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The Great Debate Headlines

Cox: AT&T opens itself up to activist attack

CEO Randall Stephenson is an old-fashioned empire builder cut from Jean-Marie Messier cloth. In an era of pushy investors, however, running roughshod over shareholders to play Hollywood mogul doesn't fly. There's a blueprint for challenging this terrible plan to buy Time Warner.

Cox: Amsterdam has first-world financial dilemma

The city that invented the stock exchange and multinational may be Europe's ideal post-Brexit banking hub. Beyond fears about traders' Ferraris clogging bike lanes, however, Amsterdammers will need to overcome a bonus cap. This is where populism may win out over Dutch pragmatism.

Cox: Stock picking for a “Trump Victory Portfolio”

The U.S. presidential race is tight after the first debate between the two candidates and only six weeks until the election. Investors will have bigger asset-allocation decisions to make in the event Trump wins. A new fund might start by shorting Amazon and going long Greyhound.

Cox: Apple and Tesla really need each other now

Tim Cook may be revamping his approach to autonomous cars, while Elon Musk needs capital and corporate credibility. An Apple stake in Musk's electric carmaker would help both. Adding the Tesla founder to the iPhone giant's board could catalyze innovation there, too.

Cox: Banking ghosts haunt Clinton in Philadelphia

Long before Donald Trump upended politics by excoriating the establishment, Andrew Jackson attacked a pillar of the City of Brotherly Love: the Second Bank. It got him re-elected and firmly established the Democratic Party, whose candidate is now threatened by a similar campaign.

Cox: Iron Man Musk wages war on too many fronts

Like the film superhero modeled after him, Tesla's boss is taking on the world. Fighting regulators, Warren Buffett, industries and the laws of physics means Musk can't afford to alienate investors. Dropping a proposal to buy SolarCity could strengthen his next master plan.

Cox: Dismantling Dodd-Frank is a Trump distraction

Republicans and their presumptive leader want to overhaul the financial-reform law. Recent stress tests and narrowing funding costs between big and small banks suggest that swapping reliance on regulators for bankruptcy courts is a bad idea, even if Trump knows the latter well.

Cox: How about a referendum on ending referendums?

Rather than take hard decisions, politicians are putting issues like Brexit, constitutional reform and even peace treaties directly to the people. How democracy works best is an ancient debate, but plebiscites undermine the representative variety. They’re also bad for business.

Dixon: Why I’m voting to remain in Europe

Britain has much to gain from capital markets union and free digital trade, argues Breakingviews’ founder. But the boiling cauldron of the Middle East and North Africa, and the Leave camp’s misinformation, are even more worrying. Brexit would be a triumph for post-truth politics.

Cox: Slicing global trade with a GE carving knife

Much of the discourse surrounding the U.S. election and Brexit makes free trade and labor mobility sound like terrible things. Individual tales of dislocation are manifold and moving. The shared benefits of globalization are huge, though – as one humble appliance illustrates.

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