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Breakingviews - Everyone is right about China’s economy

China bears and bulls can pick their data in the Year of the Pig. Stock markets are charging; bonds defaulting. Lunar New Year holiday spending was weak, but January exports boomed. State-owned companies and contradictory industrial and monetary policies are muddying traditional performance measures. They betray an economy going in two directions at once.

Breakingviews - The Exchange: Fixing tech's gender disparity

Women hold too few roles in corporate America, especially in engineering and computer science. Verizon’s Genia Wilbourn joins Breakingviews to discuss how she and the telecom company are addressing that, from diversity training to influencing suppliers to the CEO’s crucial role.

Breakingviews - Veganism may prove a more durable diet fad

The latest diet trend may prove more durable than previous fads. Concerns about climate change and animal welfare - as well as healthy eating - are prompting more consumers to embrace veganism. Like the low-carb trend of the early 2000s, companies are scrambling to keep up with changing consumer tastes. But the shift to shunning animal products looks more than a flash in the pan.

Breakingviews - If Chanel were a normal company, it’d be in play

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.

Breakingviews - HSBC pushes investor goodwill to its limits

A charmed life is one unaffected by the vicissitudes of modern existence. Take HSBC for example. Almost alone among battered European lenders, the London-listed bank’s shares trade at a chunky 20 percent premium to its tangible book value despite delivering returns below its likely 10 percent cost of capital. Annual results delivered on Tuesday offered only a little comfort.

Breakingviews - Money can’t buy China’s chip industry much love

Sometimes money isn’t enough. Beijing may offer to buy more semiconductors from the United States, a move that underscores the challenges it has faced in its bid to make advanced ones at home. Industrial policies like Made in China 2025 draw fury abroad, but the People’s Republic’s scant progress in churning out high-tech chips suggests it’s unclear if such measures even work. 

Breakingviews - UK’s centrist group is far from a Macron moment

Britain’s new centrist breakaway is a long way from the country’s “Emmanuel Macron” moment. The defection of seven politicians from the left-wing Labour party on Monday invites comparisons with the political realignment that eventually propelled the French President to power. But Britain’s political system penalises small parties. The split probably strengthens Prime Minister Theresa May, and may even help her Brexit deal.

Breakingviews - Italian grudge may steer Vivendi’s big M&A mandate

“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.

Breakingviews - UK throws drowning Huawei a European lifeline

Britain has thrown Huawei a European lifeline. The UK’s National Cyber Security Centre has decided it can manage the risks from using the Chinese giant's kit to build next-generation 5G wireless networks, the Financial Times says. That would make London the first major power to challenge Washington’s campaign against the telecoms equipment-to-smartphone maker. It may not be the last.

Breakingviews - Trump wall non-deal requires scraping for funds

Donald Trump has started another war of sorts – this time at home. Congress rejected the U.S. president’s demands to fund a southern border barrier, so on Friday he declared a national emergency, a move that will face an array of legal challenges. It’s a messy non-deal considering Trump turned down a compromise providing $25 billion for his wall in 2018.

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