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Sep 26, 2013
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Ackman has Air Products catalyst, now for reaction

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By Christopher Swann
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Activist investor Bill Ackman has quickly dislodged Air Products and Chemicals’ underperforming boss, John McGlade. The win brought him a sharp gain of $100 million on his 10 percent holding in the natural gas firm as investors initially reacted to the news. For bigger, more lasting success, however, a painstaking transformation of the company is now needed.

Aug 27, 2013
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Industrialist hat suits Bill Ackman better

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By Christopher Swann and Jeffrey Goldfarb
The authors are Reuters Breakingviews columnists. The opinions expressed are their own.

Industrialist Bill Ackman is more persuasive than shopkeeper Bill Ackman. The uppity investor’s exit this week from a disastrous investment in J.C. Penney underscores that retail just isn’t his thing. A big bet on $22 billion Air Products and Chemicals represents a second foray into heavier production for the Pershing Square Capital Management founder, after Canadian Pacific. As at the railway, better management could go a long way at the gas producer.

Aug 6, 2013

Fed could do with “Luddite” like Rajan

(The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.)

By Christopher Swann

NEW YORK (Reuters Breakingviews) – The U.S. Federal Reserve could do with a “Luddite” like Raghuram Rajan. Larry Summers, among the frontrunners for leading the Fed, said a 2005 speech by Rajan, then the International Monetary Fund’s chief economist, was based on a “slightly Luddite” premise: new-style finance increased the risk of crisis. Rajan may actually be more qualified than Summers to run the American central bank. But he’ll do the job for India.

Jul 1, 2013
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Third time lucky looks a stretch for Eike Batista

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By Christopher Swann
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Third time lucky looks a stretch for Eike Batista. The Brazilian billionaire’s EBX group may soon crash. He has bounced back from financial disaster before. But now he’s wiped out around $50 billion of value in less than three years after borrowing oodles to expand quickly. Investors share some blame. But now they’ll surely be too wary of Batista in the future.

Jun 14, 2013

Murdoch may get three divorces for price of one

(The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions
expressed are his own)

By Christopher Swann

NEW YORK, June 14 (Reuters Breakingviews) – Rupert Murdoch
may get three divorces for price of one. As the News Corp
(NWSA.O: Quote, Profile, Research) boss heads for a third breakup, there’s at least one
financial consolation: a smaller lifetime divorce bill than
fellow billionaire Harold Hamm. Minus a prenuptial agreement,
the oil baron may forfeit $3 billion to his ex. Even after a
$1.7 billion deal in 1999, media mogul Murdoch probably comes
out ahead.

Apr 25, 2013
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Exxon Mobil running hard just to stand still

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By Christopher Swann

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Exxon Mobil is having to run hard just to stand still. The world’s biggest company is pumping only a trickle more oil than 12 years ago – and maintaining even that is getting more expensive. Only buybacks are making growth in earnings per share look decent.

Apr 19, 2013
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New oil dynamics may challenge crude growth logic

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By Christopher Swann and Kevin Allison 

The authors are Reuters Breakingviews columnists. The opinions expressed are their own.

Fears for the wobbly world economy have pushed Brent crude below $100 a barrel for the first time since July. Long-term trends at work in the oil market mean it could stay depressed. That’s good, since cheaper energy helps industry. Better still, booming shale output, greater efficiency and the rise of natural gas as a rival transport fuel may keep the oil price subdued even as growth is stimulated.

Apr 19, 2013
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IMF crowd should cut Japan some slack

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By Christopher Swann

(The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own)

The crowds gathering for the International Monetary Fund’s spring meeting should cut Japan some slack. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s economic policies are in for a drubbing at the shindig in Washington, DC. IMF officials have been bemoaning Japan’s “risky” fiscal stimulus while the U.S. Treasury has been grumbling about the weaker yen. But Japan was right to act.

Apr 5, 2013
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Japanese economy needs nuclear second chance

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By Christopher Swann

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Japan needs to give nuclear energy a second chance. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s goal of weakening the yen will make electricity even pricier in a country that imported over 80 percent of its energy even before the Fukushima disaster in 2011.

Mar 22, 2013
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U.S. oil billionaire’s divorce is no private affair

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By Christopher Swann
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

American oil billionaire Harold Hamm’s impending divorce is not simply a private affair. Investors swiftly stripped half a billion dollars from the market value of Continental Resources on Thursday following news that founder and 68 percent owner Hamm and his wife are splitting. That may not do the threat justice. Any division of the tycoon’s $11 billion fortune leaves Continental exposed to hefty stock sales or a feud at the top.

    • About Christopher

      "I am a columnist at Thomson Reuters focusing on the energy industry and hedge funds. Prior to this I worked at Bloomberg and the Financial Times."
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