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Friday, 15 December 2017

Upfront

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  • Flags - US

    Taking the pain

    Shorting Japanese government bonds became such a fruitless exercise over the past decade that the strategy was given the infamous moniker of the “widow-maker”. Few would have predicted that betting against a rise in US Treasury yields would take on the pain trade mantel in 2014, but that is exactly what has happened.

  • Barclays CEO Jenkins speaks during the first day of the Clinton Global Initiative 2012 in New York

    Shrunken ambitions

    This magazine has in the past called for Barclays CEO Antony Jenkins to hold his nerve and not abandon the full-service global investment bank built out of the ashes of the financial crisis by his predecessor Bob Diamond. In particular, we argued that he should cherish the powerful ex-Lehman Brothers business in the US that the bank bought in 2008.

  • Apple

    One of a kind

    Not many companies can come to market for the first time ever, sell a deal that ends up leaving investors under water, then come back a year later – offering the kind of tight pricing that CFOs usually only ever see in their dreams – and still be greeted by a stampede of orders. Probably not any companies besides Apple, actually.

  • Andrew Tyrie

    Bad call

    Britain’s Parliamentary Treasury Committee has not always covered itself in glory in recent years. But its chairman, Andrew Tyrie, last week nailed the foolishness of the UK Treasury’s decision to veto RBS’s desire to pay some of its bankers bonuses equal to two times their basic salary.

  • Credit Suisse logo

    Cutting back

    Credit Suisse opened the European bank reporting season with some pretty sobering numbers – not least in fixed income sales and trading, where the Swiss bank had its worst first quarter since 2008. Low rates and new regulations were always going to hurt the business, but it is clear from the bank’s reaction – cuts will now be deeper – that it wasn’t expecting things to be quite this bad.

  • A woman walks in front of the Academy of Athens

    The Siren song

    The return of Greece to debt markets after a four-year exile was, predictably enough, an absolute blow-out. A book of nearly €20bn allowed Greece to offload €3bn at a coupon of 4.95%. About 600 accounts joined the queue for paper, leaving many frustrated as they saw the issue trade a further 20bp tighter in the grey market.

  • An employee of Aluminum Corp of China walks inside the company's headquarters in Beijing

    Capital revolution

    A dramatic transformation of China’s state-owned enterprises is playing out quietly in the capital markets. While last week’s US$5bn bond issue from Sinopec, one of the country’s top oil companies, caused few ripples in the international debt markets, it marked a key point in a wave of public-sector reforms.

  • Austria - euros

    Into the lite

    In Ceva Sante Animale’s €818m buyout loan, Europe finally has a post-crisis, euro-denominated covenant-lite leveraged loan of its own. It was always a case of when, rather than if, pure European cov-lite loans would return, but now the post-crisis taboo has been broken, bankers expect more will come to the market.

  • Greece

    Mythology no longer

    Greece fired the starting gun for Europe’s sovereign crisis, and it could be Greece that ends it (at least for the time being) if, as is widely speculated, the sovereign returns to the international bond markets in the near future. 

  • Putin

    Poisoned chalice?

    It’s usually the mandate every bank operating in the emerging markets wants to win. But for once, firms might not be too disappointed to miss out on Russia’s new Eurobond issue.