No Rush to Snap up Distressed Shale Assets

23 January 2016
Oil majors and private equity firms have plenty of powder for shale, but are keeping it dry for now
Exxon's been bitten once in shale already

OCT 20, 2015

Shale oil drillers squeezed by crashing prices and mountainous debt make a tempting target for well-funded private equity and industry investors. “Oil is the biggest investment opportunity in the world,” Stephen Schwarzman, chairman and CEO of top private equity financier Blackstone Group, declared at last winter’s World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

High Anxiety Over Emerging Market Corporate Debt

23 January 2016
Emerging market debt may hit a crisis again, but this time the problem is companies, not governments
Emerging Market Cities that Debt Built

Institutional Investor,  Oct 22, 2015

 

Emerging-markets debt has reached worrying levels again, but the focus of anxiety is different than it was during the crises of the 1980s and ’90s. Sovereign states have largely heeded the lessons learned from those debacles. Much unlike their developed-world peers, they’ve held debt steady since 2000, at about 40 percent of gross domestic product, according to the Institute of International Finance in Washington.

Emerging Markets Haven't Hit Bottom Yet

23 January 2016
EM equities will get worse before they get better, but bonds may offer value
Emerging Markets: How Low Can They Go?

September 26, 2015

 

 

When Mark Mobius urges caution on emerging markets, you know they’re in trouble. The septuagenarian executive chairman of Franklin Templeton’s emerging-markets group has been boosting the asset class for decades, exhorting investors to pile back in after crises and meltdowns. Now, not so much. “Things have changed since the 1998, 2008, and 2011 downturns,” he says. “It would be dangerous to make an overall or categorywide judgment.”

Iran Can't Just Open the Oil Spigot

23 January 2016
Energy companies won't rush to invest billions in the Islamic Republic

July 18, 2015

The biggest ripple for investors from the landmark July 14 agreement that could free Iran from international economic sanctions in return for curtailing its nuclear program will be felt in the oil markets. They didn’t take the news well. The price of Brent crude fell 2.5%, to $57.06 a barrel, from what was already close to a four-month low, before falling a bit further later in the week.

China's Internet Stocks May Be Oversold

23 January 2016
Baidu, Tencent and others may rebound from the broader market rout

July 11, 2015 2:22 a.m. ET

Chinese Internet companies, led by search provider Baidu and wide-ranging conglomerate Tencent Holdings, held their value for nearly a month after the broader Chinese market started crumbling in late May, and with good reason. These two fast-growing giants, along with Chinese e-commerce king Alibaba Group Holding and its upstart rival JD.com, are listed on U.S. and Hong Kong exchanges. They are bought by global tech investors a world away from the mom-and-pop Chinese punters who have been borrowing money to gamble on little-known companies traded in Shanghai or Shenzhen.

 

Raiffeisen Bank Shrinks to Fit the New Eastern Europe

17 June 2015
Austria's Raiffeisen Bank International outraced competitors into Russia and Ukraine. Now it needs to rethink.
One More Retreat from Russia?

Foreigners over the centuries have found it easier to enter Eastern Europe than to extricate themselves from it. Vienna–based Raiffeisen Bank International (RBI) is learning this painful historical lesson anew.

Austrian banks naturally leapt at the chance to expand eastward after the Berlin Wall and Soviet Communism fell. Erste Bank and Bank Austria (since acquired by Italy’s UniCredit) dueled Raiffeisen for market share across the former Warsaw Pact. But RBI ranged farthest and most aggressively of all, establishing itself as the largest foreign bank in both Russia and Ukraine, with the former as its top profit center.

India E-tailing Gets Big, and Burns Cash, Fast

11 June 2015
The world's sleeping digital giant is waking up. And coming soon to an IPO near you.
Flipkart, India's Amazon, is on the Move

June 12, 2015

Evolving technology promises to revolutionize the way a vast nation shops and communicates. Online merchants’ sales grow geometrically, as do their losses. Investment banks proclaim they have seen the future, and it works with eye-popping stock-market multiples. Tech investors may feel like they have seen this movie before, but the backdrop is new: India.

Rotten broadband networks and dodgy electricity have kept India, population 1.25 billion, as the world’s sleeping digital giant, despite its depth of engineering talent. A leap forward in cellular, with smartphones selling as cheap as $40 and 3G rates dropping steeply, is set to change all that. The value of goods sold online will double this year to $7 billion, and keep on multiplying to $220 billion by 2030, Goldman Sachs projected in a report last month.

Petrobras Regains Market Favor; Now Comes the Hard Part

02 June 2015
Recent disclosures have eased fears about the kickback scandal, but the company still grapples with debt and heavy development costs.
No Smiles Yet at the Brazilian Oil Giant

 

After years in the financial wilderness because of its mounting debt and widening corruption scandal, Petróleo Brasileiro is showing signs of recovery.

In late April the giant state-owned oil company issued a long-delayed fourth-quarter 2014 earnings report and sought to draw a line under its troubles by taking a 44.6 billion real ($14.1 billion) write-down for overvalued assets and an additional 6.2 billion reais for costs related to the alleged graft. “We have made our best efforts to turn the page on this sad chapter that the company has passed through,” chief executive Aldemir Bendine, who came on board in February, told reporters after the announcement.

Egyptian IPOs. Really?

11 May 2015
Cairo has healthy companies in the pipeline, if the bureaucrats don't mess it up.
Waiting on Big Numbers in Cairo. Photo by Shawn Baldwin, Bloomberg

The Egyptian Exchange roared back to life in 2013 and 2014, with its benchmark EGX 30 index doubling in the 18 months following the July 2013 coup that removed President Mohamed Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood government from power. The military-backed regime of his successor, President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, cashed in on that optimistic tide last September, raising 61 billion Egyptian pounds ($8 billion) from its own population through a bond issue to finance expansion of the Suez Canal.

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