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Breakingviews - Chinese phenom Pinduoduo has some explaining to do

The boss of a leading Chinese e-commerce group was asked recently what job other than the current one, would be most interesting to consider. The answer: receptionist at rival Pinduoduo, "because I’d like to know how they do it." Investors may have a similar response following a report from an American fund betting against the $19 billion three-year-old firm, once dubbed the world’s fastest-growing internet seller, that claims it has been fiddling with its num

Breakingviews - Hadas: Fear of fiscal deficits is overdone

Is money more like gold or like motor oil? The answer to that fundamental question helps determine how large fiscal deficits should be, and how best to find the money to close the gap between tax revenues and government expenditures.

Breakingviews - Brexit compromise confirms Britain’s hard choices

Theresa May’s Brexit compromise has confirmed Britain’s hard choices. After a year of intense negotiations – mostly with members of her own party – the prime minister late on Tuesday secured a draft deal to leave the European Union. The agreement with Brussels would shackle the United Kingdom to the bloc without the influence it enjoyed as a member. Opponents have two options: crash out next March, or call another referendum.

Breakingviews - Wall Street can be effective forest-fire fighter

Wall Street can help fight wildfires. California is being ravaged by the most deadly and destructive conflagration in its history. Last year such fires caused $18 billion in damage and consumed up to $180 billion of economic output, or 6.5 percent of GDP, in the Golden State, according to AccuWeather. A new financing tool can reduce fire risk and its impact on water, air and livelihoods.

Breakingviews - Jeff Bezos spreads jobs and disappointment

Jeff Bezos is spreading jobs and disappointment by splitting his ballyhooed second headquarters between New York City and greater Washington, D.C. The decision enables the Amazon boss to tap two of the nation’s deepest pools of technology talent. The unconventional choice of two conventional cities also aggravates the socioeconomic divisions that plague America.

Breakingviews - EU tech’s unholy alliance takes shape in Lisbon

Holding one of the world’s largest web conferences in Lisbon highlights an uncomfortable truth: Europe has produced vanishingly few large internet companies. Top billing at last week’s Web Summit in the Portuguese capital therefore went to American giants. Executives from Apple, Slack, Pinterest, Microsoft and Google (twice) all took to the main stage in the city’s cavernous Altice Arena. The only European businesses with dedicated centre-stage sessions were Ro

Breakingviews - SoftBank turns to dividends to dial up IPO appeal

SoftBank is turning to dividends to dial up the appeal for its Japanese mobile unit. Masayoshi Son’s conglomerate wants to raise as much as $23 billion with an initial public offering due later this month. That implies a chunky premium to its rivals, and leans on generous payouts too. A looming price war will make it difficult, though, to keep up promises to hand out almost twice as much of its earnings as the likes of NTT Docomo and KDDI.

Breakingviews - Stan Lee’s legacy is Hollywood’s golden ticket

Stan Lee, who died at the age of 95, built an Incredible Hulk-sized box office legacy. Through Marvel, the comic-book creator helped whip up a brigade of characters – including the tetchy green giant among others – on which movie studios now depend for audiences. He also showed, inadvertently, that even superheroes need powerful friends.

Breakingviews - SoftBank mobile IPO calls for bullish Mrs Watanabe

SoftBank’s mobile phone unit could be worth around $70 billion when it floats, according to Bloomberg. Selling more than a third of the stock would make its initial public offering the biggest on record. That valuation could be too aggressive, though, according to Breakingviews calculations. With a heavy focus on retail investors, it’s ordinary Japanese who will need to be persuaded to pay up.

Breakingviews - Review: Why too much banking can hurt

One of the more perverse ideas of modern economics is that an abundance of natural resources is a handicap rather than a blessing. In Africa and elsewhere, excessive mineral wealth appears to have imposed inordinate costs on regular people. Now Nicholas Shaxson has extended the concept to finance, arguing that overdeveloped banks and markets can also prove too much of a good thing.

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