Posts from Wednesday May 7 2014

Peace in our time

The rally on Russia’s Micex stock index, at pixel time — Sberbank’s up 9 per cent — after President Putin decided Ukraine has been left weakened enough maybe doesn’t need a referendum in the east after all. This time. Read more

Takeovers, jobs and the capital markets

The attempt by US drug company Pfizer to buy AstraZeneca, the crown jewel of Britain’s pharmaceutical industry, has prompted entirely predictable reactions.

There is outraged huffing and puffing from the left and from vested interests about the loss of the UK science base. Even the FT has joined in with the pseudo-dirigism more usual in the Guardian or Le Monde, calling for an independent assessment of takeovers which might damage UK science… Read more

Blame the media, China property edition

The bank that brought “adaptive pricing” to the China property euphemism table just two weeks ago is getting quite a bit blunter.

We’ll spare you more charts today, but here’s a chunk or two from Citi’s Oscar Choi and Marco Sze who have been forced into a shower of scare quotes by weaker than expected April data (emphasis in original):

A Powerful Loosening “Combo” now a MUST to Prevent a “Demand Cliff”: We believe the physical market has reached a critical point, with potential for broader- based demand shrinkage across different product-ends. Beside the recurring factors like tight credit, HPR [home purchase restrictions] policy, altered ASP [average selling price] expectations due to media reporting, etc, different to FY08/11, the downward pressure on demand is also intensified by new factors, like a weaker economy, RMB depreciation, anti- corruption, outflows of purchasing power to overseas, etc, We believe merely fine- tuning policy by the local gov’ts is insufficient to mitigate this potential correction…

June/July – Last Chance to Shoot the Silver Bullet:

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Markets Live: Wednesday, 7th May, 2014

Live markets commentary from FT.com 

The (early) Lunch Wrap

SocGen Russia writedown || HSBC profits drop || King bows out with growth at Sainsbury || Imperial Tobacco struggles || Allianz in Pimco criticism || China and Vietnam clash over rig || Markets meh Read more

Socgen remains committed to Russia (just in case you were wondering)

As the FT reports on Wedneday, France’s Socgen has taken a €525m writedown on the goodwill of its Russian assets, becoming the first big Western bank to suffer significant financial damage from the crisis in Ukraine.

The losses emanate mostly from the bank’s rouble exposure and its ownership of the Rosbank subsidiary, which accounts for 5 per cent of the group’s total revenues. Read more

Further reading

Elsewhere on Wednesday,

- Monetary theory on the Neo-Fisherite edge.

- Heather Boushey on Picketty.

- Cowen versus TED on inequality and the arts. Read more

The 6am London Cut

Markets: Japanese investors returned from a four-day weekend to send shares down by more than 2 per cent, prompting bourses around the region to follow suit. In China, HSBC’s purchasing managers’ index for the services sector slipped from 51.9 in March to 51.4 in April, while the tracking employment part of the survey fell to a seven-month low. (FT’s Global Markets OverviewRead more