Feb 9, 2015 17:22 UTC

Today’s Wall Street can’t produce a John Whitehead

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By Antony Currie and Rob Cox

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

The storied career John Whitehead led over the past 70 years or so is virtually impossible to imagine on today’s Wall Street. The former Goldman Sachs boss, who died on Saturday at 92, was not just instrumental in developing the global investment banking model that largely still exists today. He also took on prominent positions in public service after he left.

COMMENT

Chairman Whitehead, was a great inspiration in my life, both personally and professionally. He was a World War II Hero, and he never stopped giving of his service to his Country and to his fellow citizens. He was instrumental in helping President Reagan tear down that Wall and integrating the Eastern Bloc back into the free world. He will be missed. May the Chairman of the Establishment Rest in Peace.

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Feb 6, 2015 20:54 UTC

DuPont drives wedge between shareholders and Peltz

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By Kevin Allison

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

DuPont has driven a wedge between shareholders and Nelson Peltz. Adding two turnaround veterans to the $70 billion chemical giant’s board may make stockholders think twice about voting in a rival slate from the billionaire activist’s Trian Fund Management. DuPont says Peltz nixed an offer to add one of his picks because he wanted the spot. He may just have been outplayed.

Feb 5, 2015 21:40 UTC

Rob Cox: When CEOs are worth more as former CEOs

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By Rob Cox

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

When it comes to creating value for shareholders, one move a chief executive officer can make is to quit. Shareholders applauded two high-profile CEO departures at big public companies this week: Ally Financial and Petrobras, Brazil’s state-controlled energy giant. Ousters at McDonald’s recently and Microsoft in 2013 earned similarly positive reactions. Though each case is unique, the common thread seems to be relief after a leader becomes entrenched and inflexible.

Feb 5, 2015 20:20 UTC

Pfizer’s generics injection lifts mood for breakup

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By Robert Cyran

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

Pfizer has made more than its share of value-destroying acquisitions. The pharmaceutical giant’s $15 billion purchase of Hospira could reverse that history. The injectable-drug maker’s strength in non-branded medications should boost Pfizer’s own generics unit – and open the way for spinning it off.

Feb 3, 2015 16:47 UTC

Small print debases $41 bln U.S. spectrum sale

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By Robert Cyran

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

The U.S. government has made a windfall. Some $41 billion of bids in its latest radio spectrum sale added up to about twice as much as expected. But the small print is making the auction look flawed. By bidding through entities it doesn’t fully control, the $33 billion Dish Network seems to have secured a 25 percent price discount aimed at small businesses.

Feb 2, 2015 21:59 UTC

Shareholders give Exxon the benefit of the doubt

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By Kevin Allison

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

Exxon Mobil shareholders are giving the petroleum giant the benefit of the doubt. The oil major only beat fourth-quarter estimates thanks to tax and legal breaks. And it is keeping mum on spending plans, even as rivals cut back. Unlike rival Chevron, though, Exxon is still buying back stock, if less than before. Such relative resilience appeals to investors, but might not last.

Jan 29, 2015 19:36 UTC

Facebook investment largesse manageable – for now

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By Robert Cyran

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

Facebook’s investment largesse looks manageable – for now. Boss Mark Zuckerberg has splashed out so much on new projects that his company’s fourth-quarter operating margin fell by a third. But the social network’s top line grew 49 percent, thanks to more users and mobile income. That’s a reasonable dynamic, assuming Zuckerberg is picking the right ventures.

Jan 29, 2015 19:11 UTC

Say “ni hao” to Jack Ma’s Amazon-style volatility

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By Richard Beales

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

Jack Ma is a force of nature, and he pushes Alibaba in unexpected directions. Like counterpart Jeff Bezos at Amazon, Ma has built online retail dominance. But “predictable” isn’t a word to describe either company. The Chinese group’s stock tumbled more than 10 percent on Thursday following its latest financial results. That followed a 4.4 percent decline on Wednesday after a Chinese regulator targeted Alibaba. The two-day loss in market value tallies to nearly $40 billion.

Jan 26, 2015 14:46 UTC

Greek banks will have to live hand to mouth

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By George Hay

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

Greek banks have had a hell of a year. In January 2014, the sector’s shares were trading at almost double where they are now, buoyed by inflows of foreign capital. Holders of National Bank of Greece, Piraeus, Eurobank and Alpha Bank could anticipate a future of decreasing government stakes and healthy credit growth. Following the election of the anti-austerity party Syriza, everything is now on ice.

Jan 23, 2015 19:22 UTC

More Wall Street CEO cash is hint for shareholders

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By Antony Currie

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

Shareholders might want to take a hint from this week’s news on compensation for Wall Street chief executives. JPMorgan is paying a portion of Jamie Dimon’s bonus in cash for the first time since 2011. And Goldman Sachs is boosting how much hard money Lloyd Blankfein gets. Meanwhile, bank stock gains are slowing.