By Robert CyranAt first it was a hole in the ground - then the stock exchange and a DIY chain. Now the government has blocked a $5.2 bln shale gas deal - signalling to investors that the market for corporate control is effectively shut. By Robert CyranIAC is abandoning Newsweek in print as the mogul’s web businesses flourish. An online search boom has powered the $4.6 bln firm’s stock this year. But much of the growth seems driven by customers unwittingly downloading IAC toolbars. It’s a risky way to build a lasting business. By Martin HutchinsonIt’s a quarter-century since computerized program trading led to Black Monday on global stock markets. Scott Patterson’s “Dark Pools” is a good introduction to the latest machine-based trading technique. Arcane algorithms have reduced real liquidity and expanded rent-seeking. By George HayRecent wins mean Stephen Hester has achieved much of his turnaround plan that was due to end in 2013. Meanwhile, Vikram Pandit’s ugly exit from Citi shows it’s wise for bank bosses to quit while ahead. RBS’s board should put two and two together and prepare for life after Hester. By Wayne ArnoldEvery little thing seems to be conspiring against it: poor infrastructure, political corruption, regulatory caprice and bureaucratic inertia. Falling commodities threaten the spread of wealth to poorer parts. But Indonesia’s immaturity gives it the resilience to muddle through. By Robert CyranThe search giant paid $12.5 bln for Motorola’s handset business. The division lost another $527 mln in Q3, and the mistaken early release of unexpectedly weak earnings knocked over $20 bln off Google’s market cap. A bigger concern is the risk of long-term management distraction. By Christopher SwannMeaningful exports of oil are banned. But with output surging and crude fetching a 20 pct discount at home, producers want to ship it overseas - a red flag in Washington. There are similar reasons to export gas, but big practical hurdles. Unblocking trade could benefit everyone.
Antony Currie and Breakingviews columnists discuss how the company’s shocking earnings may be more than just a quick fright.Video
Oct 18 - Breakingviews columnists explain why Wall Street is smiling about Morgan Stanley’s third-quarter results, despite the bank’s $1 billion loss.Video
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