Asia’s fear of Fed is now infecting more economies

November 21, 2013

The fragilities revealed by last summer’s market wobble are spreading beyond India and Indonesia. Growth has stalled in Thailand. Malaysian public finances look shaky. Debt is piling up everywhere. Asian assets will feel a jolt as the Fed starts to turn off the tap of dollars.

Equity optimists may fast create a crowded trade

November 20, 2013

Many large fund managers expect developed stock markets to rise next year. They reckon that companies will ramp up capital expenditure while fiscal policies become less restrictive. The reasoning may be sound. The risk is that there’s too much money chasing the same idea.

Aussie dairy battle needs cheap debt to stack up

November 19, 2013

Three bids in as many days have lifted the price tag for Australian dairy Warrnambool above A$500 million. Local cost savings and projections of China’s thirst for foreign milk help justify the frenzy. But the investment case also depends on low borrowing costs.

The ‘Abe put’ will keep Japanese equities buoyed

November 18, 2013

Foreign investors have shown most early enthusiasm for the prime minister’s economic programme. But pension reforms and tax breaks for individuals promise more cash inflows. If momentum stalls, the central bank could step in. It all points to a continued boost for Japanese stocks.

Snapchat bid triples Facebook’s desperation

November 14, 2013

Mark Zuckerberg's social network shelled out $1 bln for no-revenue Instagram last year. Now it's dangling $3 bln to a mobile application that sends self-destructing digital images. Facebook's escalating need to buy off marauders at its moat suggests its defenses are scalable.

Four ways to tell China is serious about markets

November 13, 2013

The ruling party says market forces are to take a “decisive” role in the economy. Will it happen? A domestic bond default, shrinking currency reserves, the foreign takeover of a failing state-owned company and more volatile commodity prices would all be promising signs.

Suntech casts shadow over China capital raisings

November 8, 2013

The stricken solar panel maker is fighting bondholders who want to see it liquidated. Despite a vague offer of local government cash, its $270 mln enterprise value looks deluded. For investors piling into Chinese companies, it’s a lesson in what happens when things go wrong.

U.S. investors’ love of tech defeats fear of China

November 6, 2013

Shareholders are snapping up Chinese technology stocks listing in the United States. It’s a contrast with recent years, when accounting and governance scandals led many to shun mainland shares. Though red flags remain, the lure of rapid revenue growth is trumping caution.

BMW profit miss just a bump on safe road

November 5, 2013

Shares of the German carmaker dropped 4 percent after its quarterly earnings disappointed. Investors should be more relaxed. BMW’s profit is dented by heavy investments in new cars and technologies. And the company’s future prospects still look better than its competitors’.

Twitter may grow fat and happy on low-patent diet

November 1, 2013

The soon-to-IPO social network has an incredibly slim IP portfolio. Its nine patents may leave Twitter vulnerable to lawsuits and light on proven assets. But a policy of allowing engineers control over their inventions speeds innovation, lures top talent and cuts legal costs.