Financial News from The Wall Street Journal

  • 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.

  • Longer Lives Hit Companies With Pension Plans Hard The Wall Street Journal - Tue, Feb 24, 2015 12:49 PM AEDT
    Longer Lives Hit Companies With Pension Plans Hard

    When General Motors Co.’s pension plan took a big hit earlier this month, it joined hundreds of companies facing growing pension shortfalls as Americans keep living longer. Longevity has a downside for ...

  • Longer Lives Hit Pension Plans Hard The Wall Street Journal - Tue, Feb 24, 2015 12:05 PM AEDT

    When General Motors Co.’s pension plan took a big hit earlier this month, it joined hundreds of companies facing growing pension shortfalls as Americans keep living longer. Longevity has a downside for ...

  • Home Retailers’ Shares Off Their Foundation The Wall Street Journal - Tue, Feb 24, 2015 6:56 AM AEDT

    In the case of home-improvement retailers Home Depot Inc. and Lowe’s Cos., the answer may be neither. Home Depot, the larger and more profitable of the two companies, has beaten a basket of home builders such as Lennar Corp. and KB Home by 205 percentage points over the past five years, including dividends. On Tuesday, Home Depot is seen posting earnings for the fiscal fourth quarter ended in January of 89 cents a share, up from 73 cents a year before, according to FactSet. Home Depot points out that private, fixed residential investment as a share of gross domestic product has yet to recover to its long-run trend, and management expects home-improvement spending to increase one to two percentage points faster than GDP.

  • How to Tell if You’re a Jerk at Work The Wall Street Journal - Mon, Feb 23, 2015 3:10 PM AEDT
    How to Tell if You’re a Jerk at Work

    Self-awareness is crucial in the workplace. Adopt some of those habits, signaling to people that your door and mind are open, and you’ll be more likely to bolster your self-awareness and maintain it over the long haul.

  • Reynolds American CEO on Merging, Managing and Smoking The Wall Street Journal - Mon, Feb 23, 2015 3:10 PM AEDT

    Susan Cameron, chief executive of Reynolds American Inc., is skilled at bringing two companies together. She proved that in 2004 when she guided Reynolds Tobacco Holdings Inc. and Brown & Williamson through ...

  • How to Run a Business in a Freelance Economy The Wall Street Journal - Mon, Feb 23, 2015 3:10 PM AEDT

    On a snowy night in 2008, Leah Busque ran out of dog food. Mrs. Busque soon quit her job as a software engineer at International Business Machines Corp. and coded the first version of the website that eventually became TaskRabbit. The 35-year-old Mrs. Busque recently spoke with The Wall Street Journal about being CEO of a business in the so-called freelance economy. WSJ: What are the challenges of using on-demand service providers who aren’t employees?

  • The CEO Who Gets to Hand Out World Series Rings The Wall Street Journal - Mon, Feb 23, 2015 3:09 PM AEDT

    Spring training for Major League Baseball is under way, and once again, the San Francisco Giants begin the year at the pinnacle of the sport. The team’s 2014 World Series title was its third in the past five years. Overseeing all this is Larry Baer, the Giants’ president and chief executive officer, who has been with the franchise since 1992. Mr. Baer talked with The Wall Street Journal about how the Giants simulate a public company, why character trumps talent in hiring decisions and which other company has served as a model for the Giants.

  • As ‘Spoof’ Trading Persists, Regulators Clamp Down The Wall Street Journal - Mon, Feb 23, 2015 2:34 PM AEDT

    CHICAGO—One June morning in 2012, a college dropout whom securities traders call “The Russian” logged on to his computer and began trading Brent-crude futures on a London exchange from his skyscraper office ...

  • No Stopping Nasdaq The Wall Street Journal - Mon, Feb 23, 2015 11:52 AM AEDT

    After eight consecutive days of gains, the Nasdaq Composite Index sits only 1.8% from its record high of 5048.62. The tech-heavy index has rallied 4.9% in the past eight sessions, outperforming the S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average, which are up 3.1% and 2.3%, respectively, during that period. While the Dow and S&P 500 both breached record levels in 2013, the Nasdaq has remained a far cry from its own historic high, which speaks to its lofty level during the Internet bubble.

  • Ten Billion Dollar Ideas You’ve Never Heard Of The Wall Street Journal - Thu, Feb 19, 2015 12:39 PM AEDT

    Many members of The Journal’s Billion Dollar Startup Club are now well-known names, including car-hailing app Uber, messaging-service SnapChat and scrap-booking site Pinterest. But among the 73 global ...

  • Lenders Step Up Financing to Subprime Borrowers The Wall Street Journal - Thu, Feb 19, 2015 8:57 AM AEDT
    Lenders Step Up Financing to Subprime Borrowers

    Loans to consumers with low credit scores have reached the highest level since the start of the financial crisis, driven by a boom in car lending and a new crop of companies extending credit. Almost four ...

  • Foreign Government Gifts to Clinton Foundation on the Rise The Wall Street Journal - Wed, Feb 18, 2015 3:05 PM AEDT
    Foreign Government Gifts to Clinton Foundation on the Rise

    The Clinton Foundation has dropped its self-imposed ban on collecting funds from foreign governments and is winning contributions at an accelerating rate, raising ethical questions as Hillary Clinton ramps up her expected bid for the presidency. Recent donors include the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Australia, Germany and a Canadian government agency promoting the Keystone XL pipeline. In 2009, the Clinton Foundation stopped raising money from foreign governments after Mrs. Clinton became secretary of state. Former President Bill Clinton, who ran the foundation while his wife was at the State Department, agreed to the gift ban at the behest of the Obama administration, which worried about a secretary of state’s husband raising millions while she represented U.S. interests abroad.

  • Retirement-Account Standards May Tighten The Wall Street Journal - Wed, Feb 18, 2015 11:19 AM AEDT
    Retirement-Account Standards May Tighten

    At present, the brokers’ recommendations for 401(k) plans and other retirement accounts generally have to be “suitable,” a weaker standard that critics say permits high fees that eat into investors’ returns. A White House announcement of the so-called fiduciary rules is expected to generate significant pushback from Wall Street, which says it already faces robust regulation and warns the rules’ likely costs could make it uneconomical for brokers to serve lower-balance accounts. It likely would take several additional months for the Labor Department, which is drafting the rules, to collect public feedback before it can move to implement the rules. “The current regulatory environment creates perverse incentives that ultimately cost savers billions of dollars a year,” Jason Furman, chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers and CEA member Betsey Stevenson, wrote in an internal memo last month.

  • Postal Service Seeks to Retire the Old Mail Truck The Wall Street Journal - Fri, Feb 13, 2015 11:12 AM AEDT
    Postal Service Seeks to Retire the Old Mail Truck

    The U.S. Postal Service issued a request for information as the first step in replacing the aging delivery-vehicle fleet, which is suffering from wear and tear and burdening an organization already strapped for resources. General Motors Co., which supplied the chassis for the current truck, is interested in winning the contract, which could be worth more than $5 billion in revenue. “Though the existing fleet has served the Postal Service well, it has become expensive to continue to maintain the aging vehicles.

  • Facebook heir? Time to choose who manages your account when you die The Wall Street Journal - Fri, Feb 13, 2015 2:14 AM AEDT
    Facebook heir? Time to choose who manages your account when you die

    The social network now lets you designate a ‘legacy contact’ for your digital afterlife.

  • FBI to Probe Fraudulent Tax Filings The Wall Street Journal - Wed, Feb 11, 2015 11:33 AM AEDT
    FBI to Probe Fraudulent Tax Filings

    The Federal Bureau of Investigation has opened a probe to determine whether a computer data breach led to the filing of false tax returns through TurboTax software, according to a person familiar with ...

  • Newark Plots Sweet Valentine Deals With $1,000 Land Sales The Wall Street Journal - Tue, Feb 10, 2015 12:43 PM AEDT
    Newark Plots Sweet Valentine Deals With $1,000 Land Sales

    NEWARK—New Jersey’s largest city has a Valentine’s Day wish: Be my landowner. Newark City Hall is offering to sell 100 vacant parcels of city-owned land on Saturday in a Valentine’s Day special that is open only to people in a relationship. “For young families trying to find a place to put down roots, we want to give this place as an option,” said Baye Adofo-Wilson, the city’s deputy mayor for economic development, who came up with the sale idea.

  • The Tax-Smart Way to Draw ‘529’ Funds The Wall Street Journal - Mon, Feb 9, 2015 3:01 PM AEDT
    The Tax-Smart Way to Draw ‘529’ Funds

    If you have a college-tuition bill coming due this year and plan to pay it all with money from a 529 savings account, you might be missing out on some valuable tax benefits. Americans are pouring billions of dollars into 529 college-savings plans—more than $221 billion was invested in these plans as of mid-2014, up from $52 billion a decade earlier, according to the Investment Company Institute, a mutual-fund trade group. The plans are popular because earnings grow and are distributed tax-free if the money is spent on qualified education expenses. You can’t claim them, though, for expenses you cover with money from a 529 plan.

  • How ‘Buy What You Know’ Can Burn Investors The Wall Street Journal - Mon, Feb 9, 2015 3:01 PM AEDT

    It’s a venerable adage for investors, made famous by star stock picker Peter Lynch more than three decades ago. The idea: Small investors should buy stocks of companies they know and understand.

  • Renters Are Majority in Big U.S. Cities The Wall Street Journal - Mon, Feb 9, 2015 8:46 AM AEDT
    Renters Are Majority in Big U.S. Cities

    Cities have always had a larger number of renters when compared with suburban areas, in part because the cost of owning a home within a city’s limits is out of reach for many residents, especially in high-cost places such as New York, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. “As the number of renters grow, if the supply of rental housing does not keep up—as it has not in most of these cities—then vacancy rates will fall, rents will rise, and more renters will struggle with the costs of housing,” said Ingrid Gould Ellen, the Furman Center’s faculty director. In some cases, the rise in the number of renters reflects a reversion to levels before the housing boom, when easy credit and no-down-payment mortgages allowed many renters to become homeowners. In Chicago, renters made up 53% of the population in 1990, then dropped to 46% at the height of the housing boom in 2006 and returned to 52% in 2013.

  • Buying a Home? Try It Out The Wall Street Journal - Fri, Feb 6, 2015 1:48 PM AEDT
    Buying a Home? Try It Out

    Raquel Gillett, an officer at a bank in Irvine, Calif., decided to test the waters before buying a Mediterranean-style home for more than $700,000 in Toll Brothers’ master-planned Parkview community in October. Ms. Gillet took advantage of the sales manager’s offer to introduce prospective buyers to residents for an inside view of what it was like to live there. Carol Bird, Malibu, Calif.-based real-estate agent says that in her 25 years in the business, she has fielded only a couple of requests from clients asking to spend significant time alone in a home before buying.

  • Inside the Airlines’ Winter-Storm War Rooms The Wall Street Journal - Thu, Feb 5, 2015 5:40 AM AEDT
    Inside the Airlines’ Winter-Storm War Rooms

    Delta Air Lines had a slumber party on a snowbound widebody jet at New York’s Kennedy Airport—15 employees riding out last week’s East Coast blizzard on lie-flat business-class airplane seats instead of ...

  • Big Gap in College Graduation Rates for Rich and Poor, Study Finds The Wall Street Journal - Wed, Feb 4, 2015 11:53 AM AEDT
    Big Gap in College Graduation Rates for Rich and Poor, Study Finds

    College completion rates for wealthy students have soared in 40 years but barely budged for low-income students, leading to a yawning gap in educational attainment between rich and poor that could have long-lasting implications for the socioeconomic divide. In 2013, 77% of adults from families in the top income quartile earned at least bachelor’s degrees by the time they turned 24, up from 40% in 1970, according to a new report from the University of Pennsylvania’s Alliance for Higher Education and Democracy and the Pell Institute for the Study of Opportunity in Higher Education. “Education is one of the levers that we have in place to address income inequality. One small sign of progress is that more poor students are enrolling in college than they did 40 years ago.