Breakingviews

China’s ailing stocks are now contagious

August 24, 2015

Mainland shares are tumbling again. Unlike in July, this sell-off is hurting currencies, commodities, and other Asian bourses. Two things have changed. There’s now the threat of devaluation. And bungled interventions cast doubt on China’s ability to manage markets.

Chinese stock markets need more than lip service

June 30, 2015

The selloff is dramatic but only affects the relatively few people who own equities. A wider risk is that a prolonged slump would slow reforms and undermine faith in China’s rulers. In the short run, overt state support may be the most effective way to avoid losing credibility.

China’s stock boom is not so different this time

June 17, 2015

Soaring share prices evoke memories of the market’s rapid rise and even swifter collapse between 2006 and 2008. Corporate reform hopes, hyperactive retail investors and faith in state support are recurring themes. The differences aren’t big enough to suggest a happier ending.

How to tell if Japan’s shareholder love-in is real

June 15, 2015

Japan Inc. faces unprecedented pressure to get leaner, better-run, and more profitable. Real success means higher returns on equity. First comes a tough AGM season that could embarrass the likes of Sony and Sharp. Then expect more buybacks, stake sales, activism and M&A.

MSCI lets fund managers ignore China a bit longer

June 10, 2015

The index compiler says China’s $10 trln stock markets aren’t quite ready for global benchmarks. That’s a relief for investors worried about inflated mainland valuations. But inclusion is only a matter of time. Being underweight will soon be a matter of choice, not inertia.

London’s FTSE can extend its record-breaking run

February 24, 2015

At long last, Europe’s big name equity index has entered new territory. Yet while the FTSE 100 is higher than ever, and is hardly risk-free, it is also attractive. It is cheaper than the leading U.S. and pan-European benchmarks and has alluring diversity.

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.

Valeant’s activist deal too clever by half

November 18, 2014

The $45 bln drug company’s tilt at Allergan alongside Bill Ackman’s Pershing Square leaves it with just a modest windfall to show for a seven-month campaign that risked legally questionable tactics. Valeant boss Michael Pearson’s M&A experiment is not one to repeat.

FX business now shares equities’ harsh economics

October 21, 2014

That’s why recently resurgent volatility in currency markets won’t restore investment banks’ revenue. Blame a secular shift in FX, and the rise of electronic trading.

Netflix stock horror follows familiar script

October 16, 2014

The film and TV streaming service lost $7 billion of market value after it signed up fewer new subscribers than expected. Even for one of the most-shorted and volatile stocks, a 25 percent decline is notable. And yet investors have seen this movie many times before.