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Sep 24, 2012
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Percentage-mania builds confidence in 50-50 world

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By Rob Cox and Edward Hadas
The authors are Reuters Breakingviews columnists. The opinions expressed are their own.

The latest is 14.1. But Mitt Romney’s tax rate is only one of many touchstone percentages doing the rounds. The U.S. presidential hopeful has also contributed 47, the percentage of Americans he says are dependent on government handouts. Both those numbers have irritated a lot of people. The challenger would prefer that the focus shift to a number which embarrasses President Barack Obama. A good candidate is 8.1 – the percentage of the labor force which is unemployed.

Sep 12, 2012
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Facebook’s stock slump could be self-reinforcing

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

Mark Zuckerberg has now acknowledged that the disastrous halving of the social network’s market value since going public “doesn’t help” employee morale. But it may be more problematic than that. The decline – and the company’s eventual response – may be a self-reinforcing problem for the multi-billionaire Harvard dropout.

Sep 10, 2012
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Santander can teach Citi the art of breaking up

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

With Spain’s banking system in full-blown crisis, it’s hard to imagine any of the world’s biggest financial institutions taking lessons from their Iberian cousins. Yet Banco Santander’s methodical spin-offs of various operating subsidiaries around the world, the latest due soon in Mexico, present a reasonable model for an undervalued colossus like Citigroup to consider.

Sep 10, 2012

Breakingviews-Santander can teach Citi the art of breaking up

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

By Rob Cox

NEW YORK, Sept 10 (Reuters Breakingviews) – With Spain’s
banking system in full-blown crisis, it’s hard to imagine any of
the world’s biggest financial institutions taking lessons from
their Iberian cousins. Yet Banco Santander’s (SAN.MC: Quote, Profile, Research) methodical
spin-offs of various operating subsidiaries around the world,
the latest due soon in Mexico, present a reasonable model for an
undervalued colossus like Citigroup (C.N: Quote, Profile, Research) to consider.

Aug 24, 2012
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Review: Why Uncle Sam fails to fix his finances

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

To understand the current state of the U.S. federal budget – and the policies the next president will be forced to pursue from day one – there are two pieces of required reading. The first is a two-year old wonky white paper entitled “The Moment of Truth,” by the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform. The second is “Red Ink,” David Wessel’s handy new guide to understanding the politics of the federal budget.

Aug 11, 2012
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It’s the budget, not the economy, stupid

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By Rob Cox 

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

It’s the budget, not the economy, stupid. That variation of the 1992 slogan that propelled Bill Clinton into the Oval Office may now apply to Mitt Romney’s candidacy. The Republican presidential wannabe’s choice of conservative House budget chief Paul Ryan as his running mate has the power to transform a heretofore mealy campaign into something substantive: a referendum on fixing the American balance sheet.

Aug 9, 2012
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Exclusive: StanChart threat rings Fed alarm bells

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


New York state financial watchdog Benjamin Lawsky has put the Federal Reserve in an uncomfortable twist. His threat on Monday to revoke Standard Chartered’s Wall Street license over allegedly illegal Iranian money transfers clanged some alarm bells inside the central bank. The worry is that his surprise risks unsettling customers and depositors.

Aug 7, 2012
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Facebook’s market meltdown is far from over

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By Rob Cox
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own. The following column appears in the August 6 issue of Newsweek magazine.

It would be all too easy to wager that Facebook’s market meltdown could be coming to an end. After all, the social network led by Mark Zuckerberg in just a couple of months incinerated as much as $50 billion of shareholders’ wealth. To put that in context, even after a recent rebound, Facebook since its Nasdaq debut in May has lost value nearly equal to the current market capitalizations of Yahoo, AOL, Zynga, Yelp, Pandora, OpenTable, Groupon, LinkedIn and Angie’s List combined, plus that of the bulk of the publicly traded newspaper industry.

Aug 3, 2012
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What hedge funds share with rock’n'roll festivals

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

At first sight, hedge funds don’t share a lot with rock music festivals. But both are subject to the law of large numbers. Festivals like Pickathon, a three-day concert taking place outside Portland this weekend, are limiting entry to make the experience less mundane. And the likes of Moore Capital Management’s Louis Bacon are seeking better-than-average returns by shrinking, too.

Jul 30, 2012

Pepsi owners face the Indra Nooyi challenge

(The following column appears in the July 30 edition of Newsweek magazine. The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.)

By Rob Cox

HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) – Whenever a big new job opens up just about anywhere in the world, Indra Nooyi’s name enters the frame. Last year, scuttlebutt in Mumbai had the PepsiCo (PEP.N: Quote, Profile, Research) chief executive returning to India to run the powerful Tata group. Earlier this year, Nooyi was floated as a candidate to run the World Bank. Her recent recruitment of a former White House official even had some pegging her for a big job in Washington.

    • About Rob

      "Rob Cox helped establish Breakingviews in 2000 in London. From 2004 he spearheaded the firm's expansion in the United States and edited its American edition, including the daily Breakingviews columns in the New York Times and Wall Street Journal. Rob has worked as a financial journalist in London, Milan, New York, Washington, Chicago and Tokyo. Rob graduated from Columbia University’s Journalism School and the University of Vermont. Follow Rob on Twitter @rob1cox"
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