DALLAS (Reuters Breakingviews) - The coronavirus lockdowns dragging on in the world’s densest cities have many urban dwellers yearning for more space. That makes a surge in people deciding to decamp to the suburbs and beyond appear likely. But at least one problem will give them pause: inadequate infrastructure.
DALLAS (Reuters Breakingviews) - The Great Lockdown will inevitably encourage governments to foster the creation of ever-larger “national champions” through corporate consolidation. Rob Cox, Edward Chancellor and Lauren Silva Laughlin discuss possible combos – and why this would be a bad outcome for capitalism.
DALLAS (Reuters Breakingviews) - U.S. President Donald Trump could be getting ready to play M&A adviser in the oil patch. American energy independence is a main tenet of his administration, but that goal is now seriously threatened: The black gold price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia will make many U.S. drillers uneconomic. Encouraging mergers that effectively create a state-backed oil company may be the best way to give the U.S. domestic industry a helping hand.
DALLAS/NEW YORK (Reuters Breakingviews) - Most podcasts are basically blogs with microphones. So media companies looking to invest in the relatively new medium – such as audio streaming company Spotify Technology – should consider the rocky history of blogging titans like Nick Denton and Arianna Huffington. Even blogging’s success stories have struggled to live up to expectations.
DALLAS (Reuters Breakingviews) - Elizabeth Holmes doesn’t blink. At least that’s one of the claims made in the HBO documentary “The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley,” released this month. The young founder of blood-testing upstart Theranos, who is set to appear in court later next month to defend criminal charges of fraud, just five years ago sat at the helm of a healthcare technology company worth some $9 billion in the private market. Alex Gibney’s film documents her swift rise and fall. It’s a tale of extremes, yet it underscores Silicon Valley’s proclivity for tolerating – and funding – overambitious, self-aggrandizing dreamers.
DALLAS (Reuters Breakingviews) - What’s the cost of the U.S. shutdown for businesses? Delta Air Lines has taken a guess: $25 million of revenue for every month the government stays closed. Big deal. Like the market plunge that hit bank earnings in the last financial quarter, the shutdown has high visibility but little lasting impact. Investors are focused on risks that are bigger and harder to visualize.
DALLAS (Reuters Breakingviews) - Investors aren’t giving U.S. retailers an inch. Macy's shares fell by nearly a fifth on Thursday after weak December sales prompted it to cut forecasts. Target and Kohl's also felt the downdraft despite more upbeat numbers. Online disruption and the decline of old stalwarts Sears and J.C. Penney have made investors justifiably jittery.
DALLAS (Reuters Breakingviews) - The world’s richest have long been prepared for the worst, be it financial meltdown, long-term power outages, cyber attacks or pandemic flu. Silicon Valley entrepreneur Sam Altman has an arrangement with billionaire investor Peter Thiel to take a private plane to New Zealand in the event of a systemic collapse, the New Yorker has reported.
LONDON/DALLAS (Reuters Breakingviews) - Even by his own standards, Donald Trump has been contradictory on oil. The U.S. president spent much of 2018 berating the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries for keeping crude prices high by undersupplying the market. At the same time, he exacerbated the problem by reinstating export sanctions on Iran. An early December cut by OPEC and fellow producers including Russia is an irritant, but relatively low prices still look attainable.
WASHINGTON/DALLAS (Reuters Breakingviews) - Tough talk by the United States on Iran sanctions is butting up against oil economics. Eight countries can temporarily keep importing Iranian oil without defying the restrictions set to go into effect next week. Top U.S. diplomat Mike Pompeo says the aim is still to go to zero. With a domestic election and Saudi Arabia in a mess, it’s a way to keep acting tough while limiting the risk of oil price spikes.