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Breakingviews - At least U.S. GDP trajectory is a known unknown

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.

Breakingviews - Weakened Shell offers dim hope for pre-virus glory

Oil majors may be past the worst of the coronavirus-induced crash, but the recovery is likely to be long and arduous. Royal Dutch Shell, Chief Executive Ben van Beurden on Thursday said the $122 billion company’s sales fell by nearly two-thirds in the second quarter, as crude prices collapsed during lockdowns. The pandemic will leave a legacy of rising debt, diminished investment and uncertain demand. Juicy investor payouts are the natural sacrifice.  

Breakingviews - Credit Suisse takes right leaf out of rival’s book

Credit Suisse has already been through the wringer. Former Chief Executive Tidjane Thiam cut 4.3 billion Swiss francs ($4.7 billion) of costs at the Zurich-based lender between 2015 and 2019. Now, his successor, Thomas Gottstein, will make further annual savings of 400 million francs, merge his investment banking units and may shrink the proportion of capital allocated to that business. His plan, which amounts to mimicking UBS, is likely to narrow a valuation dis

Breakingviews - Mumbai’s slums test lockdown logic

Just maybe, India’s financial capital can start to look beyond its Covid-19 lockdown. An antibody testing study has found that a whopping 57% of people sampled in densely populated slum areas of Mumbai had coronavirus antibodies. Some 40% of the city’s 20 million or so residents live in similar settings, where toilets and water supply are often shared and social distancing is impossible. The result tests the logic of the city's strict lockdown.

Breakingviews - Big Tech bosses face hot air and hard truths

Politicians love to throw mud at Silicon Valley, and sometimes it sticks. The chiefs of Apple, Amazon.com, Facebook and Google faced an array of silly questions at a Washington, D.C. hearing on Wednesday, but also encountered pointed examples of their firms throwing their weight around and squashing competitors. Tim Cook, Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg and Sundar Pichai have some self-examination to do.

Breakingviews - TikTok deal depends on how, not how much

A potential takeover of TikTok hinges more on the “how” than “how much.” Some investors in the social media app’s parent company ByteDance, among them General Atlantic and Sequoia, want to buy the video-sharing phenomenon for $50 billion, Reuters reported on Wednesday citing people familiar with the situation. That valuation suggests it will expand much faster than rivals like Snap, but it also suggests – optimistically – that TikTok will make a clean brea

Breakingviews - Europe’s FICCy bank traders flatter to deceive

For once, Europe’s bank traders aren’t the dunces in the class. Having long dragged down group-wide returns, the markets-based units of Barclays and Deutsche Bank surged in the second quarter. Yet ebbing volatility implies that the old reality will return before long, necessitating further cuts.

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