Financial News from The Wall Street Journal

  • Insurance Megamergers Won’t Help Patients or M.D.s The Wall Street Journal - Wed, Sep 2, 2015 2:01 PM AEST

    “A Healthy Side of Insurance Mega-Mergers” by Victor R. Fuchs and Peter V. Lee (Aug. 27) wrongly states that the insurance megadeals will be good for consumers because it will force hospitals to lower prices. Yes, hospitals are working together in new ways, and those transactions are motivated by structural changes in the market designed to improve access and affordability for patients. The benefits to consumers of these structural changes are obvious.

  • U.S. Regulators Cut Number of Vehicles Deemed to Have Faulty Takata Air Bags The Wall Street Journal - Wed, Sep 2, 2015 7:20 AM AEST

    Federal safety regulators, armed with new data from auto makers, said the number of vehicles likely affected by defective Takata Corp. air-bag inflaters is sharply lower than originally estimated, cutting the figure by about 40% to 19.2 million from more than 30 million. The recall remains the largest and most complex automotive recall in history and involves 11 different auto makers. An official of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on Tuesday said new information shows some of the affected vehicles originally thought to be in the U.S. were sold overseas.

  • U.S. Drivers Will Put Oil Prices in Reverse The Wall Street Journal - Wed, Sep 2, 2015 4:24 AM AEST

    It is nearly turnaround season, though not necessarily for your favorite baseball team. Oil futures gave back a chunk of those gains on Tuesday, though, after China’s official purchasing managers index fell to its lowest in three years and a similar one in the U.S. dropped to a two-year low.

  • Amgen Finds Data Falsified in Obesity-Diabetes Study Featuring Grizzly Bears The Wall Street Journal - Wed, Sep 2, 2015 2:00 AM AEST

    A scientific paper that captured widespread attention because its subjects were massive grizzly bears—and hinted at a new approach to treating diabetes—was retracted Tuesday after one of the authors was said to have manipulated some of the data. The paper attracted news coverage around the world after its publication in August 2014 in the journal Cell Metabolism, whose cover featured the image of a grizzly bear clutching a fish between its jaws. The paper discussed how a grizzly bear’s metabolism adjusts to hibernation, and the key role of a certain fat protein.

  • Dealing With the ‘Daddy Track’: Men Face Challenges Going Part Time The Wall Street Journal - Tue, Sep 1, 2015 7:30 PM AEST

    When Steve Good’s two daughters were small, he and his wife Kathleen struggled to handle child-care duties alongside their intense jobs as managers at glass manufacturer Corning Inc. After the second time missing a day-care pickup, the couple decided someone had to take a step back to care for family. As women make strides in the workplace and men shoulder more caregiving duties at home, few fathers have workplace flexibility figured out. Additionally, working fathers say they feel rising levels of work-life conflict but many aren’t comfortable questioning the demands of the modern office, or are penalized if they do so, says Kenneth Matos, senior director of research at the Families and Work Institute.

  • Inside Kellogg’s Effort to Cash In on the Health-Food Craze The Wall Street Journal - Tue, Sep 1, 2015 12:20 PM AEST

    BATTLE CREEK, Mich.—Years before natural and organic foods exploded in popularity, cereal behemoth Kellogg Co. acquired one of the segment’s pioneers: Kashi Co. Kellogg let the Southern California firm, known for its cereals, operate autonomously. In 2013, Kellogg Chief Executive John Bryant closed Kashi’s office in San Diego, betting that a fresh start at headquarters here would help to rejuvenate the brand.

  • Can Some Probiotics Have an Antibiotic Effect? The Wall Street Journal - Tue, Sep 1, 2015 9:58 AM AEST

    The Claim: Some probiotics, healthy bacteria commonly known for improving digestion and boosting the immune system, also can kill pathogens, such as those that cause food poisoning and others that cause illnesses such as strep throat. The Verdict: A probiotic lozenge can reduce incidence of strep throat, according to published research by Italian scientists. A Harvard University scientist found another strain, which is added to some smoothies and raw juices, can kill a wide variety of harmful bacteria in lab tests.

  • Drug-Industry Rule Would Raise Medicare Costs The Wall Street Journal - Tue, Sep 1, 2015 9:20 AM AEST

    A patent law change sought by the pharmaceutical industry could cost federal health-care programs $1.3 billion over a decade by delaying new generic medicines, an analysis by the Congressional Budget Office found this summer, according to people familiar with the matter. Pharmaceutical trade groups are asking Congress to exempt drug patents from being challenged through an administrative process that is cheaper and faster than the federal courts. Drug makers say hedge-fund manager Kyle Bass used the procedure to challenge companies whose shares he is betting against, or selling short.

  • Grandparent Power: Bonds With Seniors Help Stabilize Teens The Wall Street Journal - Tue, Sep 1, 2015 1:41 AM AEST

    Teens who form close, loving relationships with a grandparent are more likely to have fewer behavioral and emotional problems than less-attached teens, says a study published online in the American Journal of Orthopsychiatry. The benefits to the teens were even greater when they were also close to the parent who was the offspring of the grandparent, the study found. Grandparents are often seen as performing a useful role when parents and teens aren’t getting along.

  • In Rural China, E-Commerce Blazes a Trail The Wall Street Journal - Mon, Aug 31, 2015 2:01 PM AEST

    MINGSHUI—China’s e-commerce titans, facing a slowdown in the growth of their core urban customers, are battling to crack a new frontier: the sprawling countryside. Each morning at 7:30 a.m., Pang Weidong starts his delivery route at an Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.-affiliated distribution center here in China’s northeastern plains. Mr. Pang is part of an army of drivers hired by Alibaba’s logistics partners and its chief competitor, JD.com Inc., to make deliveries in rural towns across China.

  • U.S. Open Construction Is on Hold Until After Tournament The Wall Street Journal - Mon, Aug 31, 2015 10:51 AM AEST

    John Isner had been concerned about the ongoing construction at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, where the U.S. Open begins Monday. Isner, seeded 13th and the top-ranked American in the men’s field, was worried that the still-in-progress $150 million roof project over Arthur Ashe Stadium would create unusual shadows on the court. The retractable roof will not be operational until 2016, but ahead of this year’s tournament, the construction crews completed the 6,500-ton steel superstructure that hangs over the stadium.

  • Netflix Ends Epix Cable Deal, Pulling High-Profile Films The Wall Street Journal - Mon, Aug 31, 2015 10:30 AM AEST

    Major Hollywood films like “Hunger Games: Catching Fire” and “World War Z” will be shifting from Netflix to Hulu in coming weeks, as pay-TV channel Epix switches up its streaming partners. The moves reflect a broader trend in the streaming-video business as Netflix Inc. continues to become pickier about paying for rights to TV shows and movies that can be found elsewhere. At the same time, a newly aggressive—yet, for content owners, more accommodating—Hulu is ramping up its content spending to challenge Netflix’s dominance.

  • The Only Bank This Hip-Hop Mogul Will Use The Wall Street Journal - Mon, Aug 31, 2015 10:19 AM AEST

    Signature Bank is a throwback to a simpler time in banking, a low-profile firm with a plain-vanilla business model focused on lending and deposits. Among the bank’s admirers are former Congressman Barney Frank, who recently joined its board, and hip-hop producer Irv “Gotti” Lorenzo, who calls himself a Signature customer for life after the bank stood by him when he was facing money-laundering charges. The New York bank, with its headquarters on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, maintains only a handful of branches, most in the upper floors of office towers.

  • TV Remains King in Political Ad Spending The Wall Street Journal - Mon, Aug 31, 2015 9:44 AM AEST

    Candidates and outside groups are expected to spend $1.1 billion on digital advertising in 2016, up almost 700% from $162 million in the 2012 elections, according to Borrell Associates, an advisory firm that tracks media trends. Television spending on the 2016 presidential race was up almost 900% through mid-August from the same point in 2012, according to Federal Communications Commission filings. Candidates and their outside allies have already reserved more than $47 million ads for the race ahead, almost three times the amount at this point four years ago, the filings show.

  • Crises Put First Dents in Xi Jinping’s Power The Wall Street Journal - Mon, Aug 31, 2015 9:33 AM AEST

    BEIJING—Shortly before President Xi Jinping boarded a plane last month to attend a summit in Russia, his office issued an executive order: China’s stock markets must go back up. The massive state-backed share-buying that ensued propped up the markets briefly in mid-July, allowing Mr. Xi to showcase China’s economic might at the summit with emerging-market leaders. In recent weeks, though, share prices have plunged again, taking global markets with them and triggering an international crisis of confidence in Mr. Xi’s stewardship of the world’s second-largest economy.

  • Apple’s Ad Blockers Rile Publishers The Wall Street Journal - Mon, Aug 31, 2015 8:47 AM AEST
    Apple’s Ad Blockers Rile Publishers

    Apple Inc.’s move to make it easier to block ads on iPhones and iPads is troubling publishers and heightening tensions with its Silicon Valley neighbors. The next version of Apple’s mobile-operating system, due out as early as next month, will let users install apps that prevent ads from appearing in its Safari browser. Putting such “ad blockers” within reach of hundreds of millions of iPhone and iPad users threatens to disrupt the $70 billion annual mobile-marketing business, where many publishers and tech firms hope to generate far more revenue from a growing mobile audience.

  • Facebook Adds Tool to Detect Unauthorized Posts of Video The Wall Street Journal - Mon, Aug 31, 2015 8:28 AM AEST

    Facebook Inc., under fire from top Web-video creators who say it fails to prevent their videos from being posted without permission, is trying to make it easier for them to protect their content, particularly when videos go viral. The social-networking giant, which is locked in a battle with Google Inc.’s YouTube unit for Web-video supremacy, is introducing a video-matching-technology product designed to quickly identify videos that are duplicates of those already uploaded directly by their creators. “This technology is tailored to our platform, and will allow these creators to identify matches of their videos on Facebook across pages, profiles, groups, and geographies,” Facebook said in its post.

  • For American Pharoah, Retirement or Redemption? The Wall Street Journal - Mon, Aug 31, 2015 6:35 AM AEST

    For weeks, the question surrounding Triple Crown winner American Pharoah was about his next race: Would he run in the historic Travers Stakes? The only noticeable cause for concern, said jockey Victor Espinoza, came just before the start of the Travers. “He was not the same,” Espinoza said, noting that in previous races, American Pharoah showed “not even just a tiny bit of sweat before the gate.

  • China’s Next Problem: Paying for Its Stock-Market Bailout The Wall Street Journal - Mon, Aug 31, 2015 2:59 AM AEST

    China’s epic stock-market drops over the past week give the impression that Beijing may have given up on trying to prop up the market or is at least retreating to defend a lower level. The question is, what will the government do with all that stock that it already has bought? Unlike the U.S. bailouts of 2008 and 2009, China is in the unenviable position of having bought near the market’s top, not at the bottom.

  • Volkswagen Is Told to Shed Suzuki Stake The Wall Street Journal - Sun, Aug 30, 2015 10:26 PM AEST

    TOKYO—An international court has ordered Volkswagen AG to sell its nearly 20% stake in Suzuki Motor Corp., allowing the Japanese auto maker to extricate itself from the tie-up after a four-year struggle. The decision, by the London Court of International Arbitration, stamps an official imprimatur on the divorce between VW, one of the world’s largest auto makers, and Suzuki, which is a niche competitor globally but has a strong presence in India and other emerging markets. Suzuki said it might have to pay damages to the German car maker, adding that details would likely be addressed in future arbitrations.

  • When Bowles Sees Something He Doesn’t Like, the Jets Start Running The Wall Street Journal - Fri, Aug 28, 2015 9:57 AM AEST

    FLORHAM PARK, N.J.—Fans attending the Jets’ training camp this year have been treated to more than just close-up views of big hits and great catches. Bowles isn’t the first Jets head coach to discipline players using physical punishment.

  • Obama Faults Government for Fueling Katrina Suffering The Wall Street Journal - Fri, Aug 28, 2015 9:38 AM AEST

    President Barack Obama marked the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina with a speech Thursday in New Orleans calling the storm, in part, a man-made disaster fueled by poverty and government inaction. “What started out as a natural disaster became a man-made disaster—a failure of government to look out for its own citizens,” Mr. Obama said. In a speech in the Lower Ninth Ward, a historically black neighborhood devastated by the hurricane, Mr. Obama spoke about the economic and social conditions that predated the storm and how they intersected with the government response.

  • Meet the Pilot Who Doubles as Block Island’s Chinese-Food Delivery Guy The Wall Street Journal - Thu, Aug 27, 2015 10:46 AM AEST

    BLOCK ISLAND, R.I.—By his estimate, Bill Bendokas has flown at least a half-million passengers during his time at New England Airlines, the small, regional carrier he founded in 1970 to connect this pear-shaped island with points along the East Coast. Mr. Bendokas is Block Island’s Chinese-food delivery guy. You name the category of food and there’s a good chance the jovial pilot has brought it aboard one of his seven planes, which range in size from six to 10 seats.

  • Amazon Curtails Development of Consumer Devices The Wall Street Journal - Thu, Aug 27, 2015 9:36 AM AEST

    In recent weeks Amazon has dismissed dozens of engineers who worked on its Fire phone at Lab126, its secretive hardware-development center in Silicon Valley, according to people familiar with the matter. The company also has scaled back or halted some of Lab126’s more ambitious projects—including a large-screen tablet—and reorganized the division, combining two hardware units there into one, people familiar with the matter said. Amazon declined to comment for this article.

  • Hedge Funds Bruised by Stocks’ Meltdown The Wall Street Journal - Thu, Aug 27, 2015 9:28 AM AEST

    Billionaire managers such as Leon Cooperman, Raymond Dalio and Daniel Loeb are deeply in the red this month, left flat-footed by the quick plunge for stocks world-wide. Mr. Cooperman’s Omega Advisors posted a 12% decline this month through Wednesday and 10% this year. Mr. Loeb’s Third Point LLC and William Ackman’s Pershing Square Capital Management are also down big, erasing their gains for the year.

  • Netflix Viewership Finally Gets a Yardstick The Wall Street Journal - Thu, Aug 27, 2015 9:08 AM AEST

    When asked recently if she knew how many people were watching the comedy “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” on Netflix, co-creator Tina Fey said she had no idea. Netflix Inc. is notoriously secretive when it comes to sharing such information—be it with content providers, the media or Wall Street—arguing that since it doesn’t have advertisers to please, ratings for its subscription streaming service are irrelevant. In recent months, measurement specialist Nielsen has been scaling up a program to track viewing on Netflix and other online services like Amazon.com Inc.’s Prime Instant Video and Hulu.

  • Corinthian Colleges Wins Approval for Liquidation Plan The Wall Street Journal - Thu, Aug 27, 2015 7:47 AM AEST

    A bankruptcy judge has approved Corinthian Colleges Inc.’s plan to liquidate its assets, largely concluding the defunct for-profit education company’s chapter 11 bankruptcy case. The liquidating plan sets aside more than $4 million to benefit former students in their efforts to pursue discharges of student loans incurred at Corinthian schools, including Everest, WyoTech and Heald colleges. Corinthian Colleges wound down under a chapter 11 process, giving the parties the flexibility to negotiate a fund for students that wouldn’t have been available in a chapter 7 liquidation.

  • When Bad Things Happen to Expensive Stocks The Wall Street Journal - Thu, Aug 27, 2015 6:56 AM AEST

    Investors have gotten a painful reminder this month that when stocks are expensive, bad things can happen. Plus, while some areas of the economy, and companies, will get dinged by China’s slowdown and the popping of its stock-market bubble, others will benefit. Reduced sales to China and intensified competition from Chinese manufacturers will hurt, but lower gasoline and import prices are a boon to U.S. consumers—and companies that sell to them.

  • Got Losses? A Tax Break Could Soothe the Pain The Wall Street Journal - Thu, Aug 27, 2015 5:05 AM AEST
    Got Losses? A Tax Break Could Soothe the Pain

    Uncle Sam’s tax rules on deducting investment losses can ease the sting of market declines. Some investors cope with the turmoil by selling poor-performing positions and using the losses to offset taxes on any capital gains.

  • Who Knows Where Almost Every Flight Is Right Now? The Wall Street Journal - Thu, Aug 27, 2015 3:28 AM AEST

    The disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 in March 2014 left the traveling public dismayed that airlines don’t constantly track airplanes. In that vacuum, Flightradar24, based here, has become the go-to source of information on tracking planes. The operation relies on volunteers world-wide with 7,500 receivers installed on roofs, towers, islands and ships.

  • Accenture to Allow New Parents to Travel Less for Job The Wall Street Journal - Wed, Aug 26, 2015 2:04 PM AEST
    Accenture to Allow New Parents to Travel Less for Job

    Accenture, the large professional-services firm, is announcing today that it is allowing mothers and primary caregivers to work locally during the year after they return from parental leave, instead of traveling for out-of-town engagements. Ellyn Shook, Accenture’s chief human-resources officer, said the move was suggested by employees in a parenting group. Ms. Shook said some new-parent employees opted to leave their jobs altogether because they were anxious that their professional-services jobs might entail too much time on the road.

  • China Has Big Eyes, Little Stomach for Oil The Wall Street Journal - Wed, Aug 26, 2015 1:54 PM AEST

    In the case of oil, however, China is hurting the fundamental case as well, especially once investors look past a few headline figures. On the surface, China is guzzling the stuff. Over the first seven months of the year, the world’s largest marginal buyer of oil imported a daily average of 6.7 million barrels of crude, according to London-based consultancy Energy Aspects.

  • Manager at Video Game Maker Accused of Trade Secret Theft The Wall Street Journal - Wed, Aug 26, 2015 11:56 AM AEST

    Jing Zeng, 42 years old, of San Ramon, Calif., allegedly downloaded data on how users interact with Game of War: Fire Age, one of the top-grossing games in Apple Inc.’s App Store. The case could make Mr. Zeng, a naturalized U.S. citizen, the latest face in American officials’ efforts to stop alleged theft of trade secrets from U.S. firms. The Palo Alto, Calif., firm produces Game of War, an online medieval videogame that features knights and dragons.

  • Workers Get New Tools for Airing Their Gripes The Wall Street Journal - Wed, Aug 26, 2015 10:26 AM AEST

    Recent revelations about Amazon.com Inc.’s competitive work culture described a company feedback system in which employees sent gripes to co-workers’ bosses about their performance, sometimes without the co-workers’ knowledge. Invoking a workplace version of “Lord of the Flies,” workers said that some used the tool, called Anytime Feedback, to gang up on rivals or oust low performers. While systems like Amazon’s are comparatively rare, workforce-technology experts say, anonymous and peer feedback features come standard in widely used performance-management software by Workday Inc., Cornerstone on Demand Inc., Salesforce’s Work.com and others.

  • Cell Carriers Battle for Wi-Fi Airwaves The Wall Street Journal - Wed, Aug 26, 2015 9:04 AM AEST

    Verizon Communications Inc. and T-Mobile US Inc. are preparing to broadcast cellular signals over some of the same free airwaves currently used by Wi-Fi networks. The wireless carriers plan to begin rolling out the technology next year.