StanChart equities closure is overdue but welcome

January 8, 2015

The emerging markets bank has pulled the plug on its share trading and underwriting arm, cutting 200 jobs. It’s a rational but still-rare step for a business that suffers from chronic overcapacity. Rivals will feel extra pressure to justify their decision to soldier on.

Dick’s buyout has financially sporting chance

January 8, 2015

The $6 bln U.S. golf-to-guns vendor is mulling a sale to private equity. Low debt at Dick’s Sporting Goods means even with a chunky premium, attractive returns look possible. It would, however, require healthy growth when stiff online competition is challenging many retailers.

Coach tries LVMH model on for size with shoe buy

January 6, 2015

The U.S. leather-goods purveyor is paying $574 mln for Stuart Weitzman, the first acquisition since its 1941 founding. While this looks like an admission its core brand has maxed out, Coach is betting it can use its know-how to expand other marques like LVMH and Kering have.

Petrodollar drought is new risk for markets

January 6, 2015

Low oil prices are not only a blight for energy producers. They could hurt global financial markets too. After years of surplus petro-earnings gushing into a range of assets, notably fixed income, the flows are at risk of reversing. The sharp equity market fall may be a first sign.

Guest view: Banks need to lead on cultural change

January 6, 2015

While lenders have boosted capital, reduced leverage and added liquidity, they have not shown the same commitment to adjusting their core behaviors, including their risk cultures, argues former Citigroup executive and author William Rhodes.

A double-speak guide to modern markets

January 5, 2015

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. Breakingviews offers up 10 euphemisms we’d like to see disappear.

Review: Two centuries of trust, frauds and finance

January 2, 2015

Ian Klaus’ entertaining account of 19th century financial deceptions carries a serious lesson. As financial markets became more sophisticated, trust had to be built on stronger and more objective supports. The implication: honesty can always win out, but not without hard work.

IBM turnaround requires atypical activist fix

December 31, 2014

Big Blue’s strategy of cost cuts and debt-fueled buybacks is no longer working – but the tech giant keeps trying. A tarnished balance sheet, lean staffing and a history of disposals rule out typical activist wheezes. Prodding the company to invest in its business could pay off.

Banks will make asset managers pay for regulation

December 31, 2014

Persistently low returns are spurring investment banks to re-price products like repo financing and prime broking. In 2015, expect firms to get serious about passing on the pain of capital and liquidity rules. Higher costs could in turn force some money managers to consolidate.

Shake Shack IPO disappoints in taste test

December 30, 2014

Celebrity restaurateur Danny Meyer’s global chain of burger joints is serving up some of the uncommon fixings found in new tech stocks. Two classes of shares and creative financial metrics are unappetizing. At least the bottom line offers a sweet refreshment to wash it all down.