Financial News from The Wall Street Journal

  • Home Solar-Panel Systems Increasingly Make Sense The Wall Street Journal - 19 hours ago

    Regarding Brian H. Potts’s “The Hole in the Rooftop Solar-Panel Craze” (op-ed, May 18): Mr. Potts is entirely correct that rooftop solar-energy production isn’t economically justified and wouldn’t exist as a viable option without considerable government subsidies. The average home in North America will need solar panels with efficiencies over 20%, combined with the effective storage systems that Tesla and others are now providing, to safely go “off the grid.” In the very near future high-efficiency solar panels with efficiencies well over 20%, costing no more than today’s most common panels, will ring in a new era of energy independence. The economic rationale for going off the grid will still vary greatly depending on the local cost of conventional energy and whatever government subsidies may apply.

  • Hanergy Plunge: The Man Who Lost $14 Billion in One Day The Wall Street Journal - 20 hours ago

    HONG KONG—On the day Li Hejun saw the value of his company holdings sink roughly $14 billion, he was skipping the firm’s annual meeting to attend what it said was a clean-energy exhibition in Beijing. ...

  • Health Insurers Seek Hefty Rate Boosts The Wall Street Journal - Fri, May 22, 2015 7:34 AM AEST
    Health Insurers Seek Hefty Rate Boosts

    Major insurers in some states are proposing hefty rate boosts for plans sold under the federal health law, setting the stage for an intense debate this summer over the law’s impact. In New Mexico, market ...

  • Egg Prices Jump as Bird Flu Spreads The Wall Street Journal - Fri, May 22, 2015 5:37 AM AEST
    Egg Prices Jump as Bird Flu Spreads

    The financial toll of the worst U.S. bird-flu outbreak in history is soaring, forcing some poultry companies to suspend operations and boosting prices for eggs and turkeys as supplies tighten. Egg companies—the ...

  • Empty Nesters Reclaim the Kids’ Rooms The Wall Street Journal - Fri, May 22, 2015 12:11 AM AEST
    Empty Nesters Reclaim the Kids’ Rooms

    It took Evelyn Benatar’s son, Allen, an actor and drummer, several years into adulthood to move out of his childhood bedroom. When he finally did, Ms. Benatar acted with warp speed. “Before he even hit ...

  • At Zappos, Banishing the Bosses Brings Confusion The Wall Street Journal - Thu, May 21, 2015 12:33 PM AEST
    At Zappos, Banishing the Bosses Brings Confusion

    Brironni Alex was so good at answering telephone calls and emails from customers at Zappos.com Inc. that the company promoted her to customer-service manager. But when the online retailer adopted a management ...

  • Failed Retail Brands Get New Lives on Web The Wall Street Journal - Thu, May 21, 2015 9:32 AM AEST

    The going-out-of-business sales had already ended at Delia’s, a teen-clothing chain. But then, this message popped up on Delia’s dormant Instagram page: “The internets have spoken! We are coming BACK!” ...

  • Health Insurer CareFirst Says It Was Hacked The Wall Street Journal - Thu, May 21, 2015 7:57 AM AEST

    CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield said Wednesday that hackers had gained access to the personal information of more than a million consumers, becoming the third major health insurer this year to disclose ...

  • Can You Sue the Boss for Making You Answer Late-Night Email? The Wall Street Journal - Thu, May 21, 2015 3:49 AM AEST
    Can You Sue the Boss for Making You Answer Late-Night Email?

    Company-issued smartphones have obliterated the line between the workday and off hours. For employers and workers, 8 p.m. emails from the boss aren’t just disrupting home life. They’re raising legal questions, ...

  • Toy Story: Another Fad or Future of Videogames? The Wall Street Journal - Wed, May 20, 2015 9:58 AM AEST

    The biggest thing in videogames today? Tiny figurines that sit on a shelf. Take Camo, a half-plant and half-dragon fire breather. Or the villainous Sheep Creep, imprisoned for leading a sheep rebellion. ...

  • At Work: There’s a Downside to Collaboration The Wall Street Journal - Wed, May 20, 2015 9:51 AM AEST

    Recent research led by Jesse Shore at Boston University’s Questrom School of Business has found that collaboration sometimes hinders problem solving because individuals in big groups tend to parrot one another, resulting in a narrow set of solutions. “We just get caught up in our own gospel around collaboration,” says Ethan Bernstein, an assistant professor of organizational behavior at Harvard Business School, and a co-author of the paper, with Dr. Shore and David Lazer of Northeastern University. The researchers broke down problem solving into two parts—gathering facts about a situation and devising solutions—and divided study participants into groups of 16.

  • Theft of Debit-Card Data From ATMs Soars The Wall Street Journal - Wed, May 20, 2015 9:41 AM AEST
    Theft of Debit-Card Data From ATMs Soars

    Criminals are stealing card data from U.S. automated teller machines at the highest rate in two decades, preying on ATMs while merchants crack down on fraud at the checkout counter. The incidents, in which ...

  • Behind Apple’s Move to Shelve TV Plans The Wall Street Journal - Tue, May 19, 2015 9:43 AM AEST
    Behind Apple’s Move to Shelve TV Plans

    Investor Carl Icahn said he expects Apple Inc. to introduce an ultra-high-definition television in 2016. But after nearly a decade of research, Apple quietly shelved plans to make such a set more than ...

  • Big Tire Turns 50, but Big Nail Isn’t Invited to Party The Wall Street Journal - Tue, May 19, 2015 8:44 AM AEST
    Big Tire Turns 50, but Big Nail Isn’t Invited to Party

    ALLEN PARK, Mich.—Anyone who has traveled east from Detroit’s Metropolitan airport toward the heart of the Motor City over the past half-century has encountered the gigantic Ferris-wheel-sized tire on ...

  • Starbucks, Spotify Team Up The Wall Street Journal - Tue, May 19, 2015 8:39 AM AEST
    Starbucks, Spotify Team Up

    Starbucks Corp. is teaming up with Spotify to allow subscribers of the music-streaming service to get reward points they can redeem at the coffee giant, in the first of what Starbucks Chief Executive Howard Schultz said will be similar tie-ups with other companies. As part of the deal, Spotify is paying Starbucks for the right to issue Starbucks “stars” reward points to its subscribers, Starbucks said, without disclosing the amount. Customers will also be able to link their Spotify and Starbucks accounts and suggest songs to include in the music playlists of the Starbucks stores they go to, the companies said.

  • U.S. Airlines Expect to Carry Record Number of Passengers This Summer The Wall Street Journal - Mon, May 18, 2015 2:01 PM AEST
    U.S. Airlines Expect to Carry Record Number of Passengers This Summer

    U.S. airlines are expecting record passenger loads this summer, a 4.5% increase over last year’s June 1 to Aug. 31 period, according to Airlines for America, the industry’s leading trade group. Revenues were up 3.1%, due in large part to a 3.9% increase in air travelers.

  • At Chobani, Rocky Road From Startup Status The Wall Street Journal - Mon, May 18, 2015 12:38 PM AEST

    Hamdi Ulukaya used to say that no one could run his yogurt startup better than he could, proud that Chobani Inc. grew to $1 billion in annual sales without help from a “professional CEO.” Today, a professional ...

  • Booksellers Heap Promotions on New Harper Lee Novel The Wall Street Journal - Mon, May 18, 2015 10:50 AM AEST
    Booksellers Heap Promotions on New Harper Lee Novel

    When Harper Lee’s new novel “Go Set a Watchman” goes on sale July 14, the Northshire Bookstore in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., will be ready. Reflecting the book’s status as one of the most-anticipated cultural ...

  • Divorce and Money: Six Costly Mistakes The Wall Street Journal - Sat, May 16, 2015 7:48 AM AEST
    Divorce and Money: Six Costly Mistakes

    Divorce can be hazardous to your financial health. Splitting up is expensive, and your cost of living is likely to go up when it is all over. Experts say anecdotal evidence suggests an improving economy ...

  • Ingeborg Rapoport to Become Oldest Recipient of Doctorate After Nazi Injustice is Righted The Wall Street Journal - Fri, May 15, 2015 1:48 AM AEST
    Ingeborg Rapoport to Become Oldest Recipient of Doctorate After Nazi Injustice is Righted

    Ingeborg Rapoport was 25 when she wrote her doctoral thesis, but she had to wait until Wednesday to defend it before an academic committee—77 years later. Ms. Rapoport, a 102-year-old retired neonatologist ...

  • The Best and Worst Airline Rewards Programs for 2015 The Wall Street Journal - Thu, May 14, 2015 2:25 PM AEST
    The Best and Worst Airline Rewards Programs for 2015

    If you’re still collecting frequent-flier miles, you may be missing the points. Travelers continue to be frustrated by the inability to cash in frequent-flier miles for popular flights. Seats are often ...

  • Employees Pay a Price to Retain Right to Sue The Wall Street Journal - Wed, May 13, 2015 12:48 PM AEST

    Companies have been aggressively trying to stem the costs of lawsuits by asking and sometimes requiring employees to give up their right to take the boss to court. The U.S. arm of German pharmaceuticals firm Boehringer Ingelheim recently took the idea one step further, barring employees from receiving sales commissions if they didn't agree to pursue complaints against the company in arbitration, rather than in court. Employees could keep the right to sue the company, but they would pay a steep price: They became ineligible to receive 2014 incentive compensation. Boehringer’s policy was first sent to staffers who were eligible for incentive pay, such as sales employees, according to memos reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.

  • Tiny Millsfield, N.H., Becomes a Big Deal in 2016 U.S. Presidential Primary The Wall Street Journal - Wed, May 13, 2015 7:49 AM AEST

    MILLSFIELD, N.H.—Election Day here has never meant stepping inside a voting booth. For years, people in Millsfield marked ballots atop a washing machine in the Sweatt family’s farmhouse. More recently, voters have picked candidates in one of the three bedrooms at Sonja and Charlie Sheldon’s bed-and-breakfast.

  • Some Firms Learn You Just Can’t Beat the ‘Burbs The Wall Street Journal - Wed, May 13, 2015 6:35 AM AEST

    Some are seeking lower rents, parking space or large blocks of office space that might be unavailable in urban areas. Many of these firms are relocating to aging suburban office campuses that are being repurposed by developers into self-contained 24/7 communities. Consider the Arvida Park of Commerce, a 700-acre office park in Boca Raton, Fla. that originally opened in 1978. Last month, the park, which currently has 5.2 million square feet of office space and 554,000 square feet of commercial and retail space, changed its name to The Park at Broken Sound as part of a rebranding and repositioning plan.

  • Tight Mortgage Market Keeps Lid on Americans’ Debt Levels The Wall Street Journal - Wed, May 13, 2015 5:54 AM AEST
    Tight Mortgage Market Keeps Lid on Americans’ Debt Levels

    U.S. borrowers are playing it safe this year, with overall debt levels largely flat in the first quarter amid tight mortgage lending and hints that some consumers are using gas savings to pay down bills. In a sign of this caution, more consumers are getting a better grip on their finances, prompting a drop in late payments on two fast-growing types of debt—car and student loans. Household debt—including mortgages, credit cards, auto loans and student loans—inched up 0.2% between January and March to $11.85 trillion, new figures from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York showed Tuesday. Mortgage debt outstanding is up just $6 billion over the past year.

  • Restaurants’ Secrets to Keeping VIP Diners Happy The Wall Street Journal - Wed, May 13, 2015 1:59 AM AEST
    Restaurants’ Secrets to Keeping VIP Diners Happy

    When Jim O’Connor walks in for a business lunch at Oceana in Midtown Manhattan, a small army of employees gets an alert. His preferences are immediately printed out by the maître d’ on a receipt printer ...

  • Support Builds to Redo U.S. Air-Traffic System The Wall Street Journal - Tue, May 12, 2015 11:47 AM AEST
    Support Builds to Redo U.S. Air-Traffic System

    A push to radically reshape the outmoded U.S. air-traffic control system is gaining support, as airlines and some labor unions join to back change and a top lawmaker drafts legislation that could effectively ...

  • Moving Your Nest Egg to a Bed of Red Tape The Wall Street Journal - Tue, May 12, 2015 9:28 AM AEST

    The Labor Department has proposed a regulation—championed by President Obama and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.)—that would subject financial retirement advisers to a strict “fiduciary” standard for their services. Washington’s plan is put forth as a way to help people saving for retirement. Regulatory compliance and other costs would make it prohibitively expensive for many financial advisers to offer many Americans of modest means a full range of financial products, particularly those where the adviser acts as a broker and gets a commission from selling them. Almost 40 million households have not saved anything for retirement, and 62% of Americans age 55 to 64 have less than one year’s savings.

  • Birkenstock Doesn’t Care if Fashionistas Stop Wearing Its Sandals The Wall Street Journal - Mon, May 11, 2015 9:45 AM AEST
    Birkenstock Doesn’t Care if Fashionistas Stop Wearing Its Sandals

    Birkenstocks are clunky orthopedically formed slabs with a rubber-cork-mix sole, usually with thick leather straps—the antithesis of fashion. Glamour named Birkenstocks the shoe of the summer 2013, and last summer they were even hotter. The popularity surge is particularly notable because Birkenstock didn’t push it. He and a co-CEO represent the company’s owners, heirs of founder Johann Adam Birkenstock, an 18th-century boot maker.

  • Case of the Vanishing Worker The Wall Street Journal - Mon, May 11, 2015 9:15 AM AEST
    Case of the Vanishing Worker

    DECATUR, Ill.—By one key gauge of economic health, this industrial city three hours south of Chicago is well on the way to recovery. Hit hard by the recession, when its unemployment rate topped 14%, Decatur ...

  • Virtual-Reality Tools Will Redefine Remote Work The Wall Street Journal - Mon, May 11, 2015 9:07 AM AEST
    Virtual-Reality Tools Will Redefine Remote Work

    Whether I was in a conference room studded with monitors, on a video-chat system that leverages 3-D cameras, or strapped into a virtual-reality headset inhabiting the body of a robot, I kept having the same feeling over and over again: I was there—where collaboration needed to happen. Oblong Industries was started by John Underkoffler, who designed the futuristic computer interfaces in the film Minority Report.

  • M&M Maker Wants Labels for Added Sugar The Wall Street Journal - Fri, May 8, 2015 2:01 PM AEST
    M&M Maker Wants Labels for Added Sugar

    The maker of the world’s best-selling chocolate candy is advocating that people eat less added sugar. Mars Inc., maker of M&M’s and Snickers, is throwing its support behind a proposal by U.S. regulators ...

  • Mobile Apps Get Picked Up by Independent Truckers for Better Routes The Wall Street Journal - Fri, May 8, 2015 12:27 PM AEST

    One recent morning, Ivan Sandul, a 28-year-old truck driver from Sacramento, Calif., found himself wishing there were an app to make his job easier.

  • Business Schools Are Fighting Over Top Women The Wall Street Journal - Thu, May 7, 2015 10:28 AM AEST

    Business schools worry that not enough women see an M.B.A. in their future. B-school deans say the pipeline of young women may be running dry as fewer U.S. students overall appear to be interested in a ...

  • The Tax Threat to Your Mutual Fund The Wall Street Journal - Thu, May 7, 2015 8:37 AM AEST

    Rather, the levy would be decided by a consortium of financial regulators who can designate your mutual fund or mutual-fund firm as posing a “systemic risk” to the financial system. In the years since the global financial crisis, lawmakers and regulators have worked to stabilize the markets and economy. They identified risks to the financial system and took steps to ensure that Main Street would not be on the hook—again—for bad bets placed by Wall Street. Under the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act, all banks with more than $50 billion in assets are designated as systemically important financial institutions (SIFIs).