Sep 17, 2013 08:08 UTC

China’s online land grab risks value mudslide

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By John Foley

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

China’s internet dealmakers are on a defensive offensive. Tencent’s $448 million purchase of a stake in search engine Sogou from its owner, U.S.-listed Sohu, is the latest attempt to stop competitors snapping up a bite-sized competitor. When cash is abundant and investors forgiving, that kind of land grab can turn into a value mudslide.

Sep 16, 2013 03:24 UTC

Summers smart enough to avoid Fed chair battle

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By Daniel Indiviglio

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

Larry Summers is smart enough to have decided to avoid a battle over the chairmanship of the Federal Reserve. Despite the support of embattled U.S. President Barack Obama, the former Treasury chief faced opposition from both liberal Democrats and plenty of his dismal scientist peers. Summers says it’s better for the economic recovery not to have the fight. That may be true – unless his exit from the race opens new fissures.

Sep 12, 2013 05:16 UTC
Breakingviews Columnists

Lower-cost iPhone won’t fill Apple’s China hole

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By Ethan Bilby 

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

When Apple launched its new iPhone 5C, the joke was that the C stood for “Cheap” and “China”. It’s true that the latest model is less expensive and will work on China Mobile’s upgraded network. But at more than $700, it’s still too expensive to appeal to the masses. Apple will need to do more to reverse its status as an also-ran in the world’s largest smartphone market.

Sep 11, 2013 13:28 UTC

Big Oil’s growth addiction is counterproductive

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By Kevin Allison

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

Big Oil has a growth addiction. The industry pours billions of dollars into projects with marginal returns to keep production rising. But the oil majors’ huge size means even huge new fields barely move the needle. Petroleum bosses would do better to follow Royal Dutch Shell, and ditch output targets. The best option may be to plan for shrinkage.

Sep 11, 2013 02:13 UTC

Apple gives finger to the skeptics

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By Robert Cyran

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

Apple has given the finger to the skeptics. That’s not obvious from the stock price, which slid 2.2 percent – knocking some $10 billion off the company’s market capitalization – after Chief Executive Tim Cook and his colleagues unveiled two new iPhone models on Tuesday. But with this round of upgrades, Apple may have just started a mobile payments revolution.

Sep 10, 2013 07:55 UTC

Suntory pays up to quench thirst for Japan escape

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By Una Galani

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

Suntory is paying up to quench its thirst for overseas growth. The newly-listed Japanese firm wants to double its sales by 2020, partly through foreign acquisitions. To help achieve that goal, it’s paying GlaxoSmithKline 1.4 billion pounds ($2.1 billion) in cash for British brands Lucozade and Ribena. That’s a big premium to reduce its exposure to a tough domestic market.

Sep 9, 2013 07:54 UTC

Japan index: Wages and consumption stymie recovery

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By Andy Mukherjee

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

Firmer prices, stronger bank lending and higher manufacturing output helped the Breakingviews Abenomics Index reverse half the previous month’s decline in July. But unless wages and spending rise, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will struggle to win his war against deflation.

Sep 4, 2013 11:57 UTC

Commodity decoupling hints at return to old normal

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By Kevin Allison

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

Commodity markets are rediscovering a semblance of normality. After a sustained period of tight correlation, the prices of raw materials have diverged from equities. Different commodities are charting different paths too. If the trends hold, it suggests that familiar forces of supply and demand are regaining the upper hand after years of crisis-driven trading.

Sep 4, 2013 04:22 UTC

China’s bad debt could leave $500 bln equity hole

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By John Foley

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

China’s bad debts could blow a $500 billion hole in bank balance sheets. That’s roughly how much extra equity the eleven biggest lenders might need if 10 percent of their loans went sour, according to a Breakingviews calculator. Though the chairman of ICBC, China’s biggest lender, thinks dismal bank valuations are “unfair”, the malaise is well deserved.

Sep 3, 2013 21:03 UTC

Verizon puts AT&T’s acquisition willpower to test

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By Robert Cyran

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

Verizon just put AT&T’s acquisition willpower to the test. Growth in the U.S. mobile market is slowing, and as AT&T learned the hard way, competition concerns preclude any transformative domestic deals.