Sep 16, 2014 16:48 UTC

Applying corporate finance to nations

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By Rob Cox

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

It is generally accepted on Wall Street that breaking up bloated and unwieldy companies is a good thing. Division makes them easier to manage, more accountable and allows them to deliver greater value to their many constituents. On the eve of Scotland’s historic vote on independence, it’s worth considering whether the same logic might also be applied to nations.

COMMENT

I sure wish Texas would secede. South Carolina is irrelevant. They are a self limiting entity anyway, because of their inability to release themselves from their past prejudices and their religious fervor with regard to the justifications of immoral actions. In other words, they are old fashioned believers in birth right and the power of money. Basically royalists without the royalty. Anyway, South Carolina is unimportant because they make themselves that way through stupity, both on a political and economic level. They probably think differently on this than I, but then they are likely deeply in love with themselves too.

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Sep 16, 2014 14:02 UTC
Edward Hadas

Why buybacks should be banned

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By Edward Hadas

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

“Charlie and I favor repurchases when… its stock is selling at a material discount to the company’s intrinsic business value.” It takes courage to contradict Warren Buffett on matters related to investing, but the Berkshire Hathaway boss is leading investors up the wrong path with share buybacks.

Sep 16, 2014 07:54 UTC

Hedge-fund-free – the latest Californian fad?

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By Richard Beales

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

Call it the Sacramento Model. In contrast to the famed Yale Model for endowments, Calpers, the $300 billion Californian pension manager, is exiting its $4 billion of hedge fund investments. For retirement funds, Calpers’ hedge-fund free regime could be more than the latest fad from the Golden State.

Sep 15, 2014 07:42 UTC

China data divides real and economic worlds

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By John Foley 

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

China’s economic data, even when as miserable as the numbers released on Sept. 13, makes little difference to ordinary people. That may explain an apparent lack of urgency from China’s central planners to respond to what looks like a dramatic slowdown. Yet it is naïve to think that the real and economic worlds can stay separate.

Sep 12, 2014 11:13 UTC
Hugo Dixon

Calculator: Does Scoxit = Brexit?

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By Hugo Dixon

Hugo Dixon is Editor-at-Large, Reuters News. The opinions expressed are his own.

If Scotland votes for independence, there is a two-in-three chance that the remaining United Kingdom will quit the European Union, according to a new Breakingviews calculator. By contrast, there would be only a one-in-five probability of a “Brexit” (Britain leaving the EU) by the end of the decade if the Scots vote to stay in the UK on Sept. 18.

Sep 12, 2014 07:10 UTC

Best defence against short-sellers is to buy stock

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By Peter Thal Larsen 

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

Short-sellers of Chinese companies are back, and shadier than ever. In the past few weeks, two anonymous groups have trained their critical sights on Tianhe Chemicals, a Hong Kong-listed group, and Nasdaq-listed 21Vianet. Executives have tried to dispel doubts about their financial statements while railing against mysterious critics. But they haven’t yet tried the most effective riposte to those betting on a lower stock price: buying more shares.

COMMENT

There were serious issues with Temasek. The government bailed them out. The short sellers were factually correct.

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Sep 11, 2014 13:53 UTC

Ecuador economic “miracle” meets maturity

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By Rob Cox

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

Turn on state television here, and within an hour or so a public service message will appear extolling the “Ecuadorean miracle” of President Rafael Correa. The advertisements highlight big new infrastructure projects and endorsements by experts, even an American or two.

Sep 11, 2014 07:59 UTC

Likonomics: the China buzzword that wasn’t

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By John Foley 

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

A year ago, then-new Chinese Premier Li Keqiang looked like a champion of market forces. Now he seems a bit like a passenger. Capitalistic reforms, and foreign investors, have moved down the pecking order.

COMMENT

Mr. Li is not all powerful and unreasoned expectations, which fail to recognize his limitations seem childish and petulant. These things take time.

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Sep 10, 2014 06:50 UTC

Rakuten’s $1bln U.S. buy stretches loyalty logic

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By Una Galani

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

Rakuten’s latest acquisition stretches loyalty logic. Buying U.S. cash back site Ebates for $1 billion will help Japan’s largest e-commerce group beef up abroad. It also underscores Rakuten’s determination to use loyalty schemes to distinguish itself from rivals like eBay and China’s Alibaba. Yet, as with Rakuten’s other recent chunky deals, it’s unclear how all the parts fit together.

Sep 9, 2014 15:58 UTC

Double-digit oil promises lubrication not seizure

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By Ian Campbell

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

Double-digit oil is a welcome sign, not a harbinger of deflationary doom. The decline of the price of a barrel of Brent crude to just below $100, down 13 percent from its June peak, is good disinflation. It will help consumer spending and global economic recovery.