Breakingviews

Big banks’ stranglehold on UK loosened by a finger

August 9, 2016

British lenders give customers poor service, but a two-year competition probe has offered few remedies. Caps on overdraft charges could cost the largest banks 1.2 bln pounds a year. But trustbusters have done little to improve all-important small business lending.

Trumponomics favors pin-stripes over blue collars

August 8, 2016

The GOP presidential nominee is calling for corporate tax cuts and a halt on regulations to boost U.S. growth. Billionaire investors on his new economic team helped craft the plan. For a candidate supposedly championing the working class, Trump has a soft spot for the 1 pct.

U.S. bank deal provides a timely reminder on M&A

August 8, 2016

Giant pension fund TIAA is snapping up EverBank for $2.5 bln. Even this non-traditional buyer should be able to slash enough costs to justify the price tag. Earnings-strapped lenders may find acquisitions increasingly necessary. Cash is also becoming an integral component.

Viewsroom: U.S. election, European banks, Uber-Didi

August 8, 2016

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump battle over infrastructure needs, while Trump faces growing opposition from fellow billionaires. Also: the ups and downs of Europe's lenders after a stress test with no fail grade, and why Uber is ceding to Didi the ride-sharing crown in China.

Cheap wind energy can deal final blow to Hinkley

August 8, 2016

Electricity from offshore wind farms costs a third less than in 2013. It now undercuts power costs at the two new nuclear reactors planned in the UK. With prices falling further and low project risk, the case for pulling the plug on the Hinkley Point plant is building.

Bristol-Myers suffers $21 bln self-inflicted wound

August 5, 2016

That's how much value investors wiped off the pharma firm after its trial to broaden the use of a cancer drug failed. It was an unnecessarily risky move for Bristol, whose immunotherapy has been outselling Merck's. The stumble will allow its more cautious rival to clean up.

Review: Big Data’s all-too-human failings

August 5, 2016

An ex-hedge fund quant exposes flaws in how information is used to assess everything from creditworthiness to policing tactics. Programmed biases and a lack of feedback are among the concerns behind the clever and apt title of Cathy O'Neil's book: "Weapons of Math Destruction."

Egypt’s IMF cure poses health risk for Middle East

August 5, 2016

The most populous Arab state wants a $12 bln IMF deal, but not the harsh austerity sometimes attached. Funding would boost the economy, but reforms could also stoke unrest. In a country at the centre of uprisings that swept across the region six years ago, that's no small risk.

Evergrande share raid cements love-or-hate status

August 5, 2016

The Chinese developer has waded into the power struggle at rival Vanke, grabbing a 4.7 pct stake for $1.4 bln. The motive is unclear, and the group's leverage and sprawl should worry investors. Yet Evergrande's aggressive stance still appears to have plenty of fans.

Wal-Mart has long unicorn ride in Amazon chase

August 4, 2016

The $220 bln retail titan is reportedly in talks to buy Jet, a fledgling online-shopping site. Wal-Mart has been accelerating acquisitions of tech startups in a bid to beef up digital efforts. Amazon, however, keeps moving ahead with efforts like one-day shipping and groceries.