Capitol Report: SEC examination of quarterly reporting schedule focuses o…









The Securities and Exchange Commission held a two-part public panel discussion on Thursday to ask again if reporting earnings quarterly promotes “short-termism” — an unhealthy focus on short-term results to the detriment of long-term performance.

Speakers from the investor and public company realms — including representatives from Fidelity Investments and Vanguard Group as well as new public company Uber Technologies Inc.












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 and Nasdaq












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 , among several others — discussed the nature, timing, format and frequency of periodic reporting, as well as the relationship between the quarterly and annual SEC filings and the earnings releases they announce to the market, often ahead of official reports.

The SEC had issued a request for public comment on several ideas and potential suggestions as well as open issues last December, and is reopening its solicitation after it originally closed in March.

The SEC’s ongoing initiative is focused on simplifying the production and dissemination of financial information and “relieving any burdens associated with investors’ efforts to compare an earnings release and Form 10-Q to identify information that is new or different,” according to the SEC’s request for comment.

Some companies issue their earnings release before filing their 10-Q with the SEC. MarketWatch has reported, based on academic research, that nearly 70% of public companies are providing fourth-quarter and year-end results up to 16 days before the finalization of the annual audit and filing of the 10-K with the SEC. That can lead to undue pressure on auditors, say the researchers, to avoid any changes to their opinion that contradict the earlier earnings release.

Read: Only a few companies are reporting earnings that are fully audited

One commenter responded to the SEC’s questions by suggesting companies should file their 10-Q simultaneously with any earnings release, reasoning that this would “help investors to be more informed and better able to address issues with management on earnings calls.” The SEC said that other commenters suggested requiring the 10-Q to be filed before earnings releases and earnings calls to allow analysts to digest U.S. GAAP disclosures before receiving earnings release information, which frequently includes non-U.S. GAAP disclosures that don’t follow required accounting practices.

The SEC is requesting additional comment on how it can “alleviate burdens related to Form 10-Q reporting while maintaining investor protection.” For example, the SEC would like to know if it should provide an option for companies to use earnings releases to satisfy the core financial disclosure requirements of Form 10-Q.

Of course, even though the SEC also wants to help companies reduce the time and money they spend complying with quarterly reporting requirements, investors still have to be protected. The ultimate objective is to understand the impact of the SEC’s current requirements on corporate decision making and strategic thinking, “including whether it fosters an inefficient outlook among registrants and market participants by focusing on short-term results,” the SEC says.

See also: BlackBerry violates SEC rules with use of nonstandard metrics

Academic research on short-termism also sometimes supports eliminating quarterly reporting.

Thursday’s panels also talked about how many companies still provide “forward-looking earnings guidance” — detail about management’s expectations of the company’s future financial performance — in the earnings release or on the quarterly earnings call.

Read on: All of MarketWatch’s Called to Account columns























Francine McKenna is a MarketWatch reporter based in Washington, covering financial regulation and legislation from a transparency perspective. She has written about accounting, audit, fraud and corporate governance for publications including Forbes, the Financial Times, Accountancy and the American Banker. McKenna had 30 years of experience at banks and professional-services firms, including at PwC and KPMG, before becoming a full-time writer.


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San Francisco 49ers coach Katie Sowers on how she landed her dream job









When Katie Sowers was growing up, she loved football and played as much as she could. She played in a women’s tackle league when she got out of college and dreamed of coaching in the NFL. But she didn’t know if that dream could become a reality until she saw a woman get a full-time assistant coaching job in the NBA in 2014.

“I always knew I wanted to coach, but I didn’t know I could coach in the NFL until I saw Becky Hammon become a coach in the NBA. I had this weird feeling then, knowing it was going to happen. I even posted on Instagram: ‘NFL, I’m coming for you.’ It’s hard to explain, but I was positive I was going to make it happen,” Sowers recently told MarketWatch.

But at the time she was working as the athletic director for the city of Kansas City and coaching a fifth grade girls’ basketball team. How did her next employer become the NFL?

“I always preach that you never know who is watching, so I put everything into that team,” Sowers says of her fifth grade hoop players.

And it turns out that a gentleman watching them play was Scott Pioli, a former general manager of the NFL’s Kansas City Chiefs. His daughter was on the team.
























Pioli was impressed with how Sowers coached. The two began talking and he learned how passionate she was about coaching in the NFL. When he became the assistant general manager of the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons, he offered her a coaching internship during the preseason as part of the Bill Walsh NFL Coaching Diversity Fellowship. Pioli kept her on as a scout, and she worked closely with him and the coaching staff in 2016.

Sowers, 32, grew up loving football, but didn’t see playing on the boys’ high school team as an option, so she played sports that could help her get an athletic scholarship to college. Which she did, for basketball. After college, she played professional tackle football as a quarterback for the Women’s Football Alliance, and she played for Team USA in 2013.

She also dedicated a lot of her time to studying coaches, knowing she wanted to be one. Her favorite coach today is Hammon, who is an assistant coach with the San Antonio Spurs, and one of her favorites all-time is Bill Walsh. “To be honest, though, I always looked up to my dad. How players related to him and how he changed their lives as players and as people. I wanted to have that kind of impact.”

Her dad coached the women’s basketball team at Bethel College, and she spent a lot of time with him and his teams.



















“We find it so odd when women lead men, but women have been teaching men for years. We have to normalize it.”


Katie Sowers







After working with the Falcons, she went to the San Francisco 49ers, where she now works with wide receivers as a full-time assistant coach.

“I was looking for a full-time job and wanted to prove I was valuable. We had a preseason game in Kansas City and it was supposed to be the last day of my internship. John Lynch — the general manager of the 49ers — said, ‘We want to keep you on full-time.’ My family was on the sidelines and I went over to them and I almost had tears in my eyes.”

How’d she make that happen? To prove her value to the team, she says she didn’t depend on others to teach her things. She took initiative and responsibility for where she wanted to be, something her father taught her when she was younger. For example, she took all the team’s offensive concepts and created a packet for them — something that had never been done before, and something new players coming into the league now ask for.

Sowers says that when she first applied for the NFL’s Diversity Coaching Fellowship, there was nowhere to say on the form that she was a woman. “I felt worthless, even though I’d been the MVP for team USA and had been an All-American athlete. And she says once when she was a coach for the Falcons, someone asked her if she was the coach of the team’s cheerleading team. “They couldn’t wrap their head around it, but we’re getting there.” In fact, the NFL has since revamped the fellowship application to include women, and she points out that the NFL has made a lot of progress hiring more women and minorities to coach in recent years. “I think we’ll get to a point when a woman is hired and it’s not a headline,” she says.
























There were three women with full-time coaching jobs in the NFL last year, according to ESPN. In addition to Sowers, Kelsey Martinez was with the Oakland Raiders and Phoebe Schecter was with the Buffalo Bills. In addition, seven other women had internships with NFL teams. Though it’s been reported that Sowers is the only full-timer to coach for more than one season.

“We find it so odd when women lead men, but women have been teaching men for years. We have to normalize it,” says Sowers, whose mother was a teacher.

Sowers is also the first openly gay coach in the history of the NFL. That became a big story when a reporter asked her if it was okay to mention that she had a girlfriend. “I didn’t think anything of it; I’d been out for a long time. But the next day the story blew up,” she says, adding that she chooses to live a vulnerable and open life. “Being open is living with integrity,” she says. “I can’t be the best coach I can be without that.”

She also says that after the story ran, a former NFL coach came up to her and told her he was gay. He said he had struggled with it and was so happy to see her come out. “I realized then that it was important that article came out,” she says.

On today’s NFL

When it comes to predicting a college player’s success in the NFL, Sowers says she evaluates route running and what offense the college team ran. She also wants to see explosiveness and whether they’re coachable and internally motivated — with a desire to be the best version of themselves. “Relying on combine numbers is the safe way out,” she says, adding that to find diamonds in the rough you have to interview players and look past the numbers.

What’s the most important skill for a wide receiver to achieve success in the NFL? “Being explosive and having aggressive hands — the attitude that that ball is mine, and no one else’s.”

And does she think a woman will be a head coach in a men’s professional league in the next 20 years? “Absolutely. No doubt,” Sowers says. “It wouldn’t surprise me if Becky Hammon gets a head coaching job in the NBA in the next five years.”























Steven Kutz is a senior editor. He edits ‘The MarketWatch Q&A,’ as well as ‘The Best New Ideas In…’ feature and the columns ‘Buy This, Not That’ and ‘Upgrade.’ He also writes about athletes and money and the business side of sports. You can follow him on Twitter @StevenKutz.


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Economic Preview: The economy is likely to get a mediocre grade on its ne…










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The final report card on second-quarter GDP is likely to be disappointing, but a read between the lines should show the U.S. economy still gets a passing grade.

Sometimes final grades don’t tell us much about true performance. Take the supposedly slowing U.S. economy.

The government’s official report card on economic growth, known as gross domestic product, is likely to show the economy turned wobbly in the spring. Except that it almost certainly didn’t.

Economists polled by MarketWatch predict GDP growth slowed to 2.1% annual pace in the second quarter from 3.1% in the first three months of the year. Ditto for Macroeconomic Advisors, perhaps Wall Street’s premier forecasting firm.


















Yet the details of the report, due on Friday July 26, are likely to tell a very different story.

See: MarketWatch Economic Calendar

The increase in what consumers spent, for example, could surge above a 4% for the first time in five years. That’s a big deal, since 70% of what goes on in the economy is tied to consumer spending.

By contrast, consumer spending rose less than 1% in the first quarter. Very tepid.

“We expect to see signs of strength in consumer spending — much stronger than the first quarter,” said David Donabedian, chief investment officer of CIBC Private Wealth Management.

Read: Americans still upbeat about the economy

What gave a short-lived boost to first-quarter GDP was a surprisingly smaller trade deficit and a spike in inventories that occurred, perversely, because households briefly curbed their spending ways after the holidays. Not a good thing.

The switch will be flipped in the second quarter.

The surge in consumer spending —a huge bright spot — will be offset by a bigger trade deficit and lower inventories.

So the economy is doing great, right? Well, not exactly. The U.S. is growing at a steady pace right now, but storm clouds are a gathering.

The economy’s biggest soft spot is in manufacturing. The ongoing trade fight with China has hurt U.S. exports, forced American firms to scale back production, and spurred them to seek new suppliers.

Investment has also taken a hit. Business spending, the second largest source of U.S. economic growth, appeared to slow considerably in the second quarter.

Read: Democrats back $15 minimum wage in bid to draw 2020 election battle lines

Also Read: A $15 minimum wage could help 27 million workers, but cost 1.3 million jobs

Less noticed but perhaps just as worrisome, the Trump administration’s trade fight with China has hurt the global economy by disrupting the movement of goods. It may come back to haunt the U.S.

“What starts in the manufacturing sector won’t stay in manufacturing sector; it will eventually spill over into the service and technology sectors as well,” argued chief economist Scott Anderson at Bank of the West. “The combination of slowing global growth and disrupted supply chains from the trade wars will surely dent corporate profitability.”

These worries explain why the Federal Reserve is about to cut already low U.S. interest rates even with U.S. stock markets












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setting fresh record highs and the unemployment rate at a nearly 50-year low of 3.7%.

Read: An economy gone ‘mad?’ The Fed is going to cut interest rates at an unusual time

Truly we are in uncharted waters. The Fed has never cut interest rates under these circumstances.

Read: Rate cut with stock market at all-time highs? It’s been done before but …

Will a small rate cut be enough to soothe all the anxiety? Don’t count on it. The trade fight with China shows no end in sight and a divided Washington is unlikely to do much to pitch in to help.

“The bigger picture is that the U.S. economy is gearing down after last year’s big fiscal push as well as last year’s string of rate hikes,” contended Douglas Porter, chief economist at BMO Capital Markets.

It’s all on consumers now.























Jeffry Bartash is a reporter for MarketWatch in Washington.


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Personal Finance Daily: ‘Frugal’ carpenter secretly saves $3M to send 33 …









An Iowa man who owned only two pairs of jeans and saved every penny he made had one dying wish: to send small-town Iowa kids to college.

“He was that kind of a blue-collar, lunch pail kind of a guy,” Steve Nielsen, a friend, tells KCCI. “[He] went to work every day, worked really hard, was frugal like a lot of Iowans.”

Dale Schroeder grew up poor. He didn’t marry, have children or go to college, and worked as a carpenter at the same business for 67 years without complaint. He didn’t have much — except a secret savings account with nearly $3 million.

“He wanted to help kids that were like him that probably wouldn’t have an opportunity to go to college but for his gift,” says Nielsen.

The money Schroeder saved helped 33 Iowa teenagers go to college free of charge. Kira Conrad is one of “Dale’s Kids.”

“I broke down into tears immediately,” Conrad says.

She had been preparing to graduate and say goodbye to all of her friends as they’d be going to college. Conrad had dreamed of getting her degree, but, as the youngest daughter in a single-parent home, college tuition was out of the question.

Now she’s beginning her career as a therapist with zero student loan debt.

“For a man that would never meet me to give me basically a full ride to college,” says Conrad, “that’s incredible. That doesn’t happen.”

Schroeder did have one condition for his beneficiaries.

“All we ask is that you pay it forward,” Nielsen said. “You can’t pay it back, because Dale’s gone. But you can remember him and you can emulate him.”

This article was first published on NYPost.com
























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The Fed: Fed policy is being thrown off course by Trump










MarketWatch photo illustration/Getty Images, iStockphoto


Would the Fed be cutting rates on July 31 if Twitter didn’t exist. No, says Jim Glassman of JP Morgan Chase.

President Donald Trump’s social media war to get the Federal Reserve to adopt an easier monetary policy stance is throwing the U.S. central bank off course, despite the central bank’s best intentions to remain independent, some economists fear.

Trump is having a gravitational pull on the Fed. Markets are now convinced his political pressure for easier policy is working, and this is raising market expectations for Fed rate cuts that might be damaging for the economy if not met.

“The Fed has tried to take the high road. But markets don’t buy it. They think political pressure is making the difference,” said Jim Glassman, JP Morgan Chase commercial banking head economist.

In this feedback loop, Wall Street’s view on Trump’s persuasion is helping push down bond yields, which are then used to justify interest rate cuts.

“To the extent the Fed cares about what is in market prices, the president has an indirect reach into the Fed,” said Vincent Reinhart, a former senior economist at the Fed and now chief economist at Mellon.

“If Trump can shape market expectations, he can influence the path of policy,” Reinhart said.

The president is also impacting the Fed through his aggressive trade actions that are a downside risk to growth. So Trump is like “two edges of a scissor,” cutting at the Fed, Reinhart said.

“The mantra used to be don’t fight the Fed, Now it’s don’t fight the tweet storm,” Glassman said.

The market has fully priced in a July interest-rate cut. The view is that the Fed has to meet those expectations.

“The Fed has to know if they don’t cut rates, it would be chaotic. And can you image the tweet storm after that?” Glassman said.

Glassman and Reinhart see Trump’s pressure as one of the main factors, along with slower global growth, in why the market is pricing in 100 basis-points of easing from the central bank over the coming year.

Reinhart said that up until December, the Fed was serving as a guiding light for the market, projecting continued higher interest rates.

But after criticism from Trump and some in markets, Powell moved the Fed to the “back of the pack,” saying the central bank would be patient and policy would respond to the data.

The problem is the pack has taken off in the direction of easier policy, led in part by Trump and also overreaction to the data, Reinhart said.

Stocks have soared since Powell stepped back. The Dow Jones Industrial Average












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  is up almost 25% since late December.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury note has fallen 60 basis-












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 points since the beginning of the year.

Last week, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell was seen as having a chance to push back on expectations of a rate cut. Instead, his testimony seemed to downplay the positive economic news since June, including a strong job report, and accentuate the negative.

The Fed chairman cited “cross currents” and “uncertainties” in the world economy including the U.S.-China trade dispute, Brexit and slowing global economic growth and said the Fed was ready to cut interest rates at the end of the month as “insurance” to cushion the economy against rising risks.

Read: Fed’s Powell says trade worries restraining the economy, signals interest-rate cut

After his testimony, markets are now expecting the Fed to cut its policy interest rate by at least 25 basis points at its July 30-31 meeting.

“Some might think, what’s the big deal, the Fed is only contemplating a little insurance. But any move by the Fed, however small, will be seen as validating the futures market view that the Fed will have to cut by 100 basis points by next year. That market view surely is at odds with the Fed’s view. And that’s why the communications is going to be challenging,” Glassman said.

Ward McCarthy, chief financial economist at Jefferies, said that the only thing rate cuts would do would be to temporarily sate the market expectations and quiet the White House twitter account.

“After getting a taste of lower rates, both will want more,” he said.























Greg Robb is a senior reporter for MarketWatch in Washington. Follow him on Twitter @grobb2000.


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As the U.S. faces a massive heat wave, don’t make these 3 mistakes when y…









Residents across the country are bracing for a major heat wave this weekend. And depending on where you live, the rising temperatures could equate to rising home cooling costs.

****The National Weather Service has issued heat watches and warnings and heat advisories across much of the country, including the Plains states, the Midwest and parts of the East Coast. From Boston to New York to Chicago, the combination of heat and humidity is expected to send heat indices upwards of 100 degrees Fahrenheit on Saturday.

****Extreme heat kills more than 600 Americans a year on average, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — so you can hardly be blamed for cranking up the air-conditioning during this heat wave. But depending on where you live, that precautionary measure could cause your electricity bills to skyrocket.

Don’t miss: Extreme heat kills more than 600 Americans a year — here are the best ways to stay cool

Residents of Sun Belt states typically pay the most to air condition their homes during the summer, with a median cost of $292.90 per home, according to a recent report from home-energy monitoring company Sense. That’s compared with a median cost of $147.82 across most of the country and $95 for communities along the northern border with Canada.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Arizona leads the nation in terms of air-cooling costs for the summer months ($477). However, New Jersey is the next-most expensive state in the country ($327), thanks to a combination of higher-than-average A/C usage and the high cost of utilities in the Garden State.

Other expensive states for air conditioning include Texas, Florida and Georgia. At the other end of the spectrum, Washington State had the lowest air-cooling costs in the nation, followed by Oregon and Colorado. “If you’re buying your house, make sure you get an estimate of what the expected costs are,” said George Zavaliagkos, Sense’s vice president of technology.

Sense’s report was based on energy data from more than 4,000 customers’ homes, specifically analyzing 1,600 homes with HVAC systems across the U.S. to see how much residents spent to cool their homes between June and August 2018.
















Sense


While geography plays a major role in determining how much a household will pay on air conditioning, so too does the size of the home. Residents of a 500-square-foot home will pay a median of nearly $68 during the summer months to keep their house cool, whereas people who live in a home larger than 4,000 square feet can expect to pay over $226 over the summer.

Also see: Here’s a bright idea: buy an energy-efficient home

Here are some ways consumers can reduce the cost of air conditioning — whether you live in Arizona, New Jersey or Washington.

Check the settings on the unit: Every degree colder you set the A/C will cost you in the long-run, but temperature isn’t the only setting consumers should be concerned about. “Some people leave the circulating fan on all the time,” Sense CEO Mike Phillips said. “The fan itself uses quite a bit of power.” Circulating fans can also cause cool air to leak out of the home, which causes the system to work harder to keep the temperature low.

Regularly checking the settings is also important to ensure the unit is working properly. One consumer reported to Sense that their home’s HVAC unit had malfunctioned and was triggering the back-up heating system (which is meant as a backup on extremely cold winter days) in the middle of the summer.

Change your behaviors at home: Leaving blinds or curtains open when direct sunlight is pouring through a window will raise the internal temperature of the home. Similarly, cooking on the stove inside rather than on a grill outside can drive up cooling costs.

Additionally, keep A/Cs in proper working order by regularly cleaning ducts, replacing filters and ensuring that air flows out of vents without obstruction.

Read more: The No. 1 most reliable appliance brand in America, according to Consumer Reports

Make sure you have the right size unit for your home: An oversized HVAC system will require a lot of power to drop the temperature quickly and may frequently cycle between powering on an off, driving up energy costs. Meanwhile, an undersized air conditioner could be forced to run constantly to keep the home at the desired temperature.

To illustrate this, Sense compared two 1,500-square-foot homes in similar climates. One home has a 240-voltage central A/C system while the other had individual 120-voltage window A/C units. The residents in the first home paid $898 over the summer on air conditioning, while the people who lived in the second house paid just $138.

Replace old air conditioners: Air conditioners degrade in efficiency roughly 5% every year, Phillips said. “If you’ve got a 20-year-old system, it’s probably not working that well anymore,” he said. That inefficiency drives up costs. Moreover, newer units are designed to be more energy-efficient, which will likely bring additional savings.

Have your utility company perform a home inspection: A home-inspection from a utility company is free in most states, Zavaliagkos said. Inspectors can double-check to make sure that the electricity meter is functioning properly and to determine if the air-conditioning unit is running properly. They can check for leaks in the system that could be wasting energy — and money.

This story was updated on July 17, 2019.


























Jacob Passy is a personal-finance reporter for MarketWatch and is based in New York.


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On the 50th anniversary of the Moon landing, thank NASA for memory foam, …









Decades of innovations from the study of outer space have come down to Earth, into store aisles, smartphones and American households.

On July 20, 1969, astronaut Neil Armstrong stepped on the moon declaring, “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” The NASA program that got Armstrong there pushed forward technology on rockets and satellites — laying the groundwork for the GPS navigation systems millions of people now use in their smartphones.



















‘It’s not frivolous work. We’re ushering in the future.’


Daniel Lockney, NASA







But some people might not know it’s also propelled the launch of many more mundane consumer products, including memory foam and air filters for pet odors. We can even thank NASA for the Bowflex home gym whose ads were once a fixture on late-night TV, and for advancing the technology behind all those internet pop-up ads.

The space agency’s inventions are always focused first on aiding missions, Daniel Lockney, technology transfer program executive of NASA, told MarketWatch. But sometimes a product’s cross-application can be clear, he said — like if an invention relates to energy storage or water recycling.

Still, a lot of the extramural uses can be “serendipitous,” he said. “We have the bagful of answers, but we don’t know the questions that are asked.”

NASA’s work generates approximately 1,800 inventions a year, and the agency enters into 100 to 120 commercial patent license agreements annually, Lockney said.



















NASA’s inventions are always focused first on aiding missions.







Companies come to NASA asking to use patented methods or products. It’s often for manufacturing or industrial use, but there’s sometimes a consumer angle, too.

Most of the “low-running” royalties go back to the inventor, he noted. “We’re, by no means, trying to recoup the cost of investment.”

NASA’s proposed fiscal 2020 budget is $22.6 billion, up 5% from the previous year, according to the Planetary Society, an organization advocating space exploration.

Some businesses plan on their own space exploration, like SpaceX, led by CEO Elon Musk, the head of Tesla












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; Amazon












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CEO Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin; and Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic.

Here’s are some of the ways NASA’s linked to the next big thing:

Wearable heart monitors

By 2012, wearable fitness technologies were already on the market from companies such as FitBit












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But that year NASA funded a project to see how it could detect astronaut stress levels at different times. Lino Velo and his company, Linea, took on the task.

Velo’s team created several pieces of hardware to monitor brain activity, oxygen levels and heart rhythms, such as wristwatches and a device placed on the forehead.

After the project ended in 2014, one watch, the Zoom HRV, retailed for $129. The California fitness equipment technology company Salutron, which acquired Linea, sold it until 2018, making a business decision to pull it off the shelves rather than compete with the likes of FitBit and Apple












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with its Apple Watch.

Salutron President Bob Gerstenberger said the company is focusing now on applying the heart-rate technology to gym equipment. This will let people work out and walk away knowing just how good their workout was that day, he said.



















‘If we hadn’t had NASA, we might not be having this conversation.’


Lino Velo, Salutron







“If we hadn’t had NASA, we might not be having this conversation,” said Velo, Salutron’s chief technology officer and executive vice president of technology.

The Bowflex home gym

Weightlessness can lead to muscle-mass loss, and fast. In space, during flights of between 5 and 11 days, astronauts can lose up to 20% of their muscle mass, according to research.

That’s where the Bowflex comes in. Inventor Paul Francis had what he called a “SpiraFlex” with springs, cords and resistance plates. He brought it to NASA, and the device had its first space mission in 2000. The product developed further into what become the Bowflex Revolution, which offers more than 100 exercises. Francis told NASA the agency funding “enabled us to take the technology to the next level of development and commercialization.”

Nautilus












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the parent company to Bowflex, did not respond to a request for comment. But one company official reportedly told NASA that the Bowflex Revolution “has been our best gym.”

Online ads

Of all the advances we can thank NASA for, maybe online ad technology isn’t one of them. As internet pages load content, there’s a split-second auction on the page’s ad space. It’s all carried out by computers able to evaluate troves of information and make quick choices. The end result are ads hawking all sorts of goods and services.

Pop-up ads have been around since 1997, and their creator has apologized for the online onslaught. A NASA project from 2004 to 2005 eventually led to more advances in the marketing deluge. The project focused on helping astronauts decide what equipment and devices they needed along a mission’s various phases.

Faculty and graduates at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology were part of a team that built software for the project. By 2009 real-time bidding became the standard for online ad sales, enabled by members of the MIT team, riffing on the research done for NASA.

Pet odor air filters

Some pet owners can thank NASA for fresher-smelling homes. One 2016 NASA contract sought development of a lightweight air filter that could remove toxins, like ammonia, from space suits worn by astronauts. The amounts of toxins can vary, depending on the type of space suit and the person wearing it.

An Illinois company took on the project, creating a filter that clearly changed color when it was spent. The filters are now sold directly to consumers looking to avoid the ammonia smell from cat litter boxes or hamster cages.

Memory foam

By the mid-1960s, NASA was looking for ways to cushion astronauts from the sudden jostles, bumps and jerks of space flight. The end result was a cushy foam material we all now call memory foam, which can be found in everything from pillows to mattresses, bras, car seats and prosthetic limbs.

Consumers today spend plenty of cold, hard cash on the soft substance. The American memory foam mattress and pillow market could reach $8 billion by 2023, growing 9% per year from 2017, according to the market research company Report Buyer.

The T-shirt? That was an earlier military innovation

Overall, U.S. businesses spent $375 billion on research and development in 2016, up 5.3% from 2015, the National Science Foundation said last year.

Company money accounted for $318 billion of the funding, but the federal government was the top outside funding source, pouring in $24 billion of the $57 billion in external funding.

Other parts of the federal government are linked to products finding their way to the mass market. For example, the military popularized the T-shirt.

Lockney said NASA’s efforts to inspire all sorts of market innovations were “part of our DNA.”

“It’s not frivolous work,” he said. “We’re ushering in the future.”


























Andrew Keshner is a personal finance reporter based in New York.


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Why more women are replacing male CEOs in the years since the Great Reces…









Women CEOs are on the rise.

Corporate America has a long way to go to clear out the corner office for more female CEOs, but there’s been a dramatic shift over the last decade. Nearly 22% of new chief executives were women in the first half of 2019, up from 12% during the same period in 2010, according to an analysis released Thursday by Challenger, Gray & Christmas, a Chicago-based out-placement and career transitioning firm. Of the 607 replacement CEOs recorded in the first half of 2019, 131 were women. That’s up from almost 19% female CEO replacements in the first half of 2018.



















Those in positions of power who create employment and teams tend to hire people who are similar to them.







Challenger, Gray & Christmas tracks CEO changes from U.S.-based companies that are at least two years old and have a minimum of 10 employees. In many cases, replacement data is not available when a CEO departure is announced. “Gender diversity, along with other visible and unseen diversity, is crucial to creating an environment that finds and develops the best talent for the role,” said Andrew Challenger, vice president of Challenger, Gray & Christmas. The U.S., for instance, is the only country in the developed world that does not provide guaranteed paid maternity leave.

More male CEOs are still replacing outgoing CEOs; they represent 78% of CEO replacements, and women are still vastly under-represented in the C-suite overall. “Those in positions of power who make employment decisions and create teams tend to hire people who are similar to them,” Challenger added. “It’s an inherent bias. When companies make it a point to promote a diverse slate of candidates and try to sidestep this bias, they cast a wide net to find the best talent.” (Seniority does matter: Women are still paid 83 cents on the dollar compared to men.)

So what’s behind the increase in women CEO replacements over the last decade? The government/nonprofit sector has named the most women CEOs in the first half of this year with 53 or 44% of all incoming CEOs in that industry. That sector, however, pays CEOs significantly less than the corporate sector. Apparel had the highest percentage of female CEO replacements (67%), but women only accounted for 4 out of 6 replacement CEOs. In percentage terms, real estate (42%), fintech (33%), financial services (24.5%) and food (23%) had the highest female replacements.

It may be no surprise to women’s rights advocates that there’s been a surge in new women CEOs in the years after the Great Recession. Case in point: Carol Bartz helmed Yahoo!












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from 2009 to 2011 and Marissa Mayer took over from 2012 to 2017. Last year, Bartz spoke about the “glass cliff,” the theory that women are more likely to get offered leadership roles during or just after a company is in crisis. Put bluntly, many women are hired to clean up the mess, often left by male CEOs. “Mostly because a lot of times men don’t want the job,” she said.

Don’t miss: The U.S. Women’s World Cup–winning soccer team will earn just 18 cents on the dollar compared to men

“And so they go for the Tier 1 man on their list, and they take a look and say, ‘I wouldn’t touch that with anything,’” Bartz told the podcast “Freakonomics.” And then they get to the Tier 2 man. And by the time they get to the Tier 2 man, some woman has finally popped up in their mind. And she’s so happy that she has a chance to have a senior position as a director or a CEO that she takes it.” She added, “Women have a lower unemployment rate than men. More women get bachelor’s degrees than men; nearly 40% of MBA graduates are female.”



















Women hold just over 5% of CEO positions at Standard & Poor’s Composite 1500 companies.







Indeed, women still have a long way to go for equal representation in the C-suite. Approximately 10% of 5,700 chief executive officers and chief financial officers at Standard & Poor’s Composite 1500












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 stock index companies are women, according to a study published last year by the Pew Research Center, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank. Women hold just over 5% of CEO positions at those companies. The study was based on an analysis of federal securities filings by S&P 1500 companies, which mostly covered fiscal years ending in 2016 or early 2017.

Although women constitute a significant pool of potential future CEO candidates, the women executives identified by Pew tended to be in positions such as finance or legal that, according to previous research, are less likely to lead to the corner office than more operations-oriented roles. A separate survey of corporate human-resource heads at large U.S. companies found that women made up only 10% of the short-term CEO candidate pool, meaning the group of potential candidates who could step into the CEO role within three years.

Some sectors appear less welcoming for high-level women executives, according to Drew DeSilver, author the Pew report. Utilities had the biggest share of female executives who were not CEOs (17%). That was followed by 16% in the consumer sector, which includes the automobile, clothing, broadcast, hotel and restaurant industries. But only 6% of non-CEO executives at S&P 1500 telecommunications companies were women. “Despite the advances women have made in the workplace,” DeSilver wrote, “they still account for a small share of top leadership jobs.”

In corporate America, it’s difficult for women to be promoted to the top spot. Women CEOs are twice as likely to have come from outside a company than be chosen internally, according to one Harvard Business Review report that looked at 2,000 top-performing companies. And there appears to be a cultural resistance to ambitious women in corporate America: Women negotiating for a promotion were labeled as bossy, aggressive or intimidating, according to one-third of respondents in a 2016 Lean In/McKinsey & Company survey of 34,000 employees.























Quentin Fottrell is MarketWatch’s personal-finance editor and The Moneyist columnist for MarketWatch. You can follow him on Twitter @quantanamo.


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Called to Account: SEC examination of quarterly reporting schedule focuse…









The Securities and Exchange Commission held a two-part public panel discussion on Thursday to ask again if reporting earnings quarterly promotes “short-termism” — an unhealthy focus on short-term results to the detriment of long-term performance.

Speakers from the investor and public company realms — including representatives from Fidelity Investments and Vanguard Group as well as new public company Uber Technologies Inc.












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 and Nasdaq












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 , among several others — discussed the nature, timing, format and frequency of periodic reporting, as well as the relationship between the quarterly and annual SEC filings and the earnings releases they announce to the market, often ahead of official reports.

The SEC had issued a request for public comment on several ideas and potential suggestions as well as open issues last December, and is reopening its solicitation after it originally closed in March.

The SEC’s ongoing initiative is focused on simplifying the production and dissemination of financial information and “relieving any burdens associated with investors’ efforts to compare an earnings release and Form 10-Q to identify information that is new or different,” according to the SEC’s request for comment.

Some companies issue their earnings release before filing their 10-Q with the SEC. MarketWatch has reported, based on academic research, that nearly 70% of public companies are providing fourth-quarter and year-end results up to 16 days before the finalization of the annual audit and filing of the 10-K with the SEC. That can lead to undue pressure on auditors, say the researchers, to avoid any changes to their opinion that contradict the earlier earnings release.

Read: Only a few companies are reporting earnings that are fully audited

One commenter responded to the SEC’s questions by suggesting companies should file their 10-Q simultaneously with any earnings release, reasoning that this would “help investors to be more informed and better able to address issues with management on earnings calls.” The SEC said that other commenters suggested requiring the 10-Q to be filed before earnings releases and earnings calls to allow analysts to digest U.S. GAAP disclosures before receiving earnings release information, which frequently includes non-U.S. GAAP disclosures that don’t follow required accounting practices.

The SEC is requesting additional comment on how it can “alleviate burdens related to Form 10-Q reporting while maintaining investor protection.” For example, the SEC would like to know if it should provide an option for companies to use earnings releases to satisfy the core financial disclosure requirements of Form 10-Q.

Of course, even though the SEC also wants to help companies reduce the time and money they spend complying with quarterly reporting requirements, investors still have to be protected. The ultimate objective is to understand the impact of the SEC’s current requirements on corporate decision making and strategic thinking, “including whether it fosters an inefficient outlook among registrants and market participants by focusing on short-term results,” the SEC says.

See also: BlackBerry violates SEC rules with use of nonstandard metrics

Academic research on short-termism also sometimes supports eliminating quarterly reporting.

Thursday’s panels also talked about how many companies still provide “forward-looking earnings guidance” — detail about management’s expectations of the company’s future financial performance — in the earnings release or on the quarterly earnings call.

Read on: All of MarketWatch’s Called to Account columns























Francine McKenna is a MarketWatch reporter based in Washington, covering financial regulation and legislation from a transparency perspective. She has written about accounting, audit, fraud and corporate governance for publications including Forbes, the Financial Times, Accountancy and the American Banker. McKenna had 30 years of experience at banks and professional-services firms, including at PwC and KPMG, before becoming a full-time writer.


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Earnings Watch: Amazon earnings: Top-line growth is in focus for the seco…









Fresh off of Prime Day, Amazon.com Inc. is scheduled to report second-quarter earnings after the closing bell on Thursday and JPMorgan analysts think it’s time to shift focus to revenue after a string of quarters with blockbuster profit.

“We believe the key driver of Amazon’s share price over the past ~12-to-18 months has been its significant profit outperformance (+300 basis points operating income margin expansion in 2018 with ~$1 billion-plus profit beats in four of the last five quarters), which has outweighed revenue deceleration concerns and ongoing regulatory and antitrust scrutiny,” wrote JPMorgan in a July note.

Amazon’s












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  first-quarter earnings marked the fourth consecutive quarter that the e-commerce giant reported record profits.

“Looking forward, we expect the Amazon narrative to shift back more toward top-line growth in the second half of 2019, which in our view is important as Amazon remains a growth story and it’s too early for the company to be in harvest mode,” JPMorgan said.

Read: It’s Amazon’s Prime Day but other big retailers also benefit

Analysts led by Doug Anmuth think one-day shipping could drive revenue acceleration though they would be “surprised” at any “significant” profit beat given the cost of cutting the Prime shipping time down from two days.

Amazon said it would spend $800 million in the second quarter to cut the Prime shipping time in half.

JPMorgan rates Amazon stock overweight with a $2,200 price target. Amazon is one of the group’s top picks, and occupies a space on its U.S. Analyst Focus List.

See: Amazon Prime Day sales surpass Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined

Amazon has an average buy stock rating and average target price of $2,254.38, according to 47 analysts polled by FactSet.

Here’s what else to expect from Amazon’s earnings:

Earnings: FactSet expects Amazon to report earnings per share of $5.56, up from $5.07 last year.

Amazon has beaten FactSet EPS expectations for the last seven quarters.

Estimize, which crowdsources estimates from analysts, fund managers and academics, expects EPS of $6.15.

Revenue: Amazon is expected to report revenue of $62.48 billion, according to FactSet, up from $52.89 billion last year.

Amazon has beaten the FactSet revenue consensus the last two quarters.

Estimize is guiding for revenue of $63.19 billion.

Stock price: Amazon shares have rallied nearly 31% for 2019 to date, outpacing the S&P 500












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 , which is up nearly 19%, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average












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 , which is up 16.5% for the period.

What analysts are saying:

Don’t miss: On Amazon Prime Day, searches for e-Bay, Best Buy, Walmart, and Target soared 255%

-Amazon has set its sights on a new category.

Instinet analysts led by Simeon Siegel highlighted Amazon’s launch of a Professional Beauty Store in its June 24 note.

In March, the company launched its private-label skincare brand, Belei. And it has since gotten into the celebrity makeup game, making Lady Gaga’s brand Haus Laboratories available for preorder during the Prime Day event, ahead of its September launch. Haus Laboratories will be available on Amazon exclusively.

“It remains to be seen whether this is actually going to trigger change or whether it is simply another of Amazon’s many press releases – many products are already widely available online, and on Amazon specifically,” said Instinet in June. “That said, beauty has largely been outside of Amazon’s share grab thus far, so a decision to make a broader push into the category shouldn’t be ignored.”

Also: Amazon Prime Day will showcase one-day delivery

-Customers still don’t go to Amazon for the big stuff

KeyBanc Capital Market’s second-quarter consumer survey found that while customers will purchase consumer electronics, clothes and toys from Amazon, they still won’t buy big items like mattresses and appliances. Groceries are also on the list of things shoppers are least likely to buy.

Still, the survey found that nearly two-thirds of U.S. households have a Prime member, and younger shoppers are adopting Prime at high rates.

-Prime one-day delivery is going to drive sales

Also: Facebook earnings seem immune to the Big Tech backlash – for now

Cowen analysts think the move from two-day shipping to one is going to make a big difference for Amazon sales, as much as $1.9 billion to $3.7 billion incremental U.S. gross merchandise volume (GMV) and ~$1.1 billion to $2.0 billion in incremental U.S. revenue in 2019.

“The impetus for the sensitivity is derived from 32% if U.S. Prime households suggesting they abandon units in their carts because they will not be delivered in a timely fashion per our proprietary survey data (which we haircut to ~22% based on ratio of total responses),” Cowen wrote.

Cowen rates Amazon stock outperform with a $2,500 price target.























Tonya Garcia is a MarketWatch reporter covering retail and consumer-oriented companies. You can follow her on Twitter @tgarcianyc. She is based in New York.


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