US Consumer Borrowing up Strong $20.1B in August
Americans increased their borrowing in August with the category that covers auto and student loans rising by the largest amount in nine months.
The Federal Reserve reports that consumer debt rose by a seasonally adjusted $20.1 billion in August following a gain of $16.6 billion in July.
The August performance exceeded expectations. Many economists had been looking for a smaller increase of around $15 billion.
The gain was led by a $15.2 billion rise in auto loans and student loans, the biggest jump in this category since last November. The category that covers credit cards saw an increase of $4.8 billion, up from a $1.3 billion rise in July.
Consumer borrowing is closely watched for signals it sends about household spending which accounts for 70 percent of economic activity.
Trump’s Flagship Scottish Resort Lost Millions Last Year
A financial report filed with the British government shows that President Donald Trump lost millions of dollars at his flagship Scottish golf resort for a fourth year in a row last year.
A report from Britain’s Companies House shows that Trump’s Turnberry resort lost 3.4 million pounds ($4.4 million at current exchange rates) in 2017. The loss, however, is smaller than the previous year’s when the resort was closed for six months.
Trump’s company has struggled since it ventured into Scotland a dozen years ago. It lost a court fight to stop an offshore windmill farm at a second Scottish resort, drew objections from the environmental regulators and faced backlash from local anti-Trump protesters.
The president’s son, Eric Trump, expressed optimism that Turnberry will turn an operating profit soon.
Tesla Releases First Quarterly Safety Report
Tesla says it recorded one accident for every 3.34 million miles driven in the third quarter when the autopilot was engaged on its vehicles.
That rises to 1.92 million when autopilot is not on.
It’s the first quarterly autopilot safety report released by Tesla. The accident rates fall far below the U.S. average.
The most recent National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data shows one auto crash for every 492,000 miles driven in the U.S.
The one-page report did not include any details on the collisions but follows some crashes that were highly publicized, just because there is so much interest in the cars and their autonomous systems, as well as the company’s eccentric CEO, Elon Musk.
Tesla says it’s now going to start publicly releasing accident data every quarter.
Musk, Foundation to Donate Water Stations to Flint Schools
Elon Musk and the Musk Foundation are donating water stations and filtration systems to schools in Flint, Michigan, which is still recovering from a lead-tainted water crisis.
The Flint Journal reports Friday that Flint Community Schools thanked the tech billionaire for “investing” in students’ health and future in a tweet Thursday. Musk responded via tweet that he hoped “to do more to help in the future.”
The Associated Press left messages Friday seeking comment from Musk and district officials.
Lead leached from old water pipes into homes and buildings after Flint began using water from the Flint River in 2014 without adding corrosion-control chemicals. Flint returned to Detroit’s water system in 2015.
In July, Musk tweeted that he would organize an effort to add filters to homes that need them.
President of Nation’s Largest Public Pension Fund Unseated
The president of the nation’s largest public pension fund has been unseated by a critic who says fund directors are attempting too much social investment at the expense of pensioners.
The Sacramento Bee reported Thursday (https://bit.ly/2IJhHjz) that Corona police officer Jason Perez defeated Priya Mathur, a 15-year member of the California Public Employees’ Retirement System’s Board of Administration.
It was Perez’s first run for the board. He’s said he worries about the $360 billion pension fund and wants it to concentrate on maximizing returns from its investments.
He’s previously objected, for instance, to calls for the fund to stop investing in companies that sell assault weapons and devices that allow guns to fire more rapidly.
Mathur is a mass transit financial analyst. She was narrowly elected board president in January.
Tronc No More: Company Reverting to ‘Tribune Publishing Co.’
It’s Tronc no more. The Chicago-based media company says it’s ditching the name and will revert to its “Tribune Publishing Co.” moniker.
The company rebranded itself Tronc — short for “Tribune online content”— in 2016 to highlight its digital publishing efforts. But the clunky-sounding name quickly became the subject of jokes across social media.
Tronc owns papers across the U.S. including the Chicago Tribune, the New York Daily News and The Baltimore Sun.
It is also changing its stock ticker from TRNC to TPCO. Both changes are effective after the market closes Tuesday.
Tronc has been cutting staff at its papers and sold off the Los Angeles Times in February to shore up its results. It didn’t give a reason for the name change.
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