HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo declared the Asian financial hub no longer autonomous from China, days after Beijing unveiled plans to ban sedition and subversion there. Breakingviews columnists in the city untangle what it means amid the trade war, pandemic and protests.
HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - Buyers are taking flight, leaving agreed mergers to go south. This marks one of the biggest migrations of the yellow-bellied deal squawker, a financial species identified about a decade ago by Breakingviews for its proclivity to flutter away when the economic climate cools. Despite some questionable calls by these rare birds, the current conditions are helping them take off.
HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - Companies Down Under are dusting off pages from their financial crisis playbooks. National Australia Bank said on Monday it was raising up to A$3.5 billion ($2.2 billion) in what would be the biggest local equity issuance since the pandemic spread. Just as in 2008, the country is weathering the disruption better than most. Restocking coffers makes good business sense, but it’s happening again at the expense of mom-and-pop investors.
HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - In these sickly times, there is some healthy competition taking place. Even as countries implement social distancing and quarantines in the race to avoid overloading hospitals – “flatten the curve,” in the vernacular – they are also now rolling out massive stimulus measures in part to prevent the unemployment curve from getting too steep. Australia’s A$130 billion ($80 billion) of wage subsidies are among the latest, and they might encourage other governments to dole out more.
HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - It’s time to go big or go home. That is as much true for companies as it is central banks and governments confronting the economic realities of the coronavirus. And if there is any corporate chieftain who embodies such an approach it is SoftBank Group boss Masayoshi Son. His new plan to sell a gigantic slug of assets to fund a buyback and more shows a willingness to be bold in bad times as well as good.
HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - JD.com is feeling pretty good about itself. Too good, in fact.
MELBOURNE (Reuters Breakingviews) - A company synonymous with copying should expect some duplication. Xerox has become aggressive since pushy investor Carl Icahn arrived on the scene. After rancorously blowing up a deal and ending a 57-year joint venture with Japan’s Fujifilm, the U.S. printer maker initiated a hostile $35 billion bid for rival HP. Now a longtime partner of HP’s is threatening to break ties if the takeover is successful.
MELBOURNE (Reuters Breakingviews) - JPMorgan’s succession plan is getting an unexpected trial run. Chairman and Chief Executive Jamie Dimon is recuperating after emergency heart surgery on Thursday. How well his deputies manage the virus crisis will provide investors with a glimpse into the bank’s future.
MELBOURNE (Reuters Breakingviews) - Central banks have started dispensing sugar pills to treat the coronavirus. Australia’s just became the first in the developed world to slash interest rates since the outbreak that hit hard in China went global. Others are expected to follow in somewhat synchronised fashion. Most of the impact will be marginal or misplaced. It’s up to governments to administer potent fiscal medicine.
HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - Small businesses are hurting, while bankers sit idle and families struggle with school closures and other containment efforts. Despite having only some 80 coronavirus cases, life – as well as retail, tourism and real estate – feels noticeably different in the Asian financial hub.