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Breakingviews - Fortnite outplays media titans in a battle royale

Fortnite is battling media titans into a corner. The smash-hit video game may have raked in as much as $2.4 billion in 2018 sales, industry tracker SuperData estimates, more than any Hollywood blockbuster last year. Netflix said this week that it is threatened too, in the fight for viewers’ attention. Success comes from the mass appeal: young and older gamers are hooked. Both traditional movie outfits and streaming giants are right to be alarmed.

Breakingviews - Jack Bogle defined value in more ways than one

John Bogle, the founder of Vanguard who died on Wednesday, defined value in more ways than one. He turned the once-heretical idea of tracking the broad stock market into the dominant form of investing. Instead of pursuing personal riches, he spread the ethos of low-cost fund management, saving investors untold billions and building the mutually owned firm into a $5 trillion juggernaut.

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 - 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 - 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.

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