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.

Jan 22, 2015 22:29 UTC

RBC’s foray south a pricey bet that two’s a charm

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By Daniel Indiviglio

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

Royal Bank of Canada is placing a pricey bet that the second time’s a charm for a foray south of the border. The Canadian titan is forking over $5.4 billion for Beverly Hills-based City National little more than three years after it cut a painful retreat from U.S. retail banking. This time around, RBC boss David McKay, who took the reins last August, has targeted a growing franchise in a coveted part of the market. But he’s also paying through the nose for it.

Jan 21, 2015 20:05 UTC

SpaceX satellite dream is throwback to 1990s

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By Robert Cyran

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

Elon Musk’s satellite dream is a throwback to the 1990s. Google is investing in SpaceX, one of the overworked billionaire’s companies, which along with its commercial rocket launches is planning a broadband network of 4,000 satellites. The pioneering Teledesic tried something similar around two decades ago but ultimately failed. The question for SpaceX is whether the equation has yet changed enough.

Jan 21, 2015 14:50 UTC

Old M&A dogs try old tricks with new activist fund

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By Richard Beales

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

Can old dogs make money out of old tricks? That’s the question facing ex-JPMorgan M&A boss and finance chief Doug Braunstein and longtime deal lawyer Jim Woolery. The two have collected $250 million and a network of corporate chieftains to kick-start a fund that will invest in companies and persuade them to do deals that boost share value. The question is whether there’s room for permanently well-mannered activism in 2015.

Jan 20, 2015 19:58 UTC

Morgan Stanley rains on its own parade

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By Antony Currie

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

Morgan Stanley has rained on its own parade. The Wall Street firm was progressing nicely in the first nine months of 2014. But a dismal fourth quarter exposed cracks that boss James Gorman still needs to fix.

Jan 20, 2015 11:46 UTC

Climate feels right for certain deals in Davos

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By Jeffrey Goldfarb

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

Torrid trade winds are blowing through Switzerland’s crisp mountain air. Global business leaders and bankers convene this week for the World Economic Forum fresh off a $3.5 trillion year of mergers, the biggest tally of the post-financial crisis era. While the momentum creates an ideal climate for corporate dealmaking, it’s less clear the atmosphere is conducive to strike the more important political accords for which Davos has become renowned.