The prime minister has called a snap election for next month to help delay a tax increase. The central bank governor thinks inflation may fall below 1 per cent “for the time being”. The stock market is up a fifth in a month.

Japan is a curious place for an investor at the moment. And yet Japanese equities seem to be one of the great trades of 2015 – if Abenomics works. Lex weighs the merits, in this live session… 

World crude prices have stopped falling precipitously – for now. Plenty seem to be betting that prices can rise quickly from $85 a barrel, if a ‘floor’ is not far below. Lex isn’t so sure – and in this live note will look at the winners and losers of a longer oil slump. Join us at 12pm London for the discussion. 

HP has announced that it will separate its enterprise business into one publicly-traded company and its PC and printers into another. This may increase returns on capital at both — but if so, then why did the HP of three years ago say it wouldn’t split itself in two? Lex’s writers discuss in a live session. 

Bill Gross has left Pimco, the firm he co-founded in 1971 to join Janus Capital; statement here. Lex is very interested in what this means for Allianz, Pimco’s owner, and the future of the big bond house itself.

This is a live format in which we’ll share our thoughts on a note we’re writing in real-time, and readers will be able to weigh in too on the right. So don’t be shy! 

Well, Janus is the Roman god of beginnings and endings.

Bill Gross has left Pimco, the firm he co-founded in 1971 to join Janus Capital; statement here. Lex is very interested in what this means for Allianz, Pimco’s owner, and the future of the big bond house itself. 

Heineken has rejected an approach from SABMiller. Is this a cue to the one last big round of beer market consolidation which M&A bankers are (unsurprisingly) often rather keen to talk up? Who would be involved — and exactly where would shareholder value come from?  

See you at 1pm (London time) on Monday, when Lex will be discussing brewer M&A in one of our new open-note formats on this blog. (It’s like Alphaville’s Markets Live.)

The trigger is Heineken’s rejection of an approach from SABMiller. We however are more interested in that one last big round of beer market consolidation which M&A bankers are (unsurprisingly) often rather keen to talk up. Who would be involved — and exactly where would shareholder value come from? 

It’s sad to see any business file for administration.

Still, with the fall of Phones4U, you could argue that the days of independent phone shops acting as middlemen between networks and customers had long been numbered (if there are going to be shops, the networks want to run them themselves). Any company which relies on four big suppliers is at risk in any case: this is what has ultimately sunk Phones4U, after Vodafone and EE at last pulled out.

Though did anyone tell high yield bond investors? 

Or, why it isn’t surprising at all that RBS and Lloyds would move their respective holding companies to the UK, probably overnight, if Scotland voted to become independent. Despite the odd packaging of this as news by the UK press.

It’s the emergency liquidity (or ELA). Click chart to enlarge: 

Not that negative zone – Europe: 

RBS posted surprisingly high profits on Friday — with shares in the UK bank rising 14 per cent. But what caused it: a decline in impairments, or better top-line growth? Lex discusses that question, and how to value the bank now.

This is a live format in which we’ll share our thoughts on a note we’re writing in real-time, and readers will be able to weigh in too on the right. So don’t be shy!  

See you at 12pm (London time), when we’ll be doing an open note on RBS and its surprisingly good preliminary results for the first half of the year…

 

We’re not sure how to complete the joke.

After all, we recently argued that Fiat Chrysler might combine with a Japanese name to become the global carmaker it wants to be. Getting to 7m cars by 2018 (from under 5m last year) is not going to happen under Fiat’s own steam or financial state. And we took it as given that Sergio Marchionne wants to do another big deal.

We didn’t consider Peugeot though. It’s an idea which has done the rounds in the financial houses of Paris before (in 2009 and 2012) but never happened.

Ah, well. As our colleagues Henry Foy, Arash Massoudi and Michael Stothard report on Thursday… 

Yes, it is Europe, from the Atlantic to the Mistrals…

That’s one Twitter parody (of Charles de Gaulle, and a certain pair of French warships) we’ve liked about European objections to increasing sanctions on Russia. 

The UK’s biggest retailer has replaced its CEO with a Unilever executive – and has made another profit warning. Lex discusses what Tesco can do now.

This is a live format in which we’ll share our thoughts on a note we’re writing in real-time, and readers will be able to weigh in too on the right. So don’t be shy!  

Is this a good time to note that return on invested capital never exceeded the cost of capital in the airline industry for two decades, 1993 to 2012?

 

Shire Pharmaceutical is getting ready to recommend an offer from AbbVie to its shareholders – on AbbVie’s fifth attempt. Tax inversion – AbbVie leaving the US to domicile in the UK with Shire – will be a big part of any deal. Lex wonders how big.

This is a live format in which we’ll share our thoughts on a note we’re writing in real-time, and readers will be able to weigh in too on the right. So don’t be shy!

 

The above is a clause from the Medtronic/Covidien merger agreement of course – although it allows Medtronic to walk away from the deal if US tax law prevents the company ‘inverting’ to Covidien’s Irish domicile. 

And so to check in on Banco Espirito Santo, after we reported on their convoluted corporate exposure on Wednesday… oh dear.

 

A few things you might not know about Lex:

– Our notes use fewer words than the Shipping Forecast in Britain. They use a limit of 380 words for the midnight broadcast, we stick below 340. Except on Saturdays, when it’s 360.