Latest Blogposts

  • The 100 hour work week in Japan

    At 3 a.m. on Monday morning, Eriko Fujita leaves the IBM offices in Tokyo. She rushes home to take a shower and get a few hours of sleep before she returns to her office at 7 a.m.

    This is the hidden side of life at IBM Japan. For a period of eight months, Fujita, whose name has been changed to protect her anonymity, averages 18 to 20 hours of work per day. Her schedule, which includes Saturdays and Sundays, is particularly demanding since she interfaces with programmers in different time zones.

    “We don't have a 5 o’clock-and-get-out kind of culture,” she says with a shrug. While her schedule depends on the specific project, Fujita, in her late twenties, says her typical workday lasts about 15 hours.

    “I don’t really have a choice,” she says. “If I have a task and I can finish it within eight hours, then I get out. If I cannot, I need to stay.”

    Fujita's situation is not uncommon in Japan, where overtime work has increased as firms cut workforces. About 22% of Japanese employees work 50

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  • Staring into a void, investors pull cash from harm's way

    If nature abhors a vacuum, investors aren’t so crazy about them either.

    It’s hard to avoid all the voids right now. The August Wall Street vacation evacuation is well underway, markets are facing an absence of inflation, huge air pockets underneath commodities and emerging-market currencies – and a vexing lack of clarity about what the Fed might do in less than a month’s time.

    The collective response to this environment devoid of strong conviction has been to pull cash out of riskier markets and wait.

    Barclays Capital says more than $90 billion has sought the shelter of money-market funds in the past six weeks. That’s roughly the same magnitude of flight response seen in other “risk-off” spasms of the past four years, from the 2011 Euro debt crisis, the “fiscal cliff” drama of 2012 and the “taper tantrum” in 2013.

    Professional investors commonly speak of putting certain complicated market calls as on the “too hard” pile. There is wisdom in knowing when one has no clear edge in figuring

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  • Stocks sink worldwide; Weather Channel sale?; $1B for 'Female Viagra' maker

    U.S. stocks (^GSPC) are under pressure today, joining a global market selloff caused by a triple whammy--  China fears, falling oil prices and confusion about when the Fed may raise interest rates.

    Yahoo Finance Senior Columnist Michael Santoli says it's still unclear how much of those jitters will spill over to Wall Street.

    "It's definitely a storm, it definitely looks as if it's going to hurt a little bit--  'prolonged' is really the question," he notes. "All these things have kind of filtered into our markets. But really we've just sagged down to that lower end of the trading range, so U.S. stocks have been a little bit of a ballast in the world markets."

    Santoli adds another reason for fear rippling through global markets is the devaluation of numerous emerging market currencies.

    Get the Latest Market Data and News with the Yahoo Finance App

    Sears turnaround continues

    Here are some of the stocks the Yahoo Finance team will be watching for you today and once again, retail is in

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  • The cutthroat competition for cheap airfares had led airlines to come up with different ways to get money out of customers. And some carriers are now even charging passengers for carry-on bags.

    “Back in 2008, the airlines devised policies that involved charging us to check our luggage,” explained lifestyle attorney Shari Olefson, CEO of The Carnegie Group. “At the same time, we saw a lot of airlines consolidating, a lot of flights consolidating, and of course airlines adding more seats to their airplanes."

    Airlines like Southwest (LUV) and JetBlue (JBLU) let passengers check in their first bag for free while any others like American (AAL) and United (UAL) charge $25. In most cases, carriers ration scarce cargo space by charging more for each additional piece of luggage, according to the website TripAdvisor.com.

    To skirt fees, customers have been carrying on their bags. But that has led to new problems – crowded overhead bins and the inconvenience of waiting for other passengers to get

    Read More »from One way to get around airline baggage fees
  • You just came back from summer vacation a week ago and already it feels like a dream. All those relaxed-start mornings and nights that didn’t have to end at 10 p.m. have faded into a stale status update.

    Hang on though. What if your holidays didn’t have to end? What if you worked for a business that gave its employees unlimited time off to kick back, recharge and come back to work fresher and sharper than ever?

    Companies such as Virgin Group, Netflix and Best Buy have garnered headlines over the past few years for so-called “unlimited” paid employee vacation and leave plans. General Electric has also joined the fold with a “permissive approach” to paid time off for nearly half of its 70,000 U.S. employees. Netflix recently reminded us how sweet its vacation policy is by extending the unlimited idea to maternity and parental leaves too (during a child’s first year) – for certain employees in its higher skilled jobs.

    We’re not going to see the majority of employers jumping to this
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  • World Cup sponsors to play advantage at FIFA meeting

    It’s damage control time for soccer’s FIFA. Reuters is reporting every soccer fan’s favorite dysfunctional, semi-autocratic governing body is meeting behind closed doors in Zurich with key World Cup sponsors tomorrow, as the company tries to contain the fallout from the massive bribery scandal that has ensnared 9 officials so far.

    Sepp BlatterSepp BlatterWhile FIFA president Sepp Blatter is still around until he steps down in February, it’s not a stretch to imagine FIFA officials will send Sepp out on a fact-finding mission to some remote area of the globe while this crucial meeting takes place.

    Big World Cup sponsors like Coca-Cola (KO), Visa (V), and McDonald's (MCD) are demanding changes - and as many fans and commentators will tell you - rightfully so. Yahoo Finance’s Mike Santoli believes the sponsors, who pay hundreds of millions of dollars for exclusive rights, can really put the screws to a squirrely FIFA.

    “I think [sponsors] have tremendous leverage,” he says in the attached video. “I think this

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  • Why Shake Shack won't be the next Chipotle

    Stand for Something Good. Sounds like a non-profit tagline, or maybe a communal chant at a Burning Man riot. Au contraire, it’s actually the vision behind fast casual success story Shake Shack (SHAK).

    Shake Shack has come a long way from its humble beginnings. The burger chain started as a single hot dog cart that restaurateur Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group (USHG) established in 2001 to support the rejuvenation of Madison Square Park in New York City.

    Fourteen years later Shake Shack is still on a roll, a clear standout success in the better-burger group. Shares of the burger seller are up 22% since its much-hyped IPO on Jan. 30 of this year. But when it comes to growth strategy, the company is taking its time.

    Shake Shack had 63 restaurants around the world when it went public. Today it has 71 in its portfolio. That means it added just eight new restaurants over the last seven months – about one per month.

    In other words, Shake Shack is pacing its expansion very
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  • Here is your daily dose of trending tickers, the stocks you're following based on your Yahoo Finance ticker searches.

    Target (TGT)

    Target beating estimates and raising revenue guidance.The retail giant posting earnings of $1.21 per share for its most-recent quarter, twice what it was a year ago. The company raised its earnings outlook for the year by a dime. It's now a range between $4.60 and $4.75 a share. One very bright spot has been digital sales, which is seeing 30% growth from last year.

    Get the Latest Market Data and News with the Yahoo Finance App

    American Eagle Outfitters (AEO)

    One retailer not having a good day is, surprisingly, American Eagle Outfitters. Shares are being sold off even though the company beat analysts' estimates. The teen apparel seller reported 12% higher revenue for the most-recent quarter compared to last year. And earnings were $0.17 a share, a huge increase from last year's $0.05. Still the stock is trading down, falling 10% earlier in the session on

    Read More »from Target overshoots, American Eagle beats, Lowe's disappoints
  • Facebook vs. Google, President Trump and Ashley Madison info goes public

    It's a down day for stocks across all the major indices (^DJI, ^GSPC, ^IXIC) as China weighs on the market once again and oil (CLV15.NYM) follows stocks lower.

    Here are some of the other stories Yahoo Finance is keeping an eye on today.

    Autoworker union unhappy with GM
    Your next GM (GM) car may not come from Detroit. The automaker is reportedly considering importing Buick vehicles built in Chinese factories. If GM follows through with the plans, they would be the first major automaker to manufacture a car in China and sell it in the U.S.

    Facebook vs. Google
    Facebook (FB) has overtaken Google (GOOGL) at least when it comes to news. The social media site has become the top referral source for online media, according to traffic analytic firm Parse.ly. Should Google watch its back?

    Ashley Madison hack
    A few weeks ago word got out that hackers had attacked the adult dating website Ashley Madison. Well, now it seems the information they obtained is becoming public. Full names and emails as well as

    Read More »from Facebook vs. Google, President Trump and Ashley Madison info goes public
  • Banks may not want marijuana’s money, but the state of California does.

    California’s Board of Equalization — the nation's only elected tax commission — is developing a proposal that would allow it to serve as something of a bank for the state’s legal marijuana sector.

    Fiona Ma, a member of the board, which handles tax policy administration and tax collections, envisions the state’s cannabis businesses depositing money into an account with the board. Those businesses would be able to draw from those accounts to pay employees and taxes through wire transfers.

    “That should be the minimum until the federal government acts,” she said. “This is a big problem.”

    The move comes as California, which in 1996 became the first U.S. state to legalize medical marijuana, is expected to vote on legalizing recreational cannabis and as the nation's growing legal cannabis sector continues to struggle with a lack of access to banking services. 

    Since 1996, 23 U.S. states have legalized some form of

    Read More »from California's tax collector wants to bank legal cannabis
  • Fed in focus; Target reports; World Cup sponsors meet

    Investors digesting a myriad of headlines today, including China, oil, earnings and inflation. But stocks (^GSPC) may be most affected by this afternoon's release of the minutes from the Federal Reserve's July meeting...and whether policymakers will give any hints as to when they will start raising interest rates.

    Yahoo Finance Senior Columnist Michael Santoli says investors aren't the only ones keeping their eyes on what's going on around the world--  Janet Yellen and company are, too.

    "Nothing is really escaping this central question of what the Fed might do and how it's going to treat all these asset classes across the world," he explains. "We have these deflationary pressures everywhere, then you have all these currency adjustments around the world, raising questions about the global growth picture and whether things seem a little too fragile, perhaps, for the Fed to move even though the Fed wants to based on domestic data."

    Wall Street is also looking at a report closely-watched

    Read More »from Fed in focus; Target reports; World Cup sponsors meet
  • Target tops; Staples slips; Lowe's limps; Hormel heats up

    Here are some of the stocks the Yahoo Finance team will be watching for you today with another big day for retail earnings.

    Target (TGT) The company reporting a beat on both earnings and revenue in the second quarter. Target says sales increased 2.8% helped by increased demand for home goods and apparel as well as a big jump in online purchases. And Target is raising its full year earnings forecast. 

    Staples (SPLS) The biggest office supply chain matched estimates for second quarter profit...but revenue was just a bit below forecasts. Sales declined as Staples closed some stores and felt the effects of the strong dollar. And the company expects current quarter revenue to be lower than a year ago.

    Lowe's Companies (LOW) The second-biggest home improvement retailer missed on the bottom line but beat estimates on the top line in the quarter. Lowe's reports sales jumped 4.5% in the period, driven by demand for appliances and outdoor power equipment. The company anticipates sales for the

    Read More »from Target tops; Staples slips; Lowe's limps; Hormel heats up
  • Markets now serving up some 'scary-cheap' stocks

    These roiling global markets are surfacing cheap assets – almost all of them attached to some frightful risk.

    That’s why things get cheap of course – because, for rational reasons, those who owned them before got scared out of them. And so, until all the nervous money is flushed out or something changes popular opinion about the danger, they get cheaper.

    Emerging markets stocks look horrible, the iShares MSCI Emerging Markets fund (EEM) sinking almost daily in a steady march rather than a cleansing panic. They are tracking commodity prices and EM currencies lower. This fund is just about back to its 2011 lows, set during the global credit scare. Professional investors’ exposure to EM stocks hasn’t been this low for a year and a half, back to a level that preceded a nice rally, according to a new Merrill Lynch survey.

    Clearly the market still thinks company profit estimates are too high, or else EM stocks outside Asia wouldn’t be trading under 10-times forecast earnings.

    So these

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  • Phone price wars are winding down, but consumers can still get a deal

    Mobile phone consumers have been treated to almost three years of fierce competition -- and lower costs -- but the great pricing war may be winding down. Some of the most recent moves by the big carriers have scaled back cuts and even imposed new fees. And analysts say the battle is, at the very least, on hold for now.

    That's not good news for consumers, but everyone remains much better off than they were just a few years ago and there are still ways to save money in the current environment, especially for Android phone users.

    It may feel like the mobile calling wars have been around forever, but it all actually started in 2011 when the government rejected AT&T's (T) bid to buy T-Mobile (TMUS), a combination that likely would have killed competition. T-Mobile's owner, Deutsche Telecom, then brought in maverick CEO John Legere, who started by eliminating those restrictive two-year contracts, introduced a host of price cuts and reined in other anti-consumer practices that had been in place

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  • Major win for Shell as US grants Arctic drilling permit

    It's “Drill, baby, drill” in Sarah Palin's home state. After years of battles with environmental groups, Royal Dutch Shell (RDS-A) was given final approval by the federal government to drill an exploratory well for oil and natural gas in the Arctic Ocean near Alaska. It’s a major win for big oil, and one that has environmental groups vowing to keep fighting.

    In the near term, however, Shell is one step closer to tapping into a huge reserve located in the remote Arctic. However, one need only look at the currently sliding price of oil to ask whether the industry really needs to drill for more oil when a supply glut currently exists.

    Yahoo Finance Senior Columnist Michael Santoli believes the big energy exploration and production companies are playing the long game here. “The big oil majors, the multinationals like Royal Dutch Shell, they constantly need to replace their reserves - they actually do not have enough in place in terms of what they're pumping to replace those maturing fields

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