The bottom line
Selling stolen personal data is a big business for hackers. To get passwords, they’ve laid siege to online retailers: More than 90 percent of login tries at online stores are from criminals, fewer than 10 percent from real customers. Hackers are also responsible for 60 percent of the login traffic at banks and airlines.
Americans are dropping traditional cable TV service even faster than predicted. By the end of this year, cord cutters will number 33 million, one forecaster estimates, up from an earlier projection of 27 million. The number should hit 55 million by the end of 2022.
The Hollywood Reporter
Profits are booming for the S&P 500. Per-share earnings for the second quarter are forecast to soar by 20.8 percent over a year ago. That would make two successive quarters of 20 percent increases, for the first time since 2010.
The New York Times
Alphabet, Google’s parent company, logged $3.2 billion in profits in the last quarter—even after a record $5.1 billion fine from the European Union. Revenue for the quarter was $32.7 billion, double that of just four years ago.
The housing market is faltering despite a vigorous economy. New home sales fell in June, dropping 2.2 percent compared with a year earlier. New home construction fell 12.3 percent from May to June, the biggest monthly decline in a year and a half.
The Wall Street Journal
From free Fortnite, a fortune springs
“Tim Sweeney made Fortnite a phenomenon by doing something that sounds crazy: He gave it away,” said Devon Pendleton and Christopher Palmeri in Bloomberg.com. Last year, the “last-character-standing, fight-to-the-death” game, in which players pursue “weapons, resources, and survival on a shrinking, storm-ravaged island,” became a true crossover success “played obsessively by children, rappers, professional athletes, and middle-aged accountants.” Rather than buy the game outright, players shell out for a virtual currency called V-bucks they can exchange for outfits, celebratory dances, or “special missions” that cost up to $20. The game has now been played by 125 million people, and is on track to gross $2 billion this year for Sweeney’s North Carolina company, Epic Games. Not much of a gamer himself, the workaholic 47-year-old is a billionaire, thanks to the decision to make Fortnite free.