NEW YORK (Reuters Breakingviews) - The revolving door from Wall Street to Washington might soon slam shut. If Joe Biden wins November’s U.S. presidential election, some Democrats want him to eschew finance folks when staffing key roles. Some people who could add value, like BlackRock boss Larry Fink, would fail such a tough purity test.
NEW YORK (Reuters Breakingviews) - Shareholder democracy is a nebulous concept. With Palantir Technologies, though, it’s a non-issue: there isn’t any. The data-analytics company is setting a starting-point valuation of about $20 billion for its direct listing next week. Would-be shareholders need to square their own assessments with the near certainty they will be ignored.
NEW YORK (Reuters Breakingviews) - Government U-turns don’t come much bigger. Popular fury forced the abandonment of hypothetical calculations of likely grades for the UK’s national A-level exams this week. The decision is a reminder that even well-intentioned algorithms make many harmful mistakes.
NEW YORK (Reuters Breakingviews) - Breaking records can be good – but not when they’re for economic disintegration. U.S. GDP crashed at a 33% annualized pace in the three months to June, the Bureau of Economic Analysis said on Thursday. At least the trajectory of America’s economic output is a known unknown: The current quarter is less bad. How much so is anyone’s guess, though. And the Federal Reserve – and especially Congress – can shift the outcome.
NEW YORK (Reuters Breakingviews) - The office is not dead, though hot-desking may be. The elevator needs a rethink. And don’t rule out the shopping mall. Brookfield Asset Management’s chief executive made these and other predictions for the post-pandemic global economy in a recent chat with Breakingviews editors.
NEW YORK (Reuters Breakingviews) - It’s a force in myriad global markets. It’s the default source for governments needing advice on the biggest financial questions. Its sprawl means that sometimes it seems to be on both sides of certain dealings. That’s Goldman Sachs, before and during the financial crisis of 2008-2009. It also describes another company today: investment manager BlackRock.
NEW YORK (Reuters Breakingviews) - There’s nothing like a coronavirus-induced lockdown to reveal who really matters. Everyone who cares for sick people, for starters. Yet many workers now designated “essential” by leaders such as New York Governor Andrew Cuomo make less than average U.S. wages. Any post-virus rethink of supply chains and other problems exposed by the crisis must consider who gets paid what.
NEW YORK (Reuters Breakingviews) - In February, just 5.8 million Americans were unemployed, out of a labor force of over 164 million. Last week alone, 6.6 million people filed initial claims for unemployment benefits. Usually, the regular U.S. jobs reports provide insight into gradual economic trends. Now they merely document the sudden impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. Friday’s monthly report – usually a key data point – is already out of date.
NEW YORK (Reuters Breakingviews) - Last week's 3.3 million unemployment-benefits claims in the United States rewrote the record books. Congress, meanwhile, is working on a $2 trillion stimulus package to counter the economic pain of the Covid-19 pandemic. What's the net effect on businesses? Nine months’ total shutdown is one interpretation of the more than 20% drop in the S&P 500 Index in 2020.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Activist investors are usually pretty hard-headed. That could turn Elliott Management's nearly $3 billion stake in Masayoshi Son's $90 billion SoftBank Group, as reported by Reuters and others, into a face-off between cynics and dreamers.