Breakingviews

Corbyn is global symbol not of rage but confusion

September 23, 2016

The UK Labour Party leader, facing re-election this weekend, has split the left in two. Divisive figures like Jeremy Corbyn and Donald Trump reflect a new difficulty in identifying heroes and villains. An old foe, globalisation, is in retreat, yet perceived inequality persists.

Hadas: Central banks play with monetary absurdity

September 23, 2016

Monetary authorities have taken recourse in increasingly empty promises. The Bank of Japan's Haruhiko Kuroda has taken this verbal drama to a new and ultimately dangerous level. Central banks could rely on deeds, not words, if their tools and targets were more realistic.

GSK tries out alternative medicine with new CEO

September 20, 2016

It's a logical move to name consumer head Emma Walmsley as the drugmaker's new chief executive. Pharma companies can learn a lot from the efficient personal care sector. Critics may see a doubling down on GSK’s HIV-to-Horlicks model, without a fix to its weaker pharma business.

Sugar can’t sweeten AB Foods’ retail slowdown

September 12, 2016

Sales are slowing at Primark, the fast-fashion chain that accounts for two-thirds of operating profit at the sugar-and-retail conglomerate. The weaker pound may hit the clothing chain's profitability next year. A widening pension deficit further sours AB Foods' prospects.

Britain’s grammar school plan gets 5 out of 10

September 9, 2016

Reintroducing selective schools won't necessarily fix the UK's two big problems: too-high inequality and too-low productivity. It fits, though, with an emerging trend of the state picking winners. Whether that works depends on the success of safeguards to protect the losers.

Banks ask for Brexit clarity they can’t have

September 8, 2016

Big financial groups want Britain’s chancellor to say what kind of settlement he wants after an EU exit. That’s understandable: they want to make plans. But it wouldn’t be smart for Philip Hammond to be too specific ahead of what will essentially be a poker game with EU peers.

Minority investors should check the returns policy

September 7, 2016

Sports Direct's shareholders are being trampled by a strong entrepreneur with a 55 pct stake. Italian luxury brand Prada has a similar issue: entrenched founders whose strategy isn’t working. Big shareholders can benefit companies, but other investors end up stuck if things sour.

May’s migrant musings a cautious positive for City

September 5, 2016

The UK prime minister has cast doubt on the efficacy of a so-called points-based immigration system post-Brexit. That sounds good for UK financial firms hit by restrictions on non-EU workers. The catch is Theresa May has little choice but to get net migration down somehow.

Apple’s tax spat could blight European banks

August 31, 2016

The tech giant’s $14.5 bln EU tax bill has shades of a $9 bln U.S. fine handed to BNP Paribas in 2014. Despite big differences, both have the whiff of a transatlantic raid on those deemed able to pay. EU banks awaiting U.S. fines, like Deutsche Bank and RBS, have cause to fret.

UK housing crisis jars with builders’ fat returns

August 24, 2016

In a normal market, Persimmon’s 36 pct return on capital would get competed away. Instead, sclerotic planning and smaller rivals’ limited access to finance act as barriers to entry. Builders’ fat returns could be vulnerable if the new UK government decides to take bold action.