Netflix suffers a big wobble

EVEN the most celebrated firms have their hiccups. On July 16th Netflix, an online-streaming giant, presented disappointing news to investors: it had added just 5.2m new subscribers in the second quarter of 2018, well...

Football talent scouts become more rational

CHEERS erupted from Calais to Cannes when Kylian Mbappé, a 19-year-old striker, thumped in France’s fourth goal in the World Cup final on July 15th. Among the smuggest onlookers were the accountants at Paris...

Vanadium is the latest beneficiary of the battery craze

OPEN a toolbox, pull out a spanner and you may be holding a bit of the answer to global warming: vanadium, a metal named after Vanadis, the Scandinavian goddess of beauty. Used mostly in...

Income-share agreements are a novel way to pay tuition fees

TO PAY for his professional flight degree at Purdue University in Indiana, Andrew Hoyler had two choices. He could rely on loans and scholarships. Or he could cover some of the cost with an...

David Solomon will be the new CEO of Goldman Sachs

Songs of SolomonLAME-DUCK periods can last for only so long. It was clear beforehand that a Goldman Sachs earnings call this week would be packed with questions about succession. When would the chief executive,...

In China, a rare public spat between officials as debt pressures build

LIKE other countries, China has bureaucratic infighting. But it does better than most at keeping tussles hidden from outside view, especially under Xi Jinping, a president who brooks no dissent. So it has been...

What Venezuelan savers can teach everyone else

ASK the chief investment officer of a fund-management firm how to spread your investments and you will be told to put so much in stocks, so much in bonds and something in hedge funds...

Google is fined €4.3bn in the biggest-ever antitrust penalty

“THE making of a big tech reckoning,” blared one typical headline earlier this year. “The case for breaking up Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google,” touted another. Based on media coverage alone it might seem...

Even stockmarket bulls are more cautious than at the start of the year

BEARS sound clever; bulls make money. This piece of financial acumen, imparted by a trader to a colleague, is hard to beat for brevity. It also makes a good point. There is something about...

Big corporates’ quest to be hip is helping WeWork

WITH his flowing locks and hip clothes Adam Neumann, co-founder and chief executive of WeWork, looks less like a property baron than the frontman of a rock group. He speaks expansively on the subjects...

Why the euro zone hasn’t seen more cross-border bank mergers

MERGERS of euro-area banks from different countries, a banker jokes, are “very much like teenage sex. There’s a lot of talk, but little action. And when it does happen, there’s a lot of disappointment.”...

A Chinese music-video app is making WeChat sweat

A PUBLIC spat between two warring and wildly popular Chinese apps has had the feel of a teenage dance-off. “Sorry, Douyin Fans”, ran an article from the short-video app on its WeChat account, in...

MoviePass’s useful financial horror show

There goes $242mEVEN by the standards of Hollywood, it sounds an unlikely pitch—an app that offers almost unlimited access to cinemas for $10 a month. The service, called MoviePass, pays cinemas full price for...

Investors are gorging on American assets

ECONOMISTS think prices, like spilt ketchup, are sticky. They move only slowly as firms digest economic conditions. Financial markets are an exception. Computerised trading by thousands of participants means prices, especially of currencies, can...

China’s new $15bn tech fund emulates SoftBank’s Vision Fund

THE story of China Merchants Group began in the 1870s. After its defeats in the Opium wars, the Qing government tried to learn from the West by adopting foreign technology and encouraging new commercial...

Canada’s cannabis firms plot world domination

IT IS rare to see the words “Canada” and “world domination” in the same sentence. The country’s cannabis producers want to change that. With an eye on October 17th, the date on which recreational...

Shortages of carbon dioxide in Europe may get worse

IN THEORY, the world has too much carbon dioxide. In 2015 the Paris climate agreement set limits on emissions of the gas to prevent global temperatures rising by more than two degrees Celsius above...

Amazon takes a big step into online pharma

Jeff dispenses more disruptionFOR roughly a year speculation has been feverish: would Amazon, an online retail giant, muscle into America’s prescription-drugs market? On June 28th that uncertainty ended when it bought a small online...

New auto tariffs would batter German carmakers

Straight outta South CarolinaTHE menace to Americans from immigration of the wrong sort is immense, according to President Donald Trump. The list of items he wants to deter from crossing the border includes objects...

Glencore faces a DoJ probe stretching from Africa to the Americas

IT EMERGED on July 2nd that Hollywood may make “The King of Oil”, a film about Marc Rich, an American-Swiss commodities trader who became a fabulously rich fugitive from American justice. On July 3rd...

The growth of index investing has not made markets less efficient

IN THE autumn of 1974 Paul Samuelson, a prominent economist and Nobel prizewinner, issued a challenge. Most stockpickers should go out of business, he argued. Even the best of them could not always beat...

As its trade tussle with America heats up, China is on the back foot

FOR months Chinese officials have stuck to the same script: China does not want a trade war, but will win if dragged into one. As hostilities turn more serious, this confident façade has taken...

Argentina’s currency crisis is far from over

ON A residential street corner in Buenos Aires, Van Koning Market sells imported beers to the city’s well-heeled. Since it opened in June last year costs have soared. The peso has plummeted, meaning wholesale...

Chinese and US tech giants go at it in emerging markets

TWO contests are under way in which titans holding billions in their thrall vie for global domination. One is unfolding on Russian football pitches and features the likes of Neymar and Harry Kane. The...

China’s statistics are bad. Many criticisms of them are worse

“Our people crave, more than anything else, to know the extent of the nation,” says the narrator in “Do You Love Me?”, a short story by Peter Carey set on an imaginary world that...

Central Europe’s Goldilocks economies

THEY evoke metal gorillas in a cavernous, floodlit hall: 640 robots with riveting guns and arms for handling parts. They will spring into action this autumn at the opening of a new plant for...

Companies appear to be gaining market power

COMPETITION forces companies to keep prices low to attract customers. But if a few firms become powerful enough, they can see off competitors and charge more. A new working paper by Jan De Loecker...

The rich world needs higher real wage growth

CENTRAL bankers and economists have spilled much ink in recent years on the question of why wages have not grown more. The average unemployment rate in advanced economies is 5.3%, lower than before the...

European state rail firms face scrappy new competitors

THE opening of Britain’s Liverpool and Manchester Railway in 1830 marked several firsts in rail history. It was the world’s first inter-city line. It was the scene of the first widely reported passenger fatality....

The changing world of work

“MONEY often costs too much,” quipped Ralph Waldo Emerson. But a new study suggests that since 1950, the price of buying it with labour in America has fallen. Greg Kaplan of the University of...

A disciplined startup emerges from the Wild West of crypto-currency

MOST startups proudly announce their presence on buildings, billboards and any surface offering visibility. Not Coinbase, a crypto-currency startup. Visitors to its headquarters on a high floor of an office tower in San Francisco...

Why foreigners are keen buyers of Chinese government bonds

IN MAY 1945 John Maynard Keynes wrote a memo on the post-war economy. In it he argued that Britain should seek to be in the mainstream of global commerce. It would suit finance as...

The Trump administration plans to crack down on Chinese investment

PRESIDENT Donald Trump’s view of investment depends on who is doing it. On June 22nd he railed against Europeans exporting cars to America, demanding that they “build them here!” On June 26th he tweeted...

Giddy property prices are a test for Swedish policymakers

ULF DANIELSSON is thinking of buying a holiday home—or even a new house, so that he, his wife and two children can have a garden and more space than in their flat in Uppsala....

Most stockmarket returns come from a tiny fraction of shares

IN his book about the use of language, “The King’s English”, Kingsley Amis describes a tug-of-war. On one side are “berks”, careless and coarse, who would destroy the language by polluting it. On the...

A wave of new environmental laws is scaring shipowners

THE shipping industry has encountered rough seas over the past decade. Between 1985 and 2007 trade volumes shot up at around twice the rate of global GDP but since 2012 their rate of growth has barely kept pace, leaving the industry...

How two-wheelers are weaving their way into urban transport

THE streets of Beijing are thronged with two-wheeled contraptions. Some appear to be conventional petrol mopeds but as they zoom through red lights at pedestrian crossings their eerie silence and lack of exhaust reveals...

Sino-American interdependence has been a force for geopolitical stability

IN THE 1990s America and Europe had a trade dispute over bananas. No one worried that tanks might soon roll as a result. But trade is about more than economics. The European Union, the...
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