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Jennifer Hughes

Breakingviews - Noel Quinn deftly sails HSBC into stiff winds

27 Oct 2020

HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - HSBC is doing its best to power through the storm. The 36% decline in third-quarter pre-tax profit from a year earlier, to $3.1 billion, was better than feared thanks in part to choppy markets and modest loan provisions. Boss Noel Quinn’s plan to wring more fees out of customers is also welcome. He is up against more than just central bankers, though. 

Breakingviews - Ant’s IPO delay flags a recurring headache

14 Oct 2020

HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - Technology firms, particularly finance-focused ones in China, are used to operating at the cutting edge of regulation. But overconfidence is always a risk, as Chinese fintech champion Ant has discovered after watchdogs started probing its initial public offering process.

Breakingviews - Toshiba’s pulled chip IPO is tip of its worries

28 Sep 2020

HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - The reason for Kioxia’s decision to pull its $3.2 billion initial public offering on the eve of pricing depends on who you ask. The world’s second largest maker of flash memory chips said it was down to market volatility and pandemic uncertainties. Analysts highlighted the punchy valuation sought. Others pointed to the problems of its sales to Huawei, battered by U.S.-China trade tensions. Whatever the reason, the biggest loser is Japan’s Toshiba, which needed a pick-me-up.

Breakingviews - Giant Ant frustrates Hong Kong dollar bears

24 Sep 2020

HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - Pegged currencies are irresistible to speculators, and the Hong Kong dollar’s 36-year-old fix is no different. Since political strife erupted in the territory last year, investors like Kyle Bass, founder of Dallas-based Hayman Capital Management, have been betting that capital flight will break a narrow band. But Ant Group’s $30 billion-plus float and other expected Chinese technology listings are drawing inflows, strengthening the currency and creating headaches for doomsayers.

Breakingviews - SoftBank shows true colours with U.S. tech binge

07 Sep 2020

HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - Like a restless gambler outside a casino, SoftBank founder Masayoshi Son simply can’t resist a flutter. A month after disclosing plans for a fund to manage excess corporate cash, the Japanese conglomerate has bought at least $30 billion of exposure to U.S.-listed technology stocks with $4 billion of call options. The investment reveals SoftBank’s true colours.

Breakingviews - Aussie finance scandal offers universal truths

03 Sep 2020

HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - There’s more than one Australian bar tale about hitting rock bottom – and then starting to dig. The struggles of wealth manager AMP, which effectively put up a “For Sale” sign this week, is destined to become a case study on the subject for financiers everywhere.   

Breakingviews - SoftBank divestitures set stage to shop again soon

01 Sep 2020

HONG KONG(Reuters Breakingviews) - Masayoshi Son’s latest quirky results presentation drew on lessons from Japanese military history. Although unicorns might have been more representative of the SoftBank founder’s cavalry charges than horses, as one analyst noted, the broader point was to illustrate the cash his Japanese tech and technology company was raising to shore up defences. The question is how long before Son embarks on another bold quest for investments.

Breakingviews - Ant squashes some Asian investment bankers

26 Aug 2020

HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - Bankers this year are at the mercy of the mighty Ant. The Chinese fintech company’s initial public offering will have an outsized influence on their performance. And it’s more than bragging rights at stake.

Breakingviews - Hong Kong skyscrapers will scale new heights again

26 Aug 2020

HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - It’s the long views that elevate Hong Kong’s skyscrapers. Hongkong Land, for example, has owned most of the buildings in its central Landmark complex since 1901; Swire Properties’ involvement in the once-industrial area of Quarry Bay dates to 1882. Shorter-term investors should put some faith into these now-struggling developers.  

Breakingviews - Charge into Chinese scooter’s VIE fine print

21 Aug 2020

HONG KONG (Reuters Breakingviews) - A lot has changed since Chinese web portal Sina.com debuted variable interest entities as part of its U.S. initial public offering two decades ago. Portals are no longer a thing, but structures to circumvent Beijing’s restrictions on foreign ownership of sensitive industries endure. As e-scooter maker Ninebot becomes the first to test them on the mainland market, investors should remember that the risks don’t go away with official acceptance.

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