Banks: JPMorgan’s profits rise with interest rates
JPMorgan Chase, the country’s biggest bank, this week reported profits of $7 billion for the fourth quarter despite a volatile stock market, said Peter Rudegeair and Emily Glazer in The Wall Street Journal. The profits, which surged by two-thirds from the levels of a year earlier, were driven by the consumer banking business. An “increase in rates can help consumer lenders,” and consumer banking was responsible for $4 billion of the bank’s profit. The bank’s CEO, Jamie Dimon, said JPMorgan benefited from a healthy economy, but warned that “a protracted government shutdown could alter the outlook.”
Entertainment: Higher prices for Netflix
After heavy spending on content, Netflix is asking subscribers to pay more, said Jennifer Saba in Reuters.com. The streaming service’s most popular plan, which gets a price hike for the third time in five years, will run $13 a month, up from $11; its other plans are slated for similar increases. Call it the “dividends of dominance” for Netflix, which has amassed a whopping 135 million customers globally, as would-be competitors ramp up to compete for second place. Having “outfoxed far bigger rivals,” Netflix chief Reed Hastings “is claiming his booty.”
Satellites: Layoffs at Elon Musk’s SpaceX
Citing a need to get “leaner,” SpaceX last week announced it was cutting its workforce by 10 percent, said Samantha Masunaga in the Los Angeles Times. The cuts include 577 workers at its Hawthorne, Calif., headquarters. Founded in 2002 by Elon Musk, who is also CEO of the electric car company Tesla, SpaceX launched 21 satellites last year, up from 18 in 2017. But it may “face a squeeze, with new competitors on the horizon and fewer launches planned” for the school bus–size commercial communications satellites that make up SpaceX’s most important business.
Autos: Ford’s new ‘monster’ Mustang
Ford used the Detroit auto show this week to introduce a “monster” Mustang that could “build a halo around the brand,” said Robert Ferris in CNBC.com. The Mustang Shelby GT500 boasts 700 horsepower, 3-second 0-to-60 mph acceleration, and the “name of racer and engineer Carroll Shelby,” who designed the legendary first GT500. Ford’s best-selling vehicle is the F-150 truck, and less than a year ago the company said it would “all but stop selling cars in North America.” If Ford follows through, the new Mustang could turn out to be “the last traditional passenger car in its lineup.”