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Will Fourth-Quarter Earnings Meet Expectations?

According to a market report from FBR Capital Markets, bank stocks managed to outperform compared to many others. FBR says the improvement stemmed from rising investor expectations in response to interest rates moving higher and the economy showing signs of improvement. "However," FBR says, "we believe most banks will not be able to live up to these expectations as loan growth remains weak, pressures on margins still exist, and mortgage banking results should remain relatively poor."

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December Jobs Report Shows Paltry Growth, Plunge in Labor Force

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released Friday its Employment Situation Report, revealing job growth well below consensus forecasts. According to the government report, the U.S. economy added 74,000 jobs last month. Meanwhile, the unemployment rate dropped 0.3 percentage points to 6.7 percent, reflecting a precipitous drop in the labor force. BLS' report shows the labor force participation rate falling 0.2 percentage points to 62.8 percent.

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Commercial Real Estate Loan Prices Flat in November

Commercial real estate (CRE) loan prices in the secondary market were largely flat in November, according to the latest report from DebtX, a loan sale advisor for commercial, consumer, and specialty finance debt. The estimated price of whole loans increased to 92.7 percent as of November 30, rising from 92.3 percent the prior month. Loan values were 89.4 percent. Meanwhile, DebtX's Loan Liquidity Index was 107.5, up from 105.7 in October.

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Small Servicers Feeling Heat from New Rules

While most larger servicing shops have made a great deal of progress ahead of Friday's new industry regulations, a report from Fitch finds smaller companies still have a number of challenges to meet. Fitch acknowledges that many independent and non-bank servicers have adapted to the technological advances made in the industry, but compliance with the new rules will mean more recordkeeping and infrastructure improvements that could mean higher costs for these smaller firms.

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