Jan 8, 2015 15:50 UTC

StanChart equities closure is overdue but welcome

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By Peter Thal Larsen

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

For most investment banks, underwriting and broking equities is a poor business. Revenue rarely exceeds the costs of providing the service. Yet most institutions insist the business is essential. Standard Chartered just became a rare but welcome exception.

Jan 8, 2015 15:44 UTC

Dick’s buyout has financially sporting chance

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By Kevin Allison

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

Dick’s Sporting Goods may become the next private equity plaything. The $6 billion basketball-to-fishing vendor is mulling a leveraged buyout, according to a Reuters report on Wednesday. A relatively clean balance sheet means there’s an opportunity to make money. It would, however, require healthy growth assumptions for $6.1 billion Dick’s at a time when stiff online competition is challenging many retailers.

Jan 6, 2015 21:09 UTC

Coach tries LVMH model on for size with shoe buy

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By Stephanie Rogan

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

There can be no clearer admission that Coach has exhausted the growth opportunities of its core brand than the $574 million purchase of luxury shoe-maker Stuart Weitzman. Yet for shareholders, who have lopped off half of the company’s value since 2012, Coach’s acceptance of its limitations offers a sign of hope. Coach is betting it can use its know-how to expand other, smaller brands like LVMH and Kering have.

Jan 6, 2015 15:18 UTC
Guest Contributor

Guest view: Banks need to lead on cultural change

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By William Rhodes

William Rhodes, a former Citigroup executive, is president and chief executive of William R. Rhodes Global Advisors and author of “Banker to the World.”

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

Jan 6, 2015 12:52 UTC

Petrodollar drought is new risk for markets

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By Swaha Pattanaik

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

Low oil prices hurt energy producers. They may hurt financial markets too.

For years, energy windfalls were large enough to give major oil producing nations surplus cash. Exporters accumulated foreign exchange reserves and put money into funds which aimed at stabilising economies, paying pensions or just earning a return on investments. The total assets under management of these “petrodollar” investors increased by $2.5 trillion between 2009 and 2014, according to Citi analysts’ calculations.

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.