A federal appeals court on Tuesday threw out Federal Communications Commission rules that require Internet service providers to give all traffic equal access through their networks. The court said that the commission overstepped its authority when it imposed anti-discrimination rules on Internet service providers, because the commission had previously exempted those companies from that type of regulation. The decision, by the U.S. District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals means that, under current law, broadband providers can offer companies that provide Internet content — ESPN or Facebook, for example — faster service to provide their content to consumers, at a price. It is unclear how the FCC will respond.
JPMorgan Chase said Tuesday that its profits fell 7 percent in the fourth quarter, hampered by more legal woes and a decline in the bank's investment banking business. The bank reported net income of $5.28 billion in the last three months of 2013, down from $5.69 billion in the same period a year earlier. The bank's quarterly results had several one-time items, including a 27-cent-per-share charge related to legal expenses. One of those legal expenses was a $1.7 billion settlement over the bank's involvement in the Ponzi scheme of Bernard Madoff.
Fourth-quarter profit for Wells Fargo & Co., the biggest U.S. mortgage lender, jumped 11 percent as a steep drop in mortgage lending was offset by increased interest income. Net income after dividend payments on preferred stock rose to $5.4 billion in the October-December period from $4.9 billion a year earlier. Wells Fargo funded $50 billion worth of mortgages in the fourth quarter, down from $125 billion a year earlier. The bank has cut about 5,700 jobs, most of them related to its mortgage business, since the end of September. At the same time, net interest income increased $55 million to $10.8 billion as the bank earned more on the securities it held and from trading.