NEW YORK (Reuters Breakingviews) - Stories can affect people’s behavior. So does how those tales are told. The way people react can be quantified and help economic research, Robert Shiller suggests in “Narrative Economics: How Stories Go Viral and Drive Major Economic Events.” This approach could show whether, say, consumers heeded U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt’s call to spend more during the Great Depression. It’s a difficult challenge, but the shift from hard data is overdue.
NEW YORK (Reuters Breakingviews) - With the world turning against smokers, Philip Morris International hopes its new cigarette substitute IQOS will bring back the spark. Investors in the $126 billion Marlboro maker aren’t buying it.
NEW YORK (Reuters Breakingviews) - Merger talks between Altria and Philip Morris International are off, but a deal could still rise from the ashes. The idea of a $187 billion combination has sputtered amid turmoil at Juul Labs, of which Altria owns 35%. The market is already suggesting that the vaping upstart is worth less than what Altria paid in December 2018. If it continues to fall, the logic of a combination could bring Philip Morris back for another pull.
NEW YORK/LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Beyond Meat is on fire. The meatless-burger maker reported first-quarter numbers only a hair better than it already estimated yet the stock, which had already quadrupled since its initial public offering a month ago, surged more than 15% in after-hours trading on Thursday, bringing its valuation to a whopping $6.8 billion.
NEW YORK (Reuters Breakingviews) - Beyond Meat's market debut may not be to everyone’s taste. The plant-based burger maker is seeking a $1.5 billion valuation after raising its initial public offering target price by about 20 percent. The eco-friendly business has developed a following among consumers. But with former investor Tyson Foods entering the alternative-meat space, investors may have more appetizing options.
NEW YORK (Reuters Breakingviews) - Amazon.com and New York City have shot themselves and each other in the foot. The $800 billion e-commerce giant on Thursday decided to ditch its plans to open a second headquarters, known as HQ2, in the Big Apple after local opposition to the $3 billion in state and city incentives it would receive. It makes Amazon look short-term greedy and not interested in community concerns. Politicians, meanwhile, have cost New York both tax revenue and up to 40,000 jobs.
NEW YORK (Reuters Breakingviews) - New Yorkers aren’t known for their avoidance of conflict. Amazon has waded into a spat with the city over incentives it won in return for choosing New York as the location for half of its second headquarters, known as HQ2. The fact that other big companies have created jobs without such fanfare weakens Amazon’s hand, but the Big Apple deserves one more shot.
NEW YORK (Reuters Breakingviews) - The internet is both a blessing and curse. It has given consumers around the world access to an unimaginable trove of music, movies, television shows and books, all at the touch of a button. But it sometimes seems as if the deluge is watering down popular culture – and undermining the economics of the artists and companies we rely on to keep us entertained.
NEW YORK (Reuters Breakingviews) - Puerto Rico’s revival relies on re-establishing the certainty of death and taxes. The island’s governor, Ricardo Rosselló, on Tuesday put the official death toll from last year’s Hurricane Maria at 2,975, citing the calculations of an independent study he had commissioned. That’s a 46-fold increase on the initial count of just 64 fatalities. The delay is emblematic of wider problems that are hobbling Puerto Rico’s recovery.
NEW YORK (Reuters Breakingviews) - Not everyone has been a winner from globalization. Eurasia Group founder Ian Bremmer talked to Amanda Gomez about his book “Us vs. Them: The Failure of Globalism” and discussed what political and business leaders can do to make the world economic system work for all.