Mar 17, 2014 06:32 UTC

Weibo IPO sets bar low for Alibaba

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By John Foley 

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

Imagine the riskiest possible share offering. It would be a new, unprofitable company with rapid and uncertain growth in an emerging market. One whose customers are fickle, which lives under the constant threat of being snuffed out by regulators, and where external shareholders are dominated by insiders. The listing of Sina Weibo fits the bill. The Twitter-like microblog has also set a low bar for the upcoming market debut of e-commerce giant Alibaba.

Mar 14, 2014 07:02 UTC

Temasek buyout throws sovereign weight behind Olam

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By Peter Thal Larsen

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

Temasek is extending a protective arm around Olam. The Singapore state investor is leading a group which has offered to buy the 48 percent of the commodity trader it doesn’t already own at a valuation of $4.3 billion. The buyout should help to shield Olam from sceptical short-sellers – and remove any doubts over its creditworthiness.

Mar 12, 2014 05:31 UTC

Chinese remedy offers little salve for Bill Ackman

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By John Foley

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

William Ackman is now tilting at pyramids in China. In the latest phase of the uppity investor’s year-long battle against Herbalife, he argued on Tuesday that the nutritional supplements and diet pill maker violated local laws that ban certain multilevel marketing strategies. The Pershing Square Capital founder raises some good questions. For all the effort, though, it’s hard to see how China will help confirm his ultra-bearish thesis.

Mar 7, 2014 05:55 UTC

Japan pension debate goes beyond bonds and stocks

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By Andy Mukherjee

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

Japan’s pension reform debate is heating up. But it’s in danger of missing the wood for the trees.

Mar 4, 2014 07:19 UTC

Li Ka-shing dual listing plan more than cosmetic

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By Una Galani

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

Li Ka-shing’s dual listing plan may be more than just a vanity project. The tycoon wants to float his A.S. Watson unit in London or Singapore as well as Hong Kong. For most companies the attractions of multiple listings are skin deep. But if the retail group can claw its way into several benchmark indices, it could prove an exception.

Feb 28, 2014 06:04 UTC

Macau casino stocks are priced for perfection

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By Ethan Bilby

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

Macau’s casino stocks are priced for perfection. A building boom will expand capacity in China’s gambling enclave. But to justify their valuations, gaming operators not only need to attract more punters but encourage them to spend more at the tables. Any slowdown or increased competition could test excited multiples.

Feb 27, 2014 15:19 UTC

Investors take note: low inflation isn’t deflation

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By Swaha Pattanaik

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

The theory says that bonds benefit and stocks suffer when there’s deflation. In the real world, disinflation has yet to turn into persistent price declines. Sluggish price rises are no bar to equities doing quite well, just so long as there is growth. It’s too early to write off stocks.

Feb 26, 2014 16:51 UTC

AB InBev deserves premium-strength rating

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By Robert Cole

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

AB InBev seems to pump as much cash as beer out of its business. It is the world’s biggest brewer, responsible for the Budweiser, Stella Artois and Corona brands, and even with a 2 percent annual decline in volume it poured 426 million hectolitres of grog in 2013. That’s enough to fill 17,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools.

Feb 24, 2014 17:18 UTC

Facebook stock is not so different from bitcoin

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By Rob Cox

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

With its extraordinary $19 billion swoop on WhatsApp last week, Facebook proved its stock is not so different from the crypto-currency of the moment, bitcoin. They can both be used for certain, specific purposes. Neither is backed by a government. Both depend on vast networks of individuals. And their worth reflects demand, which is based on murky fundamentals. The trick: monetize them while they still have value.

COMMENT

I was thinking a similar set of thoughts yesterday. not the devaluation but the true value of a Facebook in terms of influence and comparing it to a retailer like Walmart. You see people go to Walmart every day and are influenced in buying what is stacked near the door and presented by the vendors on the shelves. All of this presentation is a method which has ben calculated to make you buy more. Think of a model where a Facebook is the new influencer in a virtual retailer sense. They sell advertising and influence people to purchase various things through their social network circles. How is this different from a Walmart model? Yes it is virtual. FB can even enter a new country quite easily and if it does not work out it can exit. Walmart typically has to acquire a competitor in the new country as they need to get in with immediate scale and have bricks and mortar right away to get the good locations. So with this in mind….at 10 years old could Facebook be the new Walmart as they will be everywhere, the largest and the most influential very soon? Maybe the high valuations they are putting on FB shares are justified if you look at the potential. Or maybe I have just been influenced.

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Feb 21, 2014 20:58 UTC

Modern financial arts get special exhibition

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By Jeffrey Goldfarb

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

Modern financial arts have been given a special exhibition. Washington’s estimable Corcoran Gallery, with its de Koonings and Twomblys, is being carved up like a common conglomerate. Los Angeles played host to a hostile museum takeover bid and Detroit’s restructuring features the paintings and sculptures of the city’s art institute. A blank spreadsheet is proving just as able to inspire as a canvas.