Business Briefs – January 16, 2018

Tax Law Brings Big Paper Losses, Long-Term Gains to U.S. Banks

NEW YORK (AP) — Big U.S. banks have been reporting billions of dollars in paper losses this month as they are forced to come into compliance with the new tax law. The losses were widely expected, and bank executives say the new tax law will be good not only for banks but also the broader economy in the long run.

Concept Cars From Japan Automakers Offer Glimpse Into Future

DETROIT (AP) — Japanese vehicle brands are exploring new design ideas — and figuring out what sets them apart from their U.S. and European rivals — with new prototype vehicles. Nissan, Infiniti and Lexus are all unveiling new concept cars at the Detroit auto show, which opens to the public Saturday.

New Small Cars Unveiled at Auto Show But Will Anyone Buy?

DETROIT (AP) — Among the many shiny models vying for attention at Detroit’s North American International Auto Show are the revamped Volkswagen Jetta, Hyundai Veloster and Kia Forte. But cars — particularly small ones — are having a tough time getting buyers to look their way as SUVs grow in popularity. Car sales are expected to hit a record low this year after steadily declining for several years. SUVs first surpassed cars in 2016, and the gap only widens.

Wave of Lawsuits Filed to Block Net-Neutrality Repeal

NEW YORK (AP) — The expected wave of litigation against the Federal Communications Commission’s repeal of net-neutrality rules has begun. A group of 22 attorneys general, a tech company and a public-interest group have sued to block the Federal Communications Commission’s repeal of the rules. These rules barred companies like AT&T, Comcast and Verizon from interfering with internet traffic and favoring their own sites and apps. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai’s push to undo them inspired both street and online protests.

Consumer Watchdog Considering Repeal of Payday Lending Rule

NEW YORK (AP) — The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is reconsidering a key set of rules enacted last year that would have protected consumers against harmful payday lenders. The bureau, now under Trump administration control, says it plans to take a second look at rules put in place last year under an Obama appointee.

With a $6B Charge Comes New Thoughts About GE’s Future

BOSTON (AP) — General Electric Co. is signaling it may undergo a more comprehensive transformation, a decade after breaking off substantial pieces of the multinational conglomerate in a bid to a return it to its industrial roots. CEO John Flannery, who was put in charge of reviving the company last summer, on Tuesday revealed significant issues at GE Capital that will lead to a $6.2 billion after-tax charge in the fourth quarter. That has led to more discussions about what GE should be.

Watchdog: Foreign Groups Among Spenders at Trump Properties

WASHINGTON (AP) — An ethics watchdog group says foreign interests, political campaigns, business entities and other groups spent more than $600,000 over the past year at Trump properties in the U.S. The watchdog group Public Citizen says the frequent use of Trump Organization properties poses potential conflicts despite President Donald Trump’s insistence that he no longer controls his company. Trump gave up direct management of his company, but a trust allows him to continue withdrawing funds.