Carlos Slim buys Spanish real estate on the cheap

March 5, 2015

The Mexican tycoon bought a 25 pct stake in property firm Realia at a discount and is eyeing a takeover. He is also the biggest shareholder of builder FCC, which in turn owns major stakes in Realia and Cementos Portland. Slim effectively controls all three. Minorities beware.

Europe’s rebound poses new questions

March 4, 2015

Jobs, growth, morale: the Old Continent is perking up. Policymakers and investors need to adapt. The threat of deflation may recede. Central bank bond-buying may prove unnecessary. And established politicians could regain ground. Yet investors might still cling to bonds.

Rob Cox: Silicon Valley’s boom-boom room moment

By Rob Cox
March 3, 2015

These days the talk of the geek enclave isn’t the latest Mary Meeker report or mega-IPO but complex legal complaints alleging naughty behavior by leading venture capitalists. The lawsuits are the latest reminder that the tech industry’s moral exceptionalism is undeserved.

Tech drive strips old-school carmakers of clout

March 2, 2015

Apple is the latest to take an interest. From Tesla to Google, the shift to connected, self-driving vehicles may take a while, but it could shake up everything from systems to materials to car usage. The winners may be able to rev up returns far higher than current performance.

India’s infrastructure push could be envy of West

March 2, 2015

The government has pushed back its deficit reduction target in order to boost spending on roads, rail and power. New Delhi is now unmistakably pursuing a public investment-led growth strategy. It’s an opportunity that rich nations, which can borrow far more cheaply, are missing.

Rob Cox: Welcome to the new, global Tangentopoli

By Rob Cox
February 26, 2015

Corruption is causing trouble for elites from Sao Paulo to Virginia and Santiago to London. Inequality can be a tolerable byproduct of free-market capitalism, but not when the winners are profiting from a rigged system. As a new book argues, such gains encourage radicalism.

HSBC’s operating woes trump Swiss tax furore

February 23, 2015

CEO Stuart Gulliver’s offshore accounts bring new scrutiny of past fiscal fiddles. They also raise the bar for future good behaviour. The main concern for investors, though, is the bank’s lacklustre financial performance. Even a reduced 10 percent ROE target is some way off.

Time for Greece’s Alexis Tsipras to keep his nerve in debt battle

February 21, 2015

The new Greek PM has crossed a Rubicon in asking for an extension to the country’s hated bailout programme while abandoning many election promises. Tsipras should realise there is no turning back. But he can snatch victory from defeat if he embraces radical reforms with vigour.

Italian bad bank is worth the risk

February 13, 2015

Rome wants to set up an entity to hoover up Italian banks’ dud loans. As Italy has itself found before, these can be a waste of money for the taxpayer. But this time around, conservative valuations on the assets could help another goal – consolidation of Italy’s mutual banks.

Review: Art market’s old vices go global

February 13, 2015

Georgina Adam’s “Big Bucks” explores how contemporary art, buoyed by billionaires’ cash, has exploded as an asset class. The financial shenanigans are breathtaking but there were plenty in, say, the 1920s, another era of the super-rich. But today, the whole world is joining in.