Financial News from The Wall Street Journal

  • ‘Ransomware’ a Growing Threat to Small Businesses The Wall Street Journal - Thu, Apr 16, 2015 5:50 AM AEST
    ‘Ransomware’ a Growing Threat to Small Businesses

    More small businesses are falling victim to “ransomware,” in which malicious code locks up computer files and cybercriminals demand a ransom to free them. Mark Stefanick, president of a small Houston-based firm, Advantage Benefits Solutions, was shocked when one of his consultants suddenly found his work computer locked.

  • U.S. Airlines Shift to Smaller Jets for Many Domestic Flights The Wall Street Journal - Thu, Apr 16, 2015 3:31 AM AEST
    U.S. Airlines Shift to Smaller Jets for Many Domestic Flights

    U.S. airlines have been on a diet, shedding fat, double-aisle jets on many routes in favor of skinnier single-aisle planes. There’s hardly a widebody in domestic skies anymore. The downsizing means fewer ...

  • Oil Layoffs Hit 100,000 and Counting The Wall Street Journal - Wed, Apr 15, 2015 9:55 AM AEST
    Oil Layoffs Hit 100,000 and Counting

    Like many other oil-field workers, Chris Sabulsky spent years working a schedule known as “14 on, 14 off:” two weeks at an oil or gas well somewhere followed by another 14 days at home in East Texas, fishing ...

  • How Couples Can Resolve Their Biggest Fights Over Money The Wall Street Journal - Mon, Apr 13, 2015 1:31 PM AEST
    How Couples Can Resolve Their Biggest Fights Over Money

    Money is one of the biggest sources of marital discord—and it can be one of the toughest to resolve. That’s because when couples argue about how to spend money, they’re not just debating the issue at hand, ...

  • A 60-Year-Old Earns Internet Glory The Wall Street Journal - Fri, Apr 10, 2015 2:01 PM AEST

    At a time when some of the biggest deals in technology make overnight billionaires out of 20-something startup founders, the story of Lynda Weinman’s success may come as a welcome counterweight. A “mother of the Internet” and author of some of the earliest books on Web design, Ms. Weinman has spent two decades teaching scores of would-be Web experts through lynda.com, the e-learning site she co-founded with her husband, Bruce Heavin, in 1995. The popular training website now offers courses in design, technology and business and was acquired by LinkedIn for $1.5 billion on Thursday, a deal that cements the 60-year-old Ms. Weinman as one of the most successful entrepreneurs in e-learning. “It’s one of those overnight success stories that wasn’t overnight at all,” said Raymond Pirouz, who got to know Ms. Weinman shortly after graduating from the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, Calif.

  • Biglari Beats Activist Challenger in Vote The Wall Street Journal - Fri, Apr 10, 2015 10:38 AM AEST

    Sardar Biglari has beaten back the challenge to his leadership at Steak ’n Shake. The fight over Biglari Holdings Inc., the name Mr. Biglari bestowed on Steak ’n Shake in 2010, had drawn attention for its unusually high amount of drama, even for an activist fight. Groveland Capital, a small $25 million hedge fund, took a 0.2% stake and attempted to throw out the entire board, including Mr. Biglari. Biglari Holdings countered that Groveland’s slate of directors had no applicable experience and warned the firm was trying to take over the company without paying a premium.

  • Lynda.com: A 60-Year-Old Earns Internet Glory The Wall Street Journal - Fri, Apr 10, 2015 10:19 AM AEST
    Lynda.com: A 60-Year-Old Earns Internet Glory

    At a time when some of the biggest deals in technology make overnight billionaires out of 20-something startup founders, the story of Lynda Weinman’s success may come as a welcome counterweight. A “mother of the Internet” and author of some of the earliest books on Web design, Ms. Weinman has spent two decades teaching scores of would-be Web experts through lynda.com, the e-learning site she co-founded with her husband, Bruce Heavin, in 1995. The popular training website now offers courses in design, technology and business and was acquired by LinkedIn for $1.5 billion on Thursday, a deal that cements the 60-year-old Ms. Weinman as one of the most successful entrepreneurs in e-learning. “It’s one of those overnight success stories that wasn’t overnight at all,” said Raymond Pirouz, who got to know Ms. Weinman shortly after graduating from Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, Calif.

  • Deutsche Bank Close to Resolving Interest-Rate Manipulation Probe The Wall Street Journal - Fri, Apr 10, 2015 8:54 AM AEST

    WASHINGTON—Deutsche Bank AG is close to resolving a long-running investigation into the manipulation of interest rates, but demands from New York’s financial regulator—who hasn’t previously been involved ...

  • The Web’s Most Maniacal Bargain Hunters The Wall Street Journal - Fri, Apr 10, 2015 8:45 AM AEST

    A few times each month, Anne Zarraonandia drives from her Mill Valley, Calif., office to a nearby retailer such as Walgreens or Toys ’R’ Us to scout for bargains. Armed with a price-checking app on her ...

  • AFTER FORECLOSURES, BUYERS TRY AGAIN The Wall Street Journal - Thu, Apr 9, 2015 2:01 PM AEST

    The housing industry is slowly seeing the return of buyers like Rick LeBlanc, who lost his Michigan home to foreclosure during the financial crisis but now qualifies for a mortgage again. Mr. LeBlanc, ...

  • After Foreclosures, Home Buyers Are Back The Wall Street Journal - Thu, Apr 9, 2015 10:17 AM AEST
    After Foreclosures, Home Buyers Are Back

    The housing industry is slowly seeing the return of buyers like Rick LeBlanc, who lost his Michigan home to foreclosure during the financial crisis but now qualifies for a mortgage again. Mr. LeBlanc, ...

  • Dimon Sees Clouds Lifting The Wall Street Journal - Thu, Apr 9, 2015 9:35 AM AEST

    James Dimon says the regulatory cloud is lifting above J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. But the CEO still forecasts some squalls ahead. In his annual shareholder letter released late Wednesday, Mr. Dimon blamed legal and regulatory costs for weighing on the firm’s share price but said he expects the firm’s legal costs to “normalize” in 2016. The chief executive said the bank still faces legal uncertainty, highlighting continuing foreign-exchange settlement negotiations, but added that he thinks it will “diminish” over time. J.P. Morgan has paid more than $26 billion in recent years in fines and settlements.

  • Bacardi Starts Layoffs in North America The Wall Street Journal - Thu, Apr 9, 2015 7:59 AM AEST

    Bacardi Ltd. said Tuesday it started laying off about 10% of its staff in North America as part of a restructuring effort designed to reduce costs. The world’s fourth-largest liquor company is eliminating fewer than 80 positions from its 600-person staff in North America. “To greater meet the demands of an ever-changing global marketplace, we regularly adjust staffing—expand or retract—and business structure to best support business needs,” Bacardi said in a statement. Bacardi is privately held and controlled by about 500 Bacardi family members.

  • IKEA Adds Veggie Balls to Its Menu The Wall Street Journal - Thu, Apr 9, 2015 6:23 AM AEST

    Known almost as well for its meatballs as its flat-pack furniture, IKEA now wants to draw more vegetarians into its restaurants. The Swedish furniture giant is launching balls made of vegetables as part of a larger push to expand its food business. IKEA Group’s food division is a behemoth, contributing more than 5% of overall revenue, with close to $1.5 billion in sales last year. More than 600 million customers eat IKEA food every year.

  • Tiny Condos, Big Price Tags The Wall Street Journal - Thu, Apr 9, 2015 1:13 AM AEST

    A 767-square-foot condo in Miami Beach has been listed for $2.49 million—making it America’s priciest tiny home. Such tiny, expensive properties are rare—concentrated, not surprisingly, in New York City (where 800 square feet may very well feel roomy) and Miami Beach, according to real-estate website Trulia, which culled current listings for apartments measuring 800-square-feet or less. In high-cost areas like New York City and San Francisco, buyers will gladly pay up for the perks of city living, including a walkable community and shorter commute times, says Lawrence Yun, chief economist at the National Association of Realtors.

  • McDonald’s Tries Again With Upscale Burgers The Wall Street Journal - Wed, Apr 8, 2015 9:39 AM AEST
    McDonald’s Tries Again With Upscale Burgers

    McDonald’s Corp. is adding premium sirloin burgers to its U.S. menu for a limited time, the latest move by new CEO Steve Easterbrook to revive sales at the struggling fast-food chain. The upscale one-third-pound patties join the menu two years after McDonald’s plucked similar premium burgers from its lineup.

  • Consider Cash When Buying a Vacation Home Overseas The Wall Street Journal - Wed, Apr 8, 2015 1:19 AM AEST

    Breathtaking ocean views, a five-minute walk to the beach, and regular sightings of toucans, iguanas and sloths—Todd Harris and Mary Bradley own their slice of paradise called Villa Alegria in Costa Rica. When buying their Mediterranean-style villa in Dominical, a popular surfing destination on the Pacific, the Atlanta couple approached a Costa Rican bank—and were offered a mortgage with an above 7% interest rate. So Mr. Harris, a 37-year-old independent investor, and Ms. Bradley, a 34-year-old stay-at-home mom, paid cash for the vacation home. Mary Bradley Mary Bradley and Todd Harris at their vacation home in Costa Rica with daughter Adrina and infant Moxie.

  • New Metric Aids Weak Credit Risks The Wall Street Journal - Wed, Apr 1, 2015 3:11 PM AEDT
    New Metric Aids Weak Credit Risks

    Millions of Americans unable to obtain credit cards, mortgages and auto loans from banks will receive a boost with the launch of a new credit score aimed at consumers regarded as too risky by lenders. The new metric, set to be announced as soon as this week, is being developed by Fair Isaac Corp., creator of the most widely used consumer-credit scores, and is being tested in a pilot phase with credit-card issuers. Fair Isaac said it hopes to make as many as 53 million people who don’t have credit scores more acceptable to lenders.

  • How Being a Worrywart Helps at Work The Wall Street Journal - Wed, Apr 1, 2015 9:52 AM AEDT
    How Being a Worrywart Helps at Work

    As an actuarial consultant, Kathy Blum plows through large amounts of data to investigate cases of alleged negligence by accounting firms. Accounting-firm owner Julie Brufke Wenger watches carefully how clients react to her employees.

  • The Impact of Cheap Oil The Wall Street Journal - Tue, Mar 31, 2015 2:01 PM AEDT

    A few years ago, fears about declining reserves drove oil prices to new highs. Now, energy abundance is the operative phrase. Oil prices have tanked. The Wall Street Journal’s Kimberley A. Strassel discussed ...

  • At Google, the Science of Working Better The Wall Street Journal - Mon, Mar 30, 2015 10:58 AM AEDT

    “Honestly, work just sucks for too many people,” says Laszlo Bock, head of human resources at Google Inc. That, he says, is why he is so eager to give away the lessons he has learned in the course of taking Google from 3,000 to 53,000 employees since his arrival in 2006. He has a new book out April 4 called “Work Rules!” (Note the exclamation point.) He frequently speaks at conferences on both coasts, including one hosted by Google itself, called re:Work. When Mr. Bock speaks, people tend to listen. He is essentially the godfather of “people operations,” a term for the modern version of human resources invented at Google that has spread to countless other tech companies.

  • It’s Really Here: TV for Babies The Wall Street Journal - Mon, Mar 30, 2015 10:21 AM AEDT
    It’s Really Here: TV for Babies

    You’ve heard of couch potatoes. Here come crib potatoes. In the ultracompetitive children’s-TV market, most networks don’t target viewers any younger than four years old. One channel is now testing that ...

  • Facebook Woos Chinese Advertisers The Wall Street Journal - Mon, Mar 30, 2015 6:58 AM AEDT

    BEIJING—In China, Facebook is banned—and ramping up efforts to make money. Facebook Inc. is hiring in Hong Kong, has tapped a second local partner to reach advertisers and is waging a charm campaign to ...

  • 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 ...