Financial News from The Wall Street Journal

  • Donald Trump’s Nominees Stick to His Script The Wall Street Journal - Thu, Jan 19, 2017 6:04 PM AEDT

    Donald Trump’s cabinet picks took a tough line Wednesday on Chinese trade practices and federal environmental regulations, reflecting the president-elect’s antiestablishment agenda. The president-elect’s nominees in last week’s confirmation hearings—many chosen for national security posts—took pains to show they could be independent from Mr. Trump on foreign-policy matters. This week, the designees facing senators represented the leading edge of Mr. Trump’s push to reverse the domestic policies advanced by President Barack Obama’s administration.

  • Student Debt Payback Far Worse Than Believed The Wall Street Journal - Thu, Jan 19, 2017 9:32 AM AEDT

    Many more students have defaulted on or failed to pay back their college loans than the U.S. government previously believed. Last Friday, the Education Department released a memo saying that it had overstated student loan repayment rates at most colleges and trade schools and provided updated numbers. When The Wall Street Journal analyzed the new numbers, the data revealed that the Department previously had inflated the repayment rates for 99.8% of all colleges and trade schools in the country.

  • Oil-Patch Deal Pays Off Big The Wall Street Journal - Thu, Jan 19, 2017 9:24 AM AEDT

    Last year, during the depths of the oil-price slump, Los Angeles investment firm Ares Management LP threw a lifeline to a struggling Texas crude producer. Now that Noble Energy Inc. has agreed to pay $2.7 billion for that company, Clayton Williams Energy Inc., Ares is in line to triple its money and reap more than $1 billion in profit. Ares’s huge gain is the sort of prize private-equity investors envisioned when oil prices collapsed in late 2014 and pressured the U.S. shale drillers that had been financed with $100-a-barrel oil in mind.

  • Flurry of IPOs Poised to Test Market for New Offerings The Wall Street Journal - Thu, Jan 19, 2017 9:03 AM AEDT

    The IPO market is perking up after the slowest year for new U.S. listings in more than a decade. Nine companies began to pitch their initial public offerings to prospective investors so far this week, ...

  • New York Attorney General Investigating Reverse Mortgages at Firm Steven Mnuchin Ran The Wall Street Journal - Thu, Jan 19, 2017 8:39 AM AEDT

    New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is investigating practices at reverse-mortgage businesses, including the unit of a bank once run by Treasury Secretary nominee Steven Mnuchin, according to a ...

  • Last Year Was Warmest on Record, Climate Experts Say The Wall Street Journal - Thu, Jan 19, 2017 5:50 AM AEDT

    Rising global temperatures in 2016 set a record for the third year in a row, as federal climate experts rated it the warmest year world-wide since modern record keeping began. In a new federal climate report, researchers from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which independently track annual climate trends for the federal government, said Wednesday that global land and sea surface temperatures were boosted by a powerful El Niño current in the Pacific and by rising concentrations of heat-trapping greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. During 2016, the average temperature across global land and ocean surfaces was 1.69°F (0.94°C) above the 20th-century average, the scientists said.

  • Can Tech Make Democracy Great Again? The Wall Street Journal - Thu, Jan 19, 2017 5:17 AM AEDT

    Whatever you make of the outcome, the 2016 elections sucked many of us into a social media black hole that hasn’t left us much wiser or more empowered. Open-data advocates like the Sunlight Foundation have been preaching the internet’s potential to transform government for more than a decade.

  • New Ways to Book Trips With Miles The Wall Street Journal - Thu, Jan 19, 2017 4:41 AM AEDT

    Booking an airline ticket using frequent-flier miles has gotten so tricky that some savvy fliers are turning to professional help. For people who want good deals but aren’t willing to invest hours searching ...

  • The Dollar and the Donald The Wall Street Journal - Thu, Jan 19, 2017 3:32 AM AEDT

    Sorry Mr. Trump, the dollar is likely to go up no matter what you say. President-elect Donald Trump, in an interview with The Wall Street Journal, said that the dollar was “too strong,” and it is not hard to see why. The irony is that the dollar has rocketed higher following Mr. Trump’s election buoyed by enthusiasm that Mr. Trump would usher in a combination of tax cuts, infrastructure spending and cuts in regulations that would make America a bigger draw for international investment.

  • Mortgage-Rate Rise Hits Coastal Property Markets Hardest The Wall Street Journal - Thu, Jan 19, 2017 3:12 AM AEDT

    Pricey real-estate markets on the coasts are bearing the brunt of the recent rise in mortgage rates and are likely to feel more pain as rates climb, housing economists say. An analysis by the National Association of Realtors found that home buyers in California’s San Francisco County have seen the biggest impact of the rate jump, with a nearly $375 increase in typical monthly mortgage payments for buyers over the last couple of months. At a time when apartment rents are climbing quickly, home prices and mortgage rates also are going up, making it tougher to get into the housing market, she said.

  • Most Small Businesses Create Fewer Than One New Job a Year, Study Finds The Wall Street Journal - Wed, Jan 18, 2017 10:00 PM AEDT

    Employment growth is slow and unsteady at most small firms, with the median small business adding fewer than one full-time position a year, despite the sector’s reputation as the engine of U.S. job growth. About 16% of small firms lost the equivalent of one full-time employee and just 20% added more than two full-time positions, according a new study by the J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. Institute, which analyzed 2015 payroll records for more than 45,000 small firms that are bank customers. The study highlights the continuing economic challenges facing many small businesses.

  • Why China’s Recent Market Plunge Didn’t Spark a Broader Selloff The Wall Street Journal - Wed, Jan 18, 2017 5:39 PM AEDT

    Chinese market selloffs aren’t what they used to be. When Chinese stocks plunged in the early days of 2016, jitters quickly spread through global markets and sparked speculation the wheels were coming off for China’s economy.

  • The ‘Blind Trust’ Snake Oil The Wall Street Journal - Wed, Jan 18, 2017 11:26 AM AEDT

    Lyndon Johnson was the first president to place his family assets in a blind trust. Leonard Goldenson, who led ABC at the time, later complained about the president calling up and strong-arming him over the network’s decision to take a college football game away from Johnson’s Austin TV station. Halfway through his term, even Mr. Bloomberg dropped the pretense, conceding that, while he “stayed out of the day-to-day stuff,” he regularly spoke to his executives about financial matters, major product changes and lawsuit negotiations.

  • Eyeballs Are No Longer Enough for Netflix The Wall Street Journal - Wed, Jan 18, 2017 5:55 AM AEDT

    Subscriber growth has long been the focus for Netflix investors, but 2017 could be the year that begins to change. In October, the streaming giant surprised Wall Street with greater-than-expected third-quarter subscriber net additions. Just how material 2017 profits may prove to be will preoccupy investors’ when Netflix reports fourth-quarter earnings Wednesday.

  • The Best Ways to Manage a Demanding Boss The Wall Street Journal - Wed, Jan 18, 2017 2:15 AM AEDT

    Agreeing to unreasonable demands invites the boss to assume it’s OK to keep making them. Agreeing politely to a Monday deadline while thinking that it’s crazy and planning to finish Tuesday may lead the boss to start setting deadlines even earlier, to provide a margin of safety, says Prof. Heen. Mirror the boss’s sense of urgency, says Tim Allard, co-owner of Odyssey Inc., a Charlottesville, Va., executive and business consulting firm.

  • Three New Predictions for Automation and Jobs The Wall Street Journal - Wed, Jan 18, 2017 2:00 AM AEDT

    As business and political leaders gather this week at the World Economic Forum in Davos, several new reports that shed light on automation and the future of work are being released at the event. Despite claims that robots are coming for our jobs, only 5% of all occupations are at risk of being entirely automated, according to a new report from the McKinsey Global Institute. Who stands to benefit from those gains is the topic of another study from Accenture, which says it is up to corporate leaders to help workers hone their skills for jobs that rely on such human capabilities as social and emotional intelligence.

  • Mall Owners Find Relief From Unlikely Source: Online Retailers The Wall Street Journal - Tue, Jan 17, 2017 11:00 PM AEDT

    Online retailing has been chipping away at mall revenue for years. Now it is starting to make a contribution as well. Retailers are converting empty mall space into makeshift distribution centers used ...

  • Behind China’s Bond Selloff, a Risky Twist on the Repo Trade The Wall Street Journal - Tue, Jan 17, 2017 10:54 PM AEDT

    SHANGHAI—The turmoil at a Chinese midsized brokerage firm that exacerbated China’s recent bond-market rout also highlighted a little-regulated practice that companies have used to borrow hundreds of billions of dollars and move risky assets temporarily off their books. Called “dai chi” in Chinese—literally, holding something on someone’s behalf—the trading practice resembles a short-term loan backed by bonds, and it has boomed as China’s bond market rallied during the past three years, according to half a dozen traders and executives at Chinese financial companies who have engaged in or are familiar with the practice. Several of the executives familiar with the practice said they have conducted the transactions over instant messaging services like China’s QQ, labeling them with the code “DC.” These transactions also, by one estimate, may easily top $1 trillion in value.

  • Edward Snowden’s Real Motive The Wall Street Journal - Tue, Jan 17, 2017 10:58 AM AEDT

    What was Edward Snowden’s real motive in stealing hundreds of thousands of classified documents from the National Security Agency? Journalist Edward Jay Epstein believes he has unlocked a sensational answer: ...

  • Lenovo Thought It Knew How to Fix Tarnished Brands—Then It Bought Motorola The Wall Street Journal - Tue, Jan 17, 2017 4:12 AM AEDT

    When China’s Lenovo Group Ltd. took over fading mobile-phone pioneer Motorola Mobility in October 2014, Chief Executive Yang Yuanqing vowed to restore the brand as a global leader. Addressing staff at ...

  • Pulling Retirement Cash, but Not by Choice The Wall Street Journal - Mon, Jan 16, 2017 11:15 PM AEDT

    The largest generation in U.S. history has to start pulling its retirement money this year, kicking off a mandatory movement of cash that could total hundreds of billions in the coming decades. U.S. law ...

  • Commodities Soar on Chinese Futures Exchanges The Wall Street Journal - Mon, Jan 16, 2017 10:48 PM AEDT

    Commodities from iron ore to rubber soared on Chinese futures exchanges Monday, as speculators bet that supplies will tighten. Prices of iron ore on the Dalian Commodity Exchange surged 7.2%, to a more than two-year high of 653 yuan ($95) a metric ton, while the most active steel-rebar futures traded on the Shanghai Futures Exchange jumped 5.2%, to 3,375 yuan a ton. Chinese investors have flocked to steel-related futures since the beginning of the year in expectation that supplies will fall following new government measures aimed at pruning excess capacity and curbing industry-related pollution.

  • Xi Jinping Strides Into Davos, Problems Lurking Behind The Wall Street Journal - Mon, Jan 16, 2017 9:00 PM AEDT

    A year ago, China came to Davos with one highly important task: calm the world down about its tottering financial markets. Xi Jinping is expected to be the first Chinese president to attend the conclave and will easily be the most powerful person in the room. An inward-looking U.S. clears the path for an ascendant China.

  • Conflicting Brexit Goals Push Theresa May to Take a Side The Wall Street Journal - Mon, Jan 16, 2017 9:00 PM AEDT

    Theresa May’s primary qualification to become U.K. prime minister was that she was acceptable to both sides of the bitter Brexit debate. Although she had nominally declared her support for the Remain campaign, she had declared herself to be a reluctant “Remainer” and done so little to support her side that Brexiters could believe she was secretly one of them.

  • Despite Plunging Peso, Wildcatters Try Making Money on Oil in Mexico The Wall Street Journal - Sat, Jan 14, 2017 11:00 PM AEDT

    Wildcatters are crossing the border into Mexico to pour money into the country’s recently deregulated energy sector, betting that the plunging peso and other economic stress won’t disrupt their business. ...

  • Toy Makers Gird for Tax-Code Change The Wall Street Journal - Thu, Jan 12, 2017 1:00 AM AEDT

    Mattel Inc., Hasbro Inc. and other U.S. toy makers are bracing for an overhaul of the U.S. tax code that is likely to hit especially hard an industry long reliant on overseas labor to manufacture Barbie dolls, Nerf guns and Hot Wheels cars. A proposal to apply a border adjustment to the U.S. corporate tax would strip toy makers of the ability to deduct the cost of imported goods from their profits, potentially forcing major price increases. The proposal, still in early stages, aims to cut tax rates and keep jobs in the U.S. But the implications are challenging for an industry that sells many of its products in the U.S. while producing nearly all of them overseas.

  • The Wall Street Trader Behind SoftBank’s $100 Billion Fund The Wall Street Journal - Wed, Jan 11, 2017 9:37 AM AEDT

    After SoftBank Group Corp. bought control of Sprint Corp. in 2013, the business went further downhill, losing ground to Verizon Communications Inc. and AT&T Inc. and running dangerously low on cash. ​ ...

  • Snapchat Parent Moves to Book Revenue Where It Is Earned The Wall Street Journal - Wed, Jan 11, 2017 8:18 AM AEDT

    Snapchat owner Snap Inc. is making London its European headquarters and eschewing the controversial maneuvers many tech companies have used, especially in Europe, to lower taxes. As Snap, based in Venice, ...

  • Valeant Strikes Deals to Shed $2.1 Billion in Assets The Wall Street Journal - Wed, Jan 11, 2017 6:01 AM AEDT

    Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc. reached deals to sell $2.1 billion in assets, the struggling drug company’s biggest moves yet to refocus around its consumer offerings and pare its heavy debt ...

  • ‘The Mooch’ Earns the Ear of Donald Trump The Wall Street Journal - Wed, Jan 11, 2017 3:30 AM AEDT

    Wall Street’s hedge-fund showman is ready to leave investing behind for a new act in Washington. Anthony Scaramucci, the founder of SkyBridge Capital and an extravagant hedge-fund conference known as SALT, ...

  • The Telltale Sign a New Hire Isn’t Fitting In​ The Wall Street Journal - Wed, Jan 11, 2017 2:00 AM AEDT

    New colleagues eager to fit in “had to swear a fair amount in their email,” recalled Sameer B. Srivastava, an assistant management professor at University of California-Berkeley’s Haas School of Business.

  • One In Three Tech Workers Is Underpaid The Wall Street Journal - Wed, Jan 11, 2017 2:00 AM AEDT

    In high-demand labor markets such as technology, it is tough for workers to keep up with changing salary norms, so they may be leaving money on the table, a new study says. More than one-third of tech professionals are earning at least 10% less than they could command if they looked for a new job today, according to salary-data firm Paysa. The firm compared the resumes and total compensation, including bonuses and equity where applicable, of more than five million workers with real-time information on what companies are paying employees with similar credentials and characteristics.

  • It's time to start worrying again about Chinese property The Wall Street Journal - Tue, Jan 10, 2017 3:44 PM AEDT

    After more than a year of euphoria in China’s housing market, 2017 looks to be a perilous letdown. Property prices in the Middle Kingdom surged 18% in the first 11 months of 2016, continuing the previous year’s rebound. Property prices in the southern metropolis of Shenzhen, for example, have doubled from two years ago, after rising by another 29% in 2016.

  • Siri, Am I About to Have a Heart Attack? The Wall Street Journal - Tue, Jan 10, 2017 11:16 AM AEDT

    ObamaCare was always about paying for health care—costs have outpaced inflation for decades—but seldom about keeping people healthy. Technology now exists to provide cheaper and higher-quality health care, but giant roadblocks stand in the way. Machine learning is already invading health care.

  • Ex-MLB Slugger Manny Ramirez to Attempt Comeback in Japan The Wall Street Journal - Tue, Jan 10, 2017 10:13 AM AEDT

    Manny Ramirez probably won’t make the Baseball Hall of Fame anytime soon, but he still might hit a few more home runs—in Japan. Ramirez, the enigmatic former Boston Red Sox slugger who bashed 555 homers in a 19-year major-league career, reached an agreement to play for the Kochi Fighting Dogs of the independent Shikoku Island League Plus. The Fighting Dogs announced the Ramirez signing on its official website Monday, posting a photograph of Ramirez posing with two team executives.