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The mining giant plans to hive off some assets into a new company. The prices of nickel and aluminium, two of its key products, are rising. Investors could use the new firm to follow the trends. But they probably won’t. There are purer plays and better-diversified producers.

Sinopec petrol sale attracts a motley bunch

The Chinese oil giant is seeking investors for its vast network of filling stations. Retail, energy, technology and private equity groups are keen. With a price tag of $16 bln for a minority stake, they will have to club together. That will make it harder to exert influence.

Dollar store bid battle leaves value on the table

Dollar General’s $9.7 bln offer for rival U.S. discount retailer Family Dollar tops an earlier bid from Dollar Tree. The new suitor is also offering all cash instead of part shares and may be a better fit. But there’s room for either to lob in a few more singles to clinch a deal.

German yield curve is the safest one to play

The spread between short- and long-dated bond yields keeps shrinking in the UK, United States and Germany. Stronger economic activity explains the Anglo-Saxon moves, economic weakness drives the Teutonic trend. The trade that relies on euro zone frailty looks the least risky.

Fear is key to Ebola's economic contagion

The virus ravaging parts of Africa has yet to spread elsewhere. Yet Asia’s SARS crisis in 2003 showed how changes to behaviour can hurt growth and productivity more than an actual disease. Ebola seems harder to catch, but more deadly. That could make for a more pronounced effect.

Coke investment reveals half-empty idea bottle

The beverage behemoth is paying $2.2 bln for 17 pct of the trendy energy-drink maker Monster. It goes to show that even a $176 bln global powerhouse with significant distribution and marketing advantages can struggle to stay ahead. At least Coke got the deal formula right.

Alibaba deal spree turns from romance to thriller

A Hong Kong-listed movie company has revealed accounting problems four months after the e-commerce giant bought a stake. It’s not clear whether Alibaba’s controls were flawed. But investors in its upcoming IPO may be less confident about the company’s investment binge.