Breakingviews

Apple may be in for model-cycle purgatory

January 27, 2016

The $550 bln tech giant’s top line nearly flatlined as demand for its smartphones stalled in the last quarter of 2015. Sales are set to slide in the current period. A $216 bln cash hoard and a low valuation should offer solace, but investors could fixate on the next new iPhones.

VW plea from Brussels confuses cause and effect

January 20, 2016

EU officials are urging the German carmaker to compensate Europeans like U.S drivers. VW’s two-tier scandal response, however, simply reflects the weaker emissions regime put in place by diesel-loving policymakers. Stricter standards will warrant tougher enforcement – next time.

Cox: Trump set to invade Davos if in spirit only

January 19, 2016

The blustery real estate mogul isn’t due to attend the World Economic Forum with other business and political leaders, but the force behind his unlikely campaign for the White House will. Populism finds its roots in the inequality that Davos both represents and tries to solve.

BHP Billiton plays catch-up with $7 bln shale hit

January 15, 2016

Plunging energy prices forced the miner to write down its U.S. oil and gas assets again. The non-cash charge is large but just brings BHP’s balance sheet closer to the outside world’s estimation. A bigger step would be to follow the market’s lead once more and slash the dividend.

Behavioral economics wins $1.5 bln U.S. lottery

January 13, 2016

The biggest-ever jackpot for a single ticket-holder hangs in the balance. State officials helped engineer the Powerball frenzy by tapping into the sorts of theories advanced by Nobelist Daniel Kahneman and others. It takes more than a dollar and a dream to woo punters these days.

Morgan Stanley revamp puts a CEO on the market

January 7, 2016

The Wall Street bank’s boss James Gorman has chosen Colm Kelleher as heir apparent, leaving wealth management chief Greg Fleming up for grabs. Kelleher may be the ultimate survivor, but Fleming’s skills may be of use to firms from BlackRock to Amex to U.S regional banks.

Wall Street’s pay reveal has germ of a good idea

January 6, 2016

U.S. banks now say how many of their staff in Europe earned 1 mln euros or more in 2014. Knowing that 1,107 bankers from the top five did so is no great surprise. But JPMorgan’s policy of cancelling bonuses if long-term return targets aren’t met could make pay more defensible.

VW’s U.S. lawsuit shows reboot is only half done

January 5, 2016

A strongly worded government complaint has undermined Volkswagen’s progress in tackling its emissions scandal. U.S. laws are tougher than in Europe, and the German carmaker’s lobbying clout there is smaller. VW needs drastic steps to win goodwill.

Facebook’s free internet faces big test in India

January 5, 2016

Mark Zuckerberg is fighting hard to save his plan to offer a free mobile web service to the country’s poor. If India shuts it down, other developing nations may follow. It’s another case where the social network founder’s apparently noble goals have sparked a furious backlash.

Giants of central banking will be cut down to size

December 30, 2015

The limited power of the Draghis and Yellens of the world is evident. They can’t conjure up inflation and the market impact of unorthodox monetary policies has waned. Rate-setters did their bit to support the global economy. It’s time fiscal and wage policies did more work.