Aussie gambling deal faces better odds as takeover

October 19, 2016

Betting group Tabcorp is buying larger rival Tatts for almost $5 bln in stock and cash. The set-up makes more sense than last year's aborted merger, and the combined group would be better placed to take on foreign bookies. The real gamble is with antitrust regulators.

Goldman Sachs charts frustrating path back to top

October 18, 2016

Trading, share buybacks and operating leverage all helped the investment bank to its best showing in a year-and-a-half. It took big investment gains and a lower tax rate to beat its cost of capital. That's too unreliable to justify Goldman's stock heading back above book value.

Inflation is next nerve-jangler for investors

October 18, 2016

After years of undershooting price targets, some rate-setters, including Mark Carney in Britain, are now talking about tolerating overshoots. Equity winners will vary depending on whether inflation is of the good or bad variety. But global bonds are losers either way.

Inflation shows up at wrong time for Mark Carney

October 18, 2016

UK consumer prices are rising at their fastest pace in nearly two years. It should be a proud moment for the Bank of England chief, who has been struggling to achieve exactly this. Unfortunately, the pound’s fall is going to give him a bit too much of what he wanted.

RBS’s Russian goof sets tone for UK state meddling

October 18, 2016

The UK lender is reviewing a decision to stop banking a supplier of Russian broadcaster RT. It could just be a business matter, but RBS’s 73 pct state holding makes it seem political. If a post-EU Britain is heading for more use of subsidies, such confusion will recur.

Alibaba courier aims high with New York IPO

October 18, 2016

Chinese logistics group ZTO Express wants to raise up to $1.3 bln through a New York flotation. Sales are soaring, thanks to the e-commerce boom. But rival couriers are also scaling up. ZTO lacks the market dominance or margins to justify an Alibaba-style premium valuation.

BofA takes step toward still improbable goal

October 17, 2016

The lender with $2.2 trln of assets is alone among big peers in boosting earnings last quarter - the best pre-tax showing in a decade. CEO Brian Moynihan is making progress. Yet absent big interest-rate hikes or stock buybacks, a decent return on equity remains a long way off.

UK property didn’t get the “hard Brexit” memo

October 17, 2016

Real estate funds that froze after the UK vote are opening, and prices have stabilised. Yet rents could collapse if Britain makes a clean break with the EU, and foreign investors may not ride to the rescue. Property stocks pricing in 20-percent price falls aren't cheap.

Crown highlights risks of courting Chinese VIPs

October 17, 2016

Shares in Crown Resorts crashed after China detained some staff. Investors had cheered moves by Australia's top casino company to distance itself from Macau. But this episode shows Chinese gamblers, and official attitudes, are crucial to gambling groups across the region.

JPMorgan and Citi hint at broader Wells Fargo woes

October 14, 2016

Wall Street helped the two diversified mega-banks trounce expectations, while the more retail-focused of the trio just squeaked by. Falling returns also will test new Wells Fargo CEO Tim Sloan as he contends with the sham-accounts fiasco. High-level cross-selling sometimes helps.