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Breakingviews - SocGen warning boosts investment bank sceptics

Frédéric Oudéa remains at the mercy of his misfiring traders. The Société Générale boss on Thursday warned the French lender’s investment banking revenue had fallen by a fifth in the fourth quarter. Keeping the dividend flat and letting investors take it in shares, rather than cash, points to further capital headwinds.

Breakingviews - Viewsroom: China’s slowdown is not created equal

People in the Middle Kingdom are buying fewer iPhones and cars, but Nike and others are chugging away nicely. Meanwhile, India’s struggling rural farmers are a force too big to ignore in this year’s general election. Plus: The Detroit auto show reflects the industry’s gloom.

Breakingviews - Stalling Jet Airways puts Narendra Modi in a bind

Narendra Modi faces an airborne dilemma. To keep Jet Airways flying, the Indian prime minister may have to choose between relaxing foreign ownership rules for Abu Dhabi backer Etihad, and letting state lenders take a hit on a private carrier. Both options touch the country’s financial sore points – and represent a quandary for the ruling party ahead of an election due by May. 

Breakingviews - Shutdown tests U.S. companies’ stress filters

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.

Breakingviews - Markets point to way out of Brexit impasse

Financial markets are showing Theresa May that there is a way out of her Brexit impasse. The pound rose and stocks were stable after the prime minister’s historic parliamentary defeat on Tuesday evening, defying earlier predictions by politicians of a crash. If May survives, a softer Brexit or second referendum have become more likely. Investors’ relative calm contrasts with the political confusion.

Breakingviews - Miners can close the confidence gap in 2019

Miners are in position to close the confidence gap in 2019. One important indicator suggests equity investors are fretting about a Chinese slowdown and don't trust cashed-up bosses at BHP, Rio Tinto and elsewhere to stay restrained. The pessimism is overdone.

Breakingviews - Brexit defeat will begin process of elimination

Theresa May’s looming Brexit defeat will begin a process of elimination. Britain’s parliament is on Tuesday expected to reject the prime minister’s plan to leave the European Union. The historic vote will offer few pointers about which alternatives politicians prefer. But it will at least force them to test – and discard – some of their rapidly shrinking options.

Breakingviews - Waning China FDI overshadows trade worries

Trade with China gets the attention these days, but shrinking business investments into and out of the country present a longer-term concern. Inbound funds from overseas grew less than 1 percent in yuan terms last year, to $131 billion. Flows to North America and Europe tanked. Weaker demand is a problem, but deepening suspicions are as much to blame.

Breakingviews - Citigroup is in a good place to do better

Citigroup boss Mike Corbat is doing well enough at making his $138 billion bank more efficient. He has a year to do better. Last week he let investor ValueAct inside the tent, with an agreement to give the activist fund access to confidential information for a year. That will increase the pressure to catch up with rivals.

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Reuters Breakingviews is the world's leading source of agenda-setting financial insight. As the Reuters brand for financial commentary, we dissect the big business and economic stories as they break around the world every day. A global team of about 30 correspondents in New York, London, Hong Kong and other major cities provides expert analysis in real time. Sign up for a free trial of our full service at http://www.breakingviews.com/trial and follow us on Twitter @Breakingviews and at www.breakingviews.com. All opinions expressed are those of the authors.

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