Financial News from The Wall Street Journal

  • The Death of the All-American Town The Wall Street Journal - Sat, Feb 18, 2017 9:35 AM AEDT

    Charles Murray’s “Coming Apart” (2012) depicted a fractured America in which the very wealthy were hidden away in super ZIP Codes and private jets and the working class had lost faith in the bedrock institutions of marriage, work and community. Brian Alexander’s “Glass House: The 1% Economy and the Shattering of the All-American Town” documents a single town in Mr. Murray’s America. Lancaster, Ohio, was once a thriving city of glass-makers, shoe factories, natural gas operations and more.

  • When America Opened Its Doors The Wall Street Journal - Sat, Feb 18, 2017 9:32 AM AEDT

    America’s founders—both its leaders and those protesting in the streets and fighting the British Army—saw immigrants as vital to the mission of the fledgling nation. The Declaration of Independence accused King George III of “obstructing the laws for naturalization of foreigners” and refusing “to encourage their migrations” into the colonies. In the newly independent United States, they firmly believed, immigration would accelerate economic development and help the country become a player among the powerful empires of Europe.

  • Vladimir Putin’s Political Meddling Revives Old KGB Tactics The Wall Street Journal - Sat, Feb 18, 2017 8:58 AM AEDT

    Last month, former CIA Director Michael Hayden said that, during the 2016 election, the Kremlin had pulled off a “covert influence campaign” that “was probably the most successful in recorded history.” ...

  • Samsung Heir Lee Jae-yong Is Arrested in Bribery Probe The Wall Street Journal - Fri, Feb 17, 2017 6:42 PM AEDT

    SEOUL—Lee Jae-yong, the de facto leader of the Samsung conglomerate, was arrested over his alleged role in a corruption scandal that has shaken South Korea’s political and corporate establishments and led to the president’s impeachment. The Seoul Central District Court early Friday in Seoul approved prosecutors’ request to detain Mr. Lee, the 48-year-old heir to the Samsung empire, on multiple allegations including bribery. Prosecutors will have up to 20 days to indict Mr. Lee.

  • States Move Ahead With Retirement Savings Plans, Despite Congressional Pushback The Wall Street Journal - Fri, Feb 17, 2017 2:56 PM AEDT

    The House of Representatives voted to scrap Obama-era regulations encouraging states to set up retirement savings plans for private-sector workers, but some states developing such programs plan to move ahead anyway. “If the Senate votes like the House, Illinois is still going to go forward,” said Illinois Treasurer Michael Frerichs after the House vote on Wednesday.

  • House Republicans Lay Out Health-Care Plan The Wall Street Journal - Fri, Feb 17, 2017 11:36 AM AEDT

    WASHINGTON—House Republican leaders sketched out a plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act, offering a set of policy specifics but showing they have yet to bridge significant GOP divisions over many of its components. The proposal, whose backers include House Speaker Paul Ryan (R., Wis.), came as President Donald Trump promised to deliver an initial repeal and replacement plan in March. The plan from House GOP leaders would achieve a central goal of Republicans of overhauling Medicaid in a way that reduces its funding.

  • Trump Can’t Build a Border Wall Without the Real Estate The Wall Street Journal - Fri, Feb 17, 2017 11:12 AM AEDT

    President Trump stands behind his campaign promise to build a wall along the entire U.S.-Mexican border. This past weekend the president took to Twitter to lash out at reports that the true cost of the border wall would be well north of $10 billion. Mr. Trump fails to take into account the major hurdle the wall faces: eminent domain.

  • Zuckerberg Lays Out Broad Vision for Facebook in New Mission Statement The Wall Street Journal - Fri, Feb 17, 2017 11:08 AM AEDT

    After a year of controversy over Facebook Inc.’s role in spreading misinformation and handling violent images, Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg now is positioning the company as the backbone of what he hopes will be a new “social infrastructure” addressing some of humanity’s biggest problems. In a nearly 6,000-word manifesto Thursday, Mr. Zuckerberg outlined ambitions for the 13-year-old social network to play a larger role in tackling issues including terrorism, disease and climate change, alongside the work of governments, nonprofit organizations and other companies. Facebook is investing more in building products that can alleviate some of these issues, Mr. Zuckerberg wrote, outlining few concrete steps.

  • AT&T to Sell Unlimited Wireless Data Plan Without Pay TV The Wall Street Journal - Fri, Feb 17, 2017 9:03 AM AEDT

    AT&T Inc. is opening up its unlimited wireless data plans to all potential customers, not just those who buy its television service, days after rival Verizon Communications Inc. began offering unlimited plans for the first time since 2011. Last year, AT&T started offering unlimited data plans, but only to customers who also pay for one of its television services, DirecTV or U-verse, in a bid to retain wireless customers and attract new video households. Smaller rivals T-Mobile US Inc. and Sprint Corp. have been taking market share from the two biggest U.S. carriers by pushing lower prices and plans without data caps. Verizon will offer unlimited data plans for the first time since 2011.

  • A ‘Shadow Cabinet’ to Restrain Trump The Wall Street Journal - Thu, Feb 16, 2017 11:48 AM AEDT

    For all the anxiety the White House has caused, brewing constitutional crises at home and anger abroad, Mr. Trump has opened a path to reunify this politically divided nation. A “team of rivals” that transcends party lines, composed of eminent men and women, could rein in the administration. This bipartisan group, preferably endorsed by past U.S. presidents, would be made up of former cabinet members and heads of independent federal agencies.

  • Mike Pence Caught in Power Struggle The Wall Street Journal - Thu, Feb 16, 2017 11:38 AM AEDT

    Mike Pence showed his clout inside the White House with the Monday firing of Mike Flynn, who allowed the vice president to espouse false information about the national security adviser’s conversations ...

  • The Most Powerful Man in Washington You’ve Never Heard Of The Wall Street Journal - Thu, Feb 16, 2017 11:13 AM AEDT

    Amid last week’s tumult in President Trump’s Washington came a quiet announcement: Scott Alvarez, the Federal Reserve’s general counsel, is retiring after 36 years at the central bank. Mr. Alvarez is one of the most important figures in government. It is a complex system of people and institutions, and few figures within the central bank command as much authority as Mr. Alvarez.

  • Under Armour CEO Says He Will Fight Trump Travel Ban The Wall Street Journal - Thu, Feb 16, 2017 4:13 AM AEDT

    Under Armour Inc.’s founder and chief executive Kevin Plank said he would publicly fight President Donald Trump’s proposed travel ban, seeking to limit potential fallout from his comments last week in support of Mr. Trump. In a full-page advertisement in the Baltimore paper, the city where Under Armour is based, Mr. Plank said his company supports immigration and equal rights. Mr. Plank has been criticized for remarks last week in a television interview where he said he respected President Trump’s willingness to make bold decisions.

  • North Korean Dictator Ordered Brother Killed, South Korean Spy Chief Says The Wall Street Journal - Thu, Feb 16, 2017 3:35 AM AEDT

    North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un issued an assassination order on his half brother after seizing power in 2011 and agents tried to kill him at least once before succeeding this week, South Korea’s spy ...

  • Meet the Retirement Savers Who Oppose the Fiduciary Rule The Wall Street Journal - Thu, Feb 16, 2017 1:29 AM AEDT

    Judith Friedlander, an 80-year-old retiree from Murrieta, Calif., doesn’t appreciate the government trying to regulate how she manages her roughly $400,000 individual retirement account. After the Labor Department last year approved the fiduciary rule, which generally requires advice on retirement assets to be conflict-free, Ms. Friedlander says her financial adviser suggested she transition from a commission-based account of the sort that could run afoul of the rule into a fee-only account. “I don’t see any advantage to the regulation for someone like me,” says Ms Friedlander, who adds that she hasn’t decided what to do.

  • The ObamaCare Merger Deathblow The Wall Street Journal - Wed, Feb 15, 2017 11:23 AM AEDT

    The conceit that the five major commercial health insurers will consolidate to three seems to be dissolving, as four of those insurers called off a pair of mega-mergers on Tuesday. The immediate reasons were legal objections, but perhaps this retreat is a sign of hope for insurance markets. After 18 months of courtship among the Big Five starting in 2015, the outgoing ObamaJustice Department’s antitrust division sued to block the $34 billion Aetna-Humana tie-up as well as Anthem’s $48 billion acquisition of Cigna.

  • It’s Boom Time Again for America’s Largest Banks The Wall Street Journal - Wed, Feb 15, 2017 10:58 AM AEDT

    Shares in America’s banks are booming again, with Goldman Sachs Group Inc., J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. and Bank of America Corp. hitting fresh trading milestones Tuesday that seemed unreachable during the ...

  • Fiduciary Rule Is Already Paying Dividends The Wall Street Journal - Wed, Feb 15, 2017 3:01 AM AEDT

    It was obvious to us in July 2015 when rumors of the fiduciary rule by the Labor Department began to surface in our quarterly discussions with our provider that there could be avenues for discussion of lower-cost options. My experience is certainly contrary to what your story reported that the roll back of the fiduciary rule would provide participants “better choices.” That certainly hasn’t been my experience with the retirement industry, and I am thankful that the threat that the retirement industry would have to act in the “best interest of their clients” allowed us to provide a lower-cost option to our participants. What is so radical about requiring investment advisers to act in the best interest of their clients?

  • The Reality-Television President The Wall Street Journal - Tue, Feb 14, 2017 11:13 AM AEDT

    Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro remains beleaguered, his popularity demolished by rampant inflation, food shortages and lawlessness. The country can’t seem to shake the legacy of the late President Hugo Chávez, who transformed over his 14 years of rule from a reckless populist into a brutal authoritarian. Many Americans first heard from the eccentric caudillo in 2006, when he insulted President George W. Bush at the United Nations General Assembly.

  • A Hard-Won but Very Educational Lesson in Life The Wall Street Journal - Tue, Feb 14, 2017 9:55 AM AEDT

    There’s a strong connection between the college situation described in John J. Miller’s “Who’s Afraid of Student Journalists?” (op-ed, Feb. 9) and America’s leftist judges and professors. Those of us who ...

  • Subway Janitor by Night, Novelist by Day The Wall Street Journal - Tue, Feb 14, 2017 1:05 AM AEDT

    Mr. Ferrari, a 44-year-old janitor who works nights in the Argentine capital’s metro, has spiky black hair and a Karl Marx tattoo. “While I’m mopping, my head is often thinking about how to make my novels work,” Mr. Ferrari said.

  • Everything You Really Should Know About the ‘Nanny Tax’ The Wall Street Journal - Tue, Feb 14, 2017 12:37 AM AEDT

    After a long absence, nanny taxes are back in the headlines. Nanny taxes don’t just apply to nannies. The term is shorthand for federal and state employment taxes required of many people who hire nannies, housekeepers, cooks, drivers and other household employees and who pay them more than a certain amount.

  • The Biggest Surprises in Retirement The Wall Street Journal - Mon, Feb 13, 2017 3:15 PM AEDT

    Like surprises? Retirement—for better and worse—will change your life more than you anticipate. That’s the consensus of those who should know best: retirees themselves. Recently, as part of a discussion ...

  • People Trying to Save Prefer Accounts That Are Hard to Tap The Wall Street Journal - Mon, Feb 13, 2017 2:08 PM AEDT

    Imagine this scenario: Somebody offers you $5,000 to save for a future financial goal,such as a vacation or home purchase. You can allocate the money across three accounts, all with the same interest rate. ...

  • Retailers Are Caught in Political Fights Over Trump The Wall Street Journal - Fri, Feb 10, 2017 11:09 AM AEDT

    Retailers and big brands are increasingly getting pulled into partisan fights involving President Donald Trump, as a deeply divided nation seeks to punish those that don’t agree with their political views. ...

  • New Timing for Applying for College Aid Offers Opportunities and Pitfalls The Wall Street Journal - Fri, Feb 10, 2017 2:13 AM AEDT

    The college-application and decision process just got a bit more complicated. The government’s goal in opening the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or Fafsa, on Oct. 1 was to give students and families more time to evaluate their financial-aid options. Students and families file a Fafsa, which includes their income and other financial information, as part of the college-application process.

  • Mexico Is Key Cog in GM’s Profit Machine The Wall Street Journal - Wed, Feb 8, 2017 9:50 PM AEDT

    General Motors Co. reported another record profit in its core North American market last year, but a key driver of its performance in the region is vulnerable to the Trump administration’s proposed crackdown ...

  • Walt Disney Pressured by Sagging ESPN Performance The Wall Street Journal - Wed, Feb 8, 2017 11:10 AM AEDT

    Rising costs and declining viewership at ESPN once again dragged down quarterly results for Walt Disney Co., whose chief executive, Bob Iger, gave his first public signal he may stay beyond his planned ...

  • The Real Vladimir Putin The Wall Street Journal - Wed, Feb 8, 2017 11:08 AM AEDT

    While Donald Trump is at it, he might do Vladimir Putin the additional favor of endorsing December’s Rosneft deal. That transaction was supposed to be a spectacular demonstration of Russia’s appeal for ...

  • At the Trump Trauma Center, Nobody Comes for Treatment The Wall Street Journal - Wed, Feb 8, 2017 11:03 AM AEDT

    I live in Evanston, Ill., a city of roughly 80,000 just outside Chicago at whose center is Northwestern University. Evanston went 88% for Hillary Clinton to 7% for Donald Trump. The morning after the election, ...

  • Trump Administration Gives Final Approval for Dakota Access Pipeline The Wall Street Journal - Wed, Feb 8, 2017 10:00 AM AEDT

    WASHINGTON—The Trump administration has given a final green light to the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline, according to a court filing issued Tuesday, fulfilling a campaign pledge to boost energy projects but infuriating activists fighting the project. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, an agency of the Department of the Army, said in court filings that the department was planning to issue an outstanding easement under a river in North Dakota that was holding up construction of the oil pipeline. The project, which has faced intense opposition from Native American tribes and environmental groups, would cross nearly 1,200 miles and carry as many as 570,000 barrels of oil a day from North Dakota to Illinois.

  • The ObamaCare Cleanup Begins The Wall Street Journal - Tue, Feb 7, 2017 11:17 AM AEDT

    All of a sudden the press is filled with stories about Republicans supposedly retreating from their promise to repeal and replace ObamaCare. As with much else in the Donald Trump era, people should avoid rushing to conclusions. Too much significance is attributed to Republicans adding the word “repair” to their vocabulary, as if this represents a policy change.

  • Warning Signs Mount on Sears The Wall Street Journal - Tue, Feb 7, 2017 9:23 AM AEDT

    The clock is running out on Sears Holdings Corp.’s turnaround. The struggling retailer bought some breathing room through moves to raise more than $1.5 billion in recent weeks, but investors are growing increasingly doubtful that Sears will ever get back on track. Sparking the latest bout of investor anxiety were downgrades of Sears’s debt last month by Fitch Ratings and Moody’s Investors Service that were prompted by the retailer’s dismal holiday sales and continued losses.

  • Trump Is Right About American ‘Carnage’ The Wall Street Journal - Tue, Feb 7, 2017 5:46 AM AEDT

    President Trump and Republicans in Congress have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reignite our animal spirits and restore our national pride by returning the country to its founding principles of individual liberty, accountability and the rule of law, free from the tyranny of the state. Let me tell you about the carnage that President Trump was talking about. The Journal’s misplaced concern for Aleppo is precisely what President Trump is talking about.

  • Everything You Need to Know About Required 401(k) and IRA Withdrawals The Wall Street Journal - Mon, Feb 6, 2017 2:12 PM AEDT
    Everything You Need to Know About Required 401(k) and IRA Withdrawals

    It refers to an annual payout that savers must take from their retirement kitty at a certain point, as required by law. The first of the boomers (people born mid-1946 through 1964) are just now hitting the age of 70½, when most will be required to pull money out of their 401(k)s and IRAs, but there are a dizzying array of exceptions and deadlines regarding these payouts. Here are questions savers are asking about withdrawal requirements, with answers that draw on the expertise of Ms. Choate and another IRA specialist, CPA Ed Slott of Rockville Centre, N.Y.