I’m not talking about Christmas card etiquette, either. As complicated as that is, what worries me more is what’s going to happen to the credit card companies.
The regulators are once again on my tail, seemingly hell-bent on undermining American enterprise. Some holiday gift, right? I scoffed last Thursday about potential problems for Visa and MasterCard after the Federal Reserve said it may cap transaction fees for debit cards. Those aren’t my stocks, I said, and I chortled that American Express isn’t in the debit card business. Well, that gloating caught up to me today, as AmEx dropped 3.4 percent, contributing to my modest 14-point decline.
Elsewhere, Meredith Whitney, a gloomy but very smart analyst, went on 60 Minutes to talk about an impending crisis facing American state budgets. She’s been going on about this for a while now, but it’s hardly heartening that she’s gotten some TV face time on such an enormous platform. Something may truly be afoot there.
While we’re on “state” liquidity troubles, Europe’s still got some major headaches to deal with. Apparently even France is vulnerable to a credit downgrade. France! Like, the one with the Eiffel Tower? For some reason it seems like they’d be able to sort things out or bank on their sheer cultural superiority. Apparently speaking a beautiful language isn’t enough to protect you anymore.
All these looming crises aside, it’s kind of quiet out there. Seems like we’re slowing down ahead of the holidays, which is fine with me. I’m hoping to catch my breath on Christmas Eve, when I get the day off.
See you tomorrow,
The Dow Jones Industrial Average