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Breakingviews Headlines

Breakingviews - Italy's north teaches Catalonia a self-rule lesson

Italy's wealthy north can teach Catalonia a lesson in demanding self-rule. Voters in Lombardy and Veneto, which together make up around 30 percent of Italian gross domestic product, asked for more autonomy in referendums at the weekend. Like Catalonia, these territories want to keep more tax revenue. But unlike the fractious Spanish region, they stopped short of demanding independence. Such gentle pressure may yield better results.

Breakingviews - Abe wins mandate to give Japan a raise

For Abenomics fans, the results of Japan’s snap election Sunday were sweet. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's ruling coalition has retained a two-thirds "super majority," paving the way for him to become the nation’s longest-serving leader.

Breakingviews - Daimler’s reform drive lacks horsepower

If Daimler’s cars were as slow as its restructuring, the company would have few customers. The Mercedes-Benz parent has problems aplenty, which bumper third-quarter sales do little to change. A plan to carve out its car and truck units might help lift its valuation if that eventually led to a separate listing. But at the current pace of progress, investors have no reason to give the company much credit.

Breakingviews - PBOC’s Zhou seeks lasting sway with debt warning

China’s taciturn central bank governor suddenly has lots to say. Zhou Xiaochuan, head of the People’s Bank of China, grabbed headlines by warning on Thursday of a possible “Minsky moment.” His reference to a potential financial and economic crash follows other urgent calls for reform in recent days. The comments seem aimed at burnishing his legacy, as well as trying to ensure a like-minded successor fills his shoes.

Breakingviews - PayPal’s future rests on striking quadruple whammy

PayPal's future rests on striking a quadruple whammy. The $80 billion payments firm, which announced estimates-beating third-quarter earnings on Thursday, is worth as much as American Express – more, if an after-hours bump in its stock holds up. At 31 times the next 12 months’ estimated earnings, it trades at a higher multiple than Visa or MasterCard. Justifying such a rapid rise requires Chief Executive Dan Schulman to execute well on four crucial strategies.

Breakingviews - Verizon stuck in neutral as rivals shift

Verizon’s perch as the No. 1 carrier in the United States looks secure. The $200 billion telecom firm reported a rise in wireless subscribers on Thursday. But the gap is narrowing. Cable rivals Comcast and Charter are also offering mobile services, AT&T is trying to become a media company and Sprint and T-Mobile may yet merge. A heavy debt load hobbles Verizon’s ability to quickly change lanes.

Breakingviews - Exchange Podcast: Scott Galloway

The NYU marketing guru swung by Times Square to discuss what's next for "The Four" tech behemoths - Google, Apple, Amazon and Facebook. Among his predictions: one of them will be hit with a $10 bln-plus antitrust fine and Amazon will choose New York for its second headquarters.

Breakingviews - ICOs validate old-school "follow the money" mantra

Call it teething trouble with tezzies. One of the biggest so-called initial coin offerings to date, which raised some $230 million for a blockchain project called Tezos, has led to a spat between its architects and a Swiss foundation that controls the digital cash, according to a Reuters special report (http://reut.rs/2gncW1B). Even in the world of crypto-currencies, traditional financial motivations apply.

Breakingviews - Hadas: Time to slay the free market-myth monster

Free markets sound like such a good idea. They offer choice and opportunities, which are good things. And who does not want freedom? Besides, if the alternative to these markets is the impassive, incompetent bureaucratic state, then the policy path is obvious. Let markets go free and peg back governments, so their only role in the productive economy is to deal with the occasional failure of markets to work as they should.

Breakingviews - Unilever struggle gives hope to predators

Unilever’s struggle gives hope to predators. The consumer giant that fended off a bid from Kraft Heinz earlier this year reported weak third-quarter sales on Thursday. Chief Executive Paul Polman is sprucing up brands, but the more pedestrian Unilever’s performance, the more vulnerable it becomes.

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Trump dismisses 401(k) changes, additional bracket for tax plan

WASHINGTON U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday dismissed the possibility of limiting popular 401(k) retirement savings plans to help pay for Republicans' sweeping tax plan and expressed doubts about adding another top bracket targeting high earners.