 19, 2013 05:40 UTC

Li Ka-shing IPOs could be HSBC’s breakout moment

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By Una Galani

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

Li Ka-shing may have given HSBC a breakout moment in investment banking. The Hong Kong tycoon looks to have handed the bank two juicy mandates to run initial public offerings. That’s significant. HSBC has never quite managed to turn its formidable Asian banking relationships into deal fees. Things might finally be coming together.

Dec 18, 2013 22:15 UTC

Can General Electric keep the activists at bay?

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By Rob Cox

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opini0ns expressed are his own.

Can General Electric keep activist investors at bay? If the gates at Apple, Microsoft and Procter & Gamble can be rattled, complacency just isn’t an option for any company, even and maybe especially a $270 billion conglomerate. While GE’s broad strategy looks more coherent than ever, the Connecticut giant still has two potential vulnerabilities: its finance arm and its longtime leader Jeffrey Immelt.

Dec 13, 2013 10:44 UTC

HK inside-trade payout more deterrent than portent

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By Peter Thal Larsen

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

A group of nearly 300 Hong Kong investors are about to share an early $3 million Christmas present. That’s the amount former Morgan Stanley banker Du Jun has been told to pay the unwitting victims of his insider trading in 2007. White collar criminals should beware, but investors shouldn’t expect a rush of future payments.

Dec 10, 2013 20:34 UTC

Time Warner Cable could play a little Pac-Man

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By Jeffrey Goldfarb

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

Time Warner Cable could play a little Pac-Man. Being acquired by smaller rival Charter Communications, a plan that has been doing the rounds, would create a highly indebted cable giant with an enterprise value of over $100 billion.

Dec 4, 2013 08:15 UTC

Westfield shops for premium with $28 bln carve-up

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By Una Galani

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

Westfield is shopping for a premium with its A$30.3 billion ($28 billion) carve-up. Just three years after its last big reshuffle, the shopping mall giant is separating assets in Australia and New Zealand from outlets in the United States and Europe. The cleaner structure may allow Westfield to command a higher valuation.

Dec 2, 2013 19:54 UTC

Amazon’s drone promise is yet more jam tomorrow

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By Robert Cyran

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

Amazon is promising yet more jam tomorrow – this time from drone deliveries. Jeff Bezos, the online retailer’s chief executive, expects to be able to use unmanned aircraft to deliver small packages within a few years. It’s a striking vision, but it seems as overly optimistic as investors’ expectations of the company overall. Amazon’s market value has ballooned to $180 billion despite big profits always hovering in the future.