Jan 15, 2014 17:29 UTC

GM’s dividend hits right spot on multiple levels

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By Antony Currie

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

General Motors is hitting the right spot on several levels with its return to paying a common stock dividend. The $1.7 billion annual payout looks punchy at some 30 percent of what analysts reckon the company’s net income will be for 2013. Ford Motor, after all, restarted its shareholder payouts at a more cautious 10 percent of profit just over two years ago and only last week took it up to around a third. But GM looks positioned to handle it.

Jan 14, 2014 17:02 UTC

Google raises temperature on “internet of things”

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

Google has turned up the temperature on the so-called “internet of things.” The search giant’s decision to pay $3.2 billion for Nest Labs, a maker of smart thermostats, signals a shift in Silicon Valley’s arc of disruption. Sending data to people on the go looks rather ho-hum next to a future where consumers communicate with, and control, their products remotely.

Jan 14, 2014 12:34 UTC
Edward Hadas

Shorter-hour memos won’t cure sick bank cultures

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By Edward Hadas

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

The big investment banks are sending out virtuous memos on working hours. Bank of America says junior employees need at least four weekend days off a month. Credit Suisse and Goldman Sachs are also worried about the bad effects of work weeks that often stretch to 100 hours. Such memos are better than nothing, but they cannot cure these institutions’ sick cultures.

Jan 13, 2014 22:57 UTC

Suntory lives up to motto with $16 bln Beam bid

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By Rob Cox

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

For a Japanese corporation, Suntory Holdings has an especially aggressive corporate slogan: “Yatte Minahare,” which roughly translates as “Go For It.” That sums up Suntory’s willingness to pay $16 billion, or a hefty 20 times EBITDA, for the U.S. distiller of Jim Beam, Maker’s Mark and other tipples. That number won’t be lost in translation for Diageo, Pernod Ricard or others who might also covet Beam.

Jan 13, 2014 06:25 UTC

Hong Kong power IPO less generous than it looks

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By Peter Thal Larsen

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

Li Ka-shing is betting that a generous dividend will lure investors into the spin-off of his Hong Kong power utility. The tycoon has lowered the price range for HK Electric to ensure buyers of the investment trust get a yield of more than 6 percent. But the possibility of market-wide higher interest rates makes that look less than electrifying.

Jan 9, 2014 21:12 UTC

Chris Christie grapples with his inner Jamie Dimon

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

Jamie Dimon’s tale of woe is proving an uncanny inspiration to the governor of the U.S. state of New Jersey. Chris Christie, who is also considered an early front-runner for the 2016 Republican presidential nominee, followed his own “tempest in a teapot” moment with a mea culpa on Thursday for his team’s behavior over a traffic scandal. Christie even has an Ina Drew to blame. Like Dimon, the Garden State’s chief executive needs to own up to a culture he engendered.

Jan 9, 2014 18:52 UTC

Bankers will get more joy from bonuses past

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By Antony Currie and Dominic Elliott
The authors are Reuters Breakingviews columnists. The opinions expressed are their own.

Investment bankers will have to look backward, not forward, for joy this bonus season. A mediocre fourth quarter means Wall Street and City practitioners are unlikely to improve on their total compensation from 2012. With industry-wide revenue growth expected to be tepid at best for the next couple of years, the trend could persist. Bank share price performance, though, should help make up some of the difference.

Jan 9, 2014 05:23 UTC

Difficult second coming pays off for Chinese IPOs

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By John Foley 

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

Free money, anyone? China’s equity markets have just reopened after a fourteen-month hiatus, starting with a batch of eight companies planning initial public offerings in the week ending Jan. 10. With so much pent-up demand, and rules in place to protect investors from losses, exuberance is inevitable. But better to have frothy IPOs than none at all.

Jan 7, 2014 18:44 UTC

Hard to find phoenix in ashes of Batista’s empire

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

 

It’s hard to find a phoenix in the ashes of Eike Batista’s empire. There are real assets buried under the tycoon’s collapsed EBX Group. Even so, the onetime flagship energy explorer will emerge with poor growth prospects. Investors have already priced in big things for the port and electricity arms. And too much depends on a resurgent Brazilian economy.

Jan 7, 2014 07:51 UTC

Samsung woes strengthen case for cash handout

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By Peter Thal Larsen

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

Samsung may just have strengthened the case for handing more of its cash to investors. The South Korean electronics giant’s fourth-quarter operating profit came in lower than expected after it paid employees a one-off bonus. Though a strengthening home currency and competition from arch-rival Apple remain a concern, Samsung can afford to show shareholders some generosity too.