Financial News from The Wall Street Journal

  • Health Vote’s Outcome Carries High Stakes for Trump Presidency The Wall Street Journal - Fri, Mar 24, 2017 12:56 PM AEDT

    The health-care bill now stalled in Congress is proving an early test of whether the deal-making skills that made President Donald Trump rich in the business world will also work in the legislative realm, where lawmakers face competing pressures and require different sorts of incentives to reach agreement. Dubbed “the closer” by House Republicans, Mr. Trump has steadily escalated his role in trying to pass a health-care overhaul that would unwind the Affordable Care Act signed seven years ago by his predecessor, Democratic President Barack Obama. In recent days, Mr. Trump has held a string of meetings with different factions of the House Republican caucus, trying to knit together the winning coalition that has eluded House Speaker Paul Ryan (R., Wis.).

  • The Big Health Fix Bruises Ryan and Trump The Wall Street Journal - Fri, Mar 24, 2017 12:14 PM AEDT

    Former President Barack Obama tried the big fix in health care and he came away with the scars to show for it. Now, House Speaker Paul Ryan and President Donald Trump are trying for the big health-care fix, and they are coming away with the scars to show for it. It is this: Health care is such a giant national issue that it isn’t easily or effectively resolved with broad plans that have only narrow partisan support.

  • Theranos Offers Shares for Promise Not to Sue The Wall Street Journal - Fri, Mar 24, 2017 7:44 AM AEDT

    Theranos Inc. plans to give additional shares to investors who pledge not to sue the battered blood-testing company or Elizabeth Holmes, its founder and chief executive, people familiar with the matter said. The deal includes investors who participated in Theranos’s latest funding rounds, which ended in 2015 and brought in more than $600 million. The additional shares would come from Ms. Holmes’s personal stake in Theranos, some of the people said.

  • Can This Man Save Macy’s? The Wall Street Journal - Fri, Mar 24, 2017 7:22 AM AEDT

    The new chief executive of Macy’s Inc. says he knows what ails the struggling department-store chain: A “sea of sameness” that characterizes too much of what it sells today. “We’re trying to create the best of both worlds with an off-price/full-price environment,” said Jeffrey Gennette, who took to take the reins at the 159-year-old retailer on Thursday. In an interview above Macy’s flagship store in Manhattan’s Herald Square, Mr. Gennette laid out his plans.

  • Bannon Blames Wrong Folks for Father’s Loss The Wall Street Journal - Fri, Mar 24, 2017 6:40 AM AEDT

    “Bannon’s Journey to Economic Nationalism” (page one, March 15) highlights the risk of nondiversification in a personal investment portfolio. Steve Bannon’s father, a long-term AT&T employee, regularly ...

  • Trump’s Russia House The Wall Street Journal - Thu, Mar 23, 2017 9:35 AM AEDT

    The tale of Russia interfering in the U.S. presidential election has become a hall of mirrors that distorts and diminishes everyone who comes near it—the Trump presidency, Democrats, members of Congress, the intelligence community and the media. Vladimir Putin must be agog in Moscow at how easy it is to make America subvert itself. The details of a March 1 New York Times story deserve to be repeated with as much manic intensity as news sites report the repudiation of Donald Trump’s claim that Mr. Obama wiretapped Trump Tower.

  • How a 145-Pound Golfer Became One of the Game’s Longest Drivers The Wall Street Journal - Thu, Mar 23, 2017 12:36 AM AEDT

    Amateur golfers who pay big money to play alongside PGA Tour stars in weekly pro-ams expect to see shots they can only dream of hitting. There is what they see when they meet Thomas: a slight figure, 5-foot-10 and 145 pounds, skin and bone and not much else. “It definitely surprises everybody,” Thomas said.

  • The GOP Is Out of Excuses on Health Care The Wall Street Journal - Wed, Mar 22, 2017 10:00 AM AEDT

    Although this week got off to a crackling start with high-profile hearings on Judge Neil Gorsuch’s Supreme Court nomination and potential Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, the event with the largest consequences for the Trump administration and the Republican congressional majority occurs on Thursday. For seven years, GOP leaders have promised their base that they would get rid of ObamaCare. After regaining a Senate majority in 2014, they sent a bill to President Obama, who promptly vetoed it.

  • Why Trump’s Tax Cut May Be Later and Smaller Than Investors Think The Wall Street Journal - Wed, Mar 22, 2017 4:23 AM AEDT

    The fight in Congress over health care could go on for a while. The House is set to vote on the Republican health-care plan on Thursday, and even with the tweaks lawmakers have been making to it, passage looks iffy. Then, if the Senate can pass a bill of its own, there will be a House-Senate conference to resolve differences.

  • The Not-So-Creepy Reason More Bosses Are Tracking Employees The Wall Street Journal - Wed, Mar 22, 2017 12:00 AM AEDT

    Companies including Boston Consulting Group, and Microsoft Corp. are variously mining employees’ emails, chat logs, and tracking face-to-face interactions to get a better grasp on how information travels among employees. The goal, managers said, is to cut down on time-consuming meetings, vague emails and useless training sessions. While some bosses already use apps to gauge productivity and employee performance, management researchers say new technologies like sensor-laden ID badges and programs that analyze online calendars offer a better measure of how efficiently teams communicate and how well they collaborate without overtaxing one another’s time.

  • Why Almond Growers Are Going Nuts The Wall Street Journal - Tue, Mar 21, 2017 8:48 AM AEDT

    More than 27 inches of rain in California this winter, the most since record-keeping began in 1895, interrupted the sensitive growing season. “Unfortunately I can’t give the bees overtime and ask them to work longer and harder,” said Sunny Verghese, chief executive of Olam International, Ltd. The Singapore-based commodities trading company is the world’s largest almond grower, with 9,000 acres in California. The premium variety accounts for about 40% of California’s $5.3 billion almond crop and is the most lucrative for growers, said Michael Kelley, president of the Central California Almond Growers Association.

  • For a Cost of Only $16 per Californian . . . The Wall Street Journal - Tue, Mar 21, 2017 8:34 AM AEDT

    Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D., Calif.) writes that the U.S. Department of Transportation’s decision to defer a $647 million federal grant for Caltrain electrification was “foolhardy” and that the modernization plan “deserves a fair review based solely on the merits of the project” (Letters, March 15). According to Caltrain’s most recent customer demographic survey, the average Caltrain rider’s household income in 2013 was $117,000, with nearly two-thirds of rider households having incomes above $75,000. Caltrain’s rider incomes and levels of educational attainment were more than double those of the average American’s, and this disparity almost certainly increased in the four years since the 2013 survey.

  • Should College Students Be Required to Take a Course in Personal Finance? The Wall Street Journal - Mon, Mar 20, 2017 1:37 PM AEDT

    When it comes to financial literacy, however, the U.S. gets a failing grade at least by one count. The U.S. ranked 14th in a 2015 global study conducted by Standard & Poor’s Ratings Group and others, with a financial literacy rate of 57%. One solution would be to have colleges require students to take a personal-finance course.

  • It’s Good to Be a CEO, Again: Stocks Rise, and So Does Pay The Wall Street Journal - Mon, Mar 20, 2017 11:34 AM AEDT

    Pay raises are back in style in the corner office, wiping out cuts from a year earlier and pushing CEO compensation to new highs amid a surging stock market. Median pay for the chief executives of 104 of the biggest American companies rose 6.8% for fiscal 2016 to $11.5 million, on track to set a postrecession record, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis. Twice as many companies increased their chiefs’ pay as reduced it, though a few high-profile bosses took substantial pay cuts, including Apple Inc.’s Tim Cook and General Electric Co.’s Jeff Immelt.

  • A Day on the Job With Chuck Berry The Wall Street Journal - Mon, Mar 20, 2017 8:02 AM AEDT

    Those eyes, 15 feet away on the stage—those Chuck Berry eyes. Wary, weary, angry-almost-by-default, smart, knowing, those eyes that had seen everything. I looked into his eyes, and I thought: This would ...

  • GM Tries a Subscription Plan for Cadillacs—a Netflix for Cars at $1,500 a Month The Wall Street Journal - Mon, Mar 20, 2017 12:00 AM AEDT

    Ashley Sandall recently set aside the keys to her Porsche sport-utility vehicle for three months to try out a few Cadillacs. Ms. Sandall, a 35-year-old fashion executive who lives in New York City, used Cadillac’s brawny Escalade SUV for trips to the Hamptons and a football game in New Jersey. After participating free of charge in a three-month pilot of General Motors Co.’s new Book by Cadillac subscription plan, Ms. Sandall said she is considering becoming a full-time member when it is time for a new vehicle. For $1,500 a month, the program covers ownership costs and lets members trade in and out of Cadillac’s 10 models up to 18 times a year.

  • Bidding Process for U.S. Border-Wall Construction Begins The Wall Street Journal - Sun, Mar 19, 2017 7:34 AM AEDT

    LOS ANGELES—U.S. Customs and Border Protection officially opened the process to accept bids to design and build a wall “physically imposing in height” along the southern border with Mexico. The documents say the government will consider proposals for two separate designs for the barrier: a solid concrete wall, and a wall made of alternative material. Both requests call for the wall along the southwestern border—from San Diego to Brownsville, Texas—to be a minimum of 18 feet high.

  • Retail Store ‘Bubble’ Has Burst and CEOs Search for Answers The Wall Street Journal - Sat, Mar 18, 2017 11:59 PM AEDT

    This week, executives from several large retailers and online sellers, including Amazon.com Inc., will be under the same roof at Shoptalk to discuss the future of retail—and where physical locations fit into the picture. Declining foot traffic and falling profit margins have forced many chains to scale back. Limited Stores Co., RadioShack owner General Wireless Operations Inc. and Gander Mountain Co. have filed for bankruptcy protection this year.

  • ‘Clearly the President Was Wrong’ The Wall Street Journal - Fri, Mar 17, 2017 10:29 AM AEDT

    This week the bipartisan leaders of those committees said they’ve found no evidence that Trump Tower was the target of U.S. government surveillance. Mr. Trump famously made the accusation in a Twitter blast late last month, without evidence, and no evidence has surfaced. Mr. Trump had asked the committees to look into his accusation, and their statements are helpful to Americans who want to know what happened, as opposed to scoring political points.

  • The Republicans Relearn Politics The Wall Street Journal - Fri, Mar 17, 2017 10:02 AM AEDT

    With a hat-tip to Mark Twain, reports of the death of the Republican health-care bill have been greatly, vastly, even bigly exaggerated. From the moment Speaker Paul Ryan unveiled his ObamaCare repeal-and-replace bill, the media have declared it a doomed project. Since the only thing the media enjoy more than bashing Republicans is helping Republicans bash each other, the cable stations have offered a nonstop loop of a handful of GOP naysayers and grandstanders (cue Rand Paul) who wish the bill ill.

  • Illinois Finances Are Worse Than Suggested The Wall Street Journal - Fri, Mar 17, 2017 6:54 AM AEDT

    Regarding Gerald Skoning’s “Illinois Is Prepared—for Zombies” (op-ed, March 7): There is good news and bad news about the Illinois House resolution to designate October 2017 as Zombie Preparedness Month. Second, a Zombie Apocalypse would quickly resolve the state’s unfunded pension liability problem. The bad news for Illinois residents is that the state’s financial problems are worse than Mr. Skoning’s already ugly numbers suggest.

  • Tiffany Sparkles but Not for Long The Wall Street Journal - Fri, Mar 17, 2017 6:21 AM AEDT

    The good news for Tiffany & Co. amid its prolonged sales slump and leadership turnover: Its stock price has bounced back over the past month. Tiffany’s fiscal fourth-quarter results, due Friday, will offer another reminder of the harsh reality facing the luxury jeweler. Tiffany warned that a disappointing holiday season would weigh on the quarter, which ended in January.

  • Obtaining Land for Trump’s Border Wall a Daunting Task, Experts Say The Wall Street Journal - Fri, Mar 17, 2017 5:38 AM AEDT

    President Donald Trump wants to hire 20 lawyers to work on obtaining the land needed to build a wall along the Southwest border. The project will require a staggering amount of paperwork and research, eminent domain lawyers said. About 67% of the 2,000 miles of the U.S. border with Mexico represent private or state-owned land, most of it in Texas, according to the Government Accountability Office.

  • Tanning Salons See Ray of Hope in ACA Tax Repeal The Wall Street Journal - Fri, Mar 17, 2017 4:15 AM AEDT
    Tanning Salons See Ray of Hope in ACA Tax Repeal

    Operators of tanning salons are hoping Republicans can lift some of the gloom that has hung over their sun beds for decades, a slump brought on by health concerns and accelerated by a tax imposed by the Obama health law.

  • The Trump Job Banks Care About Most The Wall Street Journal - Thu, Mar 16, 2017 8:33 PM AEDT

    A looming appointment by President Donald Trump will signal just how much regulatory relief Wall Street can look forward to under his administration by forcing him to choose between competing factions in his administration. The position to be filled is the Federal Reserve’s vice chairman for supervision, a powerful post that oversees, among other things, how much capital banks are required to hold. Among those in the running for the position are two candidates that represent competing forces within the administration.

  • Trump Officials Are Learning How Hard It Is to Sell $1 Billion of Their Assets The Wall Street Journal - Thu, Mar 16, 2017 8:55 AM AEDT

    Members of Donald Trump’s cabinet are obliged to sell more than $1 billion worth of assets to prevent conflicts of interest, a process that is proving difficult and time-consuming. A Wall Street Journal review of those needed sales shows almost three-quarters of the total is held in illiquid assets such as real estate, closely held companies and stakes in private-equity funds, likely extending the time necessary to unwind the positions. The process is leaving some Trump administration officials facing potential restrictions on the work they can do until the sales are completed, under rules requiring them to recuse themselves from issues that might benefit them financially.

  • The Fed Raised Rates. Don’t Expect the Same for Your Bank Deposits The Wall Street Journal - Thu, Mar 16, 2017 7:48 AM AEDT

    At some point, the Federal Reserve’s rate increases will trickle down to savers, who have been getting next to nothing on their deposits for years. When the Fed raises short-term interest rates, as it did Wednesday, that increase usually flows through right away to the rates banks charge on credit cards, home-equity lines of credit and some other types of loans. Shortly after the Fed’s move, banks including Citigroup Inc., J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., BB&T Corp., M&T Bank Corp. and Fifth Third Bancorp increased their prime lending rates, from 3.75% to 4%.

  • The House Health Bill Has Serious Problems The Wall Street Journal - Wed, Mar 15, 2017 5:58 AM AEDT

    Kevin Brady and Greg Walden’s “The Health Bill You’ve Waited For” (op-ed, March 7) is technically correct—as far as it goes. Or take their claim that they “refocus Medicaid’s limited resources to the patients most in need . The elderly and the disabled comprise 24% of the Medicaid population and 63% of Medicaid costs.

  • Steve Bannon and the Making of an Economic Nationalist The Wall Street Journal - Wed, Mar 15, 2017 5:28 AM AEDT

    RICHMOND, Va.—On Oct. 7, 2008, in the cramped TV room of his modest home here, Marty Bannon watched with alarm as plunging stock markets dragged down his shares of AT&T, the nest egg he built during a 50-year career at the company. As he toggled between TV stations, financial analysts warned of economic collapse and politicians in Washington seemed to mirror his own confusion. Marty Bannon, now 95 years old, still regrets the decision and seethes over Washington’s response to the economic crisis.

  • Shopping Malls Are Tracking Your Every Move The Wall Street Journal - Tue, Mar 14, 2017 8:30 PM AEDT

    Add another category to the growing list of companies monitoring their customers: shopping-mall landlords. As more shoppers tote smartphones while browsing in stores, shopping-center owners are tracking their movements and spending habits to try to figure out how best to arrange stores and mall layouts to boost shopping activity. Some landlords measure how long people stay in the mall, how long they linger in particular stores or displays, and where they were before and after heading to the mall.

  • To China, America Finally Looks Vulnerable The Wall Street Journal - Tue, Mar 14, 2017 8:09 PM AEDT

    SHANGHAI—When Chinese leaders gaze out toward the Pacific, their panorama is obstructed by a string of military airfields, naval anchorages, radar emplacements and listening posts sentineled by U.S. forces and their allies. To do so Beijing must weaken the U.S. alliance network.

  • White House Back-Pedals on Claim Obama Wiretapped Trump’s Phones The Wall Street Journal - Tue, Mar 14, 2017 11:06 AM AEDT

    White House press secretary Sean Spicer on Monday backpedaled on President Donald Trump’s claims that his phone line was ordered tapped by then-President Barack Obama, an allegation that Mr. Trump recently made on Twitter without providing any evidence. In an animated question-and-answer session with reporters during his regular briefing, Mr. Spicer suggested Mr. Trump had been speaking broadly when he posted his accusations against Mr. Obama on March 4. “He doesn’t really think that President Obama went up and tapped his phone personally,” Mr. Spicer said.

  • Hemingway Was a Spy The Wall Street Journal - Tue, Mar 14, 2017 9:54 AM AEDT

    Before he committed suicide in 1961, Ernest Hemingway raved about being under FBI surveillance and how agents were tapping his phones. One of the virtues of Nicholas Reynolds’s “Writer, Sailor, Soldier, Spy: Ernest Hemingway’s Secret Adventures,” is that it shows Mr. Hotchner’s claims were baseless. More important, Mr. Reynolds, a former curator at the CIA Museum, demonstrates that Hemingway was afraid the FBI might uncover a dirty little secret he had hidden for more than 20 years: In 1940 he had agreed to assist the NKVD, the Soviet Union’s foreign intelligence agency.

  • Facebook Bans Use of User Data for Surveillance The Wall Street Journal - Tue, Mar 14, 2017 6:38 AM AEDT

    Facebook Inc. said on Monday that data about its users cannot be used for surveillance, cracking down on a method police departments allegedly used to track protesters and activists. The social-media company updated its data policies to explicitly prohibit using “data obtained from us to provide tools that are used for surveillance.” Facebook didn’t define surveillance in the policies. The move comes a few months after the American Civil Liberties Union in October published documents by a startup, Geofeedia, that detailed how it tracked activists during protests in Baltimore and Ferguson, Mo. in 2015 and 2014 after two black men were killed during encounters with the police.

  • Treasured American Values Are Slipping Away The Wall Street Journal - Tue, Mar 14, 2017 5:23 AM AEDT

    As the son of an immigrant, I am proud to see the children of immigrants do well. The values that Mr. Anderson says deliver outstanding results for immigrants’ children—perseverance, independence, a love of learning and interest in innovation—used to be common American values that all of our families treasured.