Feb 28, 2014 18:28 UTC

Citi’s Mexico fraud besmirches industry further

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

Not for the first time, Citigroup has stepped into a mess – and by extension besmirched the financial industry. Not that Citi committed a crime, or colluded to set foreign exchange rates or Libor prices, say. Rather the bank is the victim of fraud in Mexico that could cost it much as $400 million. The problem is that the lender has been cheated out of the cash in one of the most basic businesses in banking. That should worry Citi’s rivals, too.

Feb 28, 2014 16:44 UTC

Dan Loeb bids against himself at Sotheby’s

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

Dan Loeb seems to be bidding against himself at Sotheby’s. The Third Point hedge fund activist surprised the auctioneer by nominating three directors to run against the incumbents, even after the firm offered him one uncontested board seat and even acted on some of his gripes.

Feb 28, 2014 16:15 UTC

Blackstone bets Versace can go up a few sizes

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By Quentin Webb

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

Blackstone is betting Versace can go up a few sizes. The U.S. private equity firm has bought 20 percent of the Italian fashion house at a 1 billion-euro valuation. This is a wager that Versace’s lightweight business can grow to fit its extra-large brand.

Feb 28, 2014 06:04 UTC

Macau casino stocks are priced for perfection

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By Ethan Bilby

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

Macau’s casino stocks are priced for perfection. A building boom will expand capacity in China’s gambling enclave. But to justify their valuations, gaming operators not only need to attract more punters but encourage them to spend more at the tables. Any slowdown or increased competition could test excited multiples.

Feb 27, 2014 19:28 UTC

PayPal has outgrown eBay’s warm embrace

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

PayPal has outgrown the warm embrace of its parent eBay. The online merchant’s ownership provided rich soil for the payments system to thrive. But PayPal is now mature enough to grow faster on its own. Activist Carl Icahn has a point when he says splitting eBay in two – as first suggested by Breakingviews in 2008 – would make investors some 15 percent richer.

Feb 27, 2014 15:19 UTC

Investors take note: low inflation isn’t deflation

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By Swaha Pattanaik

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

The theory says that bonds benefit and stocks suffer when there’s deflation. In the real world, disinflation has yet to turn into persistent price declines. Sluggish price rises are no bar to equities doing quite well, just so long as there is growth. It’s too early to write off stocks.

Feb 27, 2014 06:56 UTC

SoftBank’s Alibaba stake both blessing and burden

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By Una Galani

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

SoftBank’s investment in Alibaba must be one of the most successful of all time. Billionaire chief Masayoshi Son injected just $20 million into the Chinese e-commerce giant in 2000. Today, the 36.7 percent shareholding accounts for a large chunk of Japanese group’s market value. As Alibaba heads toward an initial public offering, however, Son’s investment blessing may become a burden.

Feb 26, 2014 21:58 UTC

Bursting U.S. gun bubble begins to take victims

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

Fear of gun legislation following the Sandy Hook School shooting drove U.S. demand for guns to absurd heights. It’s increasingly clear that laws won’t be tightened. Gunsmith Sturm Ruger is the first to admit the emotion that fired up the bottom line has run its course. The reckoning will be painful.

Feb 26, 2014 16:51 UTC

Rudloff’s retirement is bad timing for Barclays

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

Hans-Joerg Rudloff’s retirement at 73 comes at an unhelpful time for Barclays. The UK lender’s chairman of investment banking is stepping down after a distinguished career that spanned five decades – long enough for any banker. Rudloff’s achievements are myriad. A doyen of the eurobond market, which he helped create in the 1960s, 70s and 80s, Rudloff also saw the potential in Russia and central Europe in the 1990s, long before emerging markets became fashionable.

Feb 26, 2014 16:51 UTC

AB InBev deserves premium-strength rating

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By Robert Cole

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

AB InBev seems to pump as much cash as beer out of its business. It is the world’s biggest brewer, responsible for the Budweiser, Stella Artois and Corona brands, and even with a 2 percent annual decline in volume it poured 426 million hectolitres of grog in 2013. That’s enough to fill 17,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools.