Breakingviews

China’s growth slower but no more believable

January 21, 2014

The 31 provinces are on course to report aggregate GDP well above the official national total. Blame it on regional jockeying. In any case, as China gets richer, GDP will become an unreliable gauge of wellbeing. Statistical shenanigans only boost the case for better measures.

Quitting China is all about knowing how to go

January 20, 2014

Foreign businesses used to be desperate to get into the People’s Republic. Google’s departure in 2010 was a shock. Now, as easy growth vanishes, leaving China is becoming less unusual. While some have kept a foot in the door, others are making a show of slamming it.

GM’s dividend hits right spot on multiple levels

January 15, 2014

At 30 pct of expected 2013 net income, it’s a punchy return to shareholder payouts. GM’s profit is rising, it has plenty of cash to handle its challenges and the timing implies shareholder returns rank ahead of executive pay. Mary Barra is set for a good first day as CEO.

Suntory lives up to motto with $16 bln Beam bid

January 13, 2014

The Japanese booze group’s slogan is “Yatte Minahare” or “Go For It.” In finance argot it means Suntory’s willing to pay about 20 times EBITDA for the distiller of Jim Beam, Maker’s Mark and other tipples. It’s a big price which won’t be lost in translation for Diageo or Pernod.

Hong Kong power IPO less generous than it looks

January 13, 2014

Li Ka-shing’s utility spinoff is luring shareholders with a dividend yield of more than 6 percent. Though the business itself is stable, its debts make earnings vulnerable to higher borrowing costs. Rising rates will also give investors a bigger choice of income-earning assets.

Difficult second coming pays off for Chinese IPOs

January 9, 2014

Exuberance is inevitable as China ends a year-long moratorium on new listings. Controls mean the market is rigged in favour of investors. But that’s OK. In the long run, China needs a functioning equity market to help efficient companies grow, and reduce its addiction to credit.

Predictions 2014: Reversals and Revivals

By Breakingviews Columnists
January 2, 2014

Breakingviews’ annual compendium of financial foresight sets the agenda for the next 12 months. From Wall Street to the Great Wall, who has most potential to surprise, where are markets heading, and which are the companies to watch? Plus, we predict the winner of soccer’s World Cup.

Who packs the biggest power to surprise in 2014?

By Breakingviews Columnists
December 31, 2013

Difficult jobs abound in the global economy, but so do low expectations. Getting it right could mint the legacies of downtrodden politicos like Dilma Rousseff and John Boehner. Equally, a few CEOs may defy the odds, such as the bosses at Deutsche or Microsoft. Herewith our list.

Casting Blofeld: Wall Street’s pitchfork mob needs new villain

December 26, 2013

Bernie Madoff is doing time and Goldman Sachs has executed a successful charm offensive. The case against Jamie Dimon has struggled to take hold. Steve Cohen, the hedge fund Wizard of Oz, is nursing legal wounds. The culture of greed in finance won’t disappoint for long, though.

Buzzword visionaries will rightsize the lexicon

December 24, 2013

Is a laser-like focus on jargon mission critical? Can only visionary C-suiters move the needle at the investor day or on the Davos panel? Some expressions are relentlessly taking share. Others, net-net, are past an inflection point. Breakingviews takes a deep dive.