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Viewsroom: Google, Facebook under the gun

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NEW YORK (Reuters Breakingviews) - The ad kings have faced criticism over questionable content. Now Google is in the hot seat as brands like L’Oreal pull their digital spending. Also, Lyft finds an opening as Uber hits roadblocks. Plus: Not all is copacetic between Goldman Sachs alumni in Washington.

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Amazon's Souq buy is cheap, curious trinket

NEW YORK (Reuters Breakingviews) - Amazon is purchasing a cheap, curious trinket. The $400 billion Seattle-based online retailer is paying less than $1 billion for Souq.com, a Middle Eastern e-commerce upstart. Amazon gets a low-cost toehold in a region that's hard to conquer. That said, overseas buyers have a history of regretting purchases of shiny objects in this labyrinthine market.

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Next takes fashion tips from financial world

LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Next is taking fashion cues from bankers, which doesn’t mean just donning a Hermes tie. The British high-street clothing chain has subjected itself to a stress test, previously the preserve of the financial world. In the worst scenario, where the average branch’s sales dip 6 percent a year for a decade, the net profit margin of its store portfolio will halve. Openness about the problems facing retailers is welcome. But this voluntary exam glosses over big risks.

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Life is looking up for China's insurance giants

HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - Life should be good again for China's insurance giants. Low interest rates and tougher capital rules made 2016 hard for mainland life insurers. Now, the tide is turning as bond yields rise. For major players, a crackdown on high-yielding investment products should also help them regain market share.

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Sears endgame and Lampert's may diverge

NEW YORK (Reuters Breakingviews) - The last chapter for Sears looks to be at hand. The troubled U.S. retailer warned it could be headed for bankruptcy if it can't reverse a brutal decline in annual sales and rising losses. Chief Executive Eddie Lampert’s long quest to turn Sears around seems destined to fail. The fate of the hedge-fund boss's investments over the years may be different.

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Hadas: The stakeholder revolution has been delayed

LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - For fans of explicitly ethical stakeholder capitalism, Unilever’s rebuttal of a takeover approach by Kraft Heinz last month was a great moment. On one side, a company that made a big deal about thinking long term and creating good products as well as profit for shareholders. On the other, a business run by some of the harshest corporate cost-cutters around. With little more than a few phone calls, the Anglo-Dutch consumer product giant saw off the much smaller co

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Banks could do more in money laundering battle

LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Tackling money laundering calls for more zeal from the banking industry. The financial sector's role in abetting criminals' recycling of illicit funds is facing further public scrutiny, after revelations concerning ING and several UK lenders. The Dutch bank disclosed in its annual report that it is the subject of a money-laundering probe by domestic authorities, while the Guardian reported on Monday that several British lenders recycled almost $740 million in ill

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Big brokerage IPO requires faith in Chinese reform

HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - An upcoming initial public offering by Guotai Junan Securities is an investment in market reform. China’s second-biggest brokerage is expected to raise $2 billion in Hong Kong, joining a listing frenzy by mainland securities companies in the territory. The crowded Chinese securities sector faces multiple threats: margins are thin and regulators are fickle. But Guotai Junan's scale and breadth position it well to benefit from more liberalisation and better enfo

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Iceland gives hedgies cooler welcome than Greece

LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Iceland and Greece are rare examples of European countries experimenting with capital controls. Their approach to wooing back private investors is somewhat different. Iceland, which ended eight years of controls on March 13, seems altogether less starry eyed.

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Markets can ease Bank of England inflation dilemma

LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Wishes sometimes have an unhappy way of coming true. Bank of England Governor Mark Carney finally has the inflation he yearned for but there’s too much of it at the wrong time. Markets might help ease the dilemma.

About Breakingviews

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 breakingviews.clientsupport@thomsonreuters.com. All opinions expressed are those of the authors.