Experimental feature

Listen to this article

00:00
00:00
Experimental feature

This article is from today’s FT Opinion email. Sign up to receive a daily digest of the big issues straight to your inbox.

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.

Best of the rest

Trust me, I’ll take back control — Theresa May in The Sunday Times

Liberals still ignore the grievances of the left behind — Nick Cohen in The Observer

A new era of nuclear uncertainty — Javier Solana in Project Syndicate

The owl thieves of Sweden — Rene Chun in The Atlantic

How a Black Feminist Became a Fan of Princesses — Maya Rupert in the New York Times

What you’ve been saying

Transparency is the best protection for assets — letter from Philip Abrams

I am the descendant of people whose property was misappropriated in Hitler’s Germany…. The best protection from abuse is the rule of law. The best protection of the rule of law is transparency. And the best protection for gangsters financial or political is the ask-no-questions banker who helps them live a life of luxury while immiserating their fellow citizens.

Comment from JL on Cryptocurrency creeps into the mainstream

Why would you assume Bitcoin has “no intrinsic value” and “no aesthetic value?” There is absolute certainty it has both. The question is how much, but the presence of some non-zero amount is indisputable.

Goodwill should be valued as an accounting artefact — letter from Jeremy Hicks

It is worth remembering that, unlike true intangible assets, goodwill only arises on consolidation, it can’t be created within a company by investment as can, say, intellectual property or software, and it can’t be traded.

Today’s opinion

FT View: Corporate lobbying in the Washington swamp
AT&T and others broke no laws but are suffering for poor judgment

Banks struggle to combat the cyber crime bad guys
Digital banking has created openings for criminals and lenders must fight back

Keep an eye on Apple if you want to spot market trends
The technology titan is at the heart of the explosion in share buybacks

The Big Read: Data protectionism: the growing menace to global business
China’s digital protectionism is as great a threat as barriers it puts up for physical goods

Iran’s leaders should respond with restraint to an impulsive US
Though it will be difficult to accept, this is not a time for rash behaviour

Brexit votes call for defiance from Labour peers and MPs
The party leadership should embrace the chance to keep the UK in the EEA

FT View

FT View: The march to another Middle East disaster
Only Putin and the balance of terror stand between Iran, Israel and war

FT View: Corporate lobbying in the Washington swamp
AT&T and others broke no laws but are suffering for poor judgment

The Big Read

The Big Read: Data protectionism: the growing menace to global business
China’s digital protectionism is as great a threat as barriers it puts up for physical goods

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2018. All rights reserved.