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.

Hoarding gold makes sense only for the hopeless

July 19, 2011

Compared to U.S. equities, gold is expensive. You have to go back to the stagflation of the 1970s -- or the depression of the 1930s -- to find a time when the yellow metal was more valuable. Today's worries could push it higher. But only the gloomiest can think gold will maintain its glittering trajectory.

Equity-bond decoupling shows risks have changed

November 17, 2011

Investors may be rethinking the inherent riskiness of equities, especially compared to sovereign bonds. That is a logical response to seismic shifts in the european debt markets. Shares aren’t invincible but they are pretty well equipped for these rough times.

Gulf stock markets head for lost half-decade

February 1, 2012

Four years of tough times look set to turn into five. Indices are down as much as 80 pct since 2008 and volumes are desperately thin. Good dividend yields and low valuations are failing to stir investors. Without big changes, Gulf equity markets will remain a lost cause.

Markets threaten no growth, no austerity Europe

April 24, 2012

The presidential election shows French voters are tiring of austerity even before it arrives. Economic data shows the European recession is deepening. As the politicians vacillate, the region’s debt and the world’s equity and commodity markets look vulnerable to a correction.

China’s stock reforms should benefit brokers most

May 3, 2012

New rules like lower trading fees are designed to boost China’s stock market, which trades at a discount versus its Asian peers. New kinds of trading and higher underwriting volumes should help struggling securities firms, but may disappoint investors hoping for higher stock prices.