Breakingviews - ECB could use Steinhoff mess to improve QE

The Steinhoff controversy could be a chance for the European Central Bank to rethink its bond-buying programme. The institution is facing a possible loss after acquiring the South African retailer’s debt as part of its so-called quantitative easing. The ECB could reduce the chances of a repeat.

Breakingviews - Ambani is programmed to punch through $100 bln

Mukesh Ambani looks set to preside over India’s first $100 billion-plus company. The tycoon’s Reliance Industries is likely to attain a twelve-digit market capitalisation in 2018. His refineries may be at the mercy of oil prices but Ambani’s bid to dominate Indians’ digital lives could earn his unconventional empire a more Silicon Valley-style valuation. A mooted 2019 listing of his upstart telecom operator, Jio, will add to the upward momentum.

Breakingviews - Exxon climate U-turn deserves wary investor cheers

Exxon Mobil’s climate-change U-turn deserves some wary investor cheers. The $350 billion oil firm is finally planning to comply with shareholder demands – approved more than six months ago - to disclose how global warming will affect its business. That’s to be welcomed. But Exxon’s reputation for fobbing off such concerns means investors need to not just trust, but verify.

Breakingviews - Bank of England is too sanguine on inflation

The Bank of England may have to change its tune on inflation. UK prices rose 3.1 percent in the year to November, the fastest pace in six years. The central bank blames Brexit and says the pace of price increases is near peaking. That’s a bit too convenient, with further interest-rate hikes a risk to sluggish economic growth.

Breakingviews - Cox: Popping gun bubble to bring financial casualties

Just before Thanksgiving, the families of 10 victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting came closer to something like justice than they have in the nearly five years since 20 children and six educators were murdered in their classrooms. They had their day before Connecticut's Supreme Court, which agreed to consider their contention that the maker of the AR-15 rifle used in the tragedy could be held liable for the killings.

Breakingviews - Westfield's $25 billion deal is mere retail therapy

Buying $25 billion worth of malls is mere retail therapy. Westfield, the global piece of an empire started back in 1960 by Australian magnate Frank Lowy, is selling itself to European commercial property group Unibail-Rodamco. The combined company will be a tangled mess and merger savings are scant. Given consumer trends, getting bigger may be a temporary mood enhancer.

Breakingviews - Anti-LBO activist could benefit Toshiba investors

A last-minute activist attack on Toshiba could be good for investors. Argyle Street Management argues the Japanese conglomerate need not follow through on an $18 billion leveraged buyout of its NAND flash-memory business. The Hong Kong hedge-fund manager has a solid case. While an immediate halt is unlikely, a later U-turn is both possible and desirable.

Breakingviews - Trump’s anti-WTO rhetoric hurts America first

Donald Trump’s rhetoric against the World Trade Organization hurts America first. The U.S. president is no friend to the global trade body, which is hunkering down for its biennial confab. Reforms are needed but America has won most of its complaints, including against China.

Breakingviews - Bitcoin futures set scene for more gambling

Bitcoin action is now available without the bitcoin. CBOE Global Markets launched its futures on the crypto-currency late on Sunday. It opens fresh avenues for trading, but for now the new contracts have little utility beyond speculation.

Breakingviews - Bank of England transfer defies financial gravity

A plan to move the Bank of England out of London defies financial gravity. Britain’s opposition Labour party says it may move parts of the central bank to Birmingham. That may appeal to voters, but both the BBC and HSBC have found relocating out of the capital expensive and difficult. The idea also ignores the reason London exerts such a strong pull.

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Reuters Breakingviews is the world's leading source of agenda-setting financial insight. The company was founded in 1999 as Breakingviews.com and was acquired by Thomson Reuters in 2009, becoming the Reuters brand for financial commentary. Every day, we comment on the big financial stories as they break. Our expert analysis is provided by a global team of correspondents based in New York, Washington, Chicago, London, Paris, Madrid, Hong Kong, Beijing and Singapore. For the full commentary and analysis service from breakingviews.com, including regular emails containing the latest views, contact breakingviews.clientsupport@thomsonreuters.com. All opinions expressed are those of the authors.