Apr 30, 2013 13:31 UTC

New UBS is starting to work

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By Dominic Elliott

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

The new-look UBS  is starting to deliver. The first full quarter of the strategy announced on Oct. 29 has broadly answered the Swiss bank’s critics. UBS shone in trading and capital markets financing, returning to its traditional strength in equities. Investment bank stability helped wealth management business too.

Apr 29, 2013 19:00 UTC

Chrysler value spat may offer Fiat silver lining

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By Rob Cox

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

It took about a generation before Italian immigrants to the United States adopted the ways of their new home and shook off those of the old country. Italy’s premier industrial enterprise may do it in a matter of years. A spat over Fiat’s plans to fully acquire Chrysler, Detroit’s number three carmaker, could hasten the process.

Apr 26, 2013 12:53 UTC

BBVA is bank of choice for Spanish bulls

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By George Hay

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

BBVA  is the bank of choice for Spanish bulls. Sightings of that most Iberian of beasts are few and far between. But Spain’s second-largest lender looks best for anyone believing that the country’s economy is on the eve of a recovery. 

Apr 25, 2013 19:13 UTC

Exxon Mobil running hard just to stand still

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By Christopher Swann

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

Exxon Mobil is having to run hard just to stand still. The world’s biggest company is pumping only a trickle more oil than 12 years ago – and maintaining even that is getting more expensive. Only buybacks are making growth in earnings per share look decent.

Apr 25, 2013 04:42 UTC

Why Alibaba could be China’s next $100bln IPO

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by John Foley

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

Could Alibaba be China’s next $100 billion stock market listing? The Hangzhou-based e-commerce giant continues to be coy over when it will take the plunge. But sooner or later founder Jack Ma will need to offer some kind of exit for his backers, not to mention employees, and an initial public offering is the most likely solution. Now is a good time to start asking how the company should be valued.

Apr 22, 2013 21:01 UTC

Mafia and Cyprus may release IPO animal spirits

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By Robert Cyran

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

The mafia and Cyprus could trigger a full release of animal spirits. High debt didn’t deter buyers from this month’s Intelsat and SeaWorld initial public offerings. Now comes Qiwi, a Cyprus-domiciled, Russian payment system warning about the potential effects of organized crime, the island’s bailout, money laundering and a dual-class share structure. It puts investor appetite to the ultimate test.

Apr 22, 2013 15:41 UTC

ABB takes a shine to solar

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By Quentin Webb

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

ABB’s contrarian push into solar energy looks smart. The Swiss group is buying Nasdaq-listed Power-One for $1 billion in cash – a fully priced deal, given the solar industry’s current financial misery. But ABB insists Power-One occupies a sweet spot. That sounds plausible, and long term, the deal should add up.

Apr 19, 2013 18:21 UTC

Is Microsoft the quiet villain of global finance?

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By Richard Beales

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

Microsoft may be the quiet villain of global finance. Excel errors overstated pre-crisis structured finance ratings, dented JPMorgan’s risk management just as banks were on the mend, and tripped up influential fiscal policy ideas. The rest of the Office suite of “productivity” applications – the bulk of a division responsible for $24 billion in revenue in the last fiscal year – seems equally apt to court trouble.

Apr 16, 2013 02:08 UTC

Weaker yen won’t halt Japan Inc’s overseas spree

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By Peter Thal Larsen

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

A weaker yen won’t reverse Japan Inc’s overseas M&A drive. While a strong currency, low interest rates and a stagnant home market fuelled an international shopping spree in 2012, the promise of a domestic revival under new Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has caused buyers to temporarily put away their wallets. But even so-called Abenomics can’t cure Japan’s ageing and shrinking population.

Apr 9, 2013 22:21 UTC

J.C. Penney exposes inefficiency valuing CEOs

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By Richard Beales

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

The debacle at J.C. Penney exposes a glaring inefficiency in how the market values corporate chieftains. When the struggling U.S. retailer hired Apple whiz Ron Johnson in 2012, the company’s equity value spiked by more than $1 billion. On Monday evening, news of his departure added $350 million. The return of ex-Chief Executive Mike Ullman – the man Johnson replaced – swiftly erased some $700 million. Such big swings make no sense.

COMMENT

A lack of products, focus, and brand image are serious weaknesses for any company. A CEO has to be flexible and willing to use test marketing strategies. Johnson was neither. I would suggest that the European firm Migros look at at Penney as an acquisitions candidate.

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