Financial News from The Wall Street Journal

  • Wages Cloud Economy’s Role in Election The Wall Street Journal - 11 hours ago

    Here’s a fun fact to start the 2016 presidential election cycle: Since 1968, only one other election year began with a lower unemployment rate, and that was the go-go year of 2000, when the tech boom was under way and joblessness averaged a cool 4%. Will the momentum of robust job growth redound to the favor of the Democratic nominee, who will run touting the good works of the White House? The most memorable recent examples: 2008, when the financial crisis upended the presidential race, and 1992, when a brief downturn capsized the re-election bid of President George H.W. Bush.

  • Chipotle Pledges $10 Million to Help Local Growers Meet New Food-Safety Standards The Wall Street Journal - 12 hours ago

    Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. said it plans to set aside up to $10 million to help local growers meet its new food-safety standards, as the burrito chain outlined for its employees its efforts to recover from disease outbreaks tied to its food that have roiled its business. As of Friday, Chipotle’s stock was down 28% since late October.

  • Bank-Stock Carnage: This Number Is Killing Them The Wall Street Journal - 12 hours ago

    The KBW Nasdaq Bank index fell another 3% Monday on yet another miserable day for financial markets. The reasons for the carnage are many: fears of a global slowdown, worries about energy-related losses, spillover from the grinding down of European bank stocks. The difference, or spread, between the two is often seen as a rough proxy for bank profitability, based on the profit banks make from taking in deposits and lending out that money.

  • University of Phoenix Parent Apollo Education to Be Taken Private The Wall Street Journal - 13 hours ago

    Private-equity firm Apollo Global Management LLC agreed Monday to buy Apollo Education Group Inc. for about $1.1 billion, betting there is still a future for the beleaguered for-profit college industry despite years of regulatory scrutiny and precipitous enrollment declines. Apollo Education, which owns the University of Phoenix chain of schools as well as a portfolio of international operations, is the biggest player in a fast-shrinking sector. For-profit colleges were on a roll in the early 2000s, using a barrage of television advertising and online courses to appeal to underemployed adults with courses in health care, technology and other in-demand fields.

  • Legal Fees Cross New Mark: $1,500 an Hour The Wall Street Journal - 14 hours ago
    Legal Fees Cross New Mark: $1,500 an Hour

    Partners at some of the nation’s top law firms are approaching—and, in a few cases, surpassing—that watershed billing rate, making the $1,000-an-hour legal fees that once seemed so steep look quaint by comparison. Despite low inflation and weak demand for legal services, rates at large corporate law firms have risen by 3% to 4% a year since the economic downturn, according to Citi Private Bank’s Law Firm Group. “We just raise them every year,” said John Altorelli, a finance lawyer at DLA Piper LLP in New York, who says the firm has set his rate at more than $1,500 an hour.

  • NBA Fans: Don’t Get Too Attached to Your Coach The Wall Street Journal - 15 hours ago

    January’s jobs report revealed that the U.S. unemployment rate was 4.9%. It was the lowest level since February 2008, which is good news for a lot of people, including all the NBA coaches now looking for ...

  • Google CEO Gets Equity Award of $199 Million The Wall Street Journal - 16 hours ago

    Alphabet Inc. granted Sundar Pichai, chief executive of the company’s main Google business, an equity award valued at nearly $200 million, making him one of the world’s highest-paid executives. In a securities filing Friday, Alphabet said it awarded Mr. Pichai 273,328 Class C Google stock units on Feb. 3. At that time, the grant was valued at $199 million, though subsequent declines in Alphabet shares put the current value at about $182 million.

  • Eat Smart, Even if You’re Eating Late The Wall Street Journal - Tue, Feb 9, 2016 2:30 AM AEDT

    Eating late is often frowned upon, but Eve Pearson, a registered dietitian- nutritionist in the Dallas area, says it’s the total amount of calories you consume in a day that matters most, not the time ...

  • Ford to More Than Double Mexico Production Capacity in 2018 The Wall Street Journal - Mon, Feb 8, 2016 10:22 PM AEDT
    Ford to More Than Double Mexico Production Capacity in 2018

    Ford Motor Co. will build a new assembly plant in Mexico and sharply increase factory output from that country, representing the latest shift of investment abroad by a Detroit auto maker following the signing of a costly new labor deal. The No. 2 light-vehicle seller in the U.S. plans to add 500,000 units of annual Mexican capacity starting in 2018, more than double what it built in 2015, according to people briefed on the plan. Ford will build a new assembly complex in San Luis Potosí, and expand an existing factory near Mexico City.

  • A Q&A on Paying for College The Wall Street Journal - Mon, Feb 8, 2016 2:08 PM AEDT

    When it comes to saving for college, readers continue to have questions—about taxes, 529 plans and other topics. My grandson is a joint tenant in stock that I own, with dividends reported under my taxpayer ID. “The assets in the account are considered owned by each party, and failing to report assets when applying for financial aid could be considered unlawful and may jeopardize any aid that your student could benefit from,” says Mikel Van Cleve, director of personal-finance advice at USAA.

  • Are Too Many Choices Costing 401(k) Holders? The Wall Street Journal - Mon, Feb 8, 2016 2:08 PM AEDT
    Are Too Many Choices Costing 401(k) Holders?

    Researchers studied a 401(k)-type plan that reduced the number of mutual funds it offered by close to half. University of Pennsylvania Wharton’s Donald B. Keim, shown, and Olivia S. Mitchell say too many choices may create confusion. The estimated savings averaged more than $9,400 over a 20-year period for each participant who had to change investments, or $470 a year, says a report published last month by the National Bureau of Economic Research.

  • 7 Things Investors Should Watch For in 2016 The Wall Street Journal - Mon, Feb 8, 2016 2:08 PM AEDT

    If January signaled what the stock market is going to be like in 2016, fund investors could face a gut-wrenching year. Worries about China and the global economy, a surging dollar and oil’s collapse helped send the S&P 500 index down 5.07% in January, the market’s worst performance for that month since the 2009 financial crisis.

  • Lehman Brothers Still With Us in Spirits, via Scotch Whisky The Wall Street Journal - Mon, Feb 8, 2016 12:02 PM AEDT

    LONDON—Lehman Brothers is gone, but anyone wanting to savor the distinct taste of financial ruin that its name evokes has ways to do so. “It has a contrite, bereft peatiness,” says James Green, a 34-year-old London entrepreneur who has created a new liquor line with the doomed bank’s logo.

  • Big Companies Pull Back After Rough Quarter The Wall Street Journal - Mon, Feb 8, 2016 11:28 AM AEDT

    After a tough end to 2015, big companies are starting the new year with a tight rein on capital spending, and in some cases layoffs, as they seek to cope with sluggish industrial demand and uncertainties about the continued resilience of the American consumer. A half-dozen large companies from medical-products giant Johnson & Johnson and tobacco maker Altria Group Inc. to Internet portal Yahoo Inc. have announced plans to cut about 14,000 jobs in recent weeks. Others, including railroad Norfolk Southern Corp. and oil producer Chevron Corp., are pulling back on their spending plans.

  • Marco Gets Polo-ed The Wall Street Journal - Mon, Feb 8, 2016 9:45 AM AEDT

    A single debate rarely turns a presidential campaign, and for that Marco Rubio is fortunate because his gutting by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie on Saturday was as complete as any we’ve seen. The question is whether that exchange, and a strong performance by all three GOP Governors, will be enough to change the trend in New Hampshire and beyond. Mr. Rubio had been rising in the Granite State since his late Iowa surge, and a strong performance would advance his strategy of creating a three-man race with Donald Trump and Ted Cruz.

  • Why a Business-Tax Overhaul Is So Tricky The Wall Street Journal - Mon, Feb 8, 2016 9:04 AM AEDT

    A sweeping 1986 law invited business owners to avoid the corporate income-tax system and enjoy lower taxes by passing profits through to their individual returns. The two are tied so closely that any attempt to equalize tax rates across industries changes taxes for individuals. The complexities have prevented the biggest U.S. corporations from getting the tax-rate cut they want.

  • The Prince of the Smugglers The Wall Street Journal - Mon, Feb 8, 2016 8:33 AM AEDT

    Every age has its quintessential crime, a trespassing of laws or norms that exposes deep vulnerabilities—and great opportunities. In our own day, that title likely belongs to computer hacking, reflecting ...

  • Crude-Oil Rout Claims Some Surprise Victims The Wall Street Journal - Sat, Feb 6, 2016 4:01 PM AEDT

    The epic collapse in the price of crude, from more than $100 a barrel less than two years ago to below $30 earlier this past week, has crushed investors in the futures market, energy partnerships, high-yield corporate bonds and the shares of oil and gas companies. In 2015, units of Bank of America Corp., Citigroup Inc., Credit Suisse Group AG, Goldman Sachs Group Inc., J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., Morgan Stanley, UBS Group AG and other top financial firms issued at least 300 “structured notes,” or short-term borrowings, whose returns are linked to the price of oil or other energy-related assets. The buyers include wealthy families, individual investors, and brokers and financial advisers who want to limit the risk or amplify the return of more conventional investments.

  • Record Number of U.S. Citizens, Green-Card Holders Cut Ties With U.S. in 2015 The Wall Street Journal - Sat, Feb 6, 2016 12:06 PM AEDT
    Record Number of U.S. Citizens, Green-Card Holders Cut Ties With U.S. in 2015

    A record 4,279 individuals renounced their U.S. citizenship or long-term residency in 2015, according to data released by the Treasury Department. Last year was the third year in a row for record renunciations, according to Andrew Mitchel, an international lawyer in Centerbrook, Conn., who tallies and tracks renunciation data. The Treasury Department renunciation list for the fourth quarter, which contained 1,058 names, was released on Friday.

  • Schism Atop Bridgewater, the World’s Largest Hedge Fund The Wall Street Journal - Sat, Feb 6, 2016 11:01 AM AEDT

    Employees at the world’s largest hedge fund carry around iPads with an app called “Pain Button.” It tracks negative feelings like “angry,” “frustrated” and “sad” with the twist of on-screen dials. Pain is part of the “complete honesty” philosophy at Bridgewater Associates LP, which has made more money for investors than any other hedge fund in history. Bridgewater founder Ray Dalio and his presumed heir apparent, Greg Jensen, have called for votes on each other’s conduct.

  • Tech Sector Leads Sharp Selloff The Wall Street Journal - Sat, Feb 6, 2016 9:50 AM AEDT

    U.S. stocks declined broadly Friday, led by a rout in technology shares, capping a week that highlighted investors’ concerns about tepid economic growth. Friday’s slide came after a U.S. Labor Department report on Friday showed job growth slowed in January after a surge at the end of last year. Investors heavily sold shares of technology companies—including some of last year’s biggest gainers—reflecting how their worries are spreading beyond the troubled energy sector and slowing global growth.

  • Lions Gate Stock Plunges Following CEO Comments The Wall Street Journal - Sat, Feb 6, 2016 8:46 AM AEDT

    Lions Gate Entertainment Corp.’s stock plummeted on Friday, potentially complicating discussions for the studio to merge with premium cable channel Starz. Shares of the company behind “The Hunger Games” fell 27% to $18.53 at 4 p.m. on the New York Stock Exchange. The sharp drop decreases the purchasing power of Lions Gate’s equity in a potential merger.

  • Drug Deal Gone Bad Led to Shooting of NYPD Officers The Wall Street Journal - Sat, Feb 6, 2016 7:29 AM AEDT

    Malik Chavis, 23 years old, walked into the Melrose Houses public-housing development in the South Bronx with two other men to buy marijuana, a law-enforcement official said. The officers encountered the men on the seventh floor of the stairwell, a confrontation that would end with two officers shot and Mr. Chavis dead from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. New York State Department of Corrections Malik Chavis. Mr. Chavis, who officials said was released from state prison in 2014 after serving time for an attempted robbery, announced the robbery on the sixth floor, though it is unclear if he had a weapon at the time, the official said.

  • At Silicon Valley Super Bowl, Paper Is Just the Ticket The Wall Street Journal - Sat, Feb 6, 2016 6:20 AM AEDT

    SANTA CLARA, Calif.—Sunday’s Super Bowl will be here in the heart of Silicon Valley, which has given the world ways to zap everything from photos to legal documents over the Web. Which is why three StubHub security officials on Tuesday were sitting at a long table with stacks of game tickets, some valued at more than $5,000 each. Super Bowl event organizers are gunning to make it the most technologically advanced in the championship’s 50-year history, with Wi-Fi all over and apps for just about everything.

  • Companies Form New Alliance to Target Health-Care Costs The Wall Street Journal - Fri, Feb 5, 2016 3:59 PM AEDT
    Companies Form New Alliance to Target Health-Care Costs

    WASHINGTON—Twenty major companies—including American Express Co., Macy’s Inc. and Verizon Communications Inc.—are banding together to use their collective data and market power in a bid to hold down the cost of providing workers with health-care benefits. The newly formed alliance of companies, which cover about four million people among them, plan to share information about members’ employee health spending and outcomes, with an eye toward using findings to change how they contract for care. The move, given the size of the companies involved, could ripple through the world of employer-provided health coverage, which has long been the way most Americans—about 170 million—get their health coverage.

  • High Salaries Haunt Some Job Hunters The Wall Street Journal - Fri, Feb 5, 2016 12:07 PM AEDT
    High Salaries Haunt Some Job Hunters

    After more than 20 years as an electronics engineer, Pete Edwards reached the low six-figure pay level. Although his experience includes the sought-after field of 3-D printing, the 53-year-old hasn’t been able to land a permanent full-time job. Hiring managers used to broach salary history or requirements only in later stages, after applicants had a chance to make an impression and state their case.

  • The Surprisingly Easy Way to Score a Year of Free Flying The Wall Street Journal - Thu, Feb 4, 2016 4:01 PM AEDT
    The Surprisingly Easy Way to Score a Year of Free Flying

    Southwest Airlines offers a companion pass that lets you take a partner on all your trips free for one year. “It’s one of those things that is almost too good to be true,” says Rebecca Goodell, who uses her companion pass with her husband David Greenberg when they go from Los Angeles to their Truckee, Calif., vacation home near Lake Tahoe every other weekend. Southwest began offering its companion pass in 1987 with the launch of its frequent-flier program.

  • Alderson: Money Will No Longer Hamper Mets The Wall Street Journal - Thu, Feb 4, 2016 11:45 AM AEDT

    A month ago, with the prospect of re-signing Yoenis Cespedes little more than a fantasy, Mets general manager Sandy Alderson predicted that his team’s payroll would land at approximately $120 million in 2016. After years of operating like a small-market franchise driven more by pinching pennies than postseason aspirations, the Mets have re-emerged as a force on the national scale. In fact, Alderson spoke openly on Wednesday about the viability of retaining some—or even all—of their coveted starters.

  • Wal-Mart to Pump Its Own Gasoline The Wall Street Journal - Thu, Feb 4, 2016 10:53 AM AEDT
    Wal-Mart to Pump Its Own Gasoline

    For most of the past 20 years, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. has let another company build and operate gas stations in the parking lots of its stores. Last week, Wal-Mart executives told Murphy USA Inc. that going forward it will build and operate its own gas stations. Murphy will continue to run the more than 1,000 locations it has already built near Wal-Mart stores.

  • For $80, Throw Caution to the Wind The Wall Street Journal - Thu, Feb 4, 2016 9:57 AM AEDT

    The question on the flight waiver for iFLY, an indoor sky-diving center that opened several weeks ago in Yonkers, gave me pause. Going sky diving in a vertical wind tunnel, with the wind blowing at hurricane speeds, might not be the most beneficial use of my time. Judging by a video taken by my colleague Jennifer Weiss, iFLY seemed as close as I’d ever get.

  • Don’t Be Hacker Bait: Do This One-Hour Security Drill The Wall Street Journal - Thu, Feb 4, 2016 7:13 AM AEDT

    You can make yourself less of an easy target for hackers, money-hunting phishers and overly aggressive marketers by bolstering your security and data privacy. The answer isn’t the antivirus software we were all trained to run on our PCs. The foundation of smartphone and laptop safety is software updates, smarter passwords and more defensive Web browsers.

  • Tough Start for Markets Catches Hedge Funds Off Guard The Wall Street Journal - Thu, Feb 4, 2016 6:49 AM AEDT

    Troubles are mounting for U.S. hedge funds as markets pull back across the globe. The activist hedge fund Orange Capital, co-founded by former Citigroup executive Daniel Lewis, will notify investors in writing in the coming days that it plans to shut down and hand back its remaining funds of roughly $1 billion, the firm said. Meanwhile, billionaire investors like Charles “Chase” Coleman and Larry Robbins are nursing steep losses on investments from January alone.

  • Why an Oil Price Rally Is So Slippery The Wall Street Journal - Thu, Feb 4, 2016 4:24 AM AEDT

    How do you say “fade the rally” in Russian? Last week, and to a lesser extent Wednesday morning, oil prices jumped on reports from Russia about that country’s willingness to cooperate with other exporters ...

  • Starboard Takes 6.7% Stake in Marvell Technology The Wall Street Journal - Wed, Feb 3, 2016 10:32 PM AEDT

    Activist investor Starboard Value LP has taken a 6.7% stake in Marvell Technology Group Ltd. and is betting the beleaguered semiconductor company can boost margins among other improvements. The position adds to pressure on Marvell, which is facing investigations into its accounting amid a sharp fall in its stock. The Wall Street Journal initially reported the stake Tuesday night, and the news was confirmed by a filing Wednesday with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

  • Fresh Ingredients Came Back to Haunt Chipotle The Wall Street Journal - Wed, Feb 3, 2016 12:49 PM AEDT
    Fresh Ingredients Came Back to Haunt Chipotle

    Steve Ells built Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. into a restaurant-industry leader by playing offense, brashly touting fresher and more virtuous food than competitors. Mr. Ells, Chipotle’s co-chief executive, must show he can revamp its kitchens to avoid a repeat and revive its fortunes. Chipotle on Tuesday reported fourth-quarter net income of $67.9 million, or $2.17 a share, down 44% from a year earlier, on a 6.8% drop in sales to $997.5 million.