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(Spending some time as FTAV’s Bombay wallah. Noticeably sweatier but not much else has changed.)

David studied economics, politics and journalism before joining the FT in 2011 as a Marjorie Deane fellow. He covered emerging markets, equities and currencies before making the jump over to FT Alphaville in May 2012.

In between his degree and masters he wandered into the real world of business where he learnt how to manipulate a spreadsheet and organise meetings where nothing gets decided.

He has spent time in France, learning French, and India, learning how to cross roads, and enjoys nothing less than writing about himself in the third person.

His hobbies include reaching things on top shelves, running long distances at slow speeds, growing beards and trying to live up to a rash claim he made as a twelve-year old that “he had read all of the books”.

If you wish to know more about David please do pick up the phone and call him for a chat in the first person. Be warned though: he tends to talk at pace and in an Irish accent.

Contact David Keohane

A brief history of M&A

SocGen are at it again, and this time they appear to be mid-thrust:

Disappointingly, there’s no introspective mention of value destruction to be seen, but we do get price defense as the main justification for M&A activity: Read more

Further reading

Elsewhere on Tuesday,

- The Mystery of the Dots, Part II.

- Three expensive milliseconds.

- Live a modern life while frustrating the NSARead more

The 6am London Cut

Markets: Japanese stocks were on pace to end a seven-day slump after Wall Street stocks rebounded from a two-month low, although Chinese equities faltered as the central bank signalled concerns over the boom in lending. (FT’s Global Market OverviewRead more

SOE this is what passes for reform?

When is reform of a Chinese state-owned enterprise not reform at all?

When it’s not going to create value.

Arguably, for example — when it’s really a reverse merger that allows a parent to tap international capital markets and bail out a struggling subsidiary that lost heavy in Australian iron ore mines. Arguably, we said.

Or — an oil major selling a third of its enormous marketing segment to state-backed pension funds, in order to access private capital and boost its already dominant position. Again, arguablyRead more

The Lok Sabha of dreams

If we come, will they build it? Here’s the Indian economy charted, by Citi:

 Read more

Further reading

Elsewhere on Monday,

-The r’s of Piketty and Summers.

- R vs. g, robots versus globalisation.

- TED congratulating the SEC for finally seeing the light of intelligent market regulation in the M&A world.

- The problem with profitless start-upsRead more

The 6am London Cut

Markets: Asian markets were under pressure in the face of fresh tension in Ukraine and after the S&P 500 dropped to a two-month low on Friday. However, action was muted as investors waited for key Asian data later in the week, including China GDP figures on Wednesday. The US earnings season also ramps up, with about 10 per cent of S&P 500 companies set to report this week. (FT’s Global Markets OverviewRead more

Further reading

Elsewhere on Friday,

- Teaching Rawls after Piketty.

- How does Paul Ryan balance the budget?

- How western is Germany?

- The school of hard knocksRead more

The 6am London Cut

Markets: Japanese stocks were on pace for their worst week of declines since 2011, leading a broader Asia-Pacific sell-off. A 6 per cent drop in US biotech shares spooked markets, sending the S&P 500 down by 2.1 per cent in its worst session since early February. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite tumbled 3.1 per cent for its worst day since November 2011. The negative tone spread across Asia, with Japanese stocks under added pressure following the release of minutes from the Bank of Japan’s March 10-11 meeting, which depicted a central bank that sees little reason to unleash further stimulus. (FT’s Global Markets OverviewRead more

Further reading

Elsewhere on Thursday,

- PIK toggle notes aren’t really PIK toggle notes at all — they are YOLO notes.

- Krugman on Piketty.

- Your *ahem* upbeat Ambrose Evans-Pritchard on the march of solar.

- New leverage rules find banks some more assetsRead more

The 6am London Cut

Markets: A dovish outlook from the US Federal Reserve and a solid Australian jobs report overshadowed weak trade and business spending numbers from China and Japan. (FT’s Global Markets OverviewRead more

Further reading

Elsewhere on Wednesday,

- The real problem with HFT.

- Summers’ inverse Say’s Law.

- The impolitic wisdom of Simon Kuznets.

- Buying the futureRead more

The 6am London Cut

Markets: Japanese stocks suffered as hopes for monetary stimulus faded, but the rest of Asia-Pacific was upbeat after Wall Street staged a rally. Japan’s losses were driven by comments from central bank governor Haruhiko Kuroda. On Tuesday he acknowledged that last week’s increase in the national sales tax was likely to push the economy into a decline this quarter, but said he foresees the economy rebounding by summer. In other words, no need for further stimulus. (FT’s Global Markets OverviewRead more

The good, the bad and the ugly of India’s election: cut out and keep edition

If you’re short the rupee* the past few months have been uncomfortable.

Not only have (somewhat dodgy) Indian polling data pointed consistently to a stable BJP government being formed after elections which started this week, but India has also managed to get its macro house into some sort of order.

From Goldman, for example: Read more

The €1,000,000,000,000 question, revisited

Unanimous in its commitment to using also unconventional instruments within its mandate in order to cope effectively with risks of a too prolonged period of low inflation…

– Mario Draghi, April ECB press conference

Don’t try saying that with a mouthful of peas.

More seriously, spot the caveats. A few members of the ECB governing council have since added to the noise around ECB QE — Nowotny, Mersch, Constancio, Coeure and Weidmann — but we feel better no informed than when the presser ended on Thursday. Read more

Further reading

Elsewhere on Tuesday,

- The problem with Flash Boys is that the demands Lewis makes of his narrative don’t align well with the structural problems of HFT.

- Revisiting original sin.

- The foxy Fed.

- Why U.S. infrastructure projects cost way more than they shouldRead more

The 6am London Cut

Markets: Wall Street’s third consecutive day of tech-led sell-offs weighed on Asia-Pacific markets, with Japanese bourses bearing the brunt of the fall. Just ahead of earnings season in the US, the S&P 500 shed 1.1 per cent to 1,845 on Monday, leaving it 2.7 per cent down from an intraday record high of 1,897 struck in early trade on Friday. The average has now lost all of its 2014 gains. Tech stocks led the sell-off as valuation concerns grew. The tech-heavy Nasdaq suffered more than other US indices, falling 1.2 per cent to 4,079.8 on Monday. (FT’s Global Markets OverviewRead more

Both a lender and a borrower be, China property edition

This week in circularity, from China:

Chinese property companies are buying stakes in banks and raising fears that the country’s already stretched developers are trying to cosy up to their lenders.

Ten Chinese property companies have invested Rmb18.4bn ($3bn) in banks, according to the Financial News, an official newspaper published under the aegis of China’s central bank.

 Read more

Further reading

Elsewhere on Monday,

- The future for real interest rates.

- Piketty unsuccessful attempted smackdown watch.

- Matt Levine on whether to set up as a full-time for-profit insider trading consultant.

- How politics makes us stupidRead more

The 6am London Cut

Markets: Asian markets retreated, reflecting a view among investors that the Bank of Japan would not immediately increase its monetary stimulus while the US Federal Reserve was unlikely to be steered off its course of reducing asset purchases. Markets in China were closed for a public holiday. (FT’s Global Markets OverviewRead more

Further reading

Elsewhere on Friday,

- The Economist on Modi: He will probably become India’s next prime minister. That does not mean he should be.

- What should Charles Koch do?

- The ECB addresses the zero lower bound.

 Read more

The 6am London Cut

Markets: Asian markets were in a near-frozen state ahead of the US jobs report due to be released later on Friday, which influences the Federal Reserve’s thinking on monetary policy. A retreat from risk was apparent among some Asia tech stocks, however, which followed their US counterparts lower. Wall Street paused for breath after two successive record closing highs for the S&P 500. (FT’s Global Markets Overview) Read more

Caption competition, Narendra Modi edition

Giant Assamese hat or controversial new RSS uniform? Either way we doubt it’ll distract from the opposition BJP’s failure to publish its manifesto on Thursday. Voting starts on April 7, btw. Read more

Further reading

Elsewhere on Thursday,

- Flash Boys “has certainly resulted in the release of a lot of heat, but I don’t see a lot of light”.

- Let’s play 1960s-era Fed.

- Ten lessons we must learn from Charles Keating. Read more

The 6am London Cut

Markets: With Beijing once again taking action to prop up growth, Asia-Pacific stock markets were on an upward path after global equities hit post-crisis highs. US stocks jumped after the ADP monthly jobs survey bolstered expectations for Friday’s key non-farm payrolls report while late on Wednesday, Beijing introduced what is being dubbed a mini-stimulus package to build new railways and give tax breaks for small businesses – treading a fine line by reducing economic reliance on credit-fuelled infrastructure and real estate investment while maintaining rapid growth rates and high employment. (FT’s Global Markets OverviewRead more

End of a low vol era?

Maybe, says SocGen’s hedge fund watching team. Apparently hedge funds are about to turn buyers of volatility for the first time in three years…

 Read more

Further reading

Elsewhere on Wednesday,

- The HFT debate.

- From “diaphragmatic support” to the money multiplier debate.

- The YanukovychLeaks.

- How about we leave 15 John Galts on an island and let them make their own conch? Read more

The 6am London Cut

Markets: Asian stocks joined a global rally following gains on Wall Street, where stocks notched record highs to begin the first quarter. The Japanese yen weakened 0.2 per cent to Y103.8 against the US dollar, its fifth straight fall, reinforcing investors’ preference for risky assets over havens. (FT’s Global Markets OverviewRead more

Tiger hunting on fiscal cliffs

Your anti-corruption, anti-vice driven growth in Chinese government deposits from BofAML:

 Read more

Further reading

Elsewhere on Tuesday,

- Does economics make you a bad person?

- 18th century French philosophers weigh in on inequality debate.

- Shoe boxes full of cash in Turkey.

- “Mr. Lewis seemingly glosses over the real black hats: the big stock exchanges…” Read more

@Prasanna: Dead right. My bad and thanks for spot.

Comment on: The Lok Sabha of dreams

Garima, it's a special report from a little while back -- India: elections, markets and the tyranny of economic reality. More in the usual place for those interested.

Comment on: The Lok Sabha of dreams

Cheers BBB, and of course Dreze needs to be taken in a Sen context too. Fwiw, Indian Express is my op-ed read of choice.

Comment on: Further reading

@Every bubble: With apols for the delay,

Comment on: Both a lender and a borrower be, China property edition

@Gordon: point was to illustrate the stalled reforms post-2008. Convergence lost. To steal a little bit more from Huang:

"More than a decade ago China launched a policy to reform SOEs by cutting back on direct subsidies and closing or privatising the poor performers under the slogan of “grasp the big, release the small”. The total number of SOEs fell from 260,000 in 1998 to about 145,000 in 2003. The creation of the State-Owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission (Sasac) in 2003, with the mandate to represent state interests in the SOEs, slowed down exits, with the steep decline in the numbers of SOEs coming to a halt with about 115,000 by 2008.

But the SOE reform initiative had already made its mark by the time the global financial crisis hit. Returns on assets of industrial SOEs rose from 1 per cent in 1998 to more than 6 per cent by 2008, nearly closing the gap with private companies. But with the flood of financial support from the 2008 stimulus program, which was largely targeted at the state sector, incentives for more efficient SOE performance were seriously weakened.

The result has been a decline in returns on assets to about 4 per cent, while returns for private companies have continued to rise to roughly 11 per cent. This gap between the returns of private and public companies explains a significant part of the recent decline in China’s economic growth."

Comment on: SOE you think you can reform

@RealDennis: sure.

Will also leave this here, from MS:

"USD/CNH is above 6.20, the point we’ve written about as potentially creating non-linear follow-through. As a result, we use this note to update our “how to trade it” analysis.

In terms of the ordering of trades we identify the following:

First layer: buy USD/CNH spot target 6.38; buy 12mth vol target 4.2, then 6.5.

Second layer (CNH): CNH forward points – 12mth points should move to around 1300 from 625 now.

Second layer (non-CNH): sell TWD and SGD and also buy vol in same. Consider financial stocks.

Third layer: within China sell property developers in the credit space and transport related equities. Consider collateral implications for copper.

Fourth layer: sell EUR/USD if USD/CNY trades at the top of the band as PBOC band defense will lead to reserve re-balancing. "

Comment on: Cu in hell

Speaking of which, from Nomura:

"Average residential property prices dropped by 3.8% y-o-y in the first two months of 2014, based on the value and volume of nationwide property transaction data released by the National Bureau of Statistics on 13 March. This is the first time the average price has dropped on a year-on-year basis since February 2012.

We believe this fall in property prices is not well recognized in the market. Price indexes such as the 70 city price data still show property price rising year-on-year, which may be misleading as tier 3 and 4 cities account for 67% of housing under construction in China, and most of them are not covered in the 70 city property price survey.

We believe China’s property market may have passed a critical turning point and will go into a downward cycle as the oversupply problem worsens."

Comment on: Cu in hell

Ha. I may use that the next time I'm in a late night discussion with a BJP fan over here...

Catch this one btw? Best backgrounder I've read.

Comment on: Further reading