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Breakingviews Headlines

Breakingviews - GE’s clean sheet reveals real turnaround challenge

A quarterly earnings report without big writedowns represents a victory of sorts for General Electric boss John Flannery. Sure, the U.S. conglomerate’s earnings fell by nearly one-third year-on-year in the three months ended June 30 – but at least the nature of the challenge is now clear.

Breakingviews - Review: The Lehman saga told by its Brothers

In September it will be a decade since Lehman Brothers collapsed. While many recall the Wall Street firm’s dramatic failure - and the global crisis it unleashed - few know how it began. A dazzling new production of “The Lehman Trilogy” examines that story through the eyes of its founding siblings and the dynasty they created. It’s America’s economic history distilled into a family drama.

Breakingviews - UK takes space leap as it leaves EU orbit

Britain’s space industry has taken a big step forward. A plan to create Europe’s first-ever rocket launch pad taps into a commercial desire to send satellites into the Earth’s orbit. The bright spot helps offset the Brexit-related row about the UK’s membership of the European Union’s Galileo satellite-navigation project.

Breakingviews - Aussie tycoon hammers home overboarding message

Companies around the world just got a stark reminder about how stretched executives can get. Australian billionaire James Packer has resigned from a whopping 22 directorships after quitting the board of casino operator Crown Resorts for mental health reasons. Campaigns against such so-called “overboarding” are on the rise, especially as evidence suggests returns can suffer.

Breakingviews - The Exchange: Asia’s bubbly entrepreneurs

Pete Sweeney hits the RISE tech conference in Hong Kong and hears pitches on vegan cryptocurrency, fog computing and big data for shrimp farmers. Trade tensions haven’t dented enthusiasm, but venture capitalists expect a correction to flush the dumb money from the market.  

Breakingviews - Microsoft could use some self-inflicted activism

Microsoft needs to become its own activist. The software giant now has more than $50 billion in net cash on its balance sheet. Tax changes will boost its hoard even faster. With debt easily manageable, the company ought to boost dividends and buybacks, before pushy investors force it to.

Breakingviews - Viewsroom: Europe puts Google in a bind

The search firm can easily cover the EU’s $5 bln fine for using its Android phone system to stymie rivals. But the order to stop forcing handset makers to pre-install its software could clip innovation. Plus: Goldman Sachs and Tesla put lackluster corporate governance on show.

Breakingviews - Aramco’s downstream diversion solves few problems

Saudi Aramco has a new way to keep corporate financiers busy. The state-owned oil giant has spent more than two years weighing up what would be the world’s largest ever initial public offering. Now it might buy a stake in petrochemical maker Saudi Basic Industries Corporation. Though it’s not unusual for oil producers to diversify into making oil-based products, the deal would do little to help Saudi Arabia achieve a couple of key objectives.

Breakingviews - Comcast’s second loss to Disney is a victory

Comcast Chief Executive Brian Roberts is swallowing his ego a second time. The controlling owner of the U.S. cable firm decided not to top rival Walt Disney’s $71 billion bid for some assets of Rupert Murdoch’s Twenty-First Century Fox. He also backed down from an aggressive tilt at the Mouse House 14 years earlier. Given the eye-watering price Disney is paying, Roberts and his shareholders should come out the winners.

Breakingviews - China's commitment to stable yuan looks unstable

China's commitment to a stable yuan looks unstable. The currency moved below 6.7 to the dollar this week, a level recently defended by state banks. That reflects a greenback rally and cooling Chinese growth, not the export weapon many investors fear. As Beijing warms to monetary easing, though, lines in the forex sand will blow away quickly.


Judge praises U.S. efforts in reuniting migrant families

A federal judge said on Friday the U.S. government had made "very promising" progress toward reuniting some 2,500 immigrant children separated from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border as part of a crackdown on illegal immigration.