Jan 5, 2015 17:12 UTC

A double-speak guide to modern markets

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By John Foley and Rob Cox

The authors are Reuters Breakingviews columnists. The opinions expressed are their own. 

As the market perpetually shifts, so do the rhetorical stylings its players use to talk their way out of problems. The past year saw above-average creativity when it came to saying one thing and meaning another. Here, Breakingviews offers up 10 euphemisms we’d most like to see disappear.

Jan 2, 2015 11:42 UTC
Edward Hadas

Review: Two centuries of trust, frauds and finance

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By Edward Hadas

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

Financial fraud can be fascinating. There is something compelling about the way confidence men, from Thomas Cochrane to Bernard Madoff, take advantage of both the human willingness to believe and the weakness of greed. Madoff’s scam was exposed as markets crashed in 2007. For Cochrane, who made a fortune on a false rumour of Napoleon’s death in April 1814 in London, Ian Klaus’ new book – “Forging Capitalism: Rogues, Swindlers, Frauds and the Rise of Modern Finance” – provides not only the facts but the economic context of that early example of market manipulation.

Dec 31, 2014 14:08 UTC

IBM turnaround requires atypical activist fix

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By Robert Cyran

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

IBM requires an atypical activist fix. Big Blue’s strategy of cost cuts and debt-fueled buybacks is no longer working – even though the company keeps trying. A tarnished balance sheet, lean staffing and a history of disposals rule out typical activist wheezes. Encouraging Chair and Chief Executive Ginni Rometty to invest in IBM’s core businesses could pay off.

Dec 31, 2014 12:27 UTC

Banks will make asset managers pay for regulation

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By Dominic Elliott

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

Asset managers are about to find life more expensive. After years of mounting regulatory costs and low interest rates, investment banks are attempting to charge clients more. The trend looks likely to accelerate over the coming 12 months.

Dec 30, 2014 19:09 UTC

Shake Shack IPO disappoints in taste test

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By Jeffrey Goldfarb

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

Shake Shack is turning the basic burger into complex financial cuisine. The global fast-food chain started by celebrity restaurateur Danny Meyer filed to go public on Monday with some of the tortured trappings served up with new technology stocks. Two classes of shares and creative financial metrics are especially unappetizing. There’s at least a sweetish bottom line to wash it all down.

Dec 30, 2014 11:28 UTC

Tesco will have to fight for its independence

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By Robert Cole

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

Tesco will have to fight for its independence in 2015. The UK grocer’s equity value fell from 33 billion pounds ($51 billion) three years ago to 15 billion pounds in mid-December. The group will start the year by unveiling a new strategy and, probably, a new chairman. Neither provides solid protection against a bid.

Dec 24, 2014 18:24 UTC

JPMorgan soul-baring cuts room for error

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By Antony Currie

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

JPMorgan is following Goldman Sachs’ lead by baring some of its soul. The bank run by Jamie Dimon last week unveiled a 96-page publication entitled “How we do business: The report.” Like its rival’s business standards review almost four years ago, the volume is laden with PR-speak, along with some worrying admissions and much-needed improvements.

Dec 24, 2014 16:59 UTC

Mary Barra gets a second first year at GM’s wheel

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By Kevin Allison

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

Mary Barra will have a second chance to make a first impression at the wheel of General Motors in 2015. The carmaker’s ignition-switch fiasco crashed her first year as chief executive. The crisis may, though, have speeded up much-needed changes.

Dec 23, 2014 19:56 UTC

Bank cyberinsurance is overdue to come of age

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By Richard Beales

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

A high-profile hack at JPMorgan – to say nothing of monstrous breaches at Sony and Home Depot – has made cybersecurity a daily concern for executives at big banks and corporations. One partial protection is to take out insurance. It’s a confusing market, but growing fast. With a U.S. government campaign on top of all the publicity, coverage may become standard.

Dec 22, 2014 22:08 UTC

Acquirers can expect more M&A investor skeptics

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By Rob Cox

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

Success begets imitation, especially in Wall Street’s M&A factories. More than $3.2 trillion of deals were proposed around the world in 2014. More will be encouraged by the uproarious response given by investors to shares of acquiring companies. As the easy pickings evaporate, though, the laws of corporate finance will prevail. Buyers can expect greater skepticism.