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Breakingviews Headlines

Breakingviews - PBOC’s Zhou seeks lasting sway with debt warning

China’s taciturn central bank governor suddenly has lots to say. Zhou Xiaochuan, head of the People’s Bank of China, grabbed headlines by warning on Thursday of a possible “Minsky moment.” His reference to a potential financial and economic crash follows other urgent calls for reform in recent days. The comments seem aimed at burnishing his legacy, as well as trying to ensure a like-minded successor fills his shoes.

Breakingviews - PayPal’s future rests on striking quadruple whammy

PayPal's future rests on striking a quadruple whammy. The $80 billion payments firm, which announced estimates-beating third-quarter earnings on Thursday, is worth as much as American Express – more, if an after-hours bump in its stock holds up. At 31 times the next 12 months’ estimated earnings, it trades at a higher multiple than Visa or MasterCard. Justifying such a rapid rise requires Chief Executive Dan Schulman to execute well on four crucial strategies.

Breakingviews - Verizon stuck in neutral as rivals shift

Verizon’s perch as the No. 1 carrier in the United States looks secure. The $200 billion telecom firm reported a rise in wireless subscribers on Thursday. But the gap is narrowing. Cable rivals Comcast and Charter are also offering mobile services, AT&T is trying to become a media company and Sprint and T-Mobile may yet merge. A heavy debt load hobbles Verizon’s ability to quickly change lanes.

Breakingviews - Exchange Podcast: Scott Galloway

The NYU marketing guru swung by Times Square to discuss what's next for "The Four" tech behemoths - Google, Apple, Amazon and Facebook. Among his predictions: one of them will be hit with a $10 bln-plus antitrust fine and Amazon will choose New York for its second headquarters.

Breakingviews - ICOs validate old-school "follow the money" mantra

Call it teething trouble with tezzies. One of the biggest so-called initial coin offerings to date, which raised some $230 million for a blockchain project called Tezos, has led to a spat between its architects and a Swiss foundation that controls the digital cash, according to a Reuters special report (http://reut.rs/2gncW1B). Even in the world of crypto-currencies, traditional financial motivations apply.

Breakingviews - Hadas: Time to slay the free market-myth monster

Free markets sound like such a good idea. They offer choice and opportunities, which are good things. And who does not want freedom? Besides, if the alternative to these markets is the impassive, incompetent bureaucratic state, then the policy path is obvious. Let markets go free and peg back governments, so their only role in the productive economy is to deal with the occasional failure of markets to work as they should.

Breakingviews - Unilever struggle gives hope to predators

Unilever’s struggle gives hope to predators. The consumer giant that fended off a bid from Kraft Heinz earlier this year reported weak third-quarter sales on Thursday. Chief Executive Paul Polman is sprucing up brands, but the more pedestrian Unilever’s performance, the more vulnerable it becomes.

Breakingviews - China’s leaders make peace with its old economy

China’s leaders seem to have made peace with the old economic model. More lending, roaring exports and higher property prices helped push up output by 6.8 percent in the third quarter. For all the talk of innovation, restructuring and deleveraging, the fundamentals driving the world's second-largest economy have not changed. China still depends on investment more than consumption, manufacturing over services, and cheaper products rather than stronger brands. Fo

Breakingviews - Global watchdogs may curb U.S. deregulatory push

Global bank watchdogs are acting as a line of defense against a U.S. deregulatory push. The U.S. Treasury Department will soon decide whether to recommend scrapping the post-crisis bank resolution regime, as some Republicans urge. But foreign regulators are threatening to impose new curbs on American firms if it's ditched.

Breakingviews - Mistimed writedowns lesser of mining M&A evils

Rio Tinto bought a coal mine in Mozambique in 2011 for too much money. U.S. and UK regulators now say it came clean about the real, diminished value of the mine too late. The second type of problem is less likely to recur. Rio has settled one case already and, in any event, the accounting rules for writing down badly priced acquisitions are relatively clear. If only there were similar safeguards against mining bosses getting carried away with deals in the first p