The Wall Street Journal: Friday, August 23, 2013

Nasdaq in Fresh Market Failure (page A1): A technical glitch knocked out trading in all Nasdaq Stock Market securities for three hours Thursday afternoon, an unprecedented meltdown for a U.S. exchange that paralyzed a broad swath of markets and highlighted the fragility of the financial world’s electronic backbone. Nasdaq officials scrambled to figure out what happened and resume trading. They shared few of their findings with trading firms or the public during regular trading hours, sowing confusion across Wall Street and leaving many investors frustrated. The decision to reopen trading with about 35 minutes to go before the close came after exchange officials were sure that banks and brokers had enough time to prepare for securities to trade again, people familiar with the discussions said. Some hiccups persisted after Nasdaq reopened trading, though Nasdaq told traders that the markets closed normally Thursday.

Obama Proposes Rating Colleges to Curb Tuition Costs (page A2): Calling growing student debt levels a “crisis,” President Barack Obama laid out a plan Thursday aimed at reining in rising tuition costs by creating a system to rate colleges and eventually tie federal student aid to the institutions’ performance. The president called for rating colleges before the 2015 school year on measures such as affordability and graduation rates—”metrics like how much debt does the average student leave with, how easy is it to pay off, how many students graduate on time, how well do those graduates do in the workforce,” Mr. Obama told a crowd at the University at Buffalo, the first stop on a two-day bus tour. “The answers will help parents and students figure out how much value a college truly offers,” he said. Once a rating system is in place, Mr. Obama will ask Congress to allocate federal financial aid based on the scores by 2018. Students at top-performing colleges could receive larger federal grants and more affordable student loans. “It is time to stop subsidizing schools that are not producing good results,” he said.

Purchases or Promises: What Works for Fed? (page A2):  Federal Reserve officials gathering in Jackson Hole, Wyo., this week with academics, private bank economists and others will ponder a question that will influence Fed decisions in the coming months: Which of its novel monetary tools are doing the most for the economy? Is it the huge purchases of long-term Treasury bonds and mortgages, now known as “quantitative easing?” Or is it the promise to keep short-term interest rates low for a long time? The Fed is considering scaling back the first, while sticking firmly to the second. The first—the $85 billion a month in bonds it has been buying—uses the power of the Fed’s printing press. The other relies on the power of the Fed’s words. Both are aimed at holding down long-term rates, the ones that home buyers and corporations pay, and, thus, encouraging borrowing, spending and investing. Views vary widely about which works better, a disagreement that is complicating the Fed’s decision-making.

Inside a Secret Airline Club (page B1): For years, upmarket carriers including British Airways, Deutsche Lufthansa AG and Qatar Airways have used exclusive programs, lounges and perks to reward their best customers. In the U.S., United and AMR Corp.’s American Airlines have recently tried to catch up, offering unpublicized programs that afford sometimes extravagant service to those fliers incessantly at airports, like George Clooney’s character in the movie “Up in the Air,” who pursues a dream of reaching 10 million frequent-flier miles. The airlines employ teams to track these fliers’ journeys and solve disruptions before they happen, sometimes bumping coach passengers to fit rerouted elite travelers. The carriers invite these customers to expensive restaurants and professional sporting events when they aren’t traveling. At the airport, they send their mail, press their suits and sew on buttons. United said that when an elite flier once stained his shirt, an employee sent her husband to the mall to buy a replacement.

Teen Retailers Left Hanging (page B3): Abercrombie & Fitch Co.’s stock tumbled Thursday after the teen retailer said profit fell 33% on a sharp drop in sales and indicated it would continue to struggle through the current quarter. Abercrombie’s troubles stem from weaker traffic and a drop in U.S. sales, which also have been weighing on rival teen retailers American Eagle Outfitters Inc. and Aéropostale Inc. But unlike those companies, Abercrombie gave no warning to Wall Street of the expected difficulties, making Thursday’s results a surprise. Mike Jeffries, Abercrombie’s chief executive, said teens are still struggling with an economic recovery that has failed to fully include them.

Gap Avoids Retail Slump, Posts Profit Rise (page B3): Gap Inc.’s fiscal-second-quarter profit rose 25% on higher sales at the apparel retailer’s namesake and Old Navy stores, prompting the company to raise its full-year earnings outlook. The retailer has reported higher same-store sales for six consecutive quarters, bolstered by an improving product line that has tapped some hot fashion trends, including a line of colored jeans last year that were well received. Gap is facing rising competition from fast-fashion players such as Forever21 and Inditex Group Inc.’s Zara, but has managed to outperform other mall-based retailers, including Macy’s Inc. and American Eagle Outfitters Inc.

Chinese Consumers Take a Step Back, Pinching Firms (page B3): Companies as diverse as retailers and gadget makers are reporting weakened results from China, as the economic slowdown there blunts Beijing’s drive to make the nation’s consumers a bigger driver of growth. Last month, Canon Inc. cut the Japanese company’s year-end profit forecast to ¥380 billion ($3.89 billion), off 16% from forecasts three months earlier, citing in part the slowdown in China. Nike Inc. reported falling China sales in its latest results, while British supermarket chain Tesco PLC is in talks with a local company, China Resources Enterprise Ltd., about folding its 131 underperforming Chinese stores into a joint venture. Apple Inc. said last month that its revenue from the greater China region fell 14% from a year earlier to $4.6 billion for the quarter ended June 29. The figure represents a 43% decline from the previous quarter. “A lot of the China story that companies would tell their shareholders was always about 15% nominal growth in gross domestic product, 20% increases in sales,” said Derek Scissors, an expert on China’s economy at the Heritage Foundation, a Washington, D.C., think tank. “That overarching growth story has weakened.” Many are blaming China’s economic slowdown for at least part of their performance. Growth slowed to 7.5% year-to-year in the second quarter, compared with 7.7% in the first.

Wal-Mart to Grow in Sub-Saharan Africa (page B4): Wal-Mart Stores Inc.’s South African arm plans to open 90 new stores across sub-Saharan Africa over the next three years as it targets growth markets such as Nigeria and Angola. Massmart Holdings Ltd. said it will open a trial stand-alone food store in West Africa by the end of the year, in hopes of expanding to East Africa. It said it is also adding more brands from Wal-Mart stores in other parts of the world to its Africa operations, including a clothing line from the U.K. in November. Wal-Mart last year closed a deal valued at roughly $2.4 billion to buy 51% of the South African retailer, a move many industry watchers viewed as a springboard for Wal-Mart to grow across the continent. Over the coming three to five years, Massmart will open more stores in the rest of Africa, Grant Pattison, its chief executive, said Thursday. Wal-Mart and Massmart aren’t the only companies setting their sights on Africa. Companies from the U.S., China and India have poured billions of dollars into the continent, investing both in its emerging consumers market and in infrastructure deals, amid forecasts for strong growth in the region. By 2018, five of the world’s fastest-growing economies will be in sub-Saharan Africa, according to the International Monetary Fund.

Thursday’s Markets: Stocks Record a Gain (page C4): U.S. stocks rose, with blue chips snapping the longest losing streak in over a year, as investors shook off trading halts in all securities listed on the Nasdaq Stock Market due to technical issues that affected the major market indexes for most of the afternoon. Nasdaq parent Nasdaq OMX Group announced the halts at 12:15 p.m. EDT. Notices sent to traders said the technical issues were related to data feeds providing market data for Nasdaq-listed securities. One stock, Atlantic American, began trading at 3 p.m. EDT, while full trading resumed at 3:25 p.m. Nasdaq OMX shares fell 3.5%. During the halt, the Nasdaq Composite Index remained frozen at 3631.17, up 31.38, or 0.9%. The Dow Jones Industrial Average traded within a range of about 14927 to 14968, while the S&P 500-stock index held roughly within 1652 to 1656. The halts also affected the calculation of the Dow, which include Nasdaq stocks Microsoft, Cisco Systems, and Intel, and the S&P 500. The Nasdaq rose 38.92 points, or 1.1%, to 3638.71. The index added to gains after the halts were lifted. The Dow rose 66.19 points, or 0.4%, to 14963.74. It was the first gain for the blue chip index in seven sessions. The S&P 500 advanced 14.16 points, or 0.9%, to 1656.96.

Fed Seeks More Control Over Rates (page C4): A plan that has been under consideration by the Federal Reserve to borrow money from investors at fixed interest rates shows how the central bank is preparing for an eventual exit from its ultra-easy monetary policies. In the July minutes of the Fed meeting released Wednesday, officials discussed a proposal to introduce a so-called reverse repurchase program, which would let the Fed set an interest rate on securities it would sell at auctions as part of its open-market operations. Banks and other investors would then decide how much to buy. This is a departure from current procedures, in which the Fed announces the amount of government bonds it intends to buy or sell in these operations and lets the market set the rate. While this appears to be a small tweak to the Fed’s practices, the implications could be wide-ranging if the plan is adopted. Contrary to popular belief, the Fed doesn’t set outright the interest rate that banks charge each other for overnight funding. Instead, it seeks to influence the effective federal-funds rate—a widely watched benchmark—by these open-market operations, which are conducted at the New York Fed. The Fed has been planning tools to eventually exit from its easy money policies for several years. This essentially adds a new tool to its kit. The Fed wants to be sure it can control short-term interest rates and lift them from near zero when the time comes. Talk of the plan comes as financial markets are anticipating the Fed will begin reducing the extraordinary support it has provided in the form of bond purchases, known as quantitative easing.

A Breakout Band Waits to Take Off (page D4): “This is amazing! Gives me chills!” Actor and musician Kevin Bacon tweeted that message last October to hundreds of thousands of followers, along with a link to a music video by an unknown Boston band. Sung in a smoky alto by Rachael Price, Lake Street Dive’s jazzy acoustic cover of the Jackson 5’s “I Want You Back” has had more than 900,000 views since Mr. Bacon’s tweet. Produced on a shoe string—it was filmed by a friend on the street in front of his Boston home when the local bowling alley where they had planned to shoot wasn’t available—the video created an instant following for a band that has been championed by influential radio stations like New York City’s listener-supported WFUV, but ignored by mainstream radio. “When I first heard them,” says WFUV program director Rita Houston, “I immediately became an evangelist. I wanted to tell everybody. I wanted my mom to know about them.”

A Hipster Goes for Baroque (page D4): Chris Thile has never been shy about genre-hopping. In his early 20s, singing and playing with the band Nickel Creek, the mandolin virtuoso covered songs by slacker-rock heroes Pavement, picking along with a fiddler and a guitarist. And a year ago, he was onstage with his band at Bonnaroo, the Tennessee summer music festival, working the crowd with acoustic string-band covers of rock songs by The Cars, Radiohead and others. Now, he’s trying to get the same fans just as excited about classical music. For his latest record, “Bach: Sonatas and Partitas Vol. 1,” Mr. Thile, 32, has taken an approach of unadorned simplicity: It is just him, alone in a room with his mandolin, playing three suites—16 tracks in all—of works written for solo violin by Johann Sebastian Bach, the master composer of late-Baroque church music. Mr. Thile argues that the same crowds that headbang to Radiohead anthems should be just as able to get psyched for Bach or Mahler. “The great musics of the world are great for very similar structural reasons: good melody, good harmony, and a balance of feminine and masculine energy. What makes one type of music classical and one bluegrass and one folk—these things aren’t what’s important,” he said at a recent interview in midtown Manhattan. “My thesis statement would be—Bach didn’t write Baroque music. He wrote great music.” At times, Mr. Thile’s new record has the same technical “wow factor” as his work with his band, Punch Brothers. On the “Presto” from Bach’s Sonata No. 1 in G minor, for example, Mr. Thile’s fingers trace Bach’s elegant melody lines and near-nonstop arpeggios at an off-to-the-races tempo, up and down the neck of his instrument—not unlike a bluegrass fiddle tune. At other points, such as the “Allemanda” from the Partita No. 1 in B minor, Mr. Thile plays in a purely Baroque vernacular, shedding any trace of bluegrass and making his mandolin sound stately and delicate, not unlike the lutes played by Bach’s Renaissance forebears.

Running Out of Chances to Lose to Roger (page D7): For years, Roger Federer has been the most popular attraction at the U.S. Open. He has played 58 matches in Arthur Ashe Stadium, more than any other male player, and once won this tournament five years in a row. As he ages, though, his fellow pros are getting a bit nervous. “I am scared he will leave tennis and I don’t have the chance to play against him,” said Lorenzo Giustino, a 21-year-old Italian, at a small tournament in San Marino earlier this month. Giustino, ranked No. 302, didn’t qualify for the U.S. Open. “He’s a big guy,” said Illya Marchenko, a 25-year-old from the Ukraine, after his first qualifying match at the U.S. Open on Tuesday. “He was No. 1 for the longest period of time, and for me he’s the No. 1 still, even if he’s not now.” In a sport that has no shortage of legends, Federer is perhaps the most coveted opponent in history. It isn’t difficult to understand why. He has won 17 Grand Slam singles titles, more than any man who has ever played the game. His strokes have an elegance and ease that make even fellow pros marvel. He also plays at a brisk pace and doesn’t throw temper tantrums or intimidate opponents with scowls or trash talk. At worst, he might embarrass them. “That one,” Thomas Schoorel said as he recalled Federer hitting the ball between his legs for a winner when they played in Dubai in 2011, “when it landed in, I had to laugh. But I also felt pretty s—.”

Your House Is Ready for Its Closeup (page M1): Mini-movies and Hollywood-style trailers complete with scripts, musical scores and even action sequences are cropping up as a new way to pitch pricey homes and condominium buildings. According to the National Association of Realtors, 14% of sellers used video to help sell their homes in 2012, up from 9% five years ago. Mr. Hahn, director and CEO of Film House, said he shot his first real-estate mini-movie in September of last year. He has since shot nearly 10, doing about one a week since June. Real-estate agents and developers who commission the films say that perfectly lighted rooms and aspirational story lines help grab buyers, and are the next extension of a home-buying experience that has increasingly gone online. Budgets for such films are often a percentage of the home’s listing price, and can range from a couple thousand dollars to $1 million or more for large-scale productions marketing condo buildings. The cost is paid either by the listing agents or sellers, and sometimes split between them.

Cold Cash: The Effect of AC on Home Prices (page M5): Even in the winter, the air conditioner is working hard—boosting a home’s value. An analysis of property listings in 22 major metro areas found that homes with central air conditioning are offered for 13% more, on average, than homes without central air, according to real-estate brokerage Redfin. Cities in the Midwest see the widest price gap: Homes with central air are listed for 105% more than homes without central air. Of course, homes with central air may have other amenities that help bump up the list price. But AC seems to be a driving force in the decision making, according to the National Association of Realtors, a trade group. In a survey of recent home buyers released in November, central air was the No. 1 feature sought when house shopping, according to the survey of 2,005 respondents who bought a home between 2010 and 2012. Respondents who purchased a home without central AC would be willing to pay $2,520 more for a home with this feature.

 

The Wall Street Journal: Thursday, August 22, 2013

To Athlete on Sore Knees, Age Is but a Number (page A1): To prepare for this summer’s Senior Olympics, Jim Kales used the following training regimen: He went dancing three to five nights a week. He played tennis six days a week. He bowled a little. He tooled around southwest Florida in a champagne-colored Lincoln MKZ. He didn’t practice at all for the shot put, javelin, discus, long jump or his specialty, the triple jump, in which he holds the record for his age group. Mr. Kales isn’t your typical athlete. For starters, he will be 99 years old in September. “People ask me, ‘What is the secret of your longevity?’ ” says Mr. Kales, who took up tennis in his 80s and has competed in the Senior Olympics since he was 90. “I like to play tennis, I like to dance, I bowl and I don’t abuse myself. I eat a lot of seafood. I have a glass of wine with my dinner, red mostly, white with fish.” He did all right this year in the Olympics, bringing home two gold medals, three silvers and a bronze. He is still annoyed that he didn’t win a medal in discus. A retired restaurant owner from Michigan, Mr. Kales didn’t take up sports or dancing seriously until his wife died, when he was 85. His tennis buddies told him about the Senior Olympics (known officially as the National Senior Games). He qualified at state-level matches and discovered that the Games also included field sports, which he hadn’t tried since he was a child in Greece, where he was born. He eventually qualified in those sports, too.

Fed Stays Course on Bond Buying (page A1): Federal Reserve officials reaffirmed their plan to try winding down an easy-money program that has charged up global markets but left investors on tenterhooks about when or how aggressively they would move. Minutes of the Fed’s July 30-31 policy meeting, released Wednesday, suggested officials were on track to start winding down the $85 billion-a-month bond-buying program, possibly as early as September, if the economy strengthens as they expect. They were, however, a bit more uncertain than in June about whether economic growth would pick up as they forecast and about the gains they were seeing in the job market. The Fed’s deliberations—and its sometimes confusing efforts to publicly signal how officials are thinking—have roiled global markets in the past few months, pushing up U.S. interest rates and knocking down emerging markets, which initially benefited from the Fed’s easy-money policies. Wednesday’s market movements mirrored the broader turmoil and investor confusion. U.S. stocks initially dropped after the minutes were released at 2 p.m. New York time, then moved higher and tumbled again as investors tried to make sense of the report.

Obama Is Taking on College Costs Again (page A2): Barack Obama is testing an interesting proposition: Can the U.S. president cajole or shame a huge American industry into changing its ways? Mr. Obama embarks Thursday on a bus tour of schools in upstate New York and Pennsylvania to highlight what he calls “a personal mission to make higher education more affordable.” Higher ed is one of his preoccupations. He talked about it in the State of the Union address. He talked about it at Knox College when he set out his latest bolster-the-middle-class agenda. He doesn’t think taxpayers can keep pumping more money into student aid to chase (and possibly fuel) tuition tabs rising faster than almost anything besides health care. After all, the number of undergraduates getting federal grants, loans or tax breaks already has doubled over the past decade; the taxpayers’ tab has tripled, adjusted for inflation. Something has to give. This quest is a political winner with nearly everyone except the president’s fans among liberal college professors. In a Pew Research Center poll last year, 57% of Americans said colleges fail to provide students with good value for the money. But the rising cost of college is more than a politically appealing talking point. It’s a threat to widely shared prosperity. Rising tuition threatens to discourage all but the best-off from going to and finishing college, restraining future economic growth and widening the gap between winners and losers in the U.S. economy. The College Board says that over the past 20 years, the inflation-adjusted average published cost of tuition and fees at a four-year state university has more than doubled. Factor in scholarships and tax breaks, and it’s still up more than 50%. Over the same period, the income of the typical family in the middle of the middle class has risen only 7%. That’s one reason student borrowing is up so much. Tuition is climbing because there have been so few constraints. There’s strong demand for seats in U.S. college classrooms, both from the U.S. and abroad. College is still a smart investment that pays off in higher wages. And it’s a whole lot harder (though not impossible) to improve productivity in a college than in a car factory.

Antipsychotic Drugs, Kids’ Diabetes Linked (page A3): The use of antipsychotic drugs appears to increase the risk of diabetes in children, not just adults, according to new research published Wednesday. And kids seem to be at an even higher risk, the study found. A number of studies have concluded that adults who take these medications, including risperidone, also known as Risperdal, and olanzapine, also called Zyprexa, have an elevated risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. Less is known about the link between these drugs and diabetes in children. Studies of other psychiatric medicines, such as antidepressants, have found that kids can have different reactions to the same drugs than adults. The use of antipsychotics in children has grown tremendously. A 2009 study by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration found such use rose 65% to 4.8 million prescriptions in 2009 from 2.9 million in 2002.

An Exit Strategy for Bad Teachers (page A15): Age and experience have much to recommend them over youth and enthusiasm but the advantages don’t always show up in teaching. That’s the finding of a new study, “Early Retirement Incentives and Student Achievement,” published by the National Bureau of Economic Research. According to Cornell University economists Maria Fitzpatrick and Michael Lovenheim, when young, inexperienced teachers replaced older, more experienced faculty in Illinois, the newcomers did as well or better at getting students to learn. The study doesn’t discount the value of seasoned, motivated teachers. It does indicate that teachers going through the motions to qualify for a pension can be a drag on student achievement. The study is more evidence that students do better when teachers are graded on performance, not seniority.

The Battle for the Organic Shopper (page B1): Whole Foods Market Inc. wants to shed its “whole paycheck” reputation. The upscale grocer, known for its pricey organic products, is increasingly emulating the discount tactics used by traditional supermarkets. It is also moving beyond the realm of grass-fed beef with more lower-priced items like frozen meatballs and vacuum-packed fish fillets. The new strategy comes as Whole Foods fends off a growing swarm of rivals competing for customers who have become more careful with their pocketbooks. “The recession was a wake-up call for us,” said co-Chief Executive Walter Robb in an interview. One of the chain’s latest initiatives: nationwide “flash” sales on specific items promoted on Twitter and Facebook that run for just a few hours, like a five-hour buy-one-get-one-free deal on ice cream last month. The chain also is increasing one-day sales on items like salmon, blueberries and organic chicken to 17 this fiscal year, from 14 last year. Whole Foods long avoided such supermarket tactics, thriving instead on a pricey mix of products that appealed to clientele in upscale neighborhoods of large cities where most of its approximately 350 stores are located. High prices on everything from meat to vegetables led critics to quip that shopping at Whole Foods would eat up a middle class earner’s whole paycheck.

wholefoods

Tesla Amps Its Crash Score (page B3): Tesla Motors Inc. has created its own vehicle-safety ranking based on federal crash-test data to amplify a claim that its Model S electric car is the safest car ever tested by U.S. regulators. Tesla, in a statement widely reported this week, said its car “achieved a new combined record of 5.4-stars” in federal crash tests. Tesla noted that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which conducts the government’s auto-crash tests, doesn’t use a rating above five stars.

Inventing for the Future (page B6): Even with an exceptional idea, budding entrepreneurs can struggle to move past the brainstorming stages. They face challenges in execution like building a cohesive team, coming up with a business plan and even understanding how to present their product or service. This week mentors on “WSJ Startup of the Year,” a documentary on wsj.com, offered some words of inspiration for all entrepreneurs. Here’s what some science and technology innovators had to say. Edited excerpts:

Nordstrom Tests an App to Identify Customers page (B7): Nordstrom Inc. is testing mobile technology that sends salespeople the digital profiles of customers as they enter a brick-and-mortar store, said James Nordstrom, president of the company’s online division. “The concept is that a customer would opt-in and download an application because ‘I want the sales person to know I’m here, and I want the salesperson to know my preferences because it will lead to a better experience,’ ” Mr. Nordstrom said. Another recent Nordstrom in-store technology, which anonymously tracked the way people moved through stores, ended last May after customers complained the monitoring was too intrusive.

Mom and Pop Flee Emerging Markets (page C1): Retail investors have led the summer stampede out of emerging-market stocks, bonds and currencies, pulling almost twice as much money as institutional investors such as insurance companies and pension funds. The action highlights the outsize impact mom-and-pop investors can have on global markets at a time of low interest rates, disappointing investment returns and volatile market reactions to perceived shifts in central-bank policy.

SEC Is Set to Propose New Rule on CEO Pay (page C1): The Securities and Exchange Commission will soon thrust CEO compensation back into the spotlight when it proposes a long-delayed rule requiring companies to disclose the pay gap between chief executives and rank-and-file employees. The requirement, a mandate of the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial law, could put added pressure on corporate boards to slow pay increases for chief executives at companies with significant or growing gaps, proponents say. The rule, expected to be approved by the SEC as early as next month, has come under fire from corporations. But it is expected to be less onerous than what lawmakers originally ordered the SEC to adopt, according to people familiar with the proposal. Rather than surveying the entire workforce, the SEC is expected to allow companies to consider a fraction of their employees when calculating median pay. It isn’t clear what percentage of the workforce would be included in the sample. Companies would have to disclose the ratio between CEO compensation and the median pay of the sampled employee group. Median pay is the point on the income scale at which half the employees earn more and half earn less.

Wednesday’s Markets: Stocks End Lower After Jolt by Fed (page C4): U.S. stocks ended a volatile session with broad losses after the minutes to the Federal Reserve’s latest policy meeting provided little clarity on when the central bank might start paring back on stimulus measures. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 105.44 points, or 0.7%, to 14897.55. Soon after the release of the minutes, the Dow fell as much as 122 points, then bounced sharply to be up as much as 17 points, before selling off again. The decline marked the sixth-straight loss for the blue-chip index, the longest losing streak since July 2012. The S&P 500 index lost 9.55 points, or 0.6%, to 1642.80, while the Nasdaq Composite Index fell 13.80, or 0.4%, to 3599.79.

Google May Make a Play on Pay TV (page C10): Google may have found a path to the end zone for Internet TV. Top executives at the search giant met with representatives from the National Football League, according to a report Tuesday by All Things D. Among the topics of discussion: the Sunday Ticket package, which includes all NFL games not in the viewer’s local market and is offered exclusively by DirecTV. There is no indication that Google is anywhere near a deal to offer the package. But the news raises the possibility of a powerful partnership that could be the magic bullet for Google in its goal of luring traditional TV viewers, and associated advertising dollars, to the Internet. Live sporting events are among the primary reasons U.S. consumers pay for TV. Bringing them online as a separate subscription would allow many more people to stop paying for traditional TV. It would also let the NFL broaden its viewer base by selling to those people who don’t pay for TV. For CBS, NBC, Fox and ESPN, all of which have agreed to pay huge sums for the right to carry NFL games, Google’s reach would likely be seen as a serious threat. That said, most of the networks’ deals with the NFL extend to 2022, buying the league some time. And considering the value of football to ratings and affiliate fees, it is difficult to imagine networks turning their backs on the NFL.

Facebook and Google’s Free-for-All (page C10): Google wants to launch balloons; Facebook wants to lighten the data load. Just as conspicuous as these efforts to bring Internet access to the sea of humanity still lacking it, is the fact these two companies aren’t working together on it. On Wednesday, Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg announced a “rough plan” to connect billions more people in the developing world to the Internet. But while he laid out some nifty ideas for technologies that might make this easier, there’s plenty missing from the plan. That includes some partners likely needed to make it possible, such as wireless carriers. Google isn’t a partner either. Meanwhile, Google has Project Loon, centered on solar-powered balloons that can beam Internet access to places lacking it.

Summer Debate: Avoid the Heat or Embrace It (page D3): Why do some people thrive when the temperature soars, while others can’t think straight without air-conditioning? Variables such as where a person grew up, their amount of body fat and even their hydration level can influence how they feel in hot or cold temperatures, says Michael Sawka, a professor at the School of Applied Physiology at Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta. People who avoid going outside when it’s hot—preferring to move straight from an arctic office to air-conditioned transportation to a well-chilled restaurant, store or home—can quickly lose their ability to acclimate, Dr. Sawka says. Without regularly experiencing heat, the body becomes less efficient at sweating and has more difficulty increasing blood flow to the skin—both functions that help the body cool itself. It takes one to two hours a day in hot temperatures to acclimate properly. Then, says Dr. Sawka, “you don’t feel the stress of the heat,” he says. “You feel more comfortable.” When it comes to cold, most people have greater difficulty adapting. Some can eventually learn to ignore uncomfortably low temperatures, but “it’s a lot more dependent on body fat and the size of your body,” Dr. Sawka says.

The Wall Street Journal: Friday, August 16, 2013

Stocks’ Surge Showing Cracks (page A1): The Dow Jones Industrial Average on Thursday suffered its worst decline since June, as fears intensified that the Federal Reserve will reduce its stimulus in the fall, potentially eroding a key element in this year’s stock-market advance. The Dow tumbled 225.47 points, or 1.5%, to 15112.19. It was the second consecutive triple-digit decline, following a 113-point pullback Wednesday. After being up as much as 19.5% for 2013 on Aug. 2, the Dow now is up 15.3% this year. The big news hurting stocks was a seemingly positive report: New weekly unemployment claims were the lowest since 2007, the latest in a series of indications the job market is improving. But that reinforced fears that the Fed will decide as soon as September that the economy is strong enough for it to begin reducing its $85 billion in monthly bond purchases designed to stimulate the economy.

Rising Stars of the Little Screen Learn to Cope with Fans, Fame (page A1): To make it in Hollywood, it helps to appeal to the masses. To make it on YouTube, it helps to appeal to everyone else. Thousands of YouTube “creators”—many coming to fame through very niche talents or fan bases—filled the Anaheim Convention Center this month for the fourth annual VidCon conference. VidCon has grown from 1,500 people in 2010 to a crowd of 11,000 that believes it is possible to “make it” without leaving Google Inc.’s YouTube for a mainstream movie or television deal, said VidCon co-founder John Green.

U.S. Inflation Moves Closer to Fed’s Target (page A2): Consumer prices rose broadly in July and the number of Americans filing new claims for jobless benefits fell to a six-year low, developments that could comfort Federal Reserve officials as they consider dialing back their bond purchases. The consumer-price index, which measures what Americans pay for everything from bread to medical care, rose 0.2% in July, the Labor Department said Thursday. Core prices, which strip out volatile food and energy costs, rose at the same rate. From a year earlier, overall consumer prices were 2% higher in July while core prices rose 1.7% year over year. The latest price increases were modest, but they reinforced views that inflation may be stabilizing and could dampen fears inside the Fed about inflation falling from already low levels.

Three States Get Warning about ‘No Child’ Waivers (page A2): The Education Department said Thursday that three of 40 states granted waivers from the No Child Left Behind law were at high risk of losing them, because they either have been slow to link teacher evaluations with student achievement or had adopted programs that didn’t meet federal guidelines. If they fail to comply with federal requirements by May, Kansas, Oregon and Washington state face losing their waivers from the George W. Bush-era law, which could entail a loss of autonomy over some funding decisions and changes in how school districts’ performance is judged. The Education Department granted all three states approval to continue their waiver programs for the 2013-2014 school year and asked each to submit a plan of recourse within the next month.

Philadelphia Schools Get Lifeline (page A2): Philadelphia public schools will open on time next month, city officials announced Thursday, saying they would direct $50 million to the struggling district to help close a budget hole. The cash infusion would allow Superintendent William Hite Jr. to rehire 1,000 counselors, assistant principals, aides and others who were among 4,100 employees laid off this year as part of budget cuts amid a $304-million deficit. Mr. Hite had said that if he didn’t receive funds by Friday, the district wouldn’t be able to open all its schools on Sept. 9. But questions remained over the finances of the 136,000-student district as Mayor Michael Nutter and the head of the city council offered conflicting plans Thursday on where the $50 million would come from.

Disney Tries Anew to Raise Its Score on Digital Games (page B1): Walt Disney Co. is rallying Mickey Mouse, Buzz Lightyear and more of its best-known characters to tackle a formidable challenge: bringing its digital division into the black. Disney’s technophile chief executive, Robert Iger, in 2008 grouped the company’s videogame, online and mobile businesses into a single unit, Disney Interactive. Since then, the division has racked up losses of $1.41 billion as it unsuccessfully chased one fad after another—from racing games to virtual worlds to social-network games. The fallout has included more than 500 layoffs, four closed videogame-production studios, and a raft of canceled projects and diminished ambitions. Enter “Disney Infinity,” a combination videogame and toy line that features characters from classic and new movies and television shows. It is a high-stakes effort to right the Disney digital ship, and it hits stores on Sunday in the U.S. and Tuesday in Europe. People close to the company peg the cost of making the game and toys at well over $100 million—similar to a major film production. With “Infinity,” players can create their own Disney-inspired landscapes and game levels in a mode called “toybox.” They can also bring characters, such as the tow truck Mater from “Cars” and Jack Sparrow from “Pirates of the Caribbean,” into the game by buying $13 figurines and placing them on a special scanner.

H&M Gives Ethiopia a Spin (page B2): H&M Hennes & Mauritz AB is looking to Ethiopia as a new low-cost country in which it will produce clothing, as the apparel retailer races to keep shelves stocked at a growing number of stores world-wide. The Swedish company relies heavily on Bangladesh for clothes production, and a move to Africa would expand its sourcing footprint but not replace its commitment to production in Asia. One supplier says H&M is looking to source one million garments a month from Ethiopia.

Infant Dies After Eating Soap Packet (page B3): An infant in central Florida died last week after accidentally eating a packet of concentrated laundry detergent, the state’s Department of Children and Families said Thursday. The death of the 7-month-old boy is believed to be the first associated with single-dose liquid detergent packets, which have been involved in a rash of unintentional ingestion by babies and toddlers since becoming widely available in the U.S. early last year. It heightens the stakes as consumer-products companies such as Procter & Gamble Co. try to stop the problem by modifying their packaging and warning consumers.

Facebook Tests Payments Tool (page B4): Facebook Inc. is testing a way to make it easier for its users to make purchases through retailers’ mobile apps. The new service will give consumers an option to prefill their payment information stored on Facebook with the mobile apps of retailers that partner with the social network. Facebook, however, underscored that it won’t process the payments nor compete directly with digital-payments processors such as eBay Inc.’s PayPal. “We continue to have a great relationship with our payment processing partners, and this product is simply to test how we can help apps provide a simpler commerce experience,” a Facebook spokeswoman said.

Wal-Mart: Where Are All the Hot New Gadgets (page B4): Wal-Mart Stores Inc. has a message for electronics makers: Make more exciting gadgets. The world’s biggest retailer on Thursday blamed its disappointing second-quarter sales results in part on the failure of device makers to churn out more innovative products. “Consumers will spend, but you have to give them a good reason to spend,” Chief Financial Officer Charles Holley said. A lack of refreshed products—from televisions to videogame systems—is a problem for Wal-Mart. Entertainment accounts for 11% of its $274.5 billion in U.S. net sales.

With Gmail Overhaul, Not All Mail Is Equal (page B5): For some retailers that rely on emailed promotions, Google Inc. is adding insult to injury. When the search giant overhauled its free email service three months ago, it set up algorithms to automatically siphon the flow of airfare offers and spa deals away from users’ main inboxes and into an easily bypassed “Promotions” folder. But there is another wrinkle: For Gmail users that do visit those Promotions folders, the first items they see will often be ads sold by Google. The ads are different from those that already appear inside users’ opened messages. Instead, they look like emails sitting in an inbox but are shaded yellow and feature informational “i” icons explaining their purpose. Marketers still complain that the ads threaten to draw attention away from the coupons and pitch emails they want their targets to read first.

Penn State Workers Protest Wellness Plan (page B6): Pennsylvania State University employees are protesting a new wellness program that requires them to provide detailed health information or pay penalties that can total $1,200 a year, in an unusually public backlash against an increasingly common employer practice. Employer wellness programs offering financial carrots and sticks have been growing for years. According to a survey conducted last fall by the National Business Group on Health and Fidelity Investments, 86% of employers were linking incentives to health-related activities this year, up from 57% in 2009. The most common activities were filling out health-risk assessments, getting biometric screenings and participating in smoking-cessation programs. Penn State’s program will charge employees $100 a month starting in January if they—and covered spouses—don’t fill out the health questionnaire and certify that they are having a physical exam. To avoid the penalties, employees also must get biometric screenings, including blood-sugar and cholesterol tests and body-mass index measurements.

Mom-and-Pop Pitches Draw Flak (page C1): Individual investors are pouring tens of billions of dollars into a new generation of complex investment products, and regulators are raising concerns that not all buyers understand the costs and risks. Outside scrutiny is intensifying on securities firms’ sales practices and whether so-called alternative products—ranging from certain types of mutual funds to vehicles that invest in highly indebted companies—are suitable for all of the Americans flocking to them. Some state securities regulators are focusing their examinations on alternative-product brokers, while officials at Wall Street’s self-funded watchdog, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, say they are planning to file civil enforcement actions by year-end. “With these things, it can be like giving a 6-year-old a circular saw,” said Brad Bennett, Finra’s enforcement chief. Most mom-and-pop investors “don’t understand the risks they’re taking.” Securities firms say the alternative products can add balance to investors’ portfolios and some protection if markets go into free fall, as they did in the financial crisis. The products also give retail investors affordable access to assets that were once exclusive to wealthy investors.

Misplaced Confidence in a Key Indicator (page C1): Unlike being thin or rich, you can be too confident. So when the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan index of consumer sentiment hit a six-year high of 85.1 in July, the applause wasn’t unanimous. Some fretted it may presage a nasty fall. After all, the previous high came back in the innocent days when most Americans swallowed the pablum about subprime-mortgage woes being “contained.” Stocks would peak several weeks later, while the worst postwar recession was just five months off. Economists polled by Dow Jones Newswires see a further rise in Friday’s preliminary reading of the index for August, to 85.5, which might prove fodder for optimists and worrywarts alike. Confidence certainly can signal complacency. Five of the top seven readings in the history of the series came within a few months of the bursting of the technology bubble. All of the top 35 readings came between then-Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan’s “Irrational Exuberance” speech in December 1996 and the onset of the bear market in 2000. But outstanding historical periods by definition precede worse ones. And investors enjoyed years of heady gains during that period of 3½ years.

New ‘Dawn’ in Exchanges’ War on Hackers (page C3): When prices on some U.S. stocks suddenly zoomed one day last month and others unexpectedly plunged, stock-market officials set out to detect a possible computer glitch or a trading algorithm run amok. But after hastily comparing notes, exchange employees—who were participating in a test of market defenses along with bank technicians, regulators and law-enforcement officials—realized the price swings were the work of hackers wielding rogue computer code generating a torrent of erroneous buy and sell orders. The July 18 drill, called “Quantum Dawn 2,” didn’t affect actual market prices. Even so, it sent exchange officials into a flurry of action and emergency planning. The exercise underscored one of the greatest fears of exchange executives and some policy makers: That a well-funded terrorist organization or a rogue nation could pierce the financial system’s defenses and mount an attack that unleashes waves of trading losses, compromises sensitive financial data or even forces the U.S. stock market to shut down. The simulated attack, organized by the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association and involving more than 500 people from about 50 firms and government agencies, marked the biggest effort yet by the U.S. securities industry to ward off a coordinated assault on the computer systems that underlie the financial markets.

Upbeat Economic Signals Take Down Bonds (page C4): Bond yields in the U.S. and Europe jumped to multiyear highs Thursday as a brightened outlook for global economic growth sparked a new round of concern that the world’s major central banks soon will pull back on monetary stimulus. With yields going higher again, investors also could continue to cash out of bond funds for fear of further declines in prices, traders said. When yields climb on benchmark bonds, the prices of new bonds become more attractive relative to older ones that pay much lower interest.

Recappers: The New TV Guides (page D1): Every night, legions of bloggers churn out descriptions and critiques of shows, episode by episode, from ‘Breaking Bad’ to ‘Honey Boo Boo.’ The rise of a cottage industry. If a TV series has mustered enough of a following to stay on the air, it has likely attracted scribes that churn out the episodic plot summaries known as recaps. In a reflection of how we devour and digest television now, the number of TV recaps has exploded in recent years. Unlikely outlets from political magazines to local news affiliates are publishing CliffsNotes-style summaries of “Under the Dome” and “Big Brother,” piggybacking on the shows’ popularity and thrusting themselves into competition with established entertainment sites and individual bloggers. (The Wall Street Journal’s Speakeasy blog posts recaps of about 10 shows per week, from “Mad Men” to the reality TV spectacle “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo.”) Recaps have emerged as a cornerstone of TV culture in a phase of major transition. For networks, they are indicators of buzz at a time when traditional Nielsen ratings don’t tell the whole story. Though the weekly scrutiny annoys some producers, others monitor recaps to help guide storytelling decisions. Yet the rise of recaps has most to do with the transformation of the TV audience at large. Not only are viewers more inclined to sound off online about the minutiae of their favorite shows, many are also looking for insights about a growing number of serial dramas with complex and sophisticated storytelling. The best recaps serve a dual purpose: guiding fans of a show through subtleties (or entire episodes) they might have missed, and serving as fixed hubs of discussion for readers whose viewing patterns are staggered by time-shifting. There’s also a more basic driver of recap activity: They drum up steady web traffic for the content-hungry sites that host them.

Don’t Shoot! It’s an ‘Empathy Game’ (page D1): Among the many videogames at a recent arts and games festival in Baltimore, none was more difficult to navigate than “That Dragon, Cancer.” The challenge: Getting through it without crying. The game is about war, but not the bullet-blazing variety normally associated with gaming. It’s an autobiographical story that puts players in the role of a father whose 4-year-old son is dying of cancer. As Hannah Armbruster sampled the game, using a mouse to move a pixelated dad around its hospital-room setting, her face showed none of the excited contortions that might accompany “Call of Duty.” She took gulps of sadness and at one point rubbed her forehead in disbelief. When the game was over, she said, “Whoo,” removed her headphones and left the computer. Why would anyone want to put themselves through this? “For the same reason you’d want to read a novel about something really heavy,” says Ms. Armbruster, a 20-year-old college student. “There’s something really satisfying about experiencing narratives that are outside your own experience.” More than four decades after Pong, players are tackling a range of heady subjects including cancer, depression and alcoholism. Instead of pumping adrenaline, these “empathy games” use the videogame form to tell stories that are far more personal than the Hollywood tropes most big budget games still rely on.

How Penn State Football Survived (page D8): To write his forthcoming book “Fourth and Long: The Fight for the Soul of College Football,” author John U. Bacon embedded himself with four Big Ten programs—Penn State, Ohio State, Michigan and Northwestern—in search of the sport’s old ideals as it is roiled by money, greed and scandal. In this excerpt, he offers a behind-the-scenes look at how Penn State’s team reacted to the Jerry Sandusky sex-abuse scandal last year.

 

The Wall Street Journal: Monday, August 12, 2013

Emerging World Loses Growth Lead (page A1): Momentum in the global economy is shifting to the developed world, away from the emerging economies that had led growth since the financial crisis. For the first time since mid-2007, the advanced economies, including Japan, the U.S. and Europe, together are contributing more to growth in the $74 trillion global economy than the emerging nations, including China, India and Brazil, according to an estimate by investment firm Bridgewater Associates LP. The turnabout may reshape world capital flows and upend forecasts that corporations had built around ebullient hopes for emerging markets. Among forces driving the shift: a resurgent Japan that for years was a weakling of the global economy. Japan’s economy expanded 2.6% on an annualized basis last quarter, the government reported early Monday, slower than the revised 3.8% first-quarter pace but a meaningful change after years of stagnation. The recovering U.S. economy has produced steady, albeit tepid, growth. And Europe’s economy is estimated to have expanded slightly in the latest quarter after a long recession, new reports this week are expected to show. At the same time, the emerging world’s big guns—such as Brazil, Russia, India and China—are ailing or ratcheting back from their stellar performance of recent years. The International Monetary Fund forecasts the global economy to expand 3.3% this year, compared with 3.2% in 2012 and 4% in 2011.

Analysts See Growth Worthy of a Fed Pullback (page A2): he U.S. economic growth outlook has been upgraded to decent from lousy—which, while some distance from good, is likely good enough for the Federal Reserve to pull back on its stimulus later this year. On the positive side, fears of another downturn are minimal. Economists in the latest Wall Street Journal economic forecasting survey put less than a 15% chance on another recession hitting in the next 12 months. But at the same time, they put only a 13% chance that growth in gross domestic product this year will be stronger than the long-run average of 3.5%.

Adding News to the Shopping Cart (page A13): ournalists these days relish gallows humor, like Andy Borowitz’s satire in the New Yorker, “Amazon Founder Says He Clicked on Washington Post by Mistake.” It’s a reminder of how anxious journalists remain about their industry—a good reason to welcome Mr. Bezos as a new kind of owner. His expertise at Amazon in focusing on consumers and using data to make them happier is just what the news industry needs. It is well known that the news business is in trouble, but it is less understood why. Newspapers have had to cut back on reporters because of a steep decline in advertising, which used to account for 80% of revenues and an even higher proportion of profits. Combined print and digital advertising revenues for newspapers are now one-third of their peak in 2000 as companies use online search and other more targeted forms of marketing. Adjusted for inflation, newspaper advertising revenue has fallen to 1950 levels. But while advertising continues to decline for many publishers, online as well as in print, people are consuming more news than ever. Readers have responded well when their favorite news brands have offered “all access” paid subscriptions, which include all digital versions. (Disclosure: A company I co-founded, Press+, powers digital subscriptions for more than 400 publishers around the world and is now owned by RR Donnelley.) Circulation revenues for U.S. newspapers rose 5% last year, the first increase in a decade. This is where Mr. Bezos and his experience at Amazon could make a big difference. In his annual Amazon shareholder letter in 2005, he wrote that many of the decisions at Amazon “can be made with data.” He added: “There is a right answer or a wrong answer, a better answer or a worse answer, and math tells us which is which.” The result is that Amazon is king of consumer satisfaction, with 200 million people buying $60 billion worth of everything from books to dog food. Orders are often based on Amazon’s personalized, data-driven recommendations. Ten million people subscribe to Amazon Prime, which provides free second-day delivery, 40,000 movies and TV shows, and the ability to “borrow” 300,000 e-books.

Getting in on the Scalping Act (page B1): Live Nation Entertainment Inc. and its Ticketmaster subsidiary have a new strategy for dealing with their sworn enemies, ticket scalpers: If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. Heavy-metal fans looking for tickets to see Black Sabbath at the First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre near Chicago this month are getting a taste of the new approach. On Live Nation’s website, an unusual seating map lists available face-value seats right alongside pricier seats being offered for resale by others. A block of seats nine rows from the stage was recently listed for their face value of $156 each, including fees; one row back, a reseller was offering a pair for $360.80 each. Live Nation and Ticketmaster for years have been seeking ways to boost their participation in the $4 billion-a-year business of reselling concert tickets, currently dominated by scalpers and brokers who buy tickets at face value and attempt to flip them for a profit via websites like eBay Inc.’s StubHub.com. Concert promoters, ticketing companies and even artists have expressed frustration that they don’t see any financial benefit as those speculators charge many times face value for the best seats to hot shows. Of course, scalpers also can mitigate risk for those presenting concerts: If demand for a show doesn’t meet expectations, the scalpers can end up holding unsold tickets or unloading them for below face. Finding a palatable way to participate in the aftermarket has proven elusive for Ticketmaster and Live Nation, which merged in 2010. Ticketmaster failed in its attempt to create a StubHub rival, TicketExchange, and it bought another resale site, TicketsNow, which also struggled. At one point Ticketmaster even considered forming a joint venture with several of the nation’s biggest ticket resellers. That experiment fell apart after a limited test run. In recent weeks Live Nation has started a limited, beta-version rollout of its latest effort, which merges its ticket-resale businesses onto its primary ticketing site, blurring the line between the initial face-value ticket and pricier, secondary-market tickets and better positioning the concert promoter to profit from tickets’ true market value.

Back-to-School Sales Offer Tough Test (page B2): While students are just getting ready to return to school, retailers may already be bracing for a disappointing grade. Several indicators are signaling less-than-stellar results. Back-to-school is closely monitored because it’s the industry’s second-biggest selling period before the December holidays and also serves as an indicator of how winter sales will shake out.

Fitness App Gets Venture Backing (page B3): While Weight Watchers struggles to keep its membership rolls from shrinking, its upstart challengers are beefing up. The popular health-monitoring app MyFitnessPal LLC is getting $18 million in new funding from Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and Accel Partners, a bet by the venture-capital firms that Americans are ready to take more control over monitoring their health. The investment values MyFitnessPal—which claims 40 million users and is profitable—at between $100 million and $120 million, a person familiar with the matter said. MyFitnessPal plans to use the new funds to analyze the entries logged by users of its app and website for evidence of which diets or fitness plans are most effective. The company hopes it can feed more information to its users, like whether low-carbohydrate diets actually help people lose weight or whether skipping breakfast makes you eat more later in the day.

The Whistleblower Debate (page B4): A key unsettled question about protections for whistleblowers is whether tipsters have to take their claims to the Securities and Exchange Commission to qualify. Big U.S. companies have a surprising answer: Yes. The answer is surprising because companies, alarmed that new rewards for whistleblowers could undermine internal fraud-detection efforts and lead to a flood of regulatory actions, had argued before regulators that employees should raise allegations of corporate wrongdoing with their company first. But in an effort to escape liability in cases brought by whistleblowers claiming retaliation under the Dodd-Frank financial-overhaul legislation of 2010, they are increasingly claiming that tipsters aren’t protected if they didn’t go to the authorities.

Dufner Holds Off Furyk for PGA (page B6): American Jason Dufner put his foot on the pedal early in the final round at the PGA Championship here and never let it off. That’s not to say he was speeding or driving the least bit recklessly. The 36-year-old Cleveland native didn’t have to, not when he hit nine of 14 fairways and left himself the following distances for his four birdie putts on the day: six feet, two feet, two inches and two inches. The seemingly tranquil Auburn alumnus won his first major tournament by shooting a steady 68 Sunday in perfect golf conditions at the Oak Hill Country Club, redeeming his playoff loss to Keegan Bradley at the 2011 PGA at Atlanta Athletic Club. Dufner’s 63 in the second round broke the competitive course record at Oak Hill, and matched the lowest round ever recorded in a major. But to hoist the Wanamaker Trophy, Dufner had to motor past the 54-hole leader, Jim Furyk, and stay ahead of a star-studded leaderboard, with four other contenders within four shots of Furyk’s 11-under-par lead. Furyk, the 2003 U.S. Open winner, by no means played a poor round on Sunday. His one-over 71 might well have been enough if Dufner’s wedge game had not been so dialed in. And it was all the more impressive for the demons he was fighting. In 2012, Furyk led after 54 holes in four tournaments and lost each time, most agonizingly at the U.S. Open, where he bogeyed two of his last three holes. He also lost two of his three matches at the Ryder Cup, including a pivotal Sunday singles match against Sergio Garcia.

The Wall Street Journal: Thursday, August 1, 2013

Tepid Growth Restrains Fed (page A1): The U.S. economy registered subpar growth and low inflation in the first half of the year, factors that led the Federal Reserve Wednesday to keep its easy-money policies in place. The Commerce Department reported Wednesday that the economy grew at a 1.7% annual rate in the second quarter, enough to ease fears of a full-on summertime economic stall but still a sluggish pace by historic standards. Economists had feared tepid global growth and the budget cuts known as the “sequester” would lead to an even worse result of growth below 1% in the second quarter.

GDP Looks Rosier With New Math (page A2): The government this week took a new view of the U.S. economy and found some additional growth. The Commerce Department on Wednesday released a comprehensive overhaul of gross-domestic-product data going back to 1929, revising the figures to include new measures and data it says give a better picture of the U.S. economy. One of the biggest changes is how the agency measures what it calls the “knowledge economy” through investments in research and development and entertainment and the arts. Previously, that spending was included as intermediate components during the production of other goods or services, but now such investments will be measured as fixed assets and reflect their continuing contributions. Including these intangible assets will boost the country’s overall growth level but won’t significantly change growth rates. For example, capitalization of R&D and entertainment added $471 billion in 2012 to the revised $16.2 trillion overall economy. Total revisions from statistical and measurement changes added nearly $560 billion last year.

Gaming the System to Ease Rush Hour (page A6): Congestion is an increasingly unwelcome and costly disease of city life, prompting all sorts of attempts to mitigate it. A common solution is to charge more during rush hour. Seattle’s transit system charges up to 75 cents more from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. MetroNorth charges $3.50 more to go from Stamford, Conn., to Grand Central Terminal in New York at rush hour. Singapore is experimenting with free fares for those who exit subways at 16 downtown stations before 7:45 a.m. London levies a “congestion fee” of £10 (roughly $15) for cars entering the downtown area from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tolls on a new Virginia highway vary with traffic, ranging recently from $2.05 to $7.55 for the 14-mile stretch. But setting the rush-hour surcharge high enough to change the habits of lots people can be tough. And free rides are easy to market but can be costly. So Stanford University computer scientist Balaji Prabhakar has a better idea. It turns on two observations about human nature: One, we’re suckers for lotteries. Two, we like friendly competition. The results: about 15% of the trips taken by participants have shifted away from rush hour. Students tend to come and leave later; staff tend to come and leave earlier. Smartphones make all this easier to implement: A new mobile app tracks bikers and walkers and gives them points, too. Shifting 10% or 15% of trips away from rush hour may not sound like much, but inducing small changes in the behavior of lots of people can have a huge impact. As Mr. Prabhakar puts it: More water is lost by unseen leaky faucets than in a single highly visible gushing fire hydrant.

Europe Jobless Rate Fall, but Recovery Uncertain (page A8): The European Union’s unemployment rate fell in June for the first time in almost 2½ years, while the number of jobless people in the countries that use the euro also fell, albeit modestly, for the first time in two years. Despite the signs of stabilization in the job market, figures also released Wednesday showed French and German consumers cut their spending in June. That suggests that the very high levels of unemployment are likely to hinder any recovery.

The Antidote to Algorithms: A Real Bookstore (page A13): The weather in Tennessee has been unaccountably beautiful this summer, with late July temperatures in the 70s rather than the 100s. The drive from Chattanooga, where President Obama gave his jobs speech at the Amazon warehouse Tuesday, to Nashville, where I am the co-owner of Parnassus Books, is a scenic two hours. I wish he’d come by. Thanks to the Amazon warehouse, there are about 7,000 new jobs in Chattanooga, many of them seasonal. But to celebrate Amazon as an employer is to ignore all the jobs that have been squeezed out of the economy as independent bookstores and other small businesses have been forced to close their doors, unable to compete with the undercut pricing the online retail giant offers. And with those shuttered bookstores go a big part of our community. In the time-honored tradition of bookstores everywhere, our store is staffed by readers—people who want to talk about the books they love. We’re not handing out algorithms based on what books other people have bought. These aren’t widgets we’re selling. Sure, it can be nice to save a few bucks on a book, but is that worth what it ultimately costs us? Does it profit us to get 20% off and lose the place we take our children for story time? I’ve been an author far longer than I’ve been a bookseller, and Amazon is responsible for a lot of my sales, so I acknowledge that I am biting the hand that feeds me. But feeding me isn’t what this is about. Amazon doesn’t work as well for writers who are just starting out. Without name recognition and high-profile reviews, it’s hard for a customer to know where to point and click. That means the big names keep on selling, but fewer and fewer new voices are able to break through. Authors need a good bookstore: It’s a place to give a reading (Parnassus hosts about 250 author events a year), and a place where customers can browse, picking a book up because of the title or the cover or the staff-recommendation signs that paper the shelves. Our goal is to promote writers, writing, culture and community, which, I like to think, is aiming a little higher than free two-day shipping.

Facebook Flirts with Breakeven (page B1): Rarely is there so much at stake in getting back to zero. On Wednesday, Facebook Inc.’s stock briefly touched its initial public offering price of $38, hitting a marker that felt out of reach in autumn of last year, when the stock was in free-fall. While shares eventually drifted lower, to settle at $36.80, Facebook is still within striking distance of $38—a fact not lost on Facebook’s investors, many of whom were burned in the company’s botched IPO. For Facebook’s co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg, the $38 price had become a symbol of his company’s hubris.

Good Luck Leaving Your Phone Plan (page B1): There are 326 million wireless subscribers in the U.S. But the battle to take business away from the industry’s leaders comes down to just 19 million of them. That is about how many wireless subscribers have left Verizon Wireless and AT&T Inc. annually over the past three years, according to UBS analyst John Hodulik. It may seem like a lot, but most of those subscribers just go back and forth between the top carriers. The four national U.S. carriers together added only about a net 3.3 million subscribers last year, according to UBS, and Verizon and AT&T accounted for all of them. The numbers show the daunting task ahead as the newly revitalized SprintCorp. and T-Mobile US Inc. gear up to take business away from the two companies that dominate the U.S. industry. The third and fourth largest U.S. wireless carriers are now better capitalized, building advanced networks, carrying the iPhone, and launching new service plans under aggressive new managers or owners.

M.B.A. Admission Tip: Always Go for an Easy ‘A’ (page B1): Want to get into B-school? Go for the easy A. Business-school applicants with a high undergraduate grade-point average—even those who attended schools identified as practicing grade inflation—are more likely to be admitted than those who performed slightly less well amid tougher grading standards. “Experts take high performance as evidence of high ability” but don’t consider how easy it is to achieve that performance, wrote researchers from University of California, Berkeley’s Haas School of Business, polling firm CivicScience Inc. and Harvard Business School. The research was published last week in the journal PLOS ONE.

‘Smart Homes’ Are a Hacking Risk (page B3): Daniel Crowley can pick a dead-bolt lock without ever seeing the door. From his computer, Mr. Crowley can also disarm a home-security system, open a garage door and turn off lights. He just needs those gadgets to be connected to the Internet—a step consumers are increasingly taking to control facets of their lives using smartphones and tablets. Mr. Crowley, a 27-year-old from Austin, Texas, with a hip haircut, hardly resembles a burglar. Rather, the consultant with security firm Trustwave Holdings Inc. is one of thousands of computer researchers—some call them hackers—who have descended on Las Vegas this week to show off the numerous ways they can make new pieces of technology do terrible things. These days, hacking isn’t limited to computers and smartphones. When Chinese hackers recently struck the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington, D.C., a thermostat in a townhouse owned by the Chamber was found to be beaming signals back to China. As more domestic gadgets—heaters, light bulbs, even toilets—come online, they offer new avenues for hackers to do damage. This week, two researchers plan to separately show how they can make a new TV set from Samsung Electronics Co. —which features a camera—watch you. One of them will show he can do it even if you think the set is turned off.

Court Rules Ex-NCAA Players Can Sue Videogame Maker (page B3): A federal appeals court on Wednesday cleared the way for a group of college athletes to sue Electronic Arts Inc. for allegedly stealing their likenesses for its videogames. The ruling by the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco advanced a claim by former Nebraska and Arizona State quarterback Sam Keller and other ex-athletes, who allege EA used their attributes in its NCAA football and basketball games.

Broadband, Movies Lift Comcast Net (page B6): Comcast Corp.’s buyout of full ownership of NBCUniversal helped drive net income 29% higher in the second quarter, as the entertainment business showed stronger results in television and film, helped by movies like “Fast and Furious 6.” At the same time, Comcast’s cable business, which accounts for the bulk of the company’s revenue and profit, showed growth in broadband while the video business continued to lose subscribers.

Whole Foods Profit Rises 21% (page B6): Whole Foods Market Inc.’s profit rose 21% for its fiscal third quarter, but the high-end grocer said its sales growth has slowed in recent weeks. The Austin, Texas-based company reported a profit of $142 million, or 38 cents a share, for the quarter ended July 7, up from $117 million, or 31 cents a share, a year earlier. Comparable-store sales, which covers outlets open more than a year, including those that have changed location, rose 7.5%. But Whole Foods said comparable-store sales growth in the first three weeks of the current quarter has slowed to 5.8% from a year earlier. Executives cited a tough comparison to a year ago, potential cannibalization from new stores and different timing of certain promotions.

B-Schools Opt for Summertime Start (page B7): August has barely begun, but for some business-school students, the school year is already in full swing. Schools are summoning first-year students to campus ever earlier. On Monday, 215 students turned up at the University of Southern California Marshall School of Business for orientation. The University of California at Davis Graduate School of Management held the first part of its orientation last week. The idea, administrators say, is to better prepare M.B.A. students for facing recruiters, improving their chances of landing coveted internships and job opportunities. Corporate recruiters used to arrive on campus in late September, but in the past several years they have been getting an earlier start, with companies sometimes contacting first-year students well before fall classes begin.

Google to Supply Starbucks Fee Wi-Fi Service (page B7): Google Inc. unseated AT&T Inc. as the supplier of free Wi-Fi service at more than 7,000 Starbucks Corp. coffee shops in the U.S., moving the search giant deeper into the business of connecting people to the Internet. Google is partnering with Level 3 Communications Inc., an Internet middleman, to offer the service. Starbucks says it will be about 10 times faster than the existing T1 connections.

The Accelerators: When to Start Pitching (page B8): How and when should you start marketing your product or service to customers? See what our mentors have to say:

Wednesday’s Markets: Blue Chips Stumble Down Into Red (page C4): The Dow industrials ended a bumpy day lower, but the blue-chip index closed out the month with a gain. Stock indexes failed to find direction on Wednesday from the Federal Reserve’s latest policy statement, though the release was taken as a positive by the bond market. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 21.05 points, or 0.1%, to 15499.54. Blue-chip stocks staged a brief triple-digit morning rally to reach an intraday record of 15634.32 before turning lower in late trading. Still, the average was up 4% for July, its seventh month of gains in the past eight. The S&P 500-stock index dipped 0.23 point, less than 0.1%, to 1685.73, up 4.9% for the month. The Nasdaq Composite Index gained 9.90 points, or 0.3%, to 3626.37, climbing 6.6% in July.

As Consoles Struggle, Nintendo Should Plumb Mobile Profits (page C10): Nintendo Co. is leaking profits—a certain plumber could help. To offset weak results from the company’s traditional console business, Nintendo should start selling classic games on mobile devices, like those featuring Super Mario, the iconic Italian-American pipe fitter.

High-Tech Time Travel (page D1): Family attractions are struggling with the question of how far to push ever-more sophisticated technologies into their exhibits as many experience lackluster attendance. Touch screens, apps and QR codes, available at larger sites for several years, are now appearing in smaller locations, too. Luring younger visitors is crucial since today’s families tend to give youngsters a lot more veto power over family vacation plans.

Hunter Mahan’s Perfect Decision (page D6): Hunter Mahan’s decision to be with his wife as she delivered the couple’s first child was good news in a sports summer which has been rife with toxic letdowns. But it was also a message about priorities in the frantic rush of modern life.

The Wall Street Journal: Monday, July 29, 2013

Advertising Giants to Merge (page A1): Advertising giants Omnicom and Publicis said Sunday they had agreed to merge, in a $35.1 billion cross-border linkup that shows how Big Data is making Madison Avenue look more like Wall Street. The combination of Omnicom Group of the U.S. and France’s Publicis Groupe SA is aimed at restoring the balance of power between advertising agencies and such Silicon Valley companies as Google Inc. and Facebook Inc. About 22% of global ad spending now is digital, according to eMarketer, a share projected to grow to 27% by 2017. Omnicom and Publicis hope that by joining forces, they will be better equipped for an industry increasingly dominated by data-driven analysis and automated trading of ad space.

More Doctors Steer Clear of Medicare (page A1): Fewer American doctors are treating patients enrolled in the Medicare health program for seniors, reflecting frustration with its payment rates and pushback against mounting rules, according to health experts. The number of doctors who opted out of Medicare last year, while a small proportion of the nation’s health professionals, nearly tripled from three years earlier, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the government agency that administers the program. Other doctors are limiting the number of Medicare patients they treat even if they don’t formally opt out of the system. Even fewer doctors say they won’t accept new Medicaid patients, and the number who don’t participate in private insurance contracts, while smaller, is growing—just as millions of Americans are poised to gain access to such coverage under the new health law next year. All told, health experts say the number of doctors going “off-grid” isn’t enough to undermine the Affordable Care Act, but they say some Americans may have difficulty finding doctors who will take their new benefits or face long waits for appointments with those who do.

Fed ‘Doves’ Beat ‘Hawks’ in Economic Prognosticating (page A1): Predicting the direction of the U.S. economy with precision is impossible. But the Fed must forecast growth, inflation and unemployment to guide its decisions on interest rates. Central bank miscalculations—when the Fed pushed interest rates too low or too high—have historically turned problems into catastrophes, fueling the Great Depression, for example, and the wealth-eroding inflation of the 1970s. The Wall Street Journal examined more than 700 predictions made between 2009 and 2012 in speeches and congressional testimony by 14 Fed policy makers—and scored the predictions on growth, jobs and inflation. The most accurate forecasts overall came from Ms. Yellen, now the Fed’s vice chair. She was joined in the high scores by other Fed “doves,” policy makers who wanted aggressively easy money policies to confront a weak U.S. economy and low inflation. Collectively, they supported Fed Chairmen Ben Bernanke’s strategy to pump money into the U.S. economy. The least accurate forecasts came from central bank “hawks,” those who feared Fed policies would trigger rising inflation. Examining such predictions is more than a parlor game. Fed forecasts are important now because the central bank is near a turning point that will have a substantial impact on the U.S. economy.

Corporate Profits Lose Steam (page B1): With global economies sluggish and sales growth at a crawl, big U.S. companies have had one route to push profits higher: Cut costs and squeeze suppliers. That strategy may be running out of steam. Revenue at the companies that make up the Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index—excluding banks, whose profits have soared—is expected to creep up by just 1.1% in the second quarter from a year earlier, according to Thomson Reuters, which melds Wall Street analysts’ projections with company reports. Earnings, meanwhile, are expected to decline 0.6%. That would be the first profit decline for nonfinancial companies since last autumn and the first time in a year that earnings grew more slowly than revenue, a sign that margin widening is petering out.

Fed Is Delaying Day of Reckoning (page C3): Reassuring statements from the Federal Reserve have calmed financial-market anxieties. Stocks have recovered their June losses. But the Fed may not have solved the problem; it may just have put it off. If so, markets could turn volatile as autumn approaches and investors once again begin wringing their hands over the likely timing and consequences of a cutback in Fed stimulus. Stock and bond prices fell in June because investors fear the day when the Fed starts cutting back on its $85 billion in monthly stimulus for financial markets. When Fed officials indicated that they could start trimming the stimulus in a matter of months, the selling began. The market slide ended after a succession of Fed officials made forceful statements that they won’t do anything until the economy is strong enough. Lately, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke has said he doesn’t know when the Fed will begin to move: It will depend on the data. In effect, he has pushed the problem into the future. Investors, somewhat mollified, have decided to worry about it later. They have begun buying again, riding a market that seemingly refuses to decline and sending the Dow Jones Industrial Average and other major stock indexes to record highs. Now, no one knows when the Fed will start reducing monthly stimulus spending.

Small Stocks Are in the Eye of the Index (page C6): The Russell 2000 is the benchmark for small-capitalization stocks. But some stocks in it aren’t that small. This may pose a problem for investors, even as the index has been hitting all-time highs. The argument for small stocks is clear. Research has consistently shown that over long stretches small-cap stocks beat their bigger brethren. A driver has been the fraction of fast-expanding small companies on their way to becoming large ones. Yet some of them may no longer be in the Russell 2000. The inclusion of outsize companies atop the Russell 2000 may distort stock values, suggests New York money manager Horizon Kinetics. Russell’s indexes are weighted by market float, so the more a company’s publicly available shares are worth, the more heft it carries. When the indexes were rebalanced on June 28, the top 50 stocks in the Russell 2000 counted for about 10% of its total weighting, according to Credit Suisse. In contrast, the bottom 50 of the Russell 1000 counted for about 0.2% of that index’s weighting. As a result, a large stock that remains in the Russell 2000 rather than migrating upward is receiving an outsize flow of cash from funds that track and are benchmarked to the index. This may be affecting valuations. As of early July, the forward price/earnings multiple for the Russell 2000’s 50 largest stocks, excluding those with expected losses, was 20.3 times versus just 16.6 times for the 50 stocks at the bottom of the Russell 1000, a Horizon Kinetics analysis found.

The Wall Street Journal: Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Housing Rebound Leaves Some Behind (page A1): First-time home buyers, long a key underpinning of the housing market, are increasingly getting left behind in the real-estate recovery. Such buyers, typically couples in their late 20s or early 30s, have accounted for about 30% of home sales over the past year. They represented 40% of sales, on average, over the past 30 years, and accounted for more than 50% in 2009, when recession-era tax credits fueled the first-time market, according to data from the National Association of Realtors. The depressed level of first-time buyers could prove to be a drag on the housing rebound and the broader economic recovery over the longer haul. First-time home buyers are the foundation of the real-estate market and are major contributors to their local economies, often buying up older homes, revitalizing communities and spending money on furniture and renovations.

Parents Shell Out Less for Kids in College (page A4): Parents are giving their children less cash to pay for college amid continued economic weakness, adding to pressure on students to borrow money, rely more on grants and scholarships—and in many cases, live at home. Parents shelled out an average of $5,727 from their income and savings for each child’s college costs in the 2012-2013 academic year, down more than a third from $8,752 in 2009-2010, according to an annual report on college funding by student loan provider Sallie Mae to be released on Tuesday. The share of college costs paid by parents out of income and savings fell to 27% from 37% three years ago. The figures don’t include borrowing by parents, which also declined slightly in the period.

The House That Lego Built (book review – page A15): The patents on the core product of the Lego Group—its famous build-it-yourself bricks—expired decades ago, yet the company seems to be thriving: Its gross profit margin of 71% is far higher than that of other major toy companies and, for that matter, Apple. It was not always thus. Only 10 years ago, Lego was posting record losses; retailers were backlogged with unsold Lego toys; and it was unclear whether Lego would survive as an independent company. An internal review discovered that 94% of the sets in its product line were unprofitable. The turnaround story that followed is well told by Wharton professor David Robertson in “Brick by Brick.” As a family-owned Danish company, Lego isn’t watched closely by the American business press. Yet its story may hold as many lessons as those of companies whose chief executives adorn magazine covers. In Mr. Robertson’s diagnosis, Lego’s near-collapse came not from a lack of innovation but from an excess of it—more precisely, from innovation without discipline.

Netflix Subscriber Growth Comes Up Short (page B1): Netflix Inc. posted a stronger quarterly profit and continued to add customers, a sign that its bold and in some ways risky shift in programming strategy is paying dividends. The Los Gatos, Calif., streaming-video provider said it gained 630,000 U.S. streaming subscribers in the quarter ended June 30, the midpoint of its guidance range but short of Wall Street’s expectations. Netflix shares fell 6.2% in after-hours trading, after sliding 1% in 4 p.m. trading. The company finished the quarter with 28.6 million paid domestic customers, a shade behind Time Warner Inc.’s HBO, which had 28.8 million as of March 31, according to SNL Kagan. Netflix Chief Executive Reed Hastings reaffirmed his previous statements that the company could reach 60 million to 90 million subscribers over time, but struck a note of caution. “The larger we get, the harder it is to grow,” he said on a video webcast the company held in lieu of a traditional earnings call. The headwinds for Netflix include stiff competition from Amazon.com Inc. and Hulu as well as customer defections, or “churn” that makes it hard for subscription-oriented businesses to grow beyond a certain point.

Firms Fortify Fraud Defenses (page B8): Thousands of companies world-wide are planning to update systems and policies that act as their first line of defense against fraud and other hidden risks, following a sweeping overhaul of the most widely used guidelines for those safeguards. The new guidelines, which many companies expect to adopt by the end of next year, are for so-called internal controls, which the government has required U.S. public companies to have in place for the past decade, as part of an effort to protect investors. Companies might, for example, establish procedures to make sure that only employees responsible for certain types of inventory can access it, or require a particular method for inputting purchase orders. Having these systems helps companies monitor the transactions for errors, impropriety or fraud. Until now, internal controls have been based on a 20-year-old framework that didn’t take into account the new risks posed by mobile technology and cloud computing, as well as the rise of outsourcing and shifts in corporate governance.

5459: The Number of Public U.S. Companies Not Required to Have Auditors Evaluate Internal Control (page B8): U.S. public companies exempt from a requirement that external auditors sign off on their internal controls far outnumber those that are covered by the rule. The exempted companies, which are generally small, are more likely to make financial restatements and errors, according to a study released this month by the Government Accountability Office, the investigative arm of Congress. The report recommended that U.S. market regulators consider requiring companies to disclose whether they obtained auditor opinions on their internal controls—their in-house safeguards against fraud and other threats to corporate assets. The Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 requires corporate managers to certify that their company’s internal controls are working properly. Some 3,671 nonexempt companies obtained opinions from their outside auditors in 2011 on how those controls were operating, but another 5,459 companies weren’t required to do so, according to the report.

Monday’s Markets: Stocks Step Over a Low Earnings Bar (page C4): Stocks edged higher as investors weighed weak earnings news and fresh signs of a pause in the housing recovery. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 1.81 points, less than 0.1%, to 15545.55, with the blue-chip index weighed down by a disappointing profit report from McDonald’s. The Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index gained 3.44 points, or 0.2%, to 1695.53, but that was enough to push the benchmark to another record close. The Nasdaq Composite Index advanced 12.78 points, or 0.4%, to 3600.39.

Fed Plays a Part at (Profit) Margins (page C10): The hefty profit margins U.S. companies have been delivering in recent years have been variously ascribed to cost cutting, productivity gains and globalization. Another reason might be the miracle of low interest rates. Second-quarter results are pouring in, and once again profit growth is outpacing that of sales. By Standard & Poor’s latest reckoning, companies in the S&P 500 will report earnings per share that are, in aggregate, 4.4% above their year-ago level. That compares with per-share sales growth of 3.3%. As a result, net-profit margins look set to expand again, with earnings hitting a record 9.6% of sales. Heaven knows more cost-effective operations have something to do with that: Employee compensation as a share of gross domestic product is at its lowest level in nearly 60 years for a reason. The emergence of low-cost manufacturing centers, like China, surely plays a role, too. But an analysis conducted by independent strategist Brett Gallagher shows that low interest rates have done much to bolster margins. Given the superlow interest-rate era may soon start drawing to a close, that could be another reason for investors to question just how long margins can hold up.

A Better Digital Diagnosis (page D1): With an abundance of websites and apps offering similar services, consumers are increasingly acting as their own diagnosticians when they experience a new health problem. That can be alarming for doctors, especially if patients show up armed with a scary list of unlikely maladies from the Internet, demanding expensive and unnecessary tests. It can also be dangerous for patients if they fail to seek expert medical advice for a problem after mistakenly concluding they don’t need a doctor. Now more health-care providers are turning the tables, steering patients to new and improved computerized symptom-checkers that make it easier for them to get reliable information about possible diagnoses, research their condition and even connect directly to a doctor. Doctors are adding these tools to their websites and incorporating them into electronic medical records, encouraging patients to use them before office visits to save time and make consultations more productive. Another benefit: Results turned up by a symptom-checker may actually help doctors think of something they hadn’t considered.

How an Introvert Can Be Happier (page D1): Extroverts, those outgoing, gregarious types who wear their personalities on their sleeve, are generally happier, studies show. Some research also has found that introverts, who are more withdrawn in nature, will feel a greater sense of happiness if they act extroverted. Experts aren’t entirely sure why behaving like an extrovert makes people feel better. One theory is that being talkative and engaging influences how people respond to you, especially if that response is positive. Others speculate that people get more satisfaction when they express their core self and opinions. Another possibility: Happiness might come simply from having successfully completed a goal, such as giving a speech.

Rising Addiction Among Teens: Smartphones (page D2): Roughly 1 in 5 students in South Korea are addicted to smartphone use, according to the government. This addiction is defined as spending more than seven hours a day using the phone and experiencing symptoms such as anxiety, insomnia and depression when cut off from the device. Earlier this month, the South Korean government said it plans to provide nationwide counseling programs for youngsters by the end of the year and train teachers on how to deal with students with addiction. Taxpayer-funded counseling treatment here already exists for adult addicts.

Quick Cures/Quack Cures: Don’t Let Stomach Trouble Spoil Vacation  (page D3):

  • Is a large coffee in the morning a good choice
  • Some home remedies call for a spoonful of mineral oil
  • What’s the best laxative
  • What can people eat to steer clear of medicine
  • Does exercise help

 

The Wall Street Journal: Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Wild Cards for the Fed’s Exit Strategy (page A2): The Federal Reserve’s plans to wind down its big bond-buying program depend on solving four economic puzzles involving the job market, the inflation rate and fiscal policy.

  • Is job growth sustainable?
  • Is the jobless rate overstating the labor market’s health?
  • Will inflation return to target?
  • Is more fiscal chaos coming?

Empty Feeling at Hall of Fame (page A3): The National Baseball Hall of Fame will celebrate its 75th anniversary next year with a commemorative U.S. coin and special concert by the Boston Pops, but the shrine has a problem: Fewer people are coming. Last year, only about 260,000 visitors, the lowest attendance since the mid-1980s, came to view the hall’s nearly 40,000 artifacts documenting the exploits of baseball’s immortals. “The hope is that we’ve bottomed out,” said Jeff Idelson, the museum’s president. The Cooperstown museum is among several sports halls of fame where attendance has sagged in the past few years, even as U.S. museums overall reported a rise in the number of visitors. Museum professionals say the halls suffer from exhibits that aren’t interactive enough, weak online presences and image problems stemming from players’ use of performance-enhancing drugs.

Texas School District Drops Microchip-Tracking System (page A3):  A San Antonio school district said it would no longer require students to carry microchips, an attendance-tracking program that one student had unsuccessfully claimed in court had violated her religious beliefs. Northside Independent School District, one of the largest districts in Texas, required students at some schools to carry identification badges with microchips last year to ensure they would be counted as present, because state funding is tied to student attendance. District officials decided that attendance didn’t increase enough to justify the costs of the program, said Northside spokesman Pascual Gonzalez. “The lawsuit and negative publicity were part of the conversation, but not the deciding factor in ending the program,” he said. Andrea Hernandez contested the program last year, claiming her evangelical Christian beliefs prevented her from carrying the ID card because it was a sign of submission to a secular ruling authority, a form of idolatry she said is prohibited by the Bible’s New Testament. Ms. Hernandez, who will be a high-school junior this fall, was later expelled after refusing to carry the badge.

Strapped Cities Press Colleges to Ante Up (page A6): Most states, including Rhode Island, exempt colleges, churches and other federally designated nonprofits from property taxes. But in recent years, communities—most of them in the college-dense Northeast—have increasingly pressured schools to contribute to the public till. After tense negotiations, Providence last year secured millions in additional voluntary payments from Brown University and other colleges. The majority of Ivy League schools now make similar payments to host communities. They are not called “taxes,” but Bryant University President Ronald Machtley said that is essentially what Smithfield wants to impose, violating the long-standing practice of leaving nonprofit organizations off the tax rolls. He called the law, signed last Thursday and covering only Smithfield and Bryant, “blatant extortion.”

Google Joins Race for a Web TV Service (page B1): Google Inc. is joining several other technology companies in the race to launch an online version of pay television. Google has recently approached media companies about licensing their content for an Internet TV service that would stream traditional TV programming, people familiar with the matter say. If the Web giant goes ahead with the idea, it would join several other companies planning to offer services that deliver cable TV-style packages of channels over broadband connections. Intel Corp. and Sony Corp. are both working on similar offerings, while Apple Inc. has pitched various TV licensing ideas to media companies in the past couple of years.

Smartphone Upgrades Slow as the ‘Wow’ Factor Fades (page B1): Fewer people are upgrading their smartphones—a trend that could make it harder for companies from AT&T Inc. to Apple Inc. to keep up the pace of revenue growth. The rates at which American cellphone users have traded in their devices for more advanced models have declined over the last few years, according to analysts at UBS AG. They turned negative last year, when about 68 million people upgraded their phones in the U.S., down more than 9% from a year earlier. UBS predicts upgrades will fall again this year.

Yahoo’s Sales Fall Again (page B3): Yahoo Inc. chief Marissa Mayer delivered another mixed report card on her yearlong turnaround effort, showing a 46% jump in quarterly earnings for the Internet pioneer but continued revenue declines that underscore her challenges. Ms. Mayer’s willingness to sacrifice immediate gains as she positions the company for future growth has led to the continued deterioration of its core business of selling online ads. Yahoo posted a second-quarter revenue drop of 7%, though the decline was just 1% when excluding Yahoo’s payouts to its business partners. Yahoo’s display-ad revenue, which represents roughly 40% of the company’s sales, dropped 12% on declines in the number and prices of graphical and video ads. Search-ad revenue fell 9%. By contrast, the U.S. online-advertising market grew by 15% last year, according to the Interactive Advertising Bureau, a trade group. Ms. Mayer, who took the unusual step of doing the quarterly earnings announcement and conference call in a live-video webcast with financial chief Ken Goldman, said Yahoo had achieved year-over-year growth in global daily average page views, which had previously been in decline. The increase didn’t include Tumblr, a site that Yahoo recently purchased for $1.1 billion.

New Drugs Help J&J to Enhance Its Performance (page B4): Johnson & Johnson said Tuesday that its second-quarter earnings more than doubled to $3.8 billion, as the health-products giant gained from a rollout of new medicines that the pharmaceutical industry is counting on to replace aging blockbusters. J&J said it is the world’s fastest-growing major drug maker by sales, and has had 11 new drugs approved since 2009. The introduction of those medicines, such as the prostate-cancer therapy Zytiga and hepatitis-C treatment Incivo, helped the company’s pharmaceutical business boost quarterly sales 12% from a year earlier to $7 billion. Overall, J&J, which is based in New Brunswick, N.J., reported $17.9 billion in second-quarter sales, up 8.5% from a year earlier. The company also sells medical devices and consumer products, including Tylenol pain and cold pills.

World Is No Picnic for Coke (page B4): Coca-Cola Co.’s growth stalled in the second quarter across markets stretching from the U.S. to Europe and China to Brazil as the globe-trotting beverage giant was weighed down by sluggish consumer spending and unusually chilly, wet weather. North American volume slipped for the first time in 13 quarters amid a steep drop in soda consumption, although the Atlanta-based company eked out a 1% volume gain for its namesake cola brand globally and posted stronger growth in noncarbonated beverages such as ready-to-drink tea and bottled water. Coke also estimated a stronger dollar will shave 4% off of operating profit this year, up from an earlier 2% forecast. The maker of Sprite, Minute Maid, Powerade and more than a dozen other billion-dollar brands has operations in every country except Cuba and North Korea, making it vulnerable to foreign-exchange swings. The weaker-than-expected results surfaced even as the company said it achieved “solid” market share gains in carbonated and still beverages globally.

Goldman’s Profit Doubles (page C1): Goldman Sachs Group Inc. Tuesday posted better-than-expected second-quarter profit on the strength of its investment-banking and trading businesses, but investors fretted over the company’s ability to keep growing in the face of rising interest rates and tougher regulations. The New York securities firm, led by Chief Executive Lloyd Blankfein, said net income more than doubled during the quarter to $1.93 billion from $962 million a year earlier. Earnings per share of $3.70 beat analysts’ consensus estimate of $2.82 as compiled by Thomson Reuters.

Cyberattacks Target Finance Hubs (page C2): Malicious cyberattacks increasingly are aimed at core infrastructure of the securities markets and could present risks to the entire financial system, according to a research report released Tuesday by a group of international securities regulators. The report, by staff of the International Organization of Securities Commissions, warns that cybercrime has become significantly more sophisticated, making it more challenging to defend against. Hackers are increasingly focusing on destabilizing attacks, particularly at financial exchanges, with the aim of damaging public websites and online services. The report said hackers have yet to knock out critical systems or trading platforms that form the backbone at exchanges.

Tuesday’s Markets: Stocks Take a Breather, Snap Streak (page C4): Stocks broke a multiday winning streak amid a batch of lackluster earnings results. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 32.41 points, or 0.2%, to 15451.85, on Tuesday. The decline snapped a three-day streak of record closes. The Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index lost 6.24 points, or 0.4%, to 1676.26, as the index suffered its first loss in nine sessions. That winning streak had been the S&P 500’s longest since January. The Nasdaq Composite Index lost 8.99 points, or 0.2%, to 3598.50.

Hold on to Your Dream Job (page D1): Most career advice is about getting ahead and climbing the ladder toward bigger titles and higher status. But what if you love the job you’re in? Some people have found their sweet spot—the job that suits both their talents and their goals. To stay and thrive in it, though, requires proactive steps to both maintain personal satisfaction and avoid seeming to coast. More than 3 in 4 employees say they have no desire to move up in their organizations, according to a 2011 survey of 431 workers by OfficeTeam, a Menlo Park, Calif., staffing service. Some have found equilibrium between career challenges and family stability. Others don’t like managing people or taking on tasks that don’t excite them.

Google Maps Now Makes Getting There Half the Fun (page D1): The revamped Google Maps app still gets you from point A to point B, but now it is aiming to give people much more along the way. The company overhauled its app in a way that focuses more intuitively on categories of what you want to do, like Eat, Drink, Shop, Play and Sleep. It has a smart way of encouraging discoveries within these categories that made even me—someone who avoided the discovery features in Google Maps—want to use them. And, yes, it still plots your journey, but now it looks ahead for traffic so it can reroute you mid-trip. As I tested an early version of the Google Maps app on Android and Apple’s iOS operating system, its striking visual images drew me in. I found there are some real brains behind this beauty, in particular, its Explore feature, which helps you discover spots near to your destination you may not have known about. In fact, it’s designed more for use when you have a few minutes to dig into reviews. I can see myself using this app even when I’m not just getting directions. This Maps app could be real competition for Yelp and other sites like it, especially given its built-in discovery and reviews, which would save people the step of going out to use another website or app.

After Rejection, They Self-Published Books (page D3): The popular saying that everyone has a book in them has never been truer, as the much-heralded rise of self-publishing—and companies dedicated to editing, printing and promoting books—has put the power to publish at people’s fingertips. The cost of producing a paperback has gone from thousands of dollars—from editing and jacket design to printing, distribution and warehousing—to free on Amazon.com Inc.’s CreateSpace and the popular independent e-book distributor Smashwords. Readers don’t miss a traditional publishing house, says Ann McIndoo, who runs an author-coaching business. “The author or the topic or the brand drives the sale. When you go to the bookstore, you want Stephen King or a book on How To Knit. It doesn’t matter who published it.” Here are several authors and their different strategies for self-publishing their books.

Muirfield Gets Its Day in the Sun (page D6): The forecasters could be wrong again this year, of course, but the current projection for Muirfield is for totally different conditions. If they are correct, Scotland’s two-week spell of warm, dry, sunny weather will continue through the weekend. That doesn’t necessarily mean Muirfield will play easier than it did in 2002, only that links golf will be presenting its other face: bounding, fiery fairways and rock-hard approaches into the greens. And once again, Woods and Els are among the favorites. Woods because he’s No. 1 in the world and has won four times already this year. Els because he won last year’s Open at Royal Lytham & St. Annes and has stayed in good form since, with a victory last month on the European Tour and a tie for fourth at the U.S. Open.

The Wall Street Journal: Thursday, July 11, 2013

Fed Affirms Easy-Money Tilt (page A1): Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke sought to reassure jittery markets that while the central bank could start winding down its $85 billion-a-month bond-buying program later this year, Fed officials aren’t abandoning their broader commitment to easy-money policies.

U.S. Judge Says Apple Colluded in E-Books (page A1): Apple Inc. colluded with five major U.S. publishers to drive up the prices of e-books, a federal judge ruled Wednesday in a stern rebuke that threatens to limit the technology company’s options when negotiating future content deals. The ruling—which follows Apple’s high-stakes gamble to go to trial even though the publishers settled similar charges—exposes the tech company to as-yet undetermined damages and opens the door for the Justice Department to take a closer look at its other business lines. In settling, the publishers denied wrongdoing. At issue are the steps Apple took to gain a foothold in e-books for its iTunes online store. The iTunes store is a strategically vital area that accounts for about 10% of Apple’s revenue and faces fierce competition from rivals—in particular Amazon.com Inc. Justice Department prosecutors argued that Apple used publishers’ dissatisfaction with Amazon’s aggressive e-book discounting to shoehorn itself into the digital-book market when it launched the iPad in 2010. Apple’s proposal: Let publishers set prices themselves. That led to Amazon losing the ability to price most e-book best sellers at $9.99, causing prices to rise. In her ruling, U.S. District Judge Denise Cote in Manhattan said the evidence was clear that Apple, despite its claims that it negotiated fiercely and separately with each publisher, was at the center of the conspiracy.

Insiders Shift from ‘Buy’ to ‘Sell’ as Bankruptcy Nears (page A1): One day in September 2011, Wall Street analysts trundled into the spacious lobby at the Livonia, Mich., plant of a company called A123 Systems Inc. to view a slide presentation describing a rosy outlook for the maker of lithium batteries. “They stood up in front of investors and painted a very bullish picture,” said Andrea James, an analyst at Dougherty & Co., who took pictures of the lobby’s two-story floor-to-ceiling window. “It looked like the lobby of a company that was making money hand over fist.” Thirteen months later, it filed for bankruptcy protection. But not before insiders unloaded a total of $2.5 million of its stock. The company said the sales conformed to its policy for insider transactions. The episode suggests how corporate insiders’ trading can shift in the months before their companies file for bankruptcy. A Wall Street Journal review of thousands of trades by insiders in their own company’s stock found the trades veering heavily toward selling rather than buying as bankruptcy filings drew nearer. Such trading is sensitive because insiders often are in position to know of a company’s worsening problems ahead of other investors. The data raise a question of whether some insiders at stressed companies see the writing on the wall before ordinary investors and take action to protect their own investment. Like all shareholders, insiders are prohibited from trading on material nonpublic information.

Longer, not Healthier, Lives (page A3): Americans are living longer than they did two decades ago, but they are losing ground on key measures of health to people in other developed nations, a new study shows. The findings, from the most comprehensive analysis of the health of the U.S. population in more than 15 years, show progress in reducing death rates, adjusted for age, across a variety of diseases. But death rates from illnesses associated with obesity, such as diabetes and kidney disease, as well as neurological conditions like Alzheimer’s disease, are on the rise. Meanwhile, the number of years of living with chronic disability, an indicator of quality of life, rose for the average American in the past 20 years, partly reflecting increased longevity.

Weak Trade Points to China Slowing (page A7): Chinese Premier Li Keqiang has repeated his commitment to steer clear of stimulus for the world’s second-largest economy, even as the government reported contracting exports, amid concern about a continuing general slowdown. Coming after a raft of disappointing data in April and May, June’s weak trade results added to fear that economic growth in the second quarter continued to slow.

Why Individual Investors Are Fleeing Stocks (page A15): Our firm was founded 40 years ago on the belief that all Americans should have the opportunity to invest in the stock market with the same advantages available to institutions and the big guys. But looking at our capital markets today, we should all be concerned. It’s becoming increasingly difficult for individual investors to compete on a level playing field. The system seems rigged against them. And they are responding by walking away. A Gallup survey conducted in April found that just 52% of Americans were invested in “an individual stock, a stock mutual fund, or in a self-directed 401(k) or IRA.” This is the broadest ownership of capital in the world, but it is down from a Gallup-survey high of 67% in June 2002. That’s not good for individuals, and it’s not good for the country. Investors are the lifeblood of the economy. They provide the capital that spurs job creation, innovation and entrepreneurship. No one will benefit if individual investors stop participating in the markets. But that is what’s happening at a troubling rate. Here are some reasons for that trend—and our recommendations for restoring balance:

  • High-frequency traders are gaming the system
  • Glitches and errors plague the markets
  • Tax policies here and abroad discourage investors
  • The retirement savings system is under attack

PC Slump Gets Worse (page B1): A shift in consumer tastes to tablets continues to take its toll on the personal computer industry, with China’s Lenovo Group Ltd. emerging as sales leader in a shrinking market. Research firms Gartner Inc. and IDC on Wednesday estimated that global PC shipments fell by about 11% in the second quarter. Sales have now declined for five consecutive quarters, the industry’s longest-ever slump, the firms said. IDC estimated that unit sales dropped 11.4%, while Gartner put the decline at 10.9%. Both firms said Silicon Valley giant Hewlett-Packard Co. gave up its longtime position as the No. 1 PC supplier, with Lenovo for the first time emerging at the top of both rankings. The figures are the latest evidence of structural changes in the market, as more people turn to touch-based tablets and smartphones rather than PCs to tap into the Internet and carry out other computing tasks.

SEC Clears Way to Promote Unregistered Stock Offerings (page B1): Entrepreneur Coulter Lewis will soon be able to tweet such a message legally as a way to raise cash for his Woburn, Mass., firm, Quinn Popcorn LLC. On Wednesday, the Securities and Exchange Commission lifted a decades-old ban on publicizing any share offerings that aren’t registered with the SEC and are limited to accredited investors, typically wealthy individuals who can afford the financial risk of investing in a new business venture. The agency’s move satisfies a central provision in last year’s Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act, which aims to make it easier for smaller companies such as Quinn Popcorn to raise cash from dozens of wealthy investors who might put in, say, $20,000 apiece in exchange for a small equity stake in the startup. As a result, some entrepreneurs with businesses ranging from ride-sharing apps to portable farms say they’re planning marketing blitzes that they hope will help them reach the right target audiences of potential investors. Under consideration: putting investment offers on billboards and even printing them on T-shirts.

Google to Heavily Market ‘Moto X’ Phone Due in Fall (page B4): As Motorola Mobility prepares to unveil its first flagship smartphone since being acquired by Google Inc. last year, new details are emerging about the device’s design and Google’s substantial support for it. The moves could have broad implications across the mobile industry. Google is expected to allow its Motorola hardware unit to spend several hundred million dollars—and possibly upward of $500 million—to market the highly-anticipated device in the U.S. and some overseas markets, including in Europe, said people familiar with the matter. All four major U.S. wireless carriers—AT&T Inc., Verizon Wireless, Sprint Nextel Corp., and T-Mobile—are expected to make the device available to their customers this fall, in part because of Motorola’s marketing plans, said people familiar with the matter.

For Startups, Advice That Goes a Long Way (page B7): Tough love, or constructive feedback, from a coach can sometimes help startup founders take a business from zero to profitability. That’s the idea for the 24 startups competing for the title of “WSJ Startup of the Year,” a documentary on WSJ.com. For 20 weeks, some of the 24 startups will be featured in videos showcasing their highs and lows. Throughout the competition, seasoned entrepreneurs and startup gurus will be at the side of startup founders to offer advice, support—and criticism. This week the startups worked one-on-one with mentors to address loopholes in their business models. Below are edited excerpts from their conversations:

SEC Ends Its Ban on Hedge-Fund Ads (page C3): The Securities and Exchange Commission voted to lift an 80-year-old ban on publicizing shares of hedge funds and other businesses issuing private stock, a move expected to transform how startups and investment firms raise cash. The vote satisfies a provision in last year’s Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act, which was aimed at making it easier for small businesses to raise funds. The ad ban will officially end 60 days after the rule is published in the Federal Register.

China Begins to Open Up Regarding Audits (page C3): China’s securities regulator is preparing to hand over the audit documents of a U.S.-listed Chinese company to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the first move by Beijing to make good on an agreement allowing the U.S. better oversight of Chinese firms that tap U.S. investors. Shanghai Securities News, a state-run newspaper, reported Tuesday that the China Securities Regulatory Commission had notified the U.S. that it was preparing to hand over the audit working papers of one company to the SEC and the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board. It didn’t name the company or specify the documents involved.

Wednesday’s Markets: Stocks Seesaw Around Fed Minutes (page C4): Stocks ended the day barely changed after the Federal Reserve’s latest policy-setting meeting minutes showed a divide among officials over when to end stimulus. The Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 8.68 points, or 0.1%, to 15291.66, on Wednesday, snapping a four-day win streak. The Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index inched up 0.30 point, or less than 0.1%, to 1652.62, and the Nasdaq Composite Index advanced 16.50 points, or 0.5%, to 3520.76. Both the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq rose for a fifth consecutive session, the longest stretch of gains since the five-day streaks ending May 8.

Pool, Spa and Other Hotel Perks Without the Hassle of Travel (page D1): At the Rosewood Sand Hill resort, Anne Leahy Jones in a recent week swam in the pool, had an al fresco lunch, took yoga and Pilates classes in the fitness center and lounged in the spa’s hot tub. Then she drove eight minutes to her home. “I do have a swimming pool in my backyard, but no one comes through and offers me water and cleans my lounge chair,” says Ms. Jones, a 62-year-old retired marketing executive. Ms. Jones says she visits the 121-room hotel in Menlo Park, Calif., about five times a week. She uses the Rosewood’s pool more than her own. “It is a treat,” she says. Ms. Jones is one of Rosewood’s 75 “lifestyle members,” a $1,000-a-month club for locals ($1,500 for couples) that gives them access to the hotel’s gym, spa and pool, discounts on meals and drinks and other perks. An increasing number of hotels are launching or expanding efforts to draw people who live in the surrounding community. The moves reflect a discomfiting reality. To be competitive, upscale hotels have had to offer robust fitness centers and glamorous pools, spas and restaurants. But they often can’t be filled with overnight guests alone. “We build these beautiful pools and there will be two people in them,” says Peter C. Borer, the chief operating officer of Peninsula Hotels, which offers memberships for locals at six of its nine properties. Hotels are also looking for ways to lure area residents for work. Instead of gathering at a neighborhood Starbucks, they can go to a hotel and find meeting spaces. Marriott International Inc. is testing a “Workspace on Demand” program that lets anyone go online to reserve meeting rooms, desks in the business center or even spots in the lobby.

For Rivera: 19 Seasons, 0 Hits (page D6): In 1,088 regular-season appearances (entering Wednesday), over a span of 19 major-league seasons, the legendary Yankees closer Mariano Rivera has stepped up to the plate only four times. He is 0 for 3 with a walk. No one has ever appeared in as many games while spending so little time in the batter’s box. Barring a hit during the Yankees’ lone remaining interleague road trip, Rivera will finish his career with the major-league record for most games played without a hit. In terms of Rivera’s legacy, that is utterly meaningless. Set to retire at the end of this season, Rivera is considered the greatest relief pitcher of all time. Baseball’s all-time saves leader doesn’t seek the thrill of one base hit before his playing days are done. “I could care less about that,” he said. “I’m a pitcher, not a hitter.”

The Wall Street Journal: Monday, July 8, 2013

Earnings in Spotlight As Fed Jolt Fades (page A1): After Friday’s stronger-than-expected U.S. jobs report, investors are more convinced than ever that the Federal Reserve’s bond-buying program will be scaled back as soon as September. If that happens, the stock market will lose fuel that helped power the Dow Jones Industrial Average to a new high in May. Investors hoping that U.S. companies will come to the rescue are likely to be disappointed, according to analysts who have been trimming their expectations in recent weeks.

U.S. Trade Talks Gear Up, Putting Heat on China (page A2): The U.S. is launching broad trade talks with Europe this week and preparing for the next stage of negotiations with select Asia-Pacific nations, part of the Obama administration’s effort to find new fuel for economic growth. U.S. trade experts and business leaders say they expect the deals will also put pressure on the only major economy absent from the negotiating tables: China.

Survivor Updates in 140 Characters (page A7): Many anxious people trying to track the fate of passengers on Asiana Airlines Flight 214 didn’t get it from conventional media, but from the real-time tweets of a Samsung Electronics Co. executive. The postings on Twitter Inc.’s service by David Eun, who walked away from the crash-landing Saturday at San Francisco International Airport, were among the first signs that most people survived despite TV images of flames engulfing the fuselage of the wrecked Boeing 777. “I just crash landed at SFO. Tail ripped off. Most everyone seems fine. I’m ok. Surreal…” read Mr. Eun’s first tweet. Mr. Eun is well-known in Silicon Valley, having previously worked at Google Inc. and AOL Inc. He was hired in 2011 to help the South Korean electronics giant create more media offerings. In his Twitter profile, he describes himself as “Consumer Internet/Digital Media guy. Father, All-American Korean, Virginian and converted NYer, frequent flier, Vikings fan, squash player, pensive optimist.”

Fresh Questions Loom for Euro Zone (page A14): Euro-zone officials are preparing to confront a fresh test in the region’s debt crisis: finding yet more financing for Portugal, Greece and Cyprus on top of more than €200 billion ($256 billion) the bloc already has devoted to bail out its weakest members. Euro-zone tension has flared of late, after several months of relative calm, with Portugal’s political crisis last week, with tricky negotiations coming to a head over releasing more aid to Greece and with evidence the Cypriot economic program is veering off track. These developments, coming ahead of a meeting of euro-zone finance ministers Monday, underlined that some of the euro zone’s troubled economies will need more financial help, even as some concerns eased over the weekend.

Horseless Carriages to Driverless Cars (page A15): Digital innovation usually happens in the virtual world, from apps for tablets and mobile phones to the latest in social media. Over the next few years, one of the biggest technological changes will be in the real world of driving a car. Or being driven by one. The largely self-driving car is no longer just a vision, thanks to rapid advances in lasers, radar, GPS and mapping databases. If it weren’t for fear among innovators of getting too far ahead of U.S. laws and regulations, there would already be cars on the road doing almost as much driving as humans. California, Nevada and Florida made it legal to operate self-driving cars on public roads two years ago. Google’s fleet has since traversed more than 435,000 miles in cities and on highways without causing an accident. Still, regulators are nervous. During congressional hearings in May, Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D., W. Va.) cited the possibility of cyberattacks: “Can some 14-year-old in Indonesia figure out how to do this and just shut your car down?” In June, the U.S. Department of Transportation applied the brakes, invoking the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s power to regulate vehicle safety. The federal rules let states allow limited tests of self-driving cars, but no sales. It’s natural that people are nervous about self-driving cars. Horseless carriages, as the first cars were called, also took time to be accepted. Consider this account of a first drive, from a magazine called The Horseless Age, in 1897: “There is a sense of incompleteness about it. You seemed to be sitting on the end of a huge pushcart, propelled by an invisible force and guided by a hidden hand. There is also a seeming brazenness to the whole performance. I dreamed once that I walked down Fifth Avenue in my pajamas in the full tide of the afternoon promenade, and I almost died with shame before I awoke. Yesterday I had something of the same feeling as I sat there and felt myself pushed forward into the very face of a grinning, staring and sometimes jeering New York. But it wore away after a while. Gradually I felt that I did not need the protection of a horse in front of me.”

The Economy Needs More Spending Now (page A17): On the proverbial list of top 10 reasons for poor economic policy, politics occupies about the first six places. But around seventh or eighth place there is a conceptual confusion that sounds pedantic but is highly consequential. I refer to the failure to distinguish between the short-run and long-run effects of particular policies, which are often starkly different. The most prominent recent example is the battle over reducing the federal budget deficit. Some say lower deficits are essential for economic growth; others say reducing the deficit will damage growth. Who’s right? Actually, they both are. It depends on the time frame. In the short run, deficit reduction slows growth by cutting the economy’s total spending. After all, to reduce its deficit, the government must spend less itself or tax people more. This year, the tax hikes and government spending cuts agreed to in January and before are probably reducing GDP growth by about 1.5-2 percentage points. Think about that. The U.S. economy is struggling to achieve 2% growth this year. Without the fiscal self-punishment, we might be humming along at closer to 4%. Yet you hear every day that large budget deficits threaten growth. How can that be? The answer is that, in the long run, a larger accumulated public debt probably spells higher interest rates, which deter some private investment spending. Economies that invest less grow less. Thus, paradoxically, reducing the budget deficit probably hurts growth in the short run but helps it in the long run. What explains this paradox?

Hollywood Feels Netflix’s Influence (page B1): The resurrection of “The Killing” shows how Netflix is shaking up Hollywood, spurring media companies to experiment with new ways of doing business and changing the economics of producing some types of programming. TV and film studios once saw Netflix simply as a way to make some extra money licensing older shows and movies. Now, they view the streaming site as a potential financier, a launch pad for original shows and an aggressive buyer of some programming that is less valuable in the TV world. In the process, Netflix, along with other digital-video rivals, has become a significant driver of media-industry profit growth. Big media companies generated about $1.6 billion of revenue last year from licensing their content to such services. Though that represents just 1% of their aggregate revenue, it accounts for a large percentage of operating-income growth, according to Bernstein Research. But there are tensions, too. Netflix has gotten more demanding on exclusivity in the face of growing competition from Amazon.com Inc. and other outlets, and more finicky about what it will carry.

Car-Driving Technology Firm Is Valued at $1.5 Billion (page B3): Mobileye NV, a maker of image technology used to help drivers see and manage traffic risks, is raising $400 million in a deal that values the company at $1.5 billion and has attracted some large U.S. investors. Amid growing interest in technology-assisted driving, Mobileye’s system is available in some models from General Motors Co. and BMW AG, helping warn drivers of oncoming cars or pedestrians. With its headquarters in the Netherlands and with operations in Israel, the company aims to be among the pioneers behind semiautonomous-driving vehicles.

At Long Last, Murray Gets It Done (page B8): There are two ways a champion arrives. The first way is sudden, premature, almost shocking. Talent rushes in, and talent cannot be denied. It happens so fast the young champion can’t really process what has happened, how hard this accomplishment is, what it all means. The second way a champion arrives is much harder. It takes time, more than expected. There is suffering. Agony. Public doubt. Self-doubt. Failure steps inside the head, folds bedsheets in the brain. The possible begins to curve toward impossible. There are moments when it starts to feel like it will never happen. And then something changes. And it happens. This is Andy Murray. Andy Murray won Wimbledon Sunday, beating Novak Djokovic in straight sets, 6-4, 7-5, 6-4. The second-seeded Murray, No. 2 in the world, overcame a brief but furious third-set rally from world No. 1 Djokovic to capture his first men’s singles title at the All England Club. And yet this is so much more than that. Andy Murray winning Wimbledon isn’t a story; it’s a saga, complicated by Murray’s own internal roller coaster and the crushing pressures of a hungry nation, eager for a title. Murray, a Scot, becomes the first British men’s player to take Wimbledon in 77 years—a heavy assignment given to Murray as a teenage phenom, finally completed at 26, but not before many disappointments and unravelings. There was a Charlie Brown quality to Murray’s quest, all of the exasperation and near-misses. A year before Murray had taken runner-up to Roger Federer here, and in the trophy ceremony he had emotionally pledged: “I’m getting closer.”

Microsoft’s Products Need More Horsepower (page C6): Microsoft keeps hitching its fortunes to lame horses. It shows how rickety parts of the software giant’s business are. Barnes & Noble, Best Buy, Nokia, Yahoo and Dell all face very difficult circumstances of their own. While Microsoft’s deals with most of them make sense, its relatively unpopular products and a changing competitive environment mean they may not prove particularly fruitful. Start with Microsoft’s troubled mobile business. One big strategic challenge has been getting smartphones powered by its operating system, Windows Phone, into the market. Its first big deal to address this saw it agreeing to pay Nokia $250 million a quarter to make Windows Phone its primary smartphone platform. That isn’t much money for Microsoft, and it is mostly offset by royalties Nokia pays back. But Microsoft’s traditional business model revolves around the company being paid by gadget makers for using its software, not the reverse. Microsoft needs to make concessions to help Windows Phone build momentum, sure. Yet it is hard to see payments ever flipping into Microsoft’s favor in a big way. That is because rival Google offers its dominant Android mobile operating system without charge. It can afford to do, so since this promotes its cash-cow search business. Meanwhile, Microsoft’s own search engine, Bing, remains one of the company’s weaker products—underlined by Yahoo’s reported desire to get out of a 10-year deal to host its search results. With Android free, why would handset makers ever make a big commitment to Microsoft’s mobile operating system? They might if customers were demanding Windows Phone handsets in huge numbers. But that is unlikely as well, given mobile-software developers are focused on building apps for platforms that already have significant market share—namely Android and Apple’s iPhone. After all, having lots of “compatible” software available cemented Windows-based computers’ dominance of the PC market. Conversely, a lack of it will work against Windows-based smartphones. It is difficult for Microsoft’s Surface tablet to compete with Apple’s iPad without having more significant retail distribution. So Microsoft plans to put “Windows Stores” featuring its products inside hundreds of Best Buy locations. But it remains to be seen if wider distribution can really spark enough consumer interest in the Surface to lift significantly its global market share: just 2% in the first quarter, according to Strategy Analytics. In contrast, the iPad had 48%.

A Portfolio As Simple as One, Two, Three (page R1): It may sound counterintuitive, but for the average individual investor, less is actually more. With well over 8,000 mutual funds and exchange-traded funds at their fingertips, individual investors have never had more investment options from which to choose. But with all of that choice comes the potential for overload, and overwhelmed investors can make bad decisions or give in to impulses to chase returns from previously high-performing funds. That is why some experts are pushing a back-to-basics approach to investing. As drastic as it may sound, they say it’s possible—even at times desirable—to construct a very well-diversified portfolio using just three low-cost mutual funds or ETFs. “In this atmosphere, where it’s so easy to get drawn into complicated and niche areas of the market, this is a good way to be disciplined,” says Abby Woodham, a fund analyst at investment researcher Morningstar Inc. Which three funds to use? A classic trio provides exposure to U.S. stocks, foreign stocks and U.S. bonds. Many “Bogleheads”—a group of investors who favor index investing as inspired by Vanguard Group founder John Bogle—suggest a three-fund portfolio consisting of the U.S.-focused Vanguard Total Stock Market Indexfund, Vanguard Total International Stock Index, and Vanguard Total Bond Market Index . Together, the three mutual funds, which also offer ETF shares, track more than 15,000 global securities. One possible allocation is 40% U.S. stocks, 20% international stocks and 40% bonds. That Vanguard portfolio, rebalanced annually, returned an average of 7.14% a year over the last decade, a little less than the 8.07% return of the Dow Jones U.S. Total Stock Market Index and the 8.62% return of the MSCI All Country World ex USA index, and well above the 4.52% return of the Barclays U.S. Aggregate Bond Index. The approach is “simple to understand, simple to implement and simple to maintain,” says Taylor Larimore, a member of the advisory board for the Bogleheads online forum. “We would agree that this three-fund approach offers most investors a prudent, well-balanced, diversified portfolio at a low cost,” says Vanguard spokesman John Woerth.

Lights, Camera…and Lots of Hot Mutual-Fund Action (page R1): Sure, films can make fantastical creatures come to life and superheroes fly. But can they make mutual funds seem compelling to millennials? Current and former film students from New York University gave it a try in a recent competition sponsored by a local entertainment production company. Mutual-fund companies have a “90-year-old dinosaur” of a product and must find a way to make it appealing to people in their 20s, says Daniel Enskat, partner in the production company Warren Enskat Group and in Enskat & Associates, an asset-management advisory firm in New York. Movies seemed like the natural vehicle to Mr. Enskat and his producer partner, Robert Warren, a longtime investment manager who also teaches at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. So, the two created the filmmaking competition for Tisch students. After all, they figured, if anyone were capable of putting some sizzle into sector analysis, it would be a promising young director from the school that also produced such luminaries as Martin Scorsese and Joel Coen. But one of the first obstacles the two producers faced was a lot of blank stares. Says Mr. Warren: “As I went around the school to see if anybody wanted to do films on mutual funds, I asked if anybody invested in one.” Nearly no students did.

A Newlywed Financial Vow (page R6): Newlyweds typically have invested countless hours to have their dream wedding. But they often don’t spend enough time planning financial investments for their future together. Couples who get educated about investing, set goals and understand their risk tolerance can increase their chances not only of being able to afford another honeymoon one day, but also of wanting to spend it with each other.

Short Looks Beautiful for Bonds (page R9): As interest rates spiked in the second quarter, many investors in exchange-traded funds changed horses: from intermediate or long-term bonds to bonds with shorter maturities. That shift may accelerate in coming months as the Federal Reserve follows through on recent statements that indicate plans to start scaling back its massive bond purchases, which have kept fixed-income yields at depressed levels for years. When rates rise, bond prices fall, especially those with longer durations, which in turn hurts investors in funds holding such bonds. However, investors looking for higher yields, less volatility, or both had better understand that, despite numerous ETF options for shorter-term fixed-income products, there are some stark trade-offs. You can take on a little less risk, or you can earn a little higher yield. But you can’t do both.

A Smarter Dividend Strategy (page R11): A recent bout of rising U.S. interest rates has beaten up on dividend-paying stocks, rattling shareholders who had been enjoying regular income and higher prices from these so-called defensive equities. But the end of rock-bottom rates shouldn’t be the death of dividend strategies. Indeed, some market professionals say investors just need to be more selective about the types of dividend stocks they pursue.

Europe’s Woes Offer Opportunities (page R13): With U.S. stocks looking increasingly pricey, some fund managers say Europe is more fertile ground for finding cheap shares. While some investors shy away from regions that are politically and economically volatile, as Europe has been over the past few years, others see this precisely as the reason to explore opportunities there.

Even ‘High Yield’ Bonds Don’t Pay Much (page R14): Junk-bond yields have fallen so low that below-investment-grade bonds are no longer a compelling investment, says Charles Bean, a financial adviser in Westwood, Mass. In recent years, investors hungry for returns piled into junk bonds, bidding up prices and pushing down yields. In April, Mr. Bean sold out of a 13% allocation to junk-bond funds for most clients with a moderate risk appetite. “The risk-reward trade-off isn’t attractive,” he says, even though junk-bond prices slid and rates rose a bit in May and June. At Mr. Bean’s firm, the pullback from high-yield bonds follows a broader shift to stocks from bonds that started earlier this year. Mr. Bean expects interest rates to climb in the coming years. When that happens, bond prices tend to fall as investors dump lower-interest bonds to buy higher-yielding ones. Bond exposure was reduced by 10% for clients who can handle moderate risk. “We could be dealing with flat to negative returns in the bond market in the next three to five years,” says Mr. Bean.