Breakingviews

 
Clothes shop Next says Britain has had an unseasonably warm September. Who knew? Shares across the sector took fright at the ramifications for earnings. Investors may be venting other fears, maybe of a price war. Still, the reaction reveals a bizarrely inefficient market.

China house prices on brink of pessimism spiral

As prices fall in most big cities, developers and banks are trying to lure buyers back to the market. But cheaper mortgages and less red tape are no match for sagging real price expectations. Short of giving cash to buyers, it is hard to arrest negative thinking once it sets in.

SoftBank and Shrek may lack on-screen chemistry

The Japanese conglomerate may offer $3.4 bln for movie studio DreamWorks Animation. Softbank’s giant balance sheet can easily absorb the hit-and-miss earnings of film production. But with each big acquisition, it becomes less clear how the group’s parts fit together.

Commodity bear market looks entrenched

A rising dollar, the prospect of U.S. rate rises, and moderating Chinese growth are casting long shadows over the asset class. The threats to the bear case are strong supply-side responses, or successful economic stimulation by the ECB. Neither looks very likely.

Hong Kong shreds hopes for orderly disorder

Thousands of protestors have taken to the streets, at times clashing violently with police. Markets remain open, and the financial sector hasn’t been targeted directly. But the loss of control over a carefully planned disobedience movement has damaging long-term implications.

Rock star Modi needs more business-friendly riff

The Indian prime minister used a sold-out Madison Square Garden gig to make an emotional sales pitch. While Indian-Americans may want to take up Narendra Modi’s offer to invest freely in their ancestral land, the country’s business-unfriendly reputation remains a big obstacle.

Bill Gross and Janus Capital made for each other

Both are formerly hot fund managers looking for a fresh start. Investors are exuberant about the possibilities of Gross recapturing some old glory under Janus, the Roman god of new beginnings. It is more likely a case of past performance not being indicative of future results.