American Express, Capital One earnings beat forecasts

American Express Co (NYSE:AXP – News) and Capital One Financial Corp (NYSE:COF – News) both reported better than forecast fourth quarter earnings, but expressed concern about the growth outlook for credit cards.

American Express, the largest U.S. credit card company by purchases, posted much higher fourth quarter earnings, beating forecasts, helped by rising consumer spending and lower credit losses, but revenue was flat.

Executives for the two U.S. credit card companies were cautious about the industry’s prospects for growth in 2010, amid changing appetites for consumer credit, and new looming regulations.

“The lack of consumer demand for credit, across our businesses, is striking,” said Capital One Chief Executive Richard Fairbank during the company’s earnings call late on Thursday.

Fairbank said he expected the industry’s growth to stagnate under pending fee curbs imposed by the CARD Act, passed last year by the U.S. [Read the full article]

Embracing Depression-era policy and populist politics, a combative President Barack Obama chastised big Wall Street banks Thursday and urgently called for limits on their size and investments to stave off a new economic meltdown.

Obama’s rhetoric covered the whole financial industry, but the key changes will affect only a few high-profile players, including JPMorgan Chase & Co., while sparing investment banks like Goldman Sachs Group Inc. The move could undercut Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner’s strategy of maintaining close ties with the financial industry as part of the administration’s overhaul efforts.

“We have to get this done,” Obama said at the White House. [Read the full article]

Asian stock markets tumbled Friday after President Barack Obama proposed a sweeping overhaul of Wall Street banks to avert future financial crises.

Losses spread across most markets and sectors across the region, following an overnight retreat in the U.S.

Obama said he would seek to limit the size and complexity of large financial companies so their collapse wouldn’t imperil the broader financial system and economy, leading to more bailouts at taxpayers’ expense. The move comes amid growing public frustration with Wall Street and bank rescues.

As in the U.S., bank stocks fell in Asia but other industries also suffered steep drops as investors scaled back their riskier bets amid uncertainty about the ultimate effects of the U.S. proposal. [Read the full article]

Embracing Depression-era policy and populist politics, a combative President Barack Obama chastised big Wall Street banks Thursday and urgently called for limits on their size and investments to stave off a new economic meltdown.

Obama’s rhetoric covered the whole financial industry, but the key changes will affect only a few high-profile players, including JPMorgan Chase & Co., while sparing investment banks like Goldman Sachs Group Inc. The move could undercut Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner’s strategy of maintaining close ties with the financial industry as part of the administration’s overhaul efforts.

“We have to get this done,” Obama said at the White House. [Read the full article]

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