Harbingers of boomAmerica Inc has survived the oddest year in modern times. What next?Stockmarkets are pricing in an economic snap-back and growth on top of it. That may be too rosyBEFORE THE pandemic investors favoured companies with strong sales growth, low debt and high return on assets. In the past three...
Twin peaksFor the first time in a year, oil prices top $60 a barrelWhy the prices of both oil and the metals that seek to replace it are risingOIL IS MAKING a comeback, at least on the face of it. On February 8th the price of Brent crude rose above $60...
Video gamesKuaishou’s shares surge on the video app’s stockmarket debutThe firm is taking on TikTok and its Chinese sibling“WE AIM be the most customer-obsessed company in the world,” declares the opening line in the 700-page prospectus from Kuaishou, a Chinese video app. The firm, launched a decade ago by a former...
After months of ditheringGermany’s finance minister promises to overhaul financial regulationIn the wake of Wirecard’s collapse, BaFin will be beefed upWHEN MATTHEW EARL first called the whistleblower hotline of BaFin, Germany’s financial regulator, to report suspicious business practices at Wirecard, the person who picked up the phone said he could not...
Free exchangeHow should economists think about biodiversity?A new report for the British government lays out a frameworkWHAT IS THE contribution of nature to the economy? Students of economics are well acquainted with production functions, which work out how inputs like capital and labour combine to yield output. These functions make all...
Border crossingsChinese investors’ access to foreign assets expands—a bitA new scheme will allow access to wealth-management products in Hong KongTHE 55-KILOMETRE Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau bridge is a quick drive but a technical challenge. The trip requires motorists to buy insurance in three jurisdictions. Those making the jaunt from Hong Kong to Macau...
Meme teamHow WallStreetBets worksThe subreddit has already become a subject of study“LIKE 4CHAN found a Bloomberg terminal.” This is how WallStreetBets, a forum with 8.5m followers on Reddit, a social-media site, describes itself. 4chan is an older site with a looser moderation policy that results in discussions ranging from the hilarious...
Cook v ZuckApple’s privacy policy kicks Facebook where it hurtsThe iPhone-maker antagonises its ad-dependent Silicon Valley neighboursSELDOM HAS a tech giant excoriated another as Apple did Facebook. “What are the consequences of prioritising conspiracy theories and violent incitement simply because of their high rates of engagement?” asked Apple’s boss, Tim Cook,...
Too close to the sunWhat the fate of HNA Group says about China Inc’s foreign ambitionsGlobetrotting Chinese conglomerates retreat homeFEW LIFE stories are as soap-operatic as Lai Xiaomin’s. The fallen state financier dallied with more than 100 mistresses, according to Chinese media. He was subsequently caught with three tonnes of cash...
Driving apartDaimler Truck and Mercedes-Benz part waysCars and heavy vehicles are two very different businessesGOTTLIEB DAIMLER and Carl Benz built the world’s first motor cars at the same time in 1886, not far apart in Germany. Their names have been tied together since a merger of their firms in 1926. Daimler...
SchumpeterShareholders are pushing ExxonMobil to go greenInvestors are rebelling against a hydrocarbon-heavy strategyTWO AMERICAN giants, spooked by a crisis that has roiled oil markets, fall into each other’s arms. The tie-up strings back together bits of Standard Oil—broken up in 1911 in the world’s most famous trustbusting exercise. The year was...
BartlebyHow to get managers’ incentives rightExecutives, not investors, may be to blame for short-termismHOW BEST should managers be incentivised? In the biblical parable of the talents, a master divides his property among three servants before going away. Two put his money to work and double its value; the third buries it...
Goalless defeatWhy no one wants to broadcast France’s Ligue 1The beautiful game is in an ugly financial situationIF A FOOTBALL match is played but no fans watch it, either in the stands or on television, did it really happen? The quandary might once have amused Albert Camus, a fine goalkeeper who...
Pay-per tradeHigh-frequency traders are in the spotlightThey are the stockmarket’s new intermediariesFROM ONE perspective, retail stock traders have never had it so good. There is fierce competition among brokers, including the likes of Charles Schwab and Fidelity, for their business. This broke out into an all-out price war in 2019 when...
Transfer of powerA new epoch for retail investors is just beginningTechnology may soon make markets for all kinds of assets as liquid as the stockmarketFOR NEARLY a fortnight, the world was mesmerised by the fortunes of GameStop. Shares in the beleaguered brick-and-mortar purveyor of video games soared from a few dollars...
Life after JeffCan Amazon’s next boss fill Jeff Bezos’s supersized boots?Andy Jassy will take over a firm on a roll. That does not make dilemmas in his in-tray any easier to deal withON FEBRUARY 2ND Amazon, America’s third-most valuable public company, announced its best-ever quarter. Propelled by the covid-19 pandemic, which...
ButtonwoodWhy the WallStreetBets crowd are able to profit from predatory tradingTextbooks say it can’t happen. But there are times when front-running distressed traders pays off“THERE ARE no loyalties on Wall Street. When you smell blood in the water, you become a shark.” The sentiment—or lack of it—would not look out of...
Hero to villainHow the GameStop saga threatens RobinhoodThe platform’s users are furious, and regulators and lawmakers are on its caseFROM THE kerb it does not look like much. The low-slung terracotta building is a far cry from the futuristic spaceship-style campuses favoured by tech firms down the road in Palo Alto,...
GameResumedAs trading restrictions are lifted, the GameStop frenzy continuesRegulators and politicians are weighing inSHARES IN GAMESTOP, an American video-game retailer, resumed their wild ride on January 29th, after some brokers removed restrictions on trading in the stock. When the market closed, the shares were priced at $325—up by 68% on the...
Free exchangeWhat would a $15 minimum wage mean for America’s economy?The large increase carries risks for jobs. But history suggests it could bring large rewardsMOST AMERICANS share President Joe Biden’s enthusiasm for increasing the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour from $7.25. Two-thirds of them—and more than 40% of Republicans—favour...

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