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Jan 11, 2013
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Beware bond-equity rotation and focus on value

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By Robert Cole

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

Investors have started 2013 feeling bold. Equities are firm, bonds are weak and gold is soft. Is this the long-awaited rotation back to risk? Many market participants say so. But betting on a herd movement is a dangerous investment strategy.

Oct 16, 2012
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Investors may live with outrageous News Int payoff

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By Robert Cole

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

Shareholders in News Corp would be forgiven for being outraged at a report that Rebekah Brooks, the former CEO of News Corp’s UK newspapers, has received a 7 million pound “payoff”. She left her post in July last year as allegations of phone hacking engulfed the News of the World and led to the abrupt closure of the Sunday tabloid owned by the company.

Sep 6, 2012
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Memo to UK’s new air strategists: let numbers talk

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By Robert Cole

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

After years of make-do-and-mend, the UK is once again arguing about the London’s airport capacity, and the possibility of a third runway at Heathrow. Most people seem keen only to rubbish plans they dislike. The right approach is to give airtime to all ideas – and then make a firm decision.

Jul 24, 2012

Normalised Barclays could offer substantial upside

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

By Robert Cole

LONDON, July 24 (Reuters Breakingviews) – Barclays (BARC.L: Quote, Profile, Research)
in an ugly fix. The rate-rigging scandal has laid waste to the
bank’s senior leadership and trashed its reputation with
regulators, politicians and customers. Barclays shares have
slumped to barely half the average traded price over the last 12
months. There are plenty of reasons to be wary. But a
“normalised” Barclays could offer investors some striking gains.

Jul 20, 2012
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Review: The trappings of global money

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

When it comes to describing what went wrong, Robert Pringle’s new book, “The Money Trap”, is hard to fault. The editor of the trade journal Central Banking is also right that finance needs reform so it can better serve people, rather than financiers. Pringle deserves praise for offering an alternative financial architecture. But his bold prescription, though intriguing, is imperfect and unrealistic.

Jun 21, 2012
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Corporate earnings hopes are still too high

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By Robert Cole

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

Equity analysts are sharpening their red pencils. As euro zone worries clog the wheels of global commerce, forecasts for corporate earnings are falling. Yet global investors may still be expecting too much from companies, at least in the near term.

Jun 6, 2012
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Britain’s monarchy-fest shows power of sentiment

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By Robert Cole

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

On Sunday, access to the banks of the river that runs through London had to be closed four or five hours before anything actually happened. Half a mile down the Thames, at a location boasting nothing better than a squinting view of some boats and no chance of seeing Britain’s queen, people lined up fifteen deep. It was cold. And very wet. Why were people there, in such huge numbers? And why, a distance away, did an 86-year-old woman and her 90-year-old husband stand shivering in the rain for what must have seemed like an eternity? Because people do not always make logical decisions.
 
The nineteenth-century Scottish writer Charles McKay observed that extraordinarily popular delusions can drive people to bouts of madness and markets to extreme bubbles. In fact, London’s jubilee crowds did not take leave of their senses completely. The celebrations were, for the most part, free at the point of receipt. And as any supermarket manager will attest, customers love a giveaway. Moreover the celebrations came with an extra holiday. It is logical, surely, for people to express appreciation for that if only in the hope the gesture is repeated. Britain’s royal family, among others, might also point to the importance of public service. They might have you believe that duty, rather than money, motivates them.

Jun 6, 2012
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Euro bonds will be hard for investors to swallow

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By Robert Cole

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

Euro bonds look like such a pleasant panacea. Overstretched sovereign borrowers in the periphery would love them, of course, but they might appeal to fixed income investors too – at least superficially. Nasty Greek and Greek-like risks might be diffused and yields might be more generous. Thomson Reuters data shows that today’s GDP-weighted amalgam yield on 10-year euro zone bonds is about 4 percent. That’s more than double the yield on UK gilts, U.S. Treasuries and German bunds.

Jun 1, 2012
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Market moves point to grown-up asset allocation

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By Robert Cole

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

When bonds go up, shares go down; and when shares go up, bonds go down. Right? Not recently. Recent moves in the price of assets in these key investment classes suggest that the traditional, binary analysis needs an update.

May 25, 2012
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Review: Fulfilling paper promises

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

Do you want to know how global financial system came to be and what it has become? Do you want to re-examine what you think you know? Paper Promises, by journalist Philip Coggan, is a good place to look for answers to those questions.

    • About Robert

      "Robert is Assistant Editor of Reuters Breakingviews, based in London. He has a special focus on investment, writing about it on a global basis. Robert worked for The Times, in London, in a variety of writing and editing capacities from 1998 to 2010. For nearly 10 years he edited the newspaper’s daily Tempus investment column. He was also deputy business editor, acting business editor, a leader writer, the chief obituaries writer and a news editor in the home affairs department. Prior to joining The Times, Robert worked on The Independent and the London Evening Standard. His most recent book is ..."
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