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Dec 9, 2011
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Canaries in Q4 earnings coal mine looking sickly

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

Two canaries in the fourth-quarter earnings coal mine are looking sickly. DuPont and Texas Instruments now think their results will be weaker than they previously thought. U.S. multinationals’ earnings have been surprisingly robust up to now – but these bellwethers suggest that may be changing.

Dec 6, 2011
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Pharma center of gravity shifts eastward

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

Drug research tends to follow spending. Take Merck’s pledge to invest $1.5 billion in research and development in China over five years. Emerging economies’ citizens are growing wealthier and living longer, while their governments’ fiscal health is robust. Merck’s step suggests the pharmaceutical industry’s center of gravity is shifting eastward accordingly.

Dec 5, 2011
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Oracle needs to read Cisco cautionary tale

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

Empires built through acquisitions can run into problems as they sprawl. That’s doubly so in technology, where obsolescence is a risk. Oracle has used profits from its database stronghold to expand. Its acquisitions have worked well so far – indeed that’s one reason why German arch-rival SAP has become more active in acquisitions, such as Saturday’s purchase of SuccessFactors for $3.4 billion – but Cisco Systems’ sad experience suggests Oracle boss Larry Ellison needs to stay on his toes.

Dec 2, 2011
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Delay takes shine off Zynga’s IPO

By Robert Cyran
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressesed are his own.

Delay has taken the shine off Zynga’s initial public offering, which could value the company at $9 billion. Revenue at the maker of FarmVille and other Internet games is still rising fast, according to a revised prospectus filed on Dec. 2. But on more telling measures, growth has slowed.

Dec 1, 2011
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Pharma stocks no safe haven in austerity storm

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

Shares of pharmaceutical companies traditionally weather economic storms with aplomb. In 2008, for example, drug stocks sustained less damage than the S&P 500. Yet the sector today looks astonishingly cheap relative to the rest of the stock market. Austerity measures from strapped governments everywhere explain this conundrum.

Nov 16, 2011
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Apple rightly keeps chairman, CEO roles split

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

Apple has rightly decided to keep the roles of chairman and chief executive split. The divide may have looked temporary when Tim Cook became boss in August, leaving the ailing Steve Jobs running the board. But just a month after the death of the company’s co-founder and long-time leader, the directors have decided to appoint long-time Apple director Arthur Levinson as chairman.

Nov 10, 2011
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Green Mountain shows how momentum works both ways

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

Green Mountain Coffee Roasters just showed how momentum works both ways in the stock market. Its shares are the latest to crash down from a nose-bleed trading multiple, after the company grew less than analysts expected. Green Mountain joins former investor darlings Netflix and OpenTable. Each traded well over 50 times estimated earnings this summer and has since lost over half its market capitalization. Fast growth can help paper over valuation or accounting worries, but in time they usually catch up.

Nov 4, 2011
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Groupon makes IPO of scarce shares look cheap

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

Groupon has given its initial public offering investors a deal. The Internet coupon firm’s stock popped as much as 50 percent early on Friday. Short-term excitement was assured by signing up most of Wall Street to peddle 6 percent of its stock. Longer term, keeping a valuation approaching $20 billion will require more tangible things like profit.

Nov 2, 2011
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Uncle Sam has a $1 trln repatriation concern

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

American corporations have some $1.4 trillion stashed offshore. Lawmakers are looking at ways to return this cash at sharply lower tax rates to foster employment, growth and government revenue. Those goals seem ambitious, based on the last time a tax holiday was tried, in 2004. There’s also another snag: much of the money is stuck in Treasuries. The side effects of dumping all that paper are worth factoring into the equation.

Oct 26, 2011
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Hot speech tech firm’s story is too complicated

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

Getting machines to understand speech is a technology hot spot. Nuance Communications is a powerhouse in the field. Analysts even suspect the nearly $8 billion company has licensed technology to Apple for the new iPhone, though neither company will say. But Nuance’s sky-high valuation multiple is a stretch.

    • About Robert

      "Robert Cyran, U.S. tech columnist, joined Breakingviews in London in 2003 and moved four years later to New York, where he continues to cover global technology, pharmaceuticals and special situations. Robert began his career at Forbes magazine, where he assisted in the start-up of the international version of the magazine. Before working at Breakingviews he worked as a market researcher and reporter covering the pharmaceutical industry. Robert has a Masters degree in economics from Birmingham University and an undergraduate degree from George Washington University."
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