Brooke Masters: As Apple cruises towards a market capitalisation of $1tn, Rana Foroohar argues that the company exemplifies the five most meaningful market trends today. Among them are the rising importance of intangible assets and the trend toward financial engineering: the Cuppertino-based firm has loaded up on cheap debt while pleasing investors by buying back shares.
Rana further explains that Apple is one of the big winners as economic power becomes more concentrated in a few huge companies, and that in turn is driving record levels of mergers and acquisitions. But all of this could make the US and global economy quite vulnerable when the next slowdown arrives.
Tehran should play it cool
Iranian leaders have backed themselves into a corner and should respond with restraint to Donald Trump’s decision to pull out of the nuclear deal, advises Roula Khalaf. While the US is the one tearing up the agreement, the Islamic Republic is clearly not blameless. Its efforts to expand its regional influence have exacerbated tensions and given America reasons to throw its lot in with Israel and Saudi.
Fighting cyber crime
The bad guys are no longer simply winning when it comes to money laundering; they’re harnessing a growing arsenal of digital capabilities to completely change the game, writes Bill Winters, chief executive of Standard Chartered. Banks and other financial services companies will be hopelessly left behind unless they step up and improve their use of data to screen out and stop suspicious transactions, he warns.
Italy’s eurozone “suffocation”
The emerging outlines of a coalition government between Italy’s Five Star Movement and the League, should have us all worried, Wolfgang Munchau warns — but not for the reasons initially feared. While these two populist parties are not about to pull out of the euro or break the EU’s fiscal rules, keeping their election pledges will strain EU fiscal rules — and they have a plan to get around them through intriguing, risky parallel currency plans.