Jul 16, 2014 19:02 UTC

BofA stuck in a low-profitability trap

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By Antony Currie

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

Bank of America is stuck in a low-profitability trap. Several businesses at the Charlotte, North Carolina-based bank actually put in a good showing for the second quarter. The trouble is, BofA as a whole is still struggling to churn out solid earnings – even after aggressive cost-cutting.

Jul 16, 2014 05:07 UTC

China’s “De-IOE” campaign takes a bite out of tech

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By Rob Cyran 

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

China’s “De-IOE” campaign is taking a bite out of some Silicon Valley stalwarts. For those unfamiliar with the term, it’s being used by tech executives to describe Beijing’s nudging of state enterprises to wean themselves off U.S. software and service firms, chiefly IBM, Oracle and EMC. The drive, which has been going on for at least a year, but accelerated after Washington indicted Chinese army officials, has dimmed the brightest star in Big Tech’s otherwise dull constellation.

Jul 15, 2014 17:14 UTC

Market has message for tobacco M&A trustbusters

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By Kevin Allison

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

American trustbusters deciding whether to approve Reynolds American’s $55 billion deal with Lorillard will want to heed the market’s message. The combined market cap of the No. 2 and No. 3 U.S. cigarette makers has jumped more than $10 billion since merger talk surfaced. Those gains can’t be justified by the cost savings on offer. Expectations of an increase in pricing power, through the creation of an effective tobacco duopoly, may best explain investors’ enthusiasm.

Jul 15, 2014 15:51 UTC

Has Yum outlived its usefulness to China?

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By Rob Cox

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

A year after the massacre of pro-democracy demonstrators in 1989, Tiananmen Square was a preternaturally quiet place. Unlike the heart of Beijing today, bicycles and pigeons outnumbered cars and people. The only exception to the calm was a bustling corner near the square: the Kentucky Fried Chicken outlet.

Jul 14, 2014 07:08 UTC

WH Group’s revived IPO shows one lesson learnt

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By Una Galani

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

WH Group’s revived initial public offering shows it has learnt at least one lesson. After an attempt to sell shares two months ago ended in disaster, the Chinese pork producer has returned, cheaper and with fewer banks working on the deal. But it’s not clear why it is rushing back to market at all.

Jul 13, 2014 23:14 UTC

German soccer glory was predictable – with luck

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By Robert Cole

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

Brazil’s World Cup was first-rate entertainment thanks to its many surprising results. For its part Breakingviews, also somewhat surprisingly, predicted that Germany would win the competition as long ago as last Christmas.

Jul 11, 2014 12:36 UTC

Why investors were taken in by Gowex

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By Fiona Maharg-Bravo

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

It’s easy to be wise with hindsight. Take the collapsed Spanish free wifi provider Gowex. The company raised several large red flags that domestic regulators and investors should have noticed. It took a foreign investor, specialist short-seller Gotham City Research, to uncover Gowex chief executive’s fraud.

Jul 10, 2014 11:09 UTC

“Seller beware” when profiting from market calm

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By Swaha Pattanaik

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

Seller beware. That is an unusual warning, but it applies right now to the options market. Sellers of protection against large price moves have been pocketing gains. But many will suffer losses if markets become less calm.

Jul 9, 2014 17:55 UTC

PetSmart activists barking up the right tree

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By Kevin Allison

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

PetSmart’s activist shareholders are barking up the right tree. Jana Partners and Longview Asset Management, which together own about a one-fifth stake, have commanded the U.S. purveyor of dog food and toys to roll over and sell itself. While there are other options to enhance shareholder returns, a deal with Petco, the smaller rival controlled by TPG and Leonard Green, could be the pick of the litter.

Jul 9, 2014 05:50 UTC

Close presidential race may slow Indonesia reforms

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By Andy Mukherjee

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

Indonesia’s tight presidential race could diminish the country’s chances of finding decisive leadership to execute urgent reforms.