Italy’s zero-cost bailout is too good to be true

November 23, 2015

The Italian bank resolution fund will cough up 3.6 billion euros to restructure four failing lenders. Officially, public funds won’t be used, but the burden will hit a sector already struggling with low rates and weak demand. Rome could find itself on the hook too.

Betting against copper is a dangerous game

November 23, 2015

Shares of Anglo American, BHP Billiton and Glencore fell on Nov. 23 as copper dropped below $4,500 a tonne. Once tipped as the metal of the future, copper is now a symbol of global miners’ past misjudgments. The red metal price seems destined to sink further.

Portugal’s ropey bank rescue comes home to roost

November 16, 2015

The “good bank” part of bust lender BES needs another 1.4 bln euros, EU regulators say. If it ends up being sold cheaply, fellow banks that part-financed its rescue could suffer. Had Lisbon taken a tougher line with senior creditors last year, it would be in less of a mess.

As Europe’s risk rises, so must corporate costs

November 16, 2015

The financial implications flowing from the Paris atrocities are of a second or third order. Still, lower volumes, and increased security and energy costs, will squeeze margins. Good companies and responsible investors will accept these as a necessary cost of doing business.

Dixon: Syrian peace process offers hope post-Paris

By Hugo Dixon
November 16, 2015

After the attacks, outside powers called for a ceasefire followed by a political transition. A big obstacle is that Russia and America don’t agree on what should happen to Assad. But it’s the best chance to end the war, crush Islamic State and solve the refugee crisis.

Paris attacks can both unify and cleave Europe

November 14, 2015

Deadly assaults across the French capital have sparked the sort of international solidarity which could help Europe surmount recent acrimony over issues such as migration. But the fears they generate may shape debates about security and cultural integration in ways that divide.

AB InBev too coy over SAB mega-deal’s benefits

November 11, 2015

The Budweiser brewer reckons its tie-up with SABMiller will generate cost savings worth around $10 bln. Investors have added roughly $50 bln to the combined companies’ value since the deal was mooted. The gap suggests the market likes the deal more than AB InBev dares to say.

Portugal dangles between stasis and crisis

November 9, 2015

A group of left-wing parties could replace Portugal’s minority government after a key vote on Nov. 10. This communist-backed coalition could repeal reforms and make the country ineligible for ECB bond-buying. Or it may prove weak, in which case a damaging stalemate could follow.

Dixon: Brexit debate should start with trade

By Hugo Dixon
November 9, 2015

The chances of the UK voting to quit the European Union are high. The damage to business if it does leave would be high too. Trade ties, and the difficulty of replacing them from outside the EU, should be front and centre of the debate.

Candy Crush bid relies on hope over experience

November 3, 2015

The London-based maker of the sweet-matching mobile game is selling to Activision for $5.9 bln. It’s just a 20 pct premium, which leaves investors in last year’s IPO with a loss. With few synergies, this looks as much an excuse to use excess cash as a sound bet on future hits.