Consumer borrowing grows at slower pace

Consumers increased their borrowing in December at the slowest pace in six months, as growth in credit card usage decelerated sharply.

Total borrowing rose $14.2 billion in December vs. November’s increase of $25.2 billion, the Federal Reserve reported Tuesday. Borrowing in the category that covers vehicle purchases and student loans rose by $11.8 billion, below the $13.4 billion jump in November.

But borrowing in the category that covers credit cards slowed to a gain of just $2.4 billion after a surge of $11.8 billion in November. It was the weakest showing since credit card debt fell last February.

The December increase pushed total borrowing to a record of $3.76 trillion.

Economists think growth in consumer credit will remain strong in 2017, reflecting low unemployment and further solid gains in employment and consumer confidence.

— Associated Press

Teva CEO steps down with immediate effect

Teva Pharmaceutical was left without a permanent chief executive Tuesday when Erez Vigodman stepped down, leaving new management to restore confidence in the world’s biggest generic drugmaker after a series of missteps.

Teva, Israel’s largest company, said late Monday that Vigodman was departing immediately and would be replaced on an interim basis by Chairman Yitzhak Peterburg.

Investors say Teva, which faces pricing pressure in its core generics business and lost patent protection on key branded drug Copaxone, which is used for multiple sclerosis, needs a CEO with extensive pharmaceutical experience.

Teva’s bad run continued Tuesday, when the company said it was being investigated in Israel concerning issues that led to a $519 million U.S. settlement in December over allegations that it bribed overseas officials to gain business.

— Reuters

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