Breakingviews

 
The democracy debate is dividing the city. For companies, keeping quiet is less risky than expressing an opinion that could irk customers, staff, or Beijing. It’s even harder for employees who must tread the blurry line between free speech and representing corporate interests.

China index: Home truths upset economy

Our alternative growth index hit its lowest levels since April 2009 last month. Housing investment is leading the downturn with the slowest pace of growth in over two years. In the past, more bank lending was seen as the answer. This time, it doesn’t seem to be helping at all.

Tim Cook's pride may expand corporate talent pool

The Apple CEO’s decision to speak publicly about being gay should help advance the march toward acceptance. As boss of the world’s biggest company by market value, Cook could inspire others, giving C-suites and boardrooms more choice. They could use it.

REIT scandal could be good test for Sarbanes-Oxley

American Realty Capital Properties says its false financials were intentionally left uncorrected. Details are scant, but that sounds tailor-made for the Enron-inspired law. After more than a decade as an afterthought for U.S. prosecutors, the reform may have a chance to shine.

New Shell chairman has a tough job on his hands

Charles Holliday arrives at the Anglo-Dutch major as oil prices slump towards $85 a barrel. After a dismal 2013, Shell is making good progress. But while Holliday has sound experience at DuPont and Bank of America, he will need to learn the tricks of his new trade quickly.

QE gave emerging markets brief gains, lasting pain

Six years of money-printing in the United States have ended. The $4 trillion splurge may have averted a deeper slump. But for developing countries it fueled a credit binge while bringing only a fleeting boost to growth. Many will now struggle to boost output and repay the debt.

Deutsche Bank’s fixed income wager yet to pay off

The German group hasn’t yet paid all the high legal costs of past sins or satisfied future regulations. But its biggest bet is that investment banks are in a merely cyclical, not a structural, decline. Despite solid third quarter trading revenue, the case is far from proven.