Barcelona at risk of being the Montreal of Spain

November 13, 2015

The uncertainties surrounding regional separatism contributed to the economic problems of Canada’s second city. The tensions of Catalonian nationalism could also harm its capital city. There’s no clear evidence of exodus yet, but Catalan politicians would be foolish to ignore the risk.

Catalonia’s risky secession threat may backfire

November 10, 2015

The Spanish region’s government has started a process of “disconnecting”, despite a doubtful mandate and a constitution that forbids a referendum. The plan is unlikely to win much international support, but may provoke Madrid into cutting off financing. Investors will steer well clear.

Euro zone rediscovers sloppy fiscal policy

October 15, 2015

Deficits are creeping up in Spain, Italy and even growth star Ireland. Reasons include easy money and pre-election spending. As yet, the gaps aren’t dangerously big. What’s more worrying is poor spending decisions, slowing reforms and fiscal dissonance between member states.

EU growth surprises hide clear pattern

By Edward Hadas
May 13, 2015

Recovering Spain was still the GDP star in the first quarter, but traditionally strong Germany did no better than perpetually stagnant Italy, while France defied gloomy predictions and the UK disappointed. Behind the mix-up, the recoveries are real, but mostly slow and unsteady.

Inditex shares no longer a bargain

March 18, 2015

The Zara owner’s stock has risen more than 20 percent this year. The weakening euro is an advantage over rival H&M. The Spanish recovery and the group’s nimble business model justify a premium valuation. But at more than 30 times earnings, the good news is already in the shares.

Santander’s U.S. woes a cautionary M&A tale

March 12, 2015

The Spanish bank’s stateside lender is struggling to pass the Fed’s stress test for the second year in a row. A flawed bank takes time to fix. But Santander let it drag on too long. New bosses should help. The tardy response, though, keeps Santander on the takeover sidelines.

Carlos Slim buys Spanish real estate on the cheap

March 5, 2015

The Mexican tycoon bought a 25 pct stake in property firm Realia at a discount and is eyeing a takeover. He is also the biggest shareholder of builder FCC, which in turn owns major stakes in Realia and Cementos Portland. Slim effectively controls all three. Minorities beware.

Europe’s rebound poses new questions

By Edward Hadas
March 4, 2015

Jobs, growth, morale: the Old Continent is perking up. Policymakers and investors need to adapt. The threat of deflation may recede. Central bank bond-buying may prove unnecessary. And established politicians could regain ground. Yet investors might still cling to bonds.

Santander’s next task: sustainable profit growth

February 3, 2015

After raising capital and trimming the dividend, new boss Ana Botin has proved her leadership credentials. The Spanish bank’s results show provisions and costs down, and net profit up. The real test will be maintaining the momentum even as key economies like Brazil falter.

Rob Cox: Podemos can improve Spanish capitalism

January 29, 2015

After Syriza's victory in Greece, investors are fretting that Spain's "We Can" party could derail reform plans and fiscal discipline. They needn't worry. The Podemos target is the demon of corruption. Even if the movement has already peaked, it has done the country a service.