Financial News from The Wall Street Journal

  • Top Beer Brands Soon to List Calories The Wall Street Journal - Thu, Mar 26, 2015 12:41 PM AEDT
    Top Beer Brands Soon to List Calories

    LONDON—Nutritional labeling on alcoholic drinks could become the norm after four of the world’s biggest brewers backed plans to add calorie counts to their products in Europe—and the U.S. potentially is ...

  • Franchise Movies Become Valuable Bargaining Chip in Hollywood The Wall Street Journal - Thu, Mar 26, 2015 6:45 AM AEDT
    Franchise Movies Become Valuable Bargaining Chip in Hollywood

    A foul-mouthed teddy bear has helped persuade Comcast Corp.’s Universal Pictures to give up some of the proceeds of its high-octane—and highly lucrative—“Fast and Furious” franchise. To co-finance the ...

  • Starbucks Ends Key Phase in ‘Race Together’ Campaign The Wall Street Journal - Mon, Mar 23, 2015 1:03 PM AEDT
    Starbucks Ends Key Phase in ‘Race Together’ Campaign

    Starbucks Corp. halted a key element of its initiative to stimulate discussion of race while Chief Executive Howard Schultz vowed to continue other aspects of the campaign despite strong criticism over the coffee giant’s move to wade into a complex and divisive issue. He said that discontinuing that element of the Race Together initiative was part of Starbucks’s plan from the beginning.

  • Arcades in a Chase to Recapture Gamers The Wall Street Journal - Mon, Mar 23, 2015 12:39 PM AEDT
    Arcades in a Chase to Recapture Gamers

    Videogame arcades, a mainstay of 1980s pop culture, are few and far between these days—but for Vic Parise, opening one was a lifelong dream. “I grew up in Long Island and I was always in an arcade,” he ...

  • Wal-Mart Fights Bid to Curb Gun Sales The Wall Street Journal - Mon, Mar 23, 2015 10:38 AM AEDT
    Wal-Mart Fights Bid to Curb Gun Sales

    A U.S. appeals court showdown looms next month for Wal-Mart Stores Inc. in a case with potentially broad impact on how much influence investors can have over their companies. DPA/Zuma Wire New York’s Trinity ...

  • Potential for Bumper Crop Keeps Pressure on Cocoa The Wall Street Journal - Mon, Mar 23, 2015 10:31 AM AEDT
    Potential for Bumper Crop Keeps Pressure on Cocoa

    Prices for the main ingredient in chocolate have fallen 7.7% this month as investors encountered a familiar scenario: the prospect of a bumper crop in Ivory Coast, the world’s top cocoa grower. The nation produced a record 1.7 million metric tons of cocoa in the year ended September, according to the International Cocoa Organization in London. Market watchers say Ivory Coast cocoa output is on track to be about the same this year, at a time when the world is consuming less chocolate. “Reports indicate a good mid-crop coming on, which should keep selling pressure on,” said Jack Scoville, vice president of Price Futures Group in Chicago.

  • Amazon Gets OK to Test Drones Outdoors The Wall Street Journal - Fri, Mar 20, 2015 8:35 AM AEDT
    Amazon Gets OK to Test Drones Outdoors

    Amazon.com Inc. received clearance to test drones outdoors, a small victory in its effort to develop unmanned vehicles for 30-minute package delivery. The Federal Aviation Administration on Thursday said Amazon could test its drones in open spaces, though only during the day, no more than 400 feet up and within the pilot’s sight. The “experimental airworthiness certificate” will help Amazon test the drones in more real-world conditions than an enclosed laboratory. Amazon hopes to use unmanned vehicles to make deliveries in a half-hour to sites within 10 miles of a warehouse.

  • Top Wall Street Lawyer Slams Regulatory Environment The Wall Street Journal - Thu, Mar 19, 2015 9:49 AM AEDT

    One of Wall Street’s top lawyers says strains between banks and regulators have never been greater. After the record mortgage-related fines paid by banks over the last two years, “the regulatory environment ...

  • Unbundling Pay-TV Brings New Questions The Wall Street Journal - Wed, Mar 18, 2015 11:46 AM AEDT
    Unbundling Pay-TV Brings New Questions

    The media industry is racing toward an Internet-TV future at a breathtaking pace. But the swift changes, highlighted by efforts from Apple Inc., Dish Network Corp. and others, are giving consumers an array ...

  • Would-Be Financial Whiz Is Charged With Stealing From Investors The Wall Street Journal - Tue, Mar 17, 2015 12:10 PM AEDT
    Would-Be Financial Whiz Is Charged With Stealing From Investors

    Mark Malik seemed to have a knack for making money. The 33-year-old New Yorker ran his own hedge fund, reporting assets of $100 million and eye-popping returns that won plaudits from several services that ...

  • Ackman’s Fight With Herbalife Highlights Risk to Activists The Wall Street Journal - Tue, Mar 17, 2015 10:40 AM AEDT

    Activist investors who criticize companies hoping to push their share prices lower have gained attention in recent years but continue to face scrutiny from prosecutors and regulators. The investigation ...

  • Aging Baby Boomers Bring Drug Habits into Middle Age The Wall Street Journal - Mon, Mar 16, 2015 12:24 PM AEDT
    Aging Baby Boomers Bring Drug Habits into Middle Age

    UPLAND, Calif.—From the time he was a young man coming of age in the 1970s, Mike Massey could have served as a poster child for his generation, the baby boomers. He grew his hair long to the dismay of ...

  • For the Fed, It’s a Cold World Out There The Wall Street Journal - Wed, Mar 11, 2015 6:22 AM AEDT

    The Federal Reserve faces an inflation rate that has remained stubbornly below what it is aiming at. It has plenty of company around the world, complicating the Fed’s decision on when to start raising interest rates. Core prices, which exclude food and energy, increased 1.6%. Compare that with the inflation target of about 3% Premier Li Keqiang set at the opening of the National People’s Congress last week.

  • Hedge-Fund Manager’s Next Frontier: Lawsuits The Wall Street Journal - Tue, Mar 10, 2015 9:38 AM AEDT

    Emanuel “Manny” Friedman is willing to do what other millionaire hedge-fund managers would rather avoid: dial for dollars. Call into one of his quarterly portfolio updates as a noninvestor and a few minutes ...

  • Credit-Reporting Giants Agree to Overhaul The Wall Street Journal - Mon, Mar 9, 2015 11:59 PM AEDT
    Credit-Reporting Giants Agree to Overhaul

    The three biggest companies that collect and disseminate credit information on more than 200 million Americans will change the way they handle errors and list unpaid medical bills as part of the broadest ...

  • The Virtues of Tax-Loss Harvesting The Wall Street Journal - Mon, Mar 9, 2015 2:03 PM AEDT
    The Virtues of Tax-Loss Harvesting

    As American investors don green eyeshades (or hire someone wearing them) to finish their tax forms, many will obsess over a simple question: How can I soften my tax blow in future years? One investment option for them, if they’re eligible, is tax-deductible contributions to individual retirement accounts.

  • Apple Pay Stung by Low-Tech Fraudsters The Wall Street Journal - Fri, Mar 6, 2015 11:50 AM AEDT
    Apple Pay Stung by Low-Tech Fraudsters

    Apple Inc.’s new mobile-payment system has been hit by a wave of fraudulent transactions using credit-card data stolen in recent breaches of big retailers, including Home Depot Inc. and Target Corp., people ...

  • McDonald’s Size Amplifies Any Menu Changes The Wall Street Journal - Fri, Mar 6, 2015 1:02 AM AEDT
    McDonald’s Size Amplifies Any Menu Changes

    With 14,350 U.S. restaurants selling more than 100 different menu items, even slight changes to McDonald’s Corp.’s supply chain can cause headaches. So the fast-food giant has been planning extensively for its shift to chicken made from birds raised without antibiotics that are important to human health, though work remains to be done on issues like labeling and marketing, said Marion Gross, senior vice president of McDonald’s North America supply chain. McDonald's says it will no longer sell food made from chickens raised with certain types of antibiotics. WSJ's Annie Gasparro discusses the move on the News Hub. Whether it is baby carrots for Happy Meals or cucumbers in salad wraps, it can take years for McDonald’s to secure enough supply for new ingredients, and the company has struggled in the past with menu changes that can lead to shortages.

  • Resorts Promise Families the Perfect Getaway—From Electronics The Wall Street Journal - Thu, Mar 5, 2015 12:16 PM AEDT

    Who needs a phone when you can lasso a calf? That is what Joanne Halbrecht, an orthopedic surgeon and mother of two from Boulder, Colo., figured when planning a family vacation with an ulterior motive: ...

  • Small Business Owners Scramble to Prepare for New Tax Form The Wall Street Journal - Thu, Mar 5, 2015 12:14 PM AEDT
    Small Business Owners Scramble to Prepare for New Tax Form

    Small employers are facing an unexpectedly onerous task: tallying their individual employees’ monthly health-care costs. Starting in 2016, under the Affordable Care Act, employers with 50 or more full-time ...

  • Fraud Starts to Take a Bite Out of Apple Pay The Wall Street Journal - Wed, Mar 4, 2015 11:59 AM AEDT

    It didn’t take long for fraud to find its way to Apple Pay. Some banks are witnessing a growing incidence of fraud on Apple Inc.’s mobile-payment service as criminals exploit vulnerabilities in the verification process banks follow when users add a credit card to the service, according to people familiar with the matter. The problem was brought to light in late February in a blog post by Cherian Abraham, a payments expert who works with banks and retailers on mobile-payment strategies. Mr. Abraham said it isn’t “an anomaly” for fraud to account for about 6% of Apple Pay transactions, compared with about 0.1% on transactions that involve swiping a credit card.

  • The Middle Class and Capital Gains The Wall Street Journal - Tue, Mar 3, 2015 4:01 PM AEDT

    The “Notable & Quotable” of Feb. 23, which is from the Tax Foundation’s report “Sources of Personal Income,” correctly points out that middle-class Americans earn substantial capital gain returns from pensions and other retirement accounts. The article doesn’t mention how unfair this is to the middle class. The entire distribution from a retirement plan, including the portion that represents long-term capital gains, is taxed at regular rates which can be as high as 39.6%. This is almost double the 23.8% maximum tax rate on long-term capital gains earned outside of a retirement plan.

  • The Mumbo-Jumbo of ‘Middle-Class Economics’ The Wall Street Journal - Tue, Mar 3, 2015 11:01 AM AEDT

    In the “Economic Report of the President” released on Feb. 19, the White House’s Council of Economic Advisers defines “middle class economics” primarily by the average income of the bottom 90%. This is absurd: The average income for the bottom 90% is not a decent proxy for the median nor even a decent measure of household income. It is instead a roughly fabricated estimate of pretax “market income” reported on tax returns that falls below some threshold for the top 10% ($114,290 in 2013). Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) recently asked an AFL-CIO conference, “Since 1980, guess how much of the growth in income the [bottom] 90% got?

  • Billion-Dollar Health Startups The Wall Street Journal - Fri, Feb 27, 2015 1:20 PM AEDT

    The WSJ’s Billion Dollar Startup Club has identified 73 private companies that have been valued at $1 billion or more by venture capitalists. Surging investor interest in biotech has enabled it to raise the capital to advance several drugs while keeping many details about its strategy confidential.

  • J.P. Morgan Emerges as CEO Breeding Ground The Wall Street Journal - Fri, Feb 27, 2015 11:36 AM AEDT

    Another former top executive of J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. is getting a corner office of his own. British bank Standard Chartered PLC on Thursday named Bill Winters its next chief executive officer, making ...

  • Shutterfly Faces Proxy Fight The Wall Street Journal - Fri, Feb 27, 2015 7:42 AM AEDT

    An activism fight is developing at Shutterfly Inc. Marathon Partners Equity Management LLC, a New York hedge fund, is planning to nominate three directors to the board of the online photography service, ...

  • Amazon’s Twitch Site Bets on Poker The Wall Street Journal - Fri, Feb 27, 2015 7:07 AM AEDT

    Amazon.com Inc. is upping the ante on its $1 billion bet on videogame-streaming site Twitch. Twitch draws 100 million users each month to watch others play online games such as “Minecraft” and “League ...

  • Greta Van Susteren Cuts the Price on Her Maryland Home The Wall Street Journal - Fri, Feb 27, 2015 4:19 AM AEDT

    Fox News host Greta Van Susteren and her husband, John Coale, have reduced the asking price on their 18th-century Annapolis, Md., home to $1.825 million, down from $2.1 million last April. Built around 1776, the Federal-style home has Georgian influences and retains many of its original architectural features, said Meggen Taylor, founder of Find Everything Historic, a listing portal for historic homes that is hosting this house. HomeVisit A view of the interior, which the couple filled with period-relevant antiques. A history enthusiast, he said he and Ms. Van Susteren were interested in the area’s rich history. Ms. Van Susteren, a former lawyer, is the host of the Fox News show “On the Record with Greta Van Susteren.” (News Corp., owner of The Wall Street Journal, was part of the same company as 21st Century Fox until mid-2013.) Among her favorite features: the burn marks on the original living-room floor, where residents used to sit around a fire for warmth, she said.

  • The Best Time to Refinance The Wall Street Journal - Fri, Feb 27, 2015 4:17 AM AEDT

    When mortgage broker Mathew Carson saw interest rates fall unexpectedly in January, he picked up the phone and called every home buyer he had worked with since the summer. “My refinance business is 50% better than this time last year,” says Mr. Carson, of San Francisco, Calif.-based First Capital Group. In a winter surprise, average interest rates for 30-year jumbo fixed-rate mortgages dropped below 4% for five weeks from the week ending Jan. 9 through Feb. 6, according to HSH.com, a mortgage-information website. As a result, refinance applications for jumbos and other mortgage types skyrocketed nationally by 49% in the week ending Jan. 9, the largest weekly gain since November 2008, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.

  • Pimco Outflows Hit Allianz’s Fourth-Quarter Profit The Wall Street Journal - Thu, Feb 26, 2015 4:01 PM AEDT

    FRANKFURT—Allianz SE’s fourth-quarter results were overshadowed on Thursday by outflows at Pacific Investment Management Co., where clients continue to pull assets in the wake of a management shake-up at the U.S.-based bond fund last fall. The German insurer said third-party net outflows at Pimco rose 18% to €236 billion ($268 billion) in 2014, with more than 70% coming after September when Bill Gross, Pimco’s co-founder, left the fund. “Many institutional investors decided to leave in October, and these decisions were carried out in December and January,” Allianz Chief Executive Michael Diekmann said Thursday. The management transition at Pimco “is working very well, despite the noise on the outflow side,” Mr. Diekmann said in an analyst call.

  • Southwest Jets to Keep Flying After Missed Inspections The Wall Street Journal - Wed, Feb 25, 2015 6:23 PM AEDT

    Southwest Airlines Co. failed to perform mandatory rudder inspections on more than 125 jets, or roughly one-fifth of its fleet, forcing it to scramble late Tuesday to negotiate an unusual arrangement with federal regulators to keep the planes flying until the checks were completed. The drama began Tuesday afternoon, when the carrier informed the FAA that certain hydraulic inspections were missed on 128 of the company’s Boeing 737-700 models, which were voluntarily taken out of service right away. Officials from Southwest, the Federal Aviation Administration and plane maker Boeing Co. then hunkered down to work out a plan to get the checks completed as quickly as possible, with the aim of returning the planes to service in the interim. Around 1 a.m. Wednesday Eastern time, Southwest said the FAA approved “a proposal that would allow the planes to keep flying for a maximum of five days” while inspections are done.

  • Inside Chipotle’s Kitchen: What’s Really Handmade The Wall Street Journal - Wed, Feb 25, 2015 12:55 PM AEDT
    Inside Chipotle’s Kitchen: What’s Really Handmade

    At Chipotle, if a customer asks for more, employees will generously oblige. They’ll add rice, beans or salsa. But they are trained to be stingy with the “critical seven,” expensive foods including steak, ...

  • Student Housing Gets an Upgrade The Wall Street Journal - Wed, Feb 25, 2015 8:28 AM AEDT

    Student housing has undergone a transformation in recent years, with an increasing number of private developments resembling high-end apartments rather than traditional dormitories, with amenities including ...

  • Kill the Wireless Contract! Buy Your Own Phone The Wall Street Journal - Wed, Feb 25, 2015 6:57 AM AEDT
    Kill the Wireless Contract! Buy Your Own Phone

    I am an idiot. I signed a two-year contract to get my iPhone 6. Without much thought, I did what most Americans do every two years: I agreed to be locked in by a multibillion-dollar wireless company. With ...

  • Affordable Health Insurance Is Still an Illusion for Many The Wall Street Journal - Tue, Feb 24, 2015 4:01 PM AEDT

    Regarding your editorial “Until King Dumb Come” (Feb. 14): I am sympathetic to the plight of those Americans who wouldn’t be able to afford health insurance without the subsidies provided through the federal exchanges. I am also sympathetic to the families, including my own, whose incomes are above the threshold to receive subsidies and whose premiums have soared because of the Affordable Care Act.