Rob Cox: Fragility bigger worry than volatility

By Rob Cox
October 21, 2014

Recent rollercoaster markets are a symptom of a more concerning malady. They reflect the shock accompanying recognition that widely accepted assumptions about everything from monetary policy to geopolitics, and even the state of global health, are dangerously flimsy.

Spreadsheet bungles alive and well in high finance

October 20, 2014

No less a practitioner than Goldman Sachs double-counted some of Tibco Software’s shares in calculating the company’s value in a sale worth $4.3 bln – oops, sorry, $4.2 bln. The mistake probably didn’t change much. What’s telling is that no one spotted a fairly obvious blunder.

More is less for Credit Suisse’s three co-heads

October 17, 2014

Two co-heads is so last decade. The Swiss bank is to have three execs running investment banking. That could lead to turf wars in tougher times. Still, devolving power to investment bankers might make it easier for a wealth manager to be the next CEO when Brady Dougan leaves.

Goldman pulls every lever to make machine run

October 16, 2014

Bankers and traders helped the firm increase profit 50 pct from a year ago. Investments like Tesla supplier Mobileye contributed, too. Socking away less for pay, though, provided the real fillip to 11.8 pct return on equity. In tough times especially, that’s how it should work.

Netflix stock horror follows familiar script

October 16, 2014

The film and TV streaming service lost $7 billion of market value after it signed up fewer new subscribers than expected. Even for one of the most-shorted and volatile stocks, a 25 percent decline is notable. And yet investors have seen this movie many times before.

Rampant market fear clarifies global divide

October 15, 2014

A slump in 10-year U.S. Treasury yields and the evaporation of this year’s stock gains augur poorly for the Fed’s bond-buying exit. Yet the domestic economy has been improving. Slowing growth elsewhere presents the bigger worry. America’s central bank can’t do much about that.

Real estate rescue may not help China’s developers

October 16, 2014

Homebuyers will still spend if prices and financing are attractive. But property companies are selling more for less, which beats down their margins. If a pick-up comes at the expense of profitability, things will continue to get worse for Chinese housebuilders.

Jamie Dimon returns to challenges old and new

October 14, 2014

JPMorgan’s boss is back after cancer treatment. But results missed estimates thanks to legal and other costs. The investment bank is punching below its weight. Cybersecurity is a growing worry. Even the timing of the bank’s earnings release was off. Dimon has his work cut out.

Markets finally side with economy on bad news

October 13, 2014

For the past five years, an addiction to easy money explained most stock market moves. That era may be ending. Investors seem to be paying more attention to the surprisingly harsh economic environment. With policymakers running out of options, the gloom could worsen.

Blackstone sale may kick off next deal trend

October 10, 2014

Spinning off its advisory arm marks an end to the buyout firm’s beginning. Merging it with ex-Morgan Stanley banker Paul Taubman’s shop potentially heralds the start of something else. The rise in global M&A could spawn a super-boutique or entice a big bank to buy an indie firm.