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Trump protectionism double-down faces harsh reality

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WASHINGTON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Donald Trump is doubling down on protectionism. He used his first speech as the 45th president of the United States of America to echo his campaign rhetoric, presenting a dark picture of "American carnage" and decay at his inauguration. He's using it to justify his remedy of ending overseas assistance to focus on growth at home. That, though, is likely to quickly come up against harsh global economic realities.

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Heineken's Dutch courage on Brazil looks merited

LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Heineken hopes that Dutch courage will succeed where Japanese adventurism didn't. The beer company is in talks to buy the Brazilian unit of Kirin, and may pay $872 million, according to Japanese media. Landing a deal would give the company close to a 20 percent market share, still well behind dominant rival Anheuser-Busch InBev. The target is loss-making, but Heineken has reason to believe it could do a better job.

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Calm words won't stop bankers leaving London

DAVOS, Switzerland (Reuters Breakingviews) - An outbreak of common sense may come too late to stop bankers leaving London. The City is the European Union's main capital market, and a big source of tax revenue for the United Kingdom. So both sides have good reason to negotiate a sensible post-Brexit agreement on financial services. For banks considering moving staff to the continent, though, what really matters is the timetable.

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China's economic statistics aren't fake enough

BEIJING (Reuters Breakingviews) - China's economic statistics may be damned as lies by sceptics, but they aren't fake enough for comfort.

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Viewsroom: Davos goes topsy-turvy

NEW YORK (Reuters Breakingviews) - Team Trump is AWOL at the World Economic Forum's annual alpine shindig while Theresa May's Brexit plan has people on edge. That left it to China's Xi Jinping to defend globalization. Elsewhere, U.S. bank earnings disappoint. And Snapchat considers making investor rights disappear.

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Student-loan case throws down regulatory gauntlet

NEW YORK (Reuters Breakingviews) - Ballooning student debt has been increasingly compared to subprime mortgages. That helps explain why the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau just ripped a page out of the crisis playbook and accused loan servicer Navient of cheating borrowers paying for college. Suing just 48 hours before Donald Trump is sworn in as the 45th American president is nevertheless a bold gambit by the same agency that nailed Wells Fargo for opening fake accounts.

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Safran tries too hard to please Zodiac insiders

LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - The strategic appeal of French aerospace group Safran’s bid for plane-parts maker Zodiac could become the deal’s biggest obstacle. The part-stock offer, which values the target at 9.7 billion euros including debt, only flies, the bidder says, if half the target’s shareholders accept cash. Strip out the company’s controlling families, who want shares, and that half turns into 73 percent. But that may be a tough call as Safran’s superior performance, plus the prosp

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Samsung leads Elliott outside its comfort zone

HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - Samsung Group is leading U.S. hedge fund Elliott away from its comfort zone. A national corruption scandal and the unclear fate of the group's de facto leader Jay Y. Lee cast uncertainty over the investor's second big showdown in South Korea and most high-profile bet in Asia.

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Netflix finances keep producing stranger things

NEW YORK (Reuters Breakingviews) - Financially speaking, Netflix has come to embody the title of one of its new hit shows: "Stranger Things." The video-streaming service blew past quarterly subscriber expectations, as it celebrated a decade of being online. After burning through still more cash, its share price soared to a new high. Apparently growth can come at almost any cost.

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A Trump FAQ for American business leaders in Davos

DAVOS, Switzerland (Reuters Breakingviews) - What does President Donald Trump mean for the world? That's the first question out of the mouths of the 3,000-plus earnest globalists gathered in Davos, Switzerland for the annual World Economic Forum. Unfortunately for them, the principal actors in the impending regime change in Washington aren't around to answer in person. That leaves the few hundred American business leaders in attendance to field their international counterparts' queries. Herewith

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Reuters Breakingviews is the world's leading source of agenda-setting financial insight. The company was founded in 1999 as Breakingviews.com and was acquired by Thomson Reuters in 2009, becoming the Reuters brand for financial commentary. Every day, we comment on the big financial stories as they break. Our expert analysis is provided by a global team of correspondents based in New York, Washington, Chicago, London, Paris, Madrid, Hong Kong, Beijing and Singapore. For the full commentary and analysis service from breakingviews.com, including regular emails containing the latest views, contact sales@breakingviews.com. All opinions expressed are those of the authors.