PARIS (Reuters Breakingviews) - The yellow vest protests are fizzling out in France, but the inequities that fueled them haven’t gone away. That it takes six generations for the poorest to reach the middle class is a big one. The OECD chief economist discusses this, Brexit, Italy and more with Rob Cox.
PARIS (Reuters Breakingviews) - The White House in October published a report arguing that living standards in the Nordic countries of Europe were “at least 15 percent lower” than those in the United States largely because of socialist policies. Among the evidence marshalled by the Council of Economic Advisers was the cost of a pickup truck, “one of the most popular personal vehicles in the United States”. As one Danish executive remarked: “I’ve never even seen a pickup in Copenhagen.”
PARIS (Reuters Breakingviews) - Beto O’Rourke is a vessel into which many Democrats are pouring their hopes for the next American president. They are attracted by the vibe of integrity, youthful energy, courage and intellect the Texas congressman emits. He has not, however, offered much in the way of detailed policy: No white papers, no prescriptive manifestoes. He is even elusive on some basic questions, like where he stands on healthcare reform. As for the economy, who knows?
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Berlin has blessed the potential union of Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank to create a German national champion in financial services. Conventional wisdom holds that the official sanction from the Bundesregierung makes a marriage between the two challenged institutions a done deal. But it’s precisely this sort of statist logic that keeps Europe from developing more globally competitive businesses.
PARIS (Reuters Breakingviews) - Techno music from a portable speaker sounded the alarm at 1 p.m. sharp on Saturday, in front of the McDonald’s at Charles de Gaulle airport. Dozens of men and women quickly donned the yellow vests, or gilets jaunes, that have become the uniform of a movement which has for 17 weeks galvanized the French Republic and defied President Emmanuel Macron’s government.
PARIS (Reuters Breakingviews) - Kraft Heinz shares reached their zenith two years ago, the day Unilever rejected an unwanted takeover approach from the aggressive maker of ketchup and processed cheese. Its Anglo-Dutch quarry’s stock also got a boost. How the tables have turned. The Cheez Whiz giant has melted down since offering to buy Unilever: its $40 billion market value is now just a quarter of its erstwhile prey’s. Unilever, meantime, has blossomed into a $155 billion behemoth.
PARIS (Reuters Breakingviews) - What’s the best way to play the impeachment of the U.S. president? That’s a question that investors are pondering as Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Donald Trump’s ties with Russia, and other stuff, finishes up.
PARIS (Reuters Breakingviews) - Coco Chanel once remarked that “fashion passes, style remains”. The French billionaire brothers who own Chanel will undoubtedly replay those words in their heads as the fashion industry mourns Karl Lagerfeld’s passing. The iconic German designer, who for 36 years led the catwalk for the Parisian fashion house, was 85. A normal company might use the occasion to sell the business while it’s still enviously coveted. But a deal looks a long way off.
PARIS (Reuters Breakingviews) - “It’s just business” may be difficult for Vincent Bolloré to utter. Vivendi, the media group he controls, is sore about the work JPMorgan did with activist investor Elliott Advisors in last year’s Telecom Italia saga. The grudge may rear its head in one of the biggest European deals of 2019.
PARIS (Reuters Breakingviews) - Starbucks has had two nationwide shutdowns in its history. The first one, 11 years ago, saw 135,000 baristas retrained in the “art of the espresso” at roughly 7,000 U.S. stores to revive customer service and combat flagging sales. The second Starbucks shutdown was last year. For four hours, 175,000 U.S. employees in 50 states participated in racial-bias training, following an incident in a Philadelphia store where two African-American patrons were wrongly arrested for trespassing.