Breakingviews

Wall Street loses Iowa election kickoff

February 2, 2016

Ted Cruz beat Donald Trump while Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders were in a virtual tie in the first U.S. presidential balloting. The outcome partly reflects how bashing bankers resonates with voters. Goldman Sachs and its rivals can expect to keep hearing their names called.

Apple may be in for model-cycle purgatory

January 27, 2016

The $550 bln tech giant’s top line nearly flatlined as demand for its smartphones stalled in the last quarter of 2015. Sales are set to slide in the current period. A $216 bln cash hoard and a low valuation should offer solace, but investors could fixate on the next new iPhones.

Balance sheets will get more unbalanced in 2016

December 28, 2015

The lesson that too much debt is dangerous has sunk in, again. Amid volatile prices and currencies, dwindling cashflows can quickly make healthy firms turn sick. Miners, Brazil and buyback junkies are among those facing a reckoning. Cash-rich acquirers may have a field day.

Global smartphone brands face mass extinction

December 23, 2015

The industry’s growth has slipped below 10 pct for the first time. Apple and Samsung’s high-end phones are taking most of the spoils while upstarts like China’s Xiaomi pick up first-time buyers. Loss-making brands like HTC and Sony may be forced to conclude the game is over.

China will stop ignoring Facebook’s friend request

December 22, 2015

The People’s Republic has blocked access to the $300 bln social network since 2009. Boss Mark Zuckerberg is eager to leap the Great Firewall. LinkedIn and Apple have shown China’s censors that foreign groups can play by local rules. Finding a local partner should seal the deal.

U.S., Chinese unicorns will bolt in opposite ways

December 21, 2015

Silicon Valley firms worth $1 bln-plus in private markets have taken hits in the public eye of late: think payments firm Square or messaging app Snapchat. The PRC’s unicorns also face scepticism. Yet as U.S. startups shy away from IPOs, the Chinese species may run for them.

U.S. visa pain would go beyond Indian IT giants

December 16, 2015

Fresh attempts to restrict U.S. visas for skilled foreigners are a worry for Indian outsourcers like Tata Consultancy Services and Infosys. The measures, if passed, would hurt a crucial Indian export and damage ties with a newly open India. Any reform would cost U.S. firms too.

Dow-DuPont an activist coup on Corporate America

December 9, 2015

The $60 bln chemical giants are in merger talks, according to reports, a testament to the persistence of pushy investors Dan Loeb and Nelson Peltz. If the companies pull off a deal and a rumored three-way split, it could be this generation’s version of barbarians at the gate.

Global taxi app alliance will test faith in Uber

December 4, 2015

Car-hailing firms in India, China, Southeast Asia and the United States will link their apps. It’s not clear how many people will use it or how revenue will be shared. The anti-Uber coalition’s main impact may be on the Silicon Valley darling’s ability to keep raising funds.

Qihoo buyout depends on China’s retail investors

December 3, 2015

The Chinese web group is finalizing an $11.8 bln take-private bid. After contributing their own shares and tapping banks, bosses still need to find half that amount in fresh equity. Onshore wealth management firms who tap China’s mom-and-pop shareholders may help fill the gap.