Sprint’s antitrust pitch hedges against DoJ miss

October 25, 2011

The third-largest mobile operator has said it just wants to help the feds squelch AT&T's $39 billion takeover of T-Mobile USA. But its separate lawsuit suggests a lack of confidence in Uncle Sam's arguments.

Hot speech tech firm’s story is too complicated

October 26, 2011

Getting machines to understand speech is a technology hot spot. Nuance Communications is a powerhouse in the field. But Nuance's sky-high valuation multiple is a stretch.

EU bank recap too blunt an instrument for Spain

October 27, 2011

The point of Europe's recap exercise is to restore confidence in banks and allow them to once again start financing themselves in the wholesale market. Resolving the sovereign debt crisis would clearly help Spain, and by extension its banks. But it won't resolve doubts about possible future real-estate losses in Spain.

The Avon lady needs to look in the mirror

October 28, 2011

Andrea Jung may be a powerful figure in U.S. business, but as CEO of the $8 bln cosmetics company she has twice failed to turn it around. Never mind the federal probe into possible wrongdoing, Avon’s dismal performance is reason enough for Jung to give someone else a chance.

Barclays sets bar high and low for peers

October 31, 2011

Barclays' latest numbers add up to a curate's egg

MF Global’s failure vindicates Volcker Rule

October 31, 2011

Adding the complex proposal to sweeping financial regulation looked like overkill to some at the time. But the bankruptcy of the brokerage run by Jon Corzine suggests otherwise. MF Global reinforces the idea that prop trading belongs where its damage to the system can be limited.

Capitalism takes three big hits in one day

November 1, 2011

It may just be an unhappy coincidence. Still, there was a common theme to three pieces of bad news from different parts of the financial world on Tuesday. Monuments of financial folly are falling apart and the debris is hazardous.

Tough markets prompt Nomura soul-searching

November 1, 2011

After a $589 million quarterly loss, the Japanese group is shrinking its investment bank. It’s not alone. But unlike peers, Nomura was sub-scale to begin with. Without a sustained market recovery, it is hard to see how Nomura’s global ambitions can survive.

Uncle Sam has a $1 trln repatriation concern

November 2, 2011

That’s a rough estimate of how much U.S. companies have overseas invested in Treasuries. Lawmakers want the cash brought home at lower tax rates to foster employment, growth and government revenue. But dumping that debt on the market would inevitably have consequences of its own.

Debt triangles return to haunt Chinese firms

By Wei Gu
November 2, 2011

Despite robust sales and earnings, Chinese companies’ operating cash flow deteriorated sharply in the first half - suggesting many have increased credit to customers. If they can’t pay, a wave of ugly bad debt could hit companies and their lending banks.