• The S&P 500 has rallied 19% this year—its best performance in the first three quarters of a year since 1997. Link
    WSJ Europe Mon 30 Sep 2019 17:33

    The S&P 500 climbed Monday, on track to enter the fourth quarter with its biggest year-to-date gain in more than two decades.

    The broad stock-market index has rallied 19% this year—its best performance in the first three quarters of a year since 1997.

  • How PetSmart, a bricks-and-mortar stalwart, avoided the fate of Toys “R” Us. Link
    WSJ Europe Mon 30 Sep 2019 17:08

    Anyone buying a retailer in 2015 knew Amazon.com Inc. tends to suck the air out of every category it enters. But the culprit turned out to be another fast-growing e-commerce company. Chewy Inc., founded in 2011, was offering premium brands and effectively replicating the specialty pet store experience online. It had started running TV ads in June of 2016, and the resulting surge in its growth was biting into PetSmart’s sales.

    BC Partners quickly realized it would never be able to beat the online star. Instead, the buyout firm settled on a high-stakes strategy for a debt-laden retailer: It bought the very e-commerce upstart that was undermining its business.

    In April 2017, PetSmart paid $3.35 billion for Chewy in what was then the largest e-commerce deal ever. The purchase was criticized by PetSmart’s lenders and the wider market as a bet-the-company move that would force PetSmart to add $2 billion in debt to the $6 billion it already had, all to buy an...

  • Allegations about U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s past threaten to sidetrack the annual gathering of his Conservative Party, despite the popularity of his Brexit message Link
    WSJ Europe Mon 30 Sep 2019 16:48

    MANCHESTER, England—Questions about British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s past threatened to overshadow the annual gathering of his Conservative Party, as he seeks to rally support for his Brexit strategy and lay out a platform for a general election that is likely later this year.

    At the party conference, Mr. Johnson is seeking to drive home the message that he will take the U.K. out of the European Union at the end of October and will boost spending on health and infrastructure projects—two promises he hopes will win voters...

  • While Kyiv comes off as an inept pawn in the Ukraine imbroglio, the spectacle boosts Kremlin efforts to undermine the U.S.’s role as a world leader and model of democracy, writes Jerry Seib Link
    WSJ Europe Mon 30 Sep 2019 15:18

    President Trump’s now-famous phone call with the newly elected leader of Ukraine has not only set off an impeachment inquiry. It has provided the ultimate Rorschach test in a hyperpartisan Washington: Most Democrats say they see in the call a grave abuse of power, while most Republicans say they see absolutely nothing untoward in it.

    The one person who doubtless sees only benefit, however, resides not in Washington but in Moscow. He is Russian President Vladimir Putin.

  • Heard on the Street: Mario Kart Tour is off to a better start than any of Nintendo’s previous smartphone games Link
    WSJ Europe Mon 30 Sep 2019 14:08

    Nintendo’s mobile journey hasn’t been smooth, but it is moving in the right direction.

    Mario Kart Tour, the Japanese company’s latest smartphone game, is off to a good start. The racing game, which features Nintendo’s iconic plumber Super Mario and his pals, got more than 20 million downloads in the first 24 hours after its launch Wednesday—more than any of the company’s previous smartphone games, according to game analytics firm Sensor Tower.

  • Once defined by big spending as it relentlessly pursued rapid growth, WeWork now needs to stop bleeding cash Link
    WSJ Europe Mon 30 Sep 2019 13:43

    For years, WeWork’s parent company was defined by big spending as it relentlessly pursued rapid growth.

    Now, in the aftermath of a botched initial public offering attempt and the ouster of co-founder and chief executive Adam Neumann, it is facing a different reality: It needs to stop bleeding cash.

    The new co-CEOs, Sebastian Gunningham and...

  • GlaxoSmithKline says ovarian cancer study Validates Tesaro Acquisition Link
    WSJ Europe Mon 30 Sep 2019 13:43

    GlaxoSmithKline PLC has reported positive results from a study of a cancer drug in a clinical trial that a senior figure in the company said justified the decision to acquire cancer specialist Tesaro for $4.16 billion.

    Axel Hoos, head of oncology research at the drugmaker, said Saturday the results of the phase 3 Prima study could change how women with ovarian cancer are treated.

  • Heard on the Street: Lordstown, Ohio, is a battleground in the UAW strike against General Motors. In time, it could also become emblematic of a U.S.-China battery supply fight. Link
    WSJ Europe Mon 30 Sep 2019 13:43

    One of the most surprising features of the deal GM offered the UAW on the eve of the strike was a plan to build a battery-cell factory near its idled Lordstown assembly plant. If this happens, it would be the first investment by a Detroit auto maker in battery cells. These are currently the almost exclusive reserve of East Asian companies such as South Korea’s LG Chem —GM’s current battery supplier—and China’s Contemporary Amperex Technology, abbreviated as CATL.

    In reality, GM is unlikely to commit capital on its own. It doesn’t have expertise building cells and would need a partner to contribute technology.

    Its offer to the union is in effect indicating that the auto maker could use its stake in a joint venture to bring union representation to a factory that otherwise probably wouldn’t have it. The Michigan plant at which LG Chem currently builds cells for GM’s Chevrolet Bolt electric car isn’t unionized. Nor is the Nevada “gigafactory” in which Tesla and...

  • State-backed investors are knights in shining armor for cash-starved private enterprises in China Link
    WSJ Europe Mon 30 Sep 2019 13:33

    SHANGHAI—China is snapping up stakes in private companies at a record rate, as the trade war, economic slowdown and credit squeeze heap pressure on entrepreneurs.

    The investments mark a reversal after decades in which state-owned enterprises have shrunk in importance, as reflected in measures such as their share of the workforce or asset ownership. Since China’s public-sector companies are typically less efficient or innovative than their private rivals, the shopping spree could lead to a fresh drag on growth.

    Private enterprises are in a weaker position because they have comparatively poorer access to cheap bank loans and other types of financing, and have also been squeezed by Beijing’s moves to reduce pollution and overproduction.

  • Protesters are portraying Hong Kong as a front line in fighting authoritarianism as China celebrates 70 years of Communist rule Tuesday Link
    WSJ Europe Mon 30 Sep 2019 13:13

    HONG KONG—Protesters have dialed up attacks against the Chinese Communist Party ahead of major demonstrations planned for the 70th anniversary of the People’s Republic of China on Tuesday, renewing momentum for a protest movement by shaping it as a fight against authoritarianism.

    During weekend protests marked by the fiercest clashes between demonstrators and police in recent weeks, many participants expressed a vehement rejection of Communist rule in China, which Beijing will celebrate Tuesday with a grand military parade.

  • Elon Musk’s amped-up timetable for Mars spaceship contrasts with delays for NASA capsules Link
    WSJ Europe Mon 30 Sep 2019 12:53

    Space entrepreneur Elon Musk has stoked excitement about accelerated development of private deep-space vehicles—while provoking consternation inside NASA—by projecting his proposed megarocket targeting Mars could take humans on an orbital test flight as soon as next year.

    Mr. Musk’s announcement over the weekend, made with his typical showmanship, sketched out a superambitious timetable for building and testing a privately funded, behemoth rocket intended to take people to the moon and eventually to Mars. But even before details...

  • Budweiser Brewing’s shares rose in debut Link
    WSJ Europe Mon 30 Sep 2019 08:58

    Shares of the world’s largest brewer’s Asian operations climbed in their trading debut on Hong Kong’s stock exchange Monday, joining the ranks of other richly valued regional beer companies.

    Budweiser Brewing Co. APAC Ltd.’s shares opened slightly above their initial public offering price after the unit of Anheuser-Busch InBev SA raised $5 billion from the share sale. The shares closed at 28.20 Hong Kong dollars (US$3.60), about 4.4% higher than their IPO price of HK$27 a share, giving the business a market capitalization...

  • A new study found scammers are far more likely to succeed in stealing money from their targets through websites and social media than through phone calls or emails Link
    WSJ Europe Mon 30 Sep 2019 01:58

    WASHINGTON—The online ads that you willingly click on are more likely to make you a scam victim than the robocalls flooding your phone with urgent messages.

    A new study of consumer behavior toward fraudulent schemes found that scammers are far more likely to succeed in engaging and stealing money from potential targets by using websites and social media than through the phone calls and emails they have long used.


  • ‘We expect the pace of entering new lease agreements to slow over the next several quarters as we pursue more strategic growth.’—We Link
    WSJ Europe Mon 30 Sep 2019 01:58

    Turmoil at WeWork is causing the shared-office-space company to all but stop signing new leases, a fresh blow to New York City’s already softening commercial real-estate market.

    Since We Co. Chief Executive Adam Neumann stepped down on Tuesday, the company has reversed its rapid growth strategy, looking to slow its expansion, shed head count and assets, and move closer to profitability.

  • Is his aim true? Will the pressure drop? N.Y. Fed Chief (and punk rock fan) is tested by an obscure but vital piece of the financial system. More obscure than our musical references. Link
    WSJ Europe Mon 30 Sep 2019 01:58

    This month’s trouble bubbled up Monday, Sept. 16. Mr. Williams and Lorie Logan, the executive who is interim manager of the Fed’s portfolio, had traveled to Washington with other senior staffers ahead of the central bank’s two-day rate-setting policy meeting.

    Potential for funding pressures in money markets had been building for months due to regulatory changes, rising Treasury bond issuance and steady declines in deposits banks hold at the Fed—known as reserves—the result of the Fed’s 2017 decision to shrink its balance sheet.

    The Fed had been surveying banks for months about their demand for reserves but didn’t think they were near this point that would lead to funding pressures.

    Officials knew some large payments of corporate taxes and Treasury auction settlements on Sept. 16 would result in a large transfer of cash from banks to the government. But they believed money markets could digest them because similar payment dates in April and June hadn’t...

  • Whistleblower is expected to testify soon, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff says Link
    WSJ Europe Mon 30 Sep 2019 01:58

    WASHINGTON—The whistleblower at the center of the impeachment investigation of President Trump will testify in the House “very soon,” though in a way that will protect his identity, the Democrat leading the probe said Sunday.

    The whistleblower, whose identity hasn’t been made public, is a man who works for the Central Intelligence Agency, The Wall Street Journal confirmed last week. The House is waiting for the whistleblower’s attorneys to receive security clearances, said Rep. Adam Schiff of California, the House Intelligence...

  • A drop in U.S. long-term yields below short-term rates typically portends a recession, but that relationship may be breaking down Link
    WSJ Europe Mon 30 Sep 2019 01:58

    A widely watched U.S. recession signal has been blinking red for months now. Yet the performance of that gauge, the yield curve, in Britain suggests it is less worrisome than the American experience indicates.

    This signal is a bond market phenomenon called an inverted yield curve, which means long-term government bond yields are below short-term interest rates. Since the 1970s, it has appeared before every recession. But in Britain, the yield curve has inverted without a recession, for reasons that might be at work in the U.S. bond market today. Indeed, it might explain why other data, such as the stock market, aren’t sending similarly downbeat signals.

  • U.S. shale boom is slowing, as production gains from technology advances level off and older shale fields produce less oil Link
    WSJ Europe Mon 30 Sep 2019 01:58

    The American shale boom is slowing as innovation plateaus—and just when shale’s importance in global markets has reached new highs following an attack on the heart of Saudi Arabia’s oil infrastructure.

    U.S. oil production increased by less than 1% during the first six months of the year, according to the Energy Department, down from nearly 7% growth over the same period last year.


  • House antitrust investigators are scrutinizing plans by Google to use a new internet protocol in a way that could give it a competitive advantage Link
    WSJ Europe Mon 30 Sep 2019 01:58

    Congressional antitrust investigators are scrutinizing plans by Google to use a new internet protocol because of concerns that it could give the company a competitive advantage by making it harder for others to access consumer data.

    In a letter this month, investigators for the House Judiciary Committee asked Google for information about its “decision regarding whether to adopt or promote the adoption” of the protocol, which the Alphabet Inc. company said is aimed at improving internet security.

    House investigators are also asking whether data collected or processed through the new protocol will be used by Google for any commercial purposes, according to the Sept. 13 letter.

  • As Netanyahu fights to retain power, he faces a pretrial hearing on allegations of bribery, fraud and breach of trust Link
    WSJ Europe Mon 30 Sep 2019 01:58

    TEL AVIV—Israel’s attorney general extended Benjamin Netanyahu’s pretrial hearing on allegations of bribery, fraud and breach of trust to four days, as the embattled prime minister fights to retain power that could help protect him if indicted.

    Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit in February said he intended to charge Mr. Netanyahu in connection with three corruption investigations, pending the pretrial hearing starting Wednesday. Among the allegations are that Mr. Netanyahu attempted to influence media coverage of him and...

  • Hong Kong Police and protesters clashed in some of the fiercest fighting yet, suggesting a showdown on China’s 70th anniversary Link
    WSJ Europe Sun 29 Sep 2019 12:07

    HONG KONG—Tens of thousands of protesters poured onto Hong Kong’s streets Sunday, with the fiercest battles in weeks with police and shouting anti-China slogans ahead of Tuesday’s 70th anniversary of the founding of Communist China.

    Under the theme of “Global Anti Totalitarianism Rally,” the protesters had planned to march to the government headquarters in the center of the city. The police broke up the march at about 4 p.m., an hour or so after it began, engaging the protesters in urban street battles in several districts...

  • Boeing omitted safeguards in MAX’s flight-control system that were in an earlier version used on a tanker jet, say people familiar with the matter Link
    WSJ Europe Sun 29 Sep 2019 11:47

    Boeing Co. engineers working on a flight-control system for the 737 MAX omitted key safeguards that had been included in an earlier version of the same system used on a military tanker jet, people familiar with the matter said.

    Accident investigators have implicated the system, known as MCAS, in two deadly crashes of the jetliner that killed a total of 346 people.


  • The White House clamped down on access to records of presidential phone calls after problematic leaks of sensitive discussions early in the Trump administration Link
    WSJ Europe Sun 29 Sep 2019 00:17

    WASHINGTON—The White House moved to clamp down on access to records of presidential phone calls after problematic leaks of sensitive discussions early in the Trump administration, according to people with knowledge of the actions, culminating in the use of a secret national security server which is now central to the impeachment probe.

    Back-to-back leaks of controversial remarks by President Trump during calls with leaders of Mexico and Australia resulted from an unusually loose record-distribution policy in the first days...

  • Hong Kong protesters launch a series of demonstrations as they gear up for a mass event Tuesday to coincide with the 70th anniversary of the founding of Communist China Link
    WSJ Europe Sat 28 Sep 2019 23:47

    HONG KONG—Tens of thousands gathered at the scene of pro-democracy protests five years ago Saturday evening, as part of a series of protests ahead of a mass event on Tuesday to coincide with the 70th anniversary of the founding of Communist China.

    Saturday’s rally also marked the fifth anniversary of the beginning of a mass street occupation called the Umbrella Movement. That 79-day demonstration, which politically awakened many young people driving this summer’s protests, saw thousands of young people camp out on highways...

  • A federal district judge in Washington blocked the Trump administration’s plan to expand a policy allowing for swifter deportations of illegal immigrants without a hearing Link
    WSJ Europe Sat 28 Sep 2019 23:47

    A federal district judge blocked the Trump administration from expanding a policy allowing the government to quickly deport illegal immigrants without going through immigration courts.

    The policy, known as expedited removal, is currently applied to immigrants who are found within 100 miles of the Mexican or Canadian borders, and who entered the U.S. illegally in the last two weeks.


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