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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.

Mar 11, 2013
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Which banker’s services are worth $1 billion?

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

Which banker’s services are worth $1 billion? Apparently, those of Andre Esteves are. When fellow Brazilian billionaire Eike Batista said he was seeking financial and strategic advice from the BTG Pactual boss for his oil empire, investors initially lifted the market value of the six listed and intertwined arms by $1.3 billion. The expectations may be too high.

Feb 27, 2013
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U.S. buyout barons have new tax-dodge rivals: MLPs

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

U.S. buyout barons have new tax-dodge rivals: master limited partnerships. The low tax rates on private equity bosses’ so-called carried interests save them $1.3 billion a year, according to the U.S Treasury, an advantage critics want wiped out. But new data show investors in energy partnerships are now costing Uncle Sam a similar amount thanks to an outdated Internal Revenue Service perk from the 1980s. Both loopholes should be closed.

Feb 19, 2013
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Offices Depot and Max lucky to have each other

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

Office Depot and OfficeMax are lucky to have each other. Uniting the U.S. purveyors of pens, paper clips and printer toner is about as obvious as it gets in M&A. The potential synergies could be worth more than the market value of the two companies combined. As the Internet ravishes retail, at least this corner can cling to life by merger.

Feb 19, 2013

Breakingviews-Offices Depot and Max lucky to have each other

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

By Christopher Swann

NEW YORK, Feb 19 (Reuters Breakingviews) – Office Depot
(ODP.N: Quote, Profile, Research) and OfficeMax (OMX.N: Quote, Profile, Research) are lucky to have each other.
Uniting the U.S. purveyors of pens, paper clips and printer
toner is about as obvious as it gets in M&A. The potential
synergies could be worth more than the market value of the two
companies combined. As the Internet ravishes retail, at least
this corner can cling to life by merger.

Feb 15, 2013

US airlines need to fly abroad for better returns

By Christopher Swann

NEW YORK, Feb 14 (Reuters Breakingviews) – U.S. airlines need to fly abroad for better returns. The $11 billion union of US Airways and AMR should boost the industry’s profitability. But earnings won’t be able to pick up more altitude until America’s airlines team up with overseas rivals. Some such deals could nearly double margins. But it requires Congress to lift curbs on foreign ownership.

Right now Wall Street analysts reckon America’s two largest airlines are winging their way to solid profits. The consensus is that Delta (DAL.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) will land $2.2 billion this year, a 5.8 percent net margin, while United Continental (UAL.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) is on course for $1.5 billion, or a 3.8 percent margin. That would be pretty robust, but investors are more skeptical – Delta’s stock trades at just over five times and United’s just under seven times those estimates. And that’s after a 60 percent surge for Delta over the past six months and a 45 percent rally for United.

Feb 5, 2013
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Apple and Exxon may not be so different, after all

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By Christopher Swann and Robert Cyran
The authors are Reuters Breakingviews columnists. The opinions expressed are their own.

Apple and Exxon Mobil may not be so different, after all. The two seemingly disparate companies share more than nearly identical U.S. market-leading values of about $400 billion. Both are threatened by shrinking margins and the struggle to replace their precious wares. Exxon in various iterations has survived four times longer than Apple, but is just as vulnerable.

    • 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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