Oct 24, 2014 19:57 UTC

Duracell jolt highlights the value of focus at P&G

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By Kevin Allison

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

Procter & Gamble’s Duracell jolt highlights the value of focus at the sprawling $225 billion consumer products giant. Investors were energized by the detergent-to-diapers behemoth’s plan to offload its batteries arm. Spinning off copper tops won’t create much value on its own. But it’s a solid plank in boss A.G. Lafley’s campaign to shed underperforming brands and simplify an unwieldy business.

Oct 24, 2014 13:03 UTC

Amazon’s ambition outruns its cash flow

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By Robert Cyran

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

Amazon’s ambition is outrunning its cash flow. The online retailer’s 20 percent sales growth in its third quarter was slower than expected, and its $437 million loss was an ugly record. But it’s the firm’s voracious need for investment that is the bigger problem. Chief Executive Jeff Bezos’ vision may be limitless, but his company’s ability to finance it is not.

Oct 22, 2014 15:55 UTC

Amgen boss makes a prime breakup target

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By Robert Cyran

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

Amgen’s boss makes a prime breakup target for Dan Loeb. Former Morgan Stanley banker Robert Bradway has run the $109 billion biotech being eyed by the activist investor for the past two years. The idea of splitting such companies into a cash cow and a growth arm comes up often, but rarely happens. Amgen may be the exception.

Oct 21, 2014 13:43 UTC

FX business now shares equities’ harsh economics

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By Dominic Elliott

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

Currency trading is taking over from equities as the challenged business in investment banking. Resurgent volatility in foreign exchange markets during September and October is unlikely to offer more than a temporary respite for the business.

Oct 20, 2014 18:49 UTC

Adidas can’t afford to be sentimental about Reebok

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By Olaf Storbeck

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

Unwinding the ill-fated acquisition of Reebok could offer a much-needed new start for German sportswear maker Adidas.

Oct 20, 2014 13:07 UTC

Spreadsheet bungles alive and well in high finance

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By Richard Beales

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

There’s no rule about Excel’s infallibility. Yet obvious spreadsheet errors still occur, even in the citadels of high finance. No less a practitioner than Goldman Sachs double-counted some of Tibco’s shares in calculating the business software company’s value in a sale worth $4.3 billion – oops, make that $4.2 billion. Both the firm and its client must have been distracted.

Oct 16, 2014 18:41 UTC

Goldman pulls every lever to make machine run

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By Antony Currie

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

Goldman Sachs pulled every lever to ensure its machine ran properly over the summer. The bank earned $2.1 billion in the three months to September, blowing past Wall Street expectations. Its dealmakers and traders played their part, as did the firm’s own investments. The real fillip, however, to the bank’s annualized 11.8 percent return on equity came from socking away less for pay.

Oct 16, 2014 13:25 UTC

Netflix stock horror follows familiar script

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By Jeffrey Goldfarb

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

Netflix is sticking to the script. The film and TV streaming service lost $7 billion of market value in after-hours trading on Wednesday following news that it had signed up fewer new subscribers last quarter than originally forecast. Even for one of the most-shorted and volatile stocks, a 25 percent decline is notable. And yet investors have seen this movie before.

Oct 15, 2014 06:47 UTC

CICC loses a princeling, gains investment appeal

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By John Foley

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

To lose a princeling looks careless, but no worse. That should reassure backers of China International Capital Corp, the Chinese investment bank whose well-connected chief executive has just resigned.

Oct 13, 2014 14:13 UTC
Edward Hadas

Markets finally side with economy on bad news

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By Edward Hadas

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

Market historians could call the last five years the QE period. Quantitative easing, a polite term for money creation by central banks, has pushed free and ultra-cheap money into almost all financial markets, supporting or pushing up prices. The era is coming to a close. As investors overcome their monetary dependence, they have to look at the real economy. It’s not encouraging.