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The euro zone banking union was meant to start with a robust bank solvency test. Yet national regulators have successfully lobbied the ECB to count deferred tax credits as capital. That restores the state/bank dependency the single banking supervisor is trying to sever.

Rob Cox: Flurry of ski M&A aims to control weather

CEOs and corporate financiers revel in the power of the deal. One company, Vail Resorts, is taking the idea to extremes. By acquiring clusters of snowy U.S. retreats in different climates and selling “Epic” season passes, it is trying to smooth bumps caused by Mother Nature.

PayPal forced to rev after eBay's belated U-turn

The $70 bln online auction company has for years resisted setting free its payments business. Apple and Alibaba created more urgency than Carl Icahn and other investors could. EBay squandered a big early advantage, but independence may yet give PayPal a chance to play catch-up.

UK retail fails to weather the patently obvious

Clothes shop Next says Britain has had an unseasonably warm September. Who knew? Shares across the sector took fright at the ramifications for earnings. Investors may be venting other fears, maybe of a price war. Still, the reaction reveals a bizarrely inefficient market.

China house prices on brink of pessimism spiral

As prices fall in most big cities, developers and banks are trying to lure buyers back to the market. But cheaper mortgages and less red tape are no match for sagging real price expectations. Short of giving cash to buyers, it is hard to arrest negative thinking once it sets in.

SoftBank and Shrek may lack on-screen chemistry

The Japanese conglomerate may offer $3.4 bln for movie studio DreamWorks Animation. Softbank’s giant balance sheet can easily absorb the hit-and-miss earnings of film production. But with each big acquisition, it becomes less clear how the group’s parts fit together.

Commodity bear market looks entrenched

A rising dollar, the prospect of U.S. rate rises, and moderating Chinese growth are casting long shadows over the asset class. The threats to the bear case are strong supply-side responses, or successful economic stimulation by the ECB. Neither looks very likely.

Hong Kong shreds hopes for orderly disorder

Thousands of protestors have taken to the streets, at times clashing violently with police. Markets remain open, and the financial sector hasn’t been targeted directly. But the loss of control over a carefully planned disobedience movement has damaging long-term implications.