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Jan 25, 2012
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Einhorn case strikes mild blow against cronyism

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By Richard Beales and Neil Unmack 

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

The allegations against David Einhorn don’t make for a garden-variety insider trading case. The UK’s Financial Services Authority has fined the well-known U.S. hedge fund manager and his firm Greenlight Capital 7.2 million pounds between them for the manner in which they dealt in shares of Punch Taverns. Though the case is fuzzy, if nothing else it exposes cozy practices in financial circles.

Jan 24, 2012
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Counterpoint: Donating a bonus doesn’t reduce it

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By Richard Beales

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

Royal Bank of Scotland boss Stephen Hester should take a bonus but give it to charity, according to Breakingviews columnist George Hay. He reckons this would address the toxic politics of collecting a big payment from the government-controlled UK bank. That’s humbug. Philanthropy is to be encouraged, but it’s not a valid defense for a bonus.

Jan 18, 2012
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Hollywood and Silicon Valley test wikigovernment

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By Richard Beales

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

It’s the talk of the blogosphere even if facts can’t be checked because Wikipedia has gone dark. The community-edited encyclopedia founded by Jimmy Wales is blacked out in protest over Hollywood-backed anti-piracy legislation in the U.S. Congress. Its passage now looks unlikely. But the spat is revealing about old media, new media and Washington.

Jan 12, 2012
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Fed profit shows it’s in the market but not of it

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By Richard Beales

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

The Federal Reserve’s 12 regional banks are handing the Treasury $77 billion of their 2011 profit, a hair under the previous year’s record. That’s three-quarters of what all the nation’s commercial banks collectively make in a year, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. It’s a reminder that the U.S. central bank plays big these days – but by different rules.

Jan 4, 2012
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For Obama’s 2012 hopes, it really is the economy

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

Bill Clinton’s campaign advisers are still right: For Barack Obama, it really is the economy, stupid. One respectable forecasting model puts the U.S. president with a hair over half the two-party vote on Nov. 6, 2012. A Breakingviews calculator shows how even slight changes in the economic growth rate before then could tip the result dramatically.

Dec 29, 2011
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Confidence in cloud, cybersecurity key to growth

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

Cloud computing and cybersecurity are both hot, fast-growing markets. But faith in the cloud took a knock with outages at Amazon and elsewhere in 2011. And the hacking of targets from Sony to Hollywood star Scarlett Johansson, whose email was broken into, underlines the need for better security.

Dec 22, 2011
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The poorly performing, must-have 2012 investment

By Richard Beales and Neil Unmack
The authors are Reuters Breakingviews columnists. The opinions expressed are their own.The improbable must-have holding of 2012 is hedge funds. The typical fund has lost 4 percent this year through November, according to Hedge Fund Research. But that poor performance isn’t deterring institutional investors.

Eleven months into 2011, even the S&P 500 had managed a 1 percent gain including dividends. HFR’s chosen bond index returned nearly 8 percent. The average hedge fund is a loser by comparison.

Dec 21, 2011
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Oracle’s rare stumble triggers double concern

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

Oracle has fallen short of its usually reliable earnings foresight. The technology group lost some $20 billion, or 14 percent, of its market value after a subpar report for the quarter to Nov. 30. The sell-off could be overdone: Larry Ellison’s firm may soon regain ground, as its bosses expect. But the rare stumble could signal a shareholder double whammy: a weak tech environment and a hiccup in Oracle’s own trajectory.

Dec 7, 2011
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Michael Kors IPO cut from same cloth as Prada’s

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

The company behind U.S. fashion designer Michael Kors is seeking a luxury price tag. The planned initial public offering would value the company at up to $3.6 billion. The metrics are in line with Prada, which listed earlier this year. But Michael Kors Holdings may struggle to sustain the growth needed to stay in style with investors.

Nov 21, 2011
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Ted Forstmann: a financier the 99 pct could admire

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

Ted Forstmann was a hard-nosed financier. But the buyout pioneer, who has died at 71, re-engineered companies, not just their balance sheets. He was also an industry contrarian when it came to junk bonds. And while Forstmann featured in the society pages, he gave away much of his fortune. These contrasts are what made him stand apart.

    • About Richard

      "Richard Beales joined Breakingviews.com in 2007 from the Financial Times, where he was US markets editor and a Lex columnist. Prior to the FT, he spent more than 10 years as an investment banker, based largely in Hong Kong. He was a director in Citigroup’s mergers team, and before that head of Schroders’ regional project finance group. He has also lived briefly in Sydney, Australia, and began his working life in London at Mars & Co, a management consultancy, in 1989. Richard holds a masters in business journalism from New York University and a degree in biochemistry from St John’s ..."
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