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.

Feb 21, 2014 20:49 UTC

Spain’s BBVA keeps banking’s tech enemies close

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By Fiona Maharg-Bravo

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

Francisco Gonzalez, chairman of BBVA, recently said that banks needed to take on Amazon and Google or die. He aims to be one of the survivors. The 51 billion euro ($70 billion) Spanish bank has bought U.S.-based mobile banking technology startup Simple for $117 million. It may be a small deal, but it comes with potentially big implications for the industry.

Feb 21, 2014 12:49 UTC

Italy needs fewer bad banks – not a big new one

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By Neil Unmack

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

Italian banks need to shed their bad debts to start lending again. The classic solution – selling poor credits to a national “bad bank” – would require Italian taxpayers to cough up at a time when state debt is 133 percent of GDP. Matteo Renzi, the likely prime minister, should try something different.

Feb 13, 2014 06:36 UTC

Privatisations a bright spot for gloomy Aussie M&A

By Una Galani

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

Privatisation is a bright spot in what looks to be an otherwise dreary year for Australian dealmakers. The country is set for a flurry of activity as cash-constrained local governments prepare to flog existing infrastructure assets in order to fund new projects and create jobs.

Feb 11, 2014 06:41 UTC

Alibaba’s $1.6 bln map deal fuels online land grab

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By Robyn Mak and John Foley 

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

Alibaba’s purchase of AutoNavi is a land-grab, in two senses. The Chinese e-commerce group has offered a premium price to buy out the 72 percent of the U.S.-listed mapping company it doesn’t already own, valuing the whole thing at $1.6 billion. There’s a compelling competitive reason for Alibaba to get deeper into online maps, but what’s hard to locate is the financial rationale.

Feb 6, 2014 04:23 UTC

Twitter a victim of its own measure for success

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By Robert Cyran

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

Twitter may be a victim of its own measure for success. The social network is growing and mining lots of user dollars, but not enough to justify a whopping value of 30 times sales. The lofty figure rests on a rise in the company’s highly touted home brew of “timeline views.” That number’s falling, suggesting tweeters are losing interest.

Feb 5, 2014 06:15 UTC

IPO flops will come back to haunt Li Ka-shing

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

Li Ka-shing’s stock market flops will come back to haunt the tycoon when it matters most. His latest spinoff, utility HK Electric, has become the third listing in a row from the businessman’s energy-to-telecoms empire to fizzle. Though markets are soft, Li’s reputation for selling at the top may make it harder to get a premium valuation if he decides to press ahead with an initial public offering (IPO) for his prized health and beauty retail business, A.S. Watson.