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Breakingviews - Saudi turmoil is new twist on old C-suite dilemma

If Saudi Arabia was a corporation, its executive chairman would now consider replacing its chief executive, whose underlings have officially been accused of murdering an unarmed civilian in an overseas branch – the consulate in Istanbul. Saudi is not a company. It is an absolute monarchy, with a king and a crown prince rather than a chairman and CEO.

Breakingviews - The Exchange: Stephen Harper

Canada’s former prime minister, in office through the financial meltdown a decade ago, is an advocate for conservative politics with a small “c.” He talked to Breakingviews about the revamped NAFTA, Donald Trump’s standoff with China and the pros and cons of the loonie.

Breakingviews - Italy tries risky EU gamble on budget

Italy’s radical government is trying a risky gamble. Its promise to boost spending has triggered a clash with the European Commission. Lengthy procedures mean the spat could drag on until European Parliament elections in May. With radical parties gaining ground, the next Commission may be more lenient or weaker. But intense market pressure could spoil the plan.

Breakingviews - China needs shadow bankers to unclog growth

China’s gummed-up credit system is threatening growth. The economy expanded 6.5 percent in the third quarter, missing expectations, as other indicators cooled too. The campaign to quash financial risk has squeezed private companies, and exhorting banks to lend more to small firms won’t cut it in the long run. Officials have little choice but to let shadow lenders find their place in the sun.

Breakingviews - Holding: Company babysitters get deserved spanking

Uncle Sam is finally delivering a spanking to company babysitters. The U.S. Department of Justice announced last week that it will cut back on hiring private monitors for corporate wrongdoers. Once trusted to keep the likes of Citigroup and Apple in line, these super-nannies have often turned out to be meddlers fond of excessive oversight and multi-million dollar fees.  

Breakingviews - Viewsroom: Saudi fiasco sets Wall Street ablaze

Bankers and officials have ditched a huge Saudi shindig after Turkey accused the kingdom of killing a prominent journalist – but big deal fees and oil reserves make the kingdom hard to shun. Breakingviews columnists discuss the financial ramifications of the diplomatic crisis.

Breakingviews - Brexit impasse moves UK and EU closer to abyss

Only the threat of chaos might break the Brexit deadlock. With just over five months to go until Britain formally leaves the European Union, talks over its departure have reached an impasse. Prime Minister Theresa May faces irreconcilable demands from EU negotiators in Brussels and hard-line parliamentarians at home. To avoid a disorderly exit, at least one side must cave.

Breakingviews - Unilever and Nestlé’s growth tests pricing power

Giant consumer goods companies are testing their pricing power. Charging more for products helped Unilever and Nestlé boost underlying revenue by 3.8 percent and 2.8 percent, respectively, in the third quarter. Both need the hikes to offset rising costs. The risk is that price-conscious customers go elsewhere.

Breakingviews - China’s wink at punters hints at intervention

China’s winks at punters hint at intervention. Top officials have been trotted out over recent days to reassure investors fretting over a near-25 percent stock slump this year. A thaw is not far away, they say; an aggressive deleveraging campaign is on hold too. That’s all in Beijing’s playbook. If markets keep falling, more active policy support comes next.

Breakingviews - Finance makes Apple and Google forced friends

Apple founder Steve Jobs once wanted “to go to thermonuclear war” against Google for – he said – copying the software that powers the iPhone. Now his company and Alphabet, which owns the giant search engine, are bound by tight financial ties. Payments from Google may account for over 10 percent of Apple’s profit, a figure that is likely to rise.

About Breakingviews

Reuters Breakingviews is the world's leading source of agenda-setting financial insight. As the Reuters brand for financial commentary, we dissect the big business and economic stories as they break around the world every day. A global team of about 30 correspondents in New York, London, Hong Kong and other major cities provides expert analysis in real time. Sign up for a free trial of our full service at http://www.breakingviews.com/trial and follow us on Twitter @Breakingviews and at www.breakingviews.com. All opinions expressed are those of the authors.

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