Deutsche/UBS: there’s life in EU bond trading yet

July 29, 2014

The two banks and Credit Suisse outperformed Wall Street in second-quarter debt trading. That bucks a trend that has seen U.S. rivals take market share. Of the two, Deutsche Bank looks better placed to gain from any sustained bounce back in fixed income.

Argentine opportunity cost is reason to cut deal

July 29, 2014

Another default arguably might not make things immediately worse. But it would set back recent efforts to curry favor with international financiers. With maybe $300 bln needed to develop shale oil and gas alone, swallowing national pride and ponying up $15 bln look worth it.

China throws weight around on car parts costs

July 28, 2014

The whiff of a price probe into vehicle parts was enough to bring concessions from luxury groups Audi and Jaguar Land Rover. That will hit profits, but experience shows in China it is better to admit guilt early than risk bigger fines, or lose access to a critical market.

UK’s strong GDP has a soft centre

July 25, 2014

The headline - 0.8 percent second-quarter growth - sounds good. But construction shrank and industrial production was weak. Only services were strong. It sounds like a warning of future problems. Expectations of a UK interest rate rise may be delayed, leading the pound down.

Goldman’s new lead director better as chairman

July 25, 2014

The bank tapped Credit Suisse’s former client kingpin Adebayo Ogunlesi to be new lead director. Though he has never led a public company, he runs a private firm. His 30 years of investment banking experience also will come in handy. If only Goldman saw fit to call him chairman.

Qualcomm turns from predator to prey in China

July 25, 2014

Beijing has branded the US chipmaker a monopolist, even as its dominance, which rests on smartphone chips and 3G patents, may be sliding. If that weren’t enough, some Chinese customers aren’t paying their dues. As friction over US-China spying persists, things may only get worse.

China’s old meat is a corporate health warning

July 24, 2014

KFC’s parent and McDonald’s have been tainted by stale meat that slipped through a supplier’s controls. Monitoring a rapidly growing business is tough, and global brands face a high bar – just ask JPMorgan or Glaxo. Being foreign and successful is fast becoming a health risk.

Japan’s bond-hugging banks are pinning Abe down

July 22, 2014

Lenders’ $3 trln holdings of public debt are not falling fast enough. That could be problematic for the prime minister. Once monetary stimulus dries up, banks may rattle the financial system by turning panic sellers. Bank of Japan minutes show Shinzo Abe’s team knows the risks.

Tesco’s new chief should think the unthinkable

July 21, 2014

Hiring Unilever exec Dave Lewis to replace Phil Clarke as CEO shows necessary decisiveness. A profit alert highlights the urgency of the situation. The UK grocer needs radical reinvention. The structure could be simplified, and braver tactics in the UK price war may be required.

The perks and pitfalls of depending on Jack Ma

July 21, 2014

Alibaba’s founder, chairman and spiritual sultan will continue to exert near-total control of the Chinese e-commerce giant even after its massive IPO. For prospective shareholders, the question is whether Ma can be trusted to act in their interest. The answer is a qualified yes.