Receiving Wide Coverage ...
Warning sign?: U.S. credit card debt outstanding rose $11.2 billion in November to a record $1.023 trillion in November, according to the Federal Reserve. The previous record of $1.021 trillion was reached in April 2008, just before the credit bubble burst. Revolving credit has increased by $55.1 billion, or 5.7%, over the past year. The increase may be “highlighting a more confident U.S. consumer but also flashing a warning signal of potential trouble down the road,” although incomes are higher today than they were nine years ago. Wall Street Journal, USA Today
Bigger than Apple: The Swiss National Bank said it expects to earn a record 54 billion Swiss francs ($55 billion) for 2017, “a staggering sum equal to 8% of the country’s gross domestic product” and more than Apple Inc. makes in a year, the Wall Street Journal calculated. The central bank, which is publicly traded, owns a nearly $800 billion portfolio of foreign stocks and bonds.
“By comparison, if the Federal Reserve were to run a profit of similar scale relative to the U.S. economy, it would be about $1.5 trillion,” the Journal added. Instead, the Fed has earned an annual profit of about $100 billion in recent years. Wall Street Journal, Financial Times
Coin power: Eastman Kodak’s stock jumped as much as 77% in the first hour of trading on Tuesday after the company said it plans to launch an initial coin offering. Kodak said the coin will power KODAKOne, a new blockchain-based platform that will help photographers license their work and facilitate payments to them.
“For many in the tech industry, ‘blockchain’ and ‘cryptocurrency’ are hot buzzwords, but for photographers who’ve long struggled to assert control over their work and how it’s used, these buzzwords are the keys to solving what felt like an unsolvable problem,” Kodak CEO Jeff Clarke said. Wall Street Journal, New York Times
Wall Street Journal
Q4 preview: The big Wall Street banks are expected to report “another banner quarter for corporate earnings” later this week, although the reports may be a little “noisy” as several of them take large writedowns due to tax reform, the Journal’s Heard on the Street column reports.
“Companies are expected to take one-time hits tied to newly taxed cash held overseas as well as write-downs of deferred tax liabilities or declines in the value of deferred tax assets,” the paper said. “That said, banks and other financial services companies are likely to eventually see a boost to their profits due to the lower corporate tax rate. As a result, many believe the one-time tax hits won’t drag on the market much.”
Five of the biggest banks are expected to take a total of about $31 billion in tax-related hits in the fourth quarter, with Citigroup accounting for about $20 billion of the total.
Still got it?: The upcoming debate about restructuring Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will be a test to see if the National Association of Realtors, “one of the largest and wealthiest lobby groups in the U.S.,” has lost any clout after it “emerged from the recent tax overhaul hobbled and humbled.” Despite throwing its weight against several aspects of last year’s tax reform act, such as the deductibility of mortgage interest and state and local property taxes, the act “significantly diminished the incentives for homeownership,” the Journal noted. “As the Fannie and Freddie debate begins, analysts said the NAR’s power is likely diminished, but it remains a force.”
American Banker looked at the six critical questions impacting housing reform.
Jump start: Toronto-Dominion Bank said it has acquired Layer 6 Inc., a Toronto-based artificial intelligence startup that the bank hopes will “jump start” its ability to launch new banking services to its customers. “The Layer 6 deal is the first major acquisition by a Canadian bank of an AI company as financial service institutions develop technology aimed at taking their massive stockpiles of data and use complex algorithms that could, for example, improve customer satisfaction or automate various services to help manage costs,” the Journal said.
“I’m just not interested in that topic at all.” — JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon in an interview with Fox Business, in which he said “I regret” calling bitcoin a “fraud” last year.