Oct 2, 2014 07:30 UTC

BofA delivers good governance a kick in the teeth

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By Antony Currie

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

Bank of America has just delivered good governance a solid kick in the teeth. The mega-bank announced late Wednesday that its directors have voted to add the chairmanship to Brian Moynihan’s duties as chief executive. The move not only puts too much power in one person’s hands, it also reduces the position to little more than a perk to be granted or taken away, depending on performance.

Oct 1, 2014 13:38 UTC

Goldman’s new conflict rules raise bigger question

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By Jeffrey Goldfarb

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

Another day, another conflict of interest situation for Goldman Sachs. New internal rules at the securities firm impose fresh limits on bankers investing in specific stocks, bonds and hedge funds. Goldman knows too well how easy it is to cross a line when treading at its edge. The new policy raises a bigger question, though: Why are Wall Street dealmakers allowed to own individual securities at all?

Sep 30, 2014 16:47 UTC

PayPal forced to rev after eBay’s belated U-turn

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By Rob Cyran

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

PayPal is compelled to accelerate after eBay’s belated U-turn. The $70 billion online auction company has for years resisted setting free its payments business, most recently digging in its heels against Carl Icahn’s demands to do so. Apple and Alibaba have created more urgency than investors, or Breakingviews, could. EBay squandered a big early advantage, but a spun-off PayPal may have a chance to play catch-up.

Sep 30, 2014 13:08 UTC

UK retail fails to weather the patently obvious

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By Robert Cole

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

Talking about the weather is a British national pastime. It cannot have escaped the notice of anyone living on an island in Europe’s north west fringe that it has been unseasonably warm in the last few weeks.

Sep 29, 2014 13:09 UTC

Commodity bear market looks entrenched

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By Swaha Pattanaik

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

The commodities bear market looks entrenched. Strong supply-side responses, or successful economic stimulus by the European Central Bank, would be required to reverse price falls. Neither looks terribly likely.

Sep 26, 2014 18:09 UTC

Bill Gross and Janus Capital made for each other

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By Rob Cox

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

The old saw about past performance not necessarily being indicative of future results just found a new poster child: bond king Bill Gross sitting on his Janus Capital throne.

Sep 26, 2014 06:27 UTC

Apple CEO Tim Cook gets $25 billion warning shot

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By Rob Cox

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

Shareholders have given Apple boss Tim Cook about 25 billion reasons to worry. That’s how many dollars they have wiped off the company’s stock-market value in the past two days after a botched system update and reports its new iPhones can be bent. It’s a small hit for a $600-billion-odd company. But the 2012 Apple Maps fiasco is a reminder that one-off snafus can presage prolonged pain.

COMMENT

The main issue with Apple’s future, is that Steve Jobs was very, very very insistent on simplicity and usability.

Unfortunately, Marketing people (who are now in charge), are very much about glitz and glitter and features that you probably don’t need and that actually interfere with functionality.

Look for Apple’s iPhones and iPads to lose a lot of their simplicity and usability, buried in the ‘me too’ feature-following of the rest of the tech world.

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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 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 06:42 UTC

Starbucks avoids froth in $913 mln Japan buyout

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By Una Galani

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

Starbucks Corp. has served up a grande Japanese buyout without any froth. The U.S. coffee chain is buying the 60.5 percent of its listed local unit that it doesn’t already own for around $913 million – a discount to its market value. Expiring franchise license agreements give Starbucks Corp. a rare chance to take full control of its business in the world’s third-largest economy on the cheap – as long as minority shareholders don’t put up a fight.