Harvard’s Investment Report Card

LinkedIn is shutting down its social networking service in China. The Microsoft-owned site cited “a significantly more challenging operating environment and greater compliance requirements” in making the move. It was one of the last foreign social networking sites operating in the country — Twitter and Facebook have been blocked for years, and Google left more than a decade ago — and will instead offer users in China a new app focused solely on job postings.

Netflix faces outside criticism and internal unrest. The comedian Dave Chappelle’s special, “The Closer,” was called transphobic by several organizations, including GLAAD. It has thrust Netflix into difficult cultural debates, the kind usually focused on Facebook and Google, which are playing out in heated internal discussions as employees accuse the streaming giant’s executives of facilitating the spread of hate speech.

The nation’s largest banks this week reported bumper earnings for the third quarter, propelling the stock market higher. Profits at Bank of America, Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, Morgan Stanley and Wells Fargo rose by more than 50 percent, on average. (Goldman Sachs reports later today.) Driving the banks’ earnings increase was a flurry of fee-generating deal-making activity, but other parts of their businesses, like trading and lending, were down.

Those six banks hold more than 40 percent of all assets in the sector, which means that their fortunes can provide a pretty good weather vane for the economy in general. Here’s the forecast:

Partly sunny with unseasonably high temperatures: Deal-making was strong, with M.&A. fees hitting record highs, a sign that executives are optimistic about the future. Consumers are also opening their wallets, with credit card spending up more than 20 percent in the third quarter, versus a year ago, at Bank of America, Citi and JPMorgan. “If you look at the economy, it’s improving, people are spending more and businesses are going to have to start investing,” Paul Donofrio, Bank of America’s C.F.O., said yesterday.

Late thunderstorms possible: Trading revenue fell at JPMorgan and Citigroup and rose slightly at Morgan Stanley, reflecting the recent turmoil in markets. What’s more, a good portion of the banks’ earnings in the latest quarter came from tapping rainy-day funds. Bank of America, Citi, JPMorgan and Wells Fargo pulled a collective $6 billion out of accounts meant to cover future loan losses. And loan growth overall was again disappointing. If higher spending shows optimism for today, a lack of lending may be a sign that consumers and businesses still see clouds on the horizon.


Newyork time

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