Sep 26, 2014 06:25 UTC

Sam Waksal’s new biotech tests Wall Street amnesia

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By Robert Cyran

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

Sam Waksal’s new biotech tests Wall Street’s selective amnesia. The former ImClone boss who went to prison for an insider trading scandal that also ensnared Martha Stewart said on Wednesday that he plans to take his latest venture, Kadmon, public this year. He follows second-chancers like Donald Trump and Long-Term Capital Management founder John Meriwether. Investors can be astonishingly forgiving.

Sep 26, 2014 06:10 UTC

World should steel for peak China demand

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By John Foley

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

Markets should steel for peak China demand. Consumption of the metal in the People’s Republic fell for the first time this century in August, an industry official said on Sept. 25. If the decline proves anything more than temporary, it could throw global markets off kilter.

Sep 25, 2014 23:51 UTC

Wall Street needs sheriff more than toll collector

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By Reynolds Holding

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

Wall Street needs a sheriff more than a glorified toll collector. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder is stepping down after squeezing multibillion-dollar penalties from the likes of JPMorgan and Bank of America. He had less success securing convictions, though, making law enforcement just an expensive cost of doing business. Next financial crisis, Uncle Sam should send in a tougher cop.

Sep 25, 2014 05:38 UTC

Sinopec’s petrol station revamp is an uphill job

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By Ethan Bilby

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

Chinese oil giant Sinopec wants to sell more from its 23,000 pump-side stores. But as a new Breakingviews calculator shows, even a dramatic increase in non-fuel sales won’t do much to lift the $58 billion valuation that outside investors have put on the business.

Sep 25, 2014 00:57 UTC

Tesco chairman should step aside

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By Chris Hughes

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

Tesco’s chairman should step aside. Richard Broadbent will struggle to restore market confidence in the troubled UK supermarket group, and to convince investors the board is on top of matters. This week’s accounting scandal has compounded existing concerns about his period at the helm. The priority should be an orderly handover to the right successor as soon as possible.

Sep 24, 2014 22:06 UTC

Uncle Sam gets wires crossed on data privacy

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By Reynolds Holding

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

Uncle Sam has gotten his wires crossed on internet data privacy. A hacker went to prison for exposing private customer information that AT&T failed to protect from online access. Now U.S. prosecutors are defending their right to do essentially the same thing in the Silk Road drug-website case. Anti-hacking laws are tough to take seriously when even enforcers can’t decide what’s allowed.

Sep 23, 2014 18:02 UTC

Tax clampdown could deter half-baked pharma M&A

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By Neil Unmack and Robert Cyran

The authors are Reuters Breakingviews columnists. The opinions expressed are their own.

The U.S. clampdown on tax-driven cross-border M&A should deter half-baked pharma deals. Some U.S.-led transactions, like AbbVie’s recent agreement to buy UK-based Shire, may survive on strategic logic. But pure tax-avoiding combinations look tricky.

Sep 23, 2014 07:35 UTC

China rich list misses most valuable asset: status

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By John Foley 

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

What’s the most precious asset for China’s plutocrats? Not diamonds, or prime real estate, or even a stake in a richly valued internet company. The currency that really matters is status. That’s something rankings like the new Hurun Report of China’s richest individuals struggle to measure.

Sep 22, 2014 21:32 UTC

How Big Oil could grease invisible hand

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By Stephanie Rogan

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

The U.S. energy problem is very much due to a breakdown of the free market, contends the new documentary, “Pump.” Married co-directors Josh Tickell and Rebecca Harrell Tickell show how Big Oil’s monopoly on transportation fuels hurts Americans more than they realize. If drivers had options when filling up their tanks, both country and consumers would benefit.

Sep 22, 2014 06:57 UTC

Alibaba IPO highlights SoftBank’s value dilemma

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By Una Galani

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

Alibaba’s runaway initial public offering has turned the spotlight back onto SoftBank’s valuation dilemma. Following the Chinese e-commerce group’s successful New York listing, the Japanese conglomerate’s 32 percent stake eclipses the value of its other businesses. The 5 percent drop in SoftBank’s shares on the morning of Sept. 22 is a reminder the investment is both blessing and burden.