China’s new securities chief faces old constraints

February 22, 2016

Top regulator Xiao Gang has taken the blame for his fumbling efforts to prop up stocks, but he was only following orders. His replacement, former AgBank chairman Liu Shiyu, is unlikely to enjoy any more independence. China’s pledge to heed market forces remains on hold.

New index puts long-term investors to useful test

By Rob Cox
January 21, 2016

Fund heavyweights, including Canada’s CPP and GIC of Singapore, are committing $2 bln to round up some 250 stocks that meet higher standards of corporate governance and profitability. Alphabet and Facebook, worth $760 bln combined, miss the cut. That makes it a bold experiment.

China’s just-so growth no balm for slowdown fears

January 19, 2016

The world’s second-largest economy grew 6.9 pct last year, in line with government targets. The official picture of a gradual slowdown is at odds with market jitters. Yet the numbers do little to ease investors’ key concerns: yuan devaluation and the risk of a messy debt crisis.

China’s troubles catch Japan off-guard

January 12, 2016

Japan is highly sensitive to its larger neighbour’s economic health. Market turmoil is also strengthening the yen, threatening profit and prices. This could hardly come at a worse time: policymakers already battling deflation and stagnation have few levers left to pull.

China’s new economy most vulnerable to stock slide

January 8, 2016

Recent market jitters have dragged valuations for Shanghai-listed groups below their 10-year average. But the Shenzhen bourse, which is dominated by private sector firms, remains relatively expensive. A loss of confidence by retail investors risks choking more vibrant groups.

Review: Making Big Data visible and tangible

December 31, 2015

Projecting selfies onto a screen in real time shows both the value and vulnerability of today’s flood of ones and zeros. A London exhibition explores the good, the bad and the infrastructure of data from inventive angles. It makes a vital unseen world visible – and scary.

Top trades of 2016: Clinton, Mayer, Isis and Uber

December 18, 2015

A survey of Breakingviews readers suggests that a year from now, the U.S. will have its first female president and Yahoo’s CEO may be free to give her a hand. Uber’s valuation will stall, as worries about Islamic State accelerate. In other news, Twitter hasn’t made us any happier.

Fosun looks badly exposed as boss goes AWOL

December 11, 2015

China’s top private conglomerate can’t locate Chairman Guo Guangchang. The disappearance amid a graft crackdown has spooked investors. His team can keep things ticking over. But unless he re-emerges soon Fosun’s strategy and bold overseas dealmaking are both in doubt.

China brokerage scandal less painful than Brazil’s

December 10, 2015

Two top CITIC Securities executives have disappeared and BTG Pactual’s CEO is in jail. The similarities end there. While the Brazilian investment bank is in crisis, state support and a broader business mix have allowed China’s top broker to cope with a leadership vacuum.

Foreign insurers buy protection for Indian IPOs

December 10, 2015

New rules have allowed giants like AIA and Sun Life to lift ownership of their Indian ventures to 49 pct. With no clear path to control, that means tying up more capital in minority stakes. At least bigger shareholdings will help them retain influence if the ventures go public.