Financial News from The Wall Street Journal

  • The Hidden Cash in Your Assets The Wall Street Journal - Tue, Apr 25, 2017 12:05 PM AEST

    Toni and David Bell found a new way to raise cash so they could eliminate debts and do home improvements last year. The Bells got $170,000 for selling a small piece of the equity in their home in Campbell, Calif., to Point. Point is one of a number of companies that are giving people new ways to tap into the value of a home, a car or even work they haven’t been paid for yet.

  • Doctor Dragged From United Flight Initially Expressed Interest in Voucher, Documents Say The Wall Street Journal - Tue, Apr 25, 2017 11:30 AM AEST

    CHICAGO—The Kentucky physician dragged off a United Airlines flight in Chicago on April 9 was initially interested in the carrier’s offer for an $800 voucher but declined, according to a Chicago Police Department report released Monday. The report is among a trove of documents released by Chicago officials in response to public-information requests by media outlets including The Wall Street Journal. United sought volunteers to leave the flight so four crew members could instead fly to Louisville from O’Hare International Airport.

  • ObamaCare Repeal Needs a Direction The Wall Street Journal - Tue, Apr 25, 2017 9:14 AM AEST

    Before getting lost in arcane Senate rules, technical modifications to the existing law, or Congressional Budget Office scores, conservatives must define for themselves and the American people what they are actually trying to accomplish. Republicans have historically offered creative proposals for tax reform, foreign policy and defense spending. The GOP’s health-care ideas, however, too often have been developed in opposition to Democratic proposals.

  • T-Mobile Is the Envy of the Wireless World The Wall Street Journal - Tue, Apr 25, 2017 8:11 AM AEST

    T-Mobile US on Monday reported first-quarter earnings that blew past analysts’ expectations, saying it added 1.1 million subscribers, including 798,000 of the industry’s most valuable postpaid phone customers. Its wireless service revenue climbed 11.4% over the previous year. While that represented a slowdown in T-Mobile’s subscriber growth, it stood in contrast to Verizon Communications’ results last Thursday when it posted its first-ever quarterly net loss of wireless subscribers.

  • For Aramco Insiders, Prince’s $2 Trillion IPO Valuation Doesn’t Add Up The Wall Street Journal - Tue, Apr 25, 2017 6:02 AM AEST

    RIYADH—Officials at Saudi Arabian Oil Co. have told their superiors there is a hitch in the plans to take the state-owned oil company public: It is likely worth at least $500 billion less than the government previously suggested. The country’s deputy crown prince, who is leading a push to overhaul the economy, has pegged the value of the company known as Saudi Aramco at $2 trillion. By selling up to 5% of shares in an initial public offering targeted for next year, the government plans to raise billions of dollars that it can use to invest in other industries as part of a plan to reduce its heavy dependence on oil.

  • Apple Hires Rocket Scientists as It Tries to Catch Up in Driverless Cars The Wall Street Journal - Tue, Apr 25, 2017 12:05 AM AEST

    Apple Inc.’s plan for autonomous vehicles calls for putting more-senior engineers in all of its cars than some of its rivals are using for road tests, a move that suggests the company is still in the early phases of testing its technology, analysts say. In a permit issued April 14 by the state of California, obtained Friday through a public-records request, Apple identifies six employees, including roboticists who worked at the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration, who will be in the front seat of three Lexus sport-utility vehicles outfitted with technology to make them autonomous. The road tests are critical for Apple as it tries to catch up in the race to develop self-driving cars.

  • The Mental Mistakes We Make With Retirement Spending The Wall Street Journal - Mon, Apr 24, 2017 12:12 PM AEST

    IImagine spending a lifetime acquiring habits that offer the promise of a longer, happier and more fulfilling life. Too often, the same personality traits that facilitate saving for retirement become impediments when it is time to spend that money. It can lead to a much less satisfying retirement—one in which people spend too little money and spend it on the wrong things, as well as take on too much investment risk.

  • Is There Really a Retirement-Savings Crisis? The Wall Street Journal - Mon, Apr 24, 2017 12:11 PM AEST

    The population is aging, Social Security’s trust funds are expected to be depleted in 2034, and the median household headed by someone age 55 to 64 has little more than $100,000 in retirement savings. Will they suffer a substantial drop in their standard of living in later life?

  • Opiod Use Soars Among Middle Aged and Elderly The Wall Street Journal - Mon, Apr 24, 2017 12:10 PM AEST

    Could your doctor be prescribing too many pain pills? The epidemic of opioid abuse sweeping the U.S. might seem like a distant phenomenon to the average middle-aged patient who is getting a joint replacement, visiting an emergency room or seeking help with persistent pain from a primary-care physician. While many deaths and overdoses are linked to illicit street drugs, the CDC reported in December that there is a continuing problem with prescription opioids, a class of narcotic painkillers that can be highly addictive and deadly when misused.

  • Donald Trump’s Push for Border-Wall Funding Muddies Budget Talks The Wall Street Journal - Mon, Apr 24, 2017 9:28 AM AEST

    WASHINGTON—Less than a week before the federal government could run out of money, White House officials said President Donald Trump wants any spending deal to include some funding for a border wall, despite little appetite among congressional Republicans for risking a partial shutdown over the issue. The administration’s last-minute push, voiced on Sunday talk shows and by the president himself on Twitter, injected a note of volatility into the coming week, when lawmakers return after a recess and with little time for reaching an agreement to keep the government operating after its current funding expires at 12:01 a.m. Saturday—also the 100th day of Mr. Trump’s presidency.

  • This Vermont High School Is Having a Very Vermont Problem The Wall Street Journal - Mon, Apr 24, 2017 3:09 AM AEST

    SOUTH BURLINGTON, Vt.—When it comes to rebellious and cantankerous behavior, Vermonters go back a ways. In 1961, when education leaders in South Burlington decided that a newly built high school should be nicknamed the Rebels, nobody batted an eyelash. After all, this community was founded when it split from greater Burlington about 150 years ago.

  • Three Hard Lessons the Internet Is Teaching Traditional Stores The Wall Street Journal - Mon, Apr 24, 2017 1:38 AM AEST

    Many of the stores that once filled the malls of America have become “zombies,” while online retailers capture ever more of the most valuable consumers—the young and affluent. Wal-Mart, for example, has been on an acquisition binge of late. When I asked Target, Walgreens and grocery chain Giant Food about loyalty programs and the fate of customers’ purchasing data—which is the in-store equivalent of your web browsing history—they all declined to comment.

  • Store Closings Accelerate The Wall Street Journal - Sat, Apr 22, 2017 2:01 PM AEST

    American retailers are closing stores at a record pace this year as they feel the fallout from decades of overbuilding and the rise of online shopping. Just this past week, women’s apparel chain Bebe Stores Inc. said it would close its remaining 170 shops and sell only online, while teen retailer Rue21 Inc. announced plans to close about 400 of its 1,100 locations. “There is no reason to believe that this will abate at any point in the foreseeable future,” said Mark Cohen, the director of retail studies for Columbia Business School and a former executive at Sears Holdings Corp. and other department stores.

  • Theranos Secretly Bought Outside Lab Gear, Ran Fake Tests: Court Filings The Wall Street Journal - Sat, Apr 22, 2017 12:42 PM AEST

    Theranos Inc. misled company directors about its laboratory-testing practices, used a shell company to “secretly” buy commercial-lab equipment, and improperly created rosy financial projections for investors, according to allegations in newly unsealed court filings in a suit by one of its investors. The Silicon Valley company—which once promised to revolutionize the blood-testing industry using tiny samples from finger pricks—also ran “fake ‘demonstrations tests’ for prospective investors and business partners” using commercial devices while pretending to showcase its own technology, according to the filings. The accusations are based in large part on testimony from 22 former Theranos employees or directors who were deposed by lawyers for Partner Fund Management LP, a hedge fund suing Theranos.

  • Timing of Release of Donald Trump’s Tax Plan Is in Dispute The Wall Street Journal - Sat, Apr 22, 2017 11:29 AM AEST

    President Donald Trump said he would be making a “big announcement” next week about his proposal for overhauling the tax code, but his budget director said that it might be June before the White House releases its detailed plan, and that even broad principles could be weeks away. In brief remarks while signing executive orders on Friday, Mr. Trump didn’t go into any specifics about a tax proposal that was one of the central promises of his 2016 presidential bid. The tax overhaul “process has begun long ago, but it really formally begins on Wednesday, so go to it,” Mr. Trump said during a visit to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin’s office across the street from the White House.

  • Brick-and-Mortar Stores Are Shuttering at a Record Pace The Wall Street Journal - Sat, Apr 22, 2017 9:53 AM AEST

    American retailers are closing stores at a record pace this year as they feel the fallout from decades of overbuilding and the rise of online shopping. Just this past week, women’s apparel chain Bebe Stores Inc. said it would close its remaining 170 shops and sell only online, while teen retailer Rue21 Inc. announced plans to close about 400 of its 1,100 locations. “There is no reason to believe that this will abate at any point in the foreseeable future,” said Mark Cohen, the director of retail studies for Columbia Business School and a former executive at Sears Canada Inc. and other department stores.

  • Key lawmakers balk at Donald Trump’s wall request The Wall Street Journal - Sat, Apr 22, 2017 9:03 AM AEST

    WASHINGTON—Not a single member of Congress who represents the territory on the southwest border said they support President Donald Trump’s request for $1.4 billion to begin construction of his promised wall, according to a Wall Street Journal survey, testing the administration’s ability to reach a deal on government funding next week. Most lawmakers representing the region—both Democrats and Republicans—said they are opposed and many said they have unanswered questions. A few were noncommittal, but not a single member of the House or Senate representing the region expressed support for the funding request.

  • First Class Vs. Last Class? Airlines Bolster Premium Cabin, Skimp on Economy The Wall Street Journal - Fri, Apr 21, 2017 8:04 PM AEST

    Battling it out with discount carriers, the world’s biggest airlines are rolling out ultracheap economy-class tickets, or cutting back sharply on basic amenities for their lowest-paying customers. American Airlines Group Inc., United Continental Holdings Inc. and Delta Air Lines Inc. all now offer super-low fares, dubbed “basic economy,” that strip out even once-standard allowances, such as carry-on baggage or a choice of seat before boarding. Some of the cheapest fares passengers can get on discount carriers are for seats so basic they don’t recline even an inch.

  • In ‘Buy American’ Push, Trump Is Starting in a Hole The Wall Street Journal - Fri, Apr 21, 2017 7:30 PM AEST

    Donald Trump’s effort to force the federal government to “Buy American” will be a challenge as foreign-owned companies already hauled in more money from federal contracts in the past three months than in any corresponding period in a decade. Despite having authority over federal contracts, Mr. Trump’s powers are limited by existing laws that Congress would have to change, said Lawrence M. Prosen, government contracts partner at Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP.  For example, the North American Free Trade Agreement, or Nafta, which Mr. Trump repeatedly criticized during the campaign, generally dictates that bids from Canadian or Mexican companies be treated the same as bids from their American counterparts.

  • Wal-Mart Brings Price War to Groceries, Boosting Pressure on Big Food Retailers The Wall Street Journal - Thu, Apr 20, 2017 10:00 PM AEST

    Wal-Mart Stores Inc.’s fight to defend its low-cost reputation is helping to extend the longest food-price decline in decades. The world’s biggest retailer is investing heavily to lower prices in its U.S. stores, the company’s executives say, as competition heats up against Amazon.com Inc. and European deep discounters Aldi and Lidl. Wal-Mart is spending to beat competitors’ prices and test strategic price drops, mostly on food and household goods sold at Wal-Mart stores in the Southeast and the Midwest, say people familiar with the tactics. Wolfe Research recently found prices for a basket of grocery items at Philadelphia area Wal-Mart stores were 5.8% lower than a year ago, while those in the Atlanta and Southern California markets were 4.9% and 2.7% cheaper, respectively.

  • New Rival for Sapphire Reserve, Platinum Rewards Cards The Wall Street Journal - Thu, Apr 20, 2017 2:01 PM AEST

    American Express Co.’s Platinum card is going to get even more competition. U.S. Bancorp plans on May 1 to launch a premium card geared toward high spenders and millennials. This adds to the threats facing AmEx in a card category where it was until recently unrivaled.

  • Google’s Chrome To Include Ad Blocker The Wall Street Journal - Thu, Apr 20, 2017 2:01 PM AEST

    Alphabet Inc.’s Google plans to introduce an ad-blocking feature in the mobile and desktop versions of its popular Chrome web browser, according to people familiar with the company’s plans. The ad-blocking feature, which could be switched on by default within Chrome, would filter out certain online ad types deemed to provide bad experiences for users as they move around the web. Google could announce the feature within weeks, but it is still ironing out specific details and still could decide not to move ahead with the plan, the people said.

  • Google Plans Ad-Blocking Feature in Popular Chrome Browser The Wall Street Journal - Thu, Apr 20, 2017 9:18 AM AEST

    Alphabet Inc.’s Google is planning to introduce an ad-blocking feature in the mobile and desktop versions of its popular Chrome web browser, according to people familiar with the company’s plans. The ad-blocking feature, which could be switched on by default within Chrome, would filter out certain online ad types deemed to provide bad experiences for users as they move around the web. Google could announce the feature within weeks, but it is still ironing out specific details and still could decide not to move ahead with the plan, the people said.

  • Facebook Aims to Connect Directly to Your Brain The Wall Street Journal - Thu, Apr 20, 2017 8:57 AM AEST

    Facebook Inc. wants to read your mind. “What if you could type directly from your brain?” asked Regina Dugan, who runs Facebook’s secretive hardware division, Building 8, during a keynote address at the company’s F8 developer conference Wednesday. Building 8, which was created at last year’s F8, has been working on a “brain-computer interface” for several months, Ms. Dugan said.

  • Big Donors Bankrolled Donald Trump’s Inauguration The Wall Street Journal - Thu, Apr 20, 2017 1:12 AM AEST

    After a campaign in which Donald Trump touted his success among small-dollar donors, his inauguration as president was bankrolled by dozens of billionaires and corporations, a new campaign-finance report shows. Mr. Trump raised more than $106 million for his inauguration festivities, doubling what former President Barack Obama raised for each of his two inaugurations—$53 million in 2009 and $44 million four years later. Roughly half of the funds Mr. Trump raised came from about three dozen wealthy donors and corporations, which each gave $1 million or more.

  • United Airlines Says Corporate Clients Seek Customer-Policy Fixes The Wall Street Journal - Wed, Apr 19, 2017 5:36 AM AEST

    United Airlines’s lucrative corporate clients are pushing the airline to fix its customer service, the carrier’s president said on Tuesday. “There has been concern from corporate accounts, which is totally appropriate,” said Scott Kirby, president of United Continental Holdings Inc., on Tuesday. Mr. Kirby said United has reached out to some corporate clients to explain the airline’s procedures in instances of overbooked flights and reassured them that it is making changes to its policies.

  • Eric Trump Says Presidency Is Bad for Family’s Business The Wall Street Journal - Wed, Apr 19, 2017 12:33 AM AEST

    In the decade leading up to Donald Trump’s election as president, his company added 15 golf courses and 13 hotels. Keeping up such a rate of expansion won’t be easy, according to Eric Trump, the president’s son, who with brother Donald Trump Jr. took over running the Trump Organization after the inauguration in January. While the company’s revenue and income are expected to continue to rise during Mr. Trump’s term in office, it will likely be at a slower rate, Eric Trump said, because of efforts to separate the Trump presidency from the family businesses.

  • How Hillary Lost the White House The Wall Street Journal - Tue, Apr 18, 2017 8:49 AM AEST

    ‘This is too easy,” Barack Obama is recorded as saying in “Shattered,” an exhaustive account of Hillary Clinton’s ill-fated 2016 presidential campaign. “All right, all right, all right,” Mr. Obama playfully conceded.

  • Trump Is Finding China’s Blind Spot on North Korea The Wall Street Journal - Tue, Apr 18, 2017 1:37 AM AEST

    Amid steadily mounting international tension over North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs, the key question is this: Is China serious about working with the U.S. to crank up the pressure on Pyongyang? In an Oval Office interview with The Wall Street Journal last week, President Donald Trump seemed cautiously optimistic that the answer will be yes.

  • Jared Kushner in Talks to Sell Stake in Real Estate Technology Company The Wall Street Journal - Mon, Apr 17, 2017 7:56 AM AEST

    Jared Kushner, the son-in-law of President Donald Trump who has become a senior adviser in the White House, is in advanced talks to sell his stake in a real estate technology company to a venture-capital firm as part of his efforts to divest himself of many business ties, according to people familiar with the matter. Mr. Kushner is close to selling his stake in WiredScore to a group including Los Angeles-based Fifth Wall Ventures, according to the people, as he moves to separate himself from conflicts of interest. The price and other group members couldn’t be determined, and the talks could still end without a deal. The divestiture is one of many Mr. Kushner is pursuing.

  • The Most Valuable Horse Ever Born The Wall Street Journal - Sat, Apr 15, 2017 4:58 AM AEST

    Warring nations and pirates imperiled the group as it lifted anchor for a four-month voyage to England. In the hold of one of the nine ships lay treasured contraband: a young desert stallion, a purebred Arabian born in 1700 and acquired along the caravan route from Basra. At the time, the Arabian’s value might have seemed merely monetary: the equivalent of about 40 English coaching mares, as Christopher McGrath, a racing correspondent for the Independent of London, tells us in “Mr. Darley’s Arabian.” But over time the horse’s real value became clear: 95% of all thoroughbreds today trace to this one animal.

  • Trump’s Putin Pushback The Wall Street Journal - Wed, Apr 12, 2017 9:41 AM AEST

    The theory, popular with the media, that President Trump is a political prisoner of Vladimir Putin is looking less credible by the day. The latest evidence arrived Tuesday as White House officials accused Russia of trying to cover up Bashar Assad’s chemical-weapons assault in Syria, and Mr. Trump formally invited Montenegro to join NATO. As Mr. Putin was refusing to meet Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in Moscow, White House officials said Russia is conducting a “disinformation campaign” to shield Mr. Assad from accountability for last week’s sarin attack that killed at least 85 people.

  • Elon Musk Has an Awkward Problem at Tesla: Employee Parking The Wall Street Journal - Wed, Apr 12, 2017 1:57 AM AEST

    Billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk is reimagining the future of transportation by attempting to build self-driving cars, invent a supersonic railway and launch private citizens into outer space. “Parking is, like, one of my biggest nightmares—like, where do we park everyone?” said the Tesla Inc. chief executive, on a recent earnings call with analysts who were trying to probe concerns about the electric-car maker’s year ahead. At Tesla’s Palo Alto, Calif., headquarters, uniformed valets dashed about on a recent morning directing traffic and cramming in as many cars as possible.

  • Obama’s Debt Interest Bomb The Wall Street Journal - Tue, Apr 11, 2017 9:11 AM AEST

    President Obama left his successor many time bombs—think chemical weapons in Syria and the collapsing Affordable Care Act. CBO reported that the federal budget deficit rose $63 billion in the first half of fiscal 2017 (October-March) to $522 billion from a year earlier. If that seems small, consider that interest payments rose $28 billion for the six months of fiscal 2017 to $152 billion.

  • U.S. Says Jailed Russia Programmer Is One of World’s Most Sophisticated Hackers The Wall Street Journal - Tue, Apr 11, 2017 8:44 AM AEST

    The Russian programmer arrested in Spain on accusations of cyber fraud over the weekend is one of the world’s most sophisticated hackers, one who operated a vast network of compromised computers for malicious purposes, U.S. authorities alleged in court documents released Monday. The U.S. Department of Justice said Pyotr Levashov, a Russian national who was detained in Barcelona on Friday, allegedly spread a potent malware known as Kelihos since about 2010, harvesting login credentials, and gaining control of hundreds of thousands of computers. Mr. Levashov, who was vacationing with his wife and son, has been notified he would be kept in custody pending a ruling on a U.S. extradition request, a spokeswoman for Spain’s high court Audiencia Nacional said.