High-Dividend Stocks Gain Appeal – By GREGORY ZUCKERMAN and AARON KURILOFF Updated Feb. 28, 2016 9:43 p.m. ET

A Public Service Enterprise Group plant outside Trenton, New Jersey. The utility’s stock is up almost 10% so far this year.

A Public Service Enterprise Group plant outside Trenton, New Jersey. The utility’s stock is up almost 10% so far this year. PHOTO: ROBERT BARNES/GETTY IMAGES

Suddenly, boring is beautiful in the stock market.

As investors lick their wounds from early-year troubles and search for some stability in their portfolios, they are dumping shares in fast-expanding industries such as technology and turning to companies paying hefty dividends.

This year, stocks in the S&P High Yield Dividend Aristocrats Index—companies in the S&P Composite 1500 that have increased their dividends every year for at least 20 years—are up 1.91%, including dividends, compared with a negative total return of 4.3% for the S&P 500 index. The total return on the Dow Jones U.S. Dividend 100 Index, composed of stocks that offer consistent, high payouts, is negative 0.8%.

It is the latest sign of changing times in the markets, with income-generating investments suddenly warranting a premium, in contrast with the trend that held from 2009 to last year, when dividend stocks lagged behind a broad market rally.

Chris Rock Just Gave a Brilliant and Brave Oscar Speech About Hollywood Racism — By Edwin Rios | Sun Feb. 28, 2016 8:56 PM EST

In his searing opening monologue for the 88th Academy Awards—what he dubbed the “White People’s Choice Awards”—comedian Chris Rock relentlessly roasted Hollywood’s racism, in a year criticized for only nominating white actors.

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“We want opportunity,” he said. “We want black actors to get the same opportunities as white actors. That’s it.” Watch the full clip above.

It was, in fact, a year marked by stellar performances from actors of color, including Michael B. JordanAbraham Attah, Idris Elba, Teyonah ParrisO’Shea JacksonAva DuVernay, and David Oyelowo. And Chris Rock, without pulling any punches, called the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences out on it: “If they nominated a host, I wouldn’t even get this job.”

He went on: “Is Hollywood racist? You damn right Hollywood’s racist,” Rock said. “Hollywood is sorority racist: We like you Rhonda, but you’re not a Kappa.”

Since its list of nominees was unveiled in January, the Academy has been criticized for its failure to nominate a single minority actor for the second year in a row. The move fueled outrage from celebrities, with some like Spike LeeJada Pinkett Smith, and Will Smith refusing to attend this year’s ceremony. There was also an online campaign using the hashtag #OscarSoWhite. (One bright spot: Mexican filmmaker Alejandro González Iñárritu, who is vying to become the first director since Joseph Mankiewicz to win best director for the second year in a row for The Revenant.)

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Can China’s Companies Conquer the World? – By Pankaj Ghemawat and Thomas Hout

The Overlooked Importance of Corporate Power

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Despite China’s recent economic struggles, many economists and analysts argue that the country remains on course to overtake the United States and become the world’s leading economic power someday soon. Indeed, this has become a mainstream view—if not quite a consensus belief—on both sides of the Pacific. But proponents of this position often neglect to take into account an important truth: economic power is closely related to business power, an area in which China still lags far behind the United States.

To understand how that might affect China’s future prospects, it’s important to first grasp the reasons why many remain bullish on China—to review the evidence that supports the case for future Chinese dominance. At first glance, the numbers are impressive. China’s GDP is likely to surpass that of the United States—although probably not until at least 2028, which is five to ten years later than most analysts were predicting before China’s current slowdown began in 2014. After all, China is already the world’s largest market for hundreds of products, from cars to power stations to diapers. The Chinese government has over $3 trillion in foreign exchange reserves, which is easily the world’s largest such holding. And China overshadows the United States in trade volume: of the 180 nations with which the two countries both trade, China is the larger trading partner with 124, including some important U.S. political and military allies. Finally, China has made steady progress toward its goal of becoming the investor, infrastructure builder, equipment supplier, and banker of choice in the developing world. Much of Asia, Africa, and Latin America now depends on China economically and politically.

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The 2016 Oscar Best Picture Nominees, Ranked by Gross – by Christina Austin FEBRUARY 28, 2016, 10:00 AM EST

The 88th Annual Academy Awards, hosted by Chris Rock, air Sunday, February 28, at 7 pm EST. Eight films have been nominated in this year’s coveted Best Picture category: The Big ShortBridge of SpiesBrooklynMad Max: Fury RoadThe MartianThe RevenantRoom, and Spotlight.

While critically acclaimed, not all of these films were big successes at the box office. The Revenant, for example, made more than BrooklynRoomBridge of Spies, and Spotlight combined.

Find out how much each film made both in the U.S. and abroad, according to Box Office Mojo,

See answers here:




The explosion in overdoses from legal drugs is changing how doctors treat pain — but it may not be enough – Harrison Jacobs February 2015


Enny Nuraheni / ReutersMost pills today are made in factories like this one in Indonesia.

In America, the number of deaths from drug overdoses exceeded the number of deaths from car crashes or guns in 2014, the most recent year for which data is available.

Legal prescription opioids like Oxycontin and Percocet, as well as illegal opioids like heroin, were involved in 60% of those deaths, according to a CDC report released in January.

The overdoses have led the federal government to dub opioid abuse an “epidemic.”

The problem has gotten so bad that President Barack Obama recently allocated $1.1 billion to fight the epidemic in his proposed budget for 2017. It follows up on a 2011 plan from the White House to address the issue through expanded education, enforcement, and drug tracking.

All of the attention on the opioid crisis has had a major unintended consequence, at least if you talk to many of the doctors who prescribe them: many are increasingly wary of prescribing opioids, even for legitimate pain patients, according to several pain specialists we spoke to.

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Why Stephen Hawking is more afraid of capitalism than robots – Updated by Brian Resnick on February 27, 2016, 10:10 a.m. ET

Professor Stephen Hawking speaks during the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Paralympics at the Olympic Stadium on August 29, 2012, in London, England. — Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

In October, a Reddit user asked Stephen Hawking if he thinks robots are coming to take all of our jobs.

“In particular, do you foresee a world where people work less because so much work is automated?” the user asked the renowned physicist on an Ask Me Anything thread.

The question isn’t crazy. Computers are getting smarter and more efficient all the time. It’s conceivable that we one day will reach a point where machines’ output is simply much more valuable than humans’.

Hawking didn’t discount the notion that machines may replace us. But he said whether this is good or bad depends on how the wealth produced by machines is distributed. That is, Hawking is more concerned about capitalism than he is about robots. He wrote:

…Everyone can enjoy a life of luxurious leisure if the machine-produced wealth is shared, or most people can end up miserably poor if the machine-owners successfully lobby against wealth redistribution. So far, the trend seems to be toward the second option, with technology driving ever-increasing inequality.

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6 Scenarios That Could Play Out On Super Tuesday – Domenico Montanaro -Updated February 28, 20162:02 PM ET Published February 28, 20166:00 AM ET

More than a dozen states vote Tuesday, and almost 1,500 delegates are at stake. It’s the biggest day of the 2016 presidential election, and it could be pivotal.

Seven southern states are voting Tuesday — Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia. That means on the Democratic side, black voters will play a pivotal role. (Six of those states, except Oklahoma, have significant black populations in Democratic primaries.) But for the GOP, those same southern states mean a more socially conservative, more religious electorate.

But there aren’t just southern states. There are also a few liberal-to-moderate ones, like Vermont, Minnesota, Massachusetts and Colorado — places Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, on the Democratic side, and Marco Rubio, on the Republican side, hope to fare better in.

How it could all play out

Hillary Clinton hopes she can put some separation between herself and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders on Super Tuesday. Can Sanders cut into her margins?

Hillary Clinton hopes she can put some separation between herself and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders on Super Tuesday. Can Sanders cut into her margins? — Scott Olson/Getty Images


Scenario 1: Clinton wins big, sweeps the southern states fueled by black voters. She pulls away from Sanders in pledged delegates, especially after a win in delegate-rich Texas, and appears well on her way to the nomination. Sanders will have a big hole to climb out of, especially because all Democratic states award their delegates proportionally. The math will make it increasingly challenging, if not impossible, for Sanders.

Scenario 2: Sanders holds serve in whiter, more liberal states and cuts into Clinton’s margins with African Americans and Hispanics, even pulling off a win in a place like Colorado and keeping her delegate advantage to a minimum out of Texas. He mitigates what could have been a disastrous day and lives to fight on. Money continues to roll in, and even though he likely trails in delegates, he’s not tremendously far behind. His message resonates in other, more liberal states to come – and a path is still conceivable.

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio mockingly smiles and points toward Donald Trump during the last Republican presidential debate before Super Tuesday. Rubio hopes to pick off some states.i

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio mockingly smiles and points toward Donald Trump during the last Republican presidential debate before Super Tuesday. Rubio hopes to pick off some states.

Michael Ciaglo/Pool/Getty Images

Scenario 1: Trump has another yuuuge day. He sweeps the South, is competitive with Cruz in Texas, if not beats him, even wins or comes close in places like Minnesota, Massachusetts and Vermont. He expands his base, looks more like the apparent nominee and makes it a very difficult, narrow path for Marco Rubio, who is hoping to rack up wins in winner-take-all states to come on March 15 and beyond. (Texas is must-win for Cruz. If Trump beats him in his home state, the rationale for his candidacy collapses.)

Scenario 2: Trump is wounded. Cruz wins in at least some southern states where Trump was favored, and Marco Rubio holds serve with more moderate Republicans and pulls off a couple wins. The narrative changes. Cruz would be pulling delegates from Trump, and Rubio’s path becomes very clear.

Scenario 3: Mix of Scenarios 1 and 2. Trump’s wins are not quite as big as Scenario 1, but he still wins the day. Cruz holds ’em in Texas. Rubio picks up a couple of wins in more moderate states. And all three declare victory and continue on in a potentially protracted race.

Scenario 4: John Kasich surprises Rubio in places he was favored in more moderate states. Trump holds, or he and Cruz split, and the establishment moves more toward Kasich. This is the least likely scenario.


The Right to Vote? Don’t Count on It – Michael Waldman 02.28.16 9:01 PM ET

Has there ever been an election like this one? The 2016 race is ferocious, rude, ugly, with parties and coalitions fracturing before our eyes. It’s also the first contest in years where public anger is trained on how government works and not just what it does. The state of democracy is on the ballot.

Bernie Sanders denounces the “billionaire class” and demands campaign finance reform. Donald Trump snarls, “Washington is broken” and brags that as a self-funder, he cannot be bought. Hillary Clinton, more muted, rolls out detailed plans for campaign finance changes and automatic voter registration. To add to the intensity, the looming Supreme Court nomination fight will tap public anger over Citizens United, the Court’s most reviled recent decision. All just two years after an election in which voter turnout plunged to its lowest level in seven decades.

It might seem strange that the state of democracy itself might loom large as an election issue. But today’s arguments are not new. In fact, raucous debates over who should vote and how have always stood at the center of American politics. Intense focus on how Americans can improve their democracy seems to happen every half century or so. Outsiders find a way to crash the political system, often through key elections, with inequality of wealth or power spurring a sharp move forward.

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Buffett: Politicians ‘Dead Wrong’ on Economy – By ANUPREETA DAS and NICK TIMIRAOS Feb. 28, 2016 9:34 p.m. ET

Warren Buffett in 2015


Warren Buffett has a message for presidential candidates and others who are down on the U.S. economy: You are “dead wrong.”

In his annual letter to shareholders released Saturday, the chief executive of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. reaffirmed his confidence in the future of the country, saying that America’s “golden goose of commerce and innovation will continue to lay more and larger eggs.”

Mr. Buffett took issue with politicians he said are leading Americans to believe that their children will be worse off than they are. “That view is dead wrong,” he wrote. “The babies being born in America today are the luckiest crop in history.”

The 85-year-old billionaire, who often describes his investment holding period as “forever,” is again taking the long view.

Mr. Buffett wrote that since his birth in 1930, real gross domestic product—the standard measure of economic output adjusted for inflation—has grown a “staggering” six times on a per-capita basis. He added that even at the current growth rate of 2%, which has caused concern among some economists, GDP will outpace population growth over the next quarter century and lead to a 34.4% gain, or $19,000 per capita.

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