7 things to know today and 8 financial predictions for 2018

Good morning, !

We’re nearing the end of a very eventful 2017, and as a way to get you ready for the months to come, WalletHub surveyed more than a dozen economics experts, analyzed big-bank projections and Federal Reserve forecasts, and produced a list of financial predictions for 2018:

  • U.S. GDP growth will remain near 2.5%.
  • Unemployment will crack 4%.
  • The S&P 500 will top 2,900 and finish at 2,838.
  • The Fed will raise rates three times, costing borrowers billions.
  • Credit card debt will break all-time records, topping $1 trillion owed.
  • Consumer credit scores will peak in 2018.
  • U.S. auto sales will top 17 million for the fourth straight year.
  • Existing home sales will again top 5 million, despite higher rates.

Want to know more about what the panel of economists sees ahead for next year. You can read the full report here.

And be sure to check out these other Tuesday headlines:

Brightline gets final OK from feds for Orlando-West Palm Beach segment

The long-awaited Orlando-to-Miami intercity passenger train got the final federal go-ahead to build the rail project between West Palm Beach and Orlando, with starting in first-quarter 2018. The Phase 2 segment to Orlando will take 30 months of construction, setting it up for a 2020 operating date.

Adventist Health System buys Lake Nona land for $9M

Adventist Health System, parent of Hospital, just bought more land in southeast Orlando’s Lake Nona community that potentially could be used for several medical purposes, including a freestanding emergency department and/or an outpatient surgery center. More here.

One of Orlando’s largest banks sells to North Carolina bank

HomeBancorp Inchas signed a definitive merger agreement with First Citizens Bank & Trust Co. First Citizens, headquartered in Raleigh, N.C., will pay $15.03 in cash for each share of HomeBancorp stock. The deal gives First Citizens (Nasdaq: FCNCA), two new markets — Orlando and Tampa.

Foundry Commercial to embark on third industrial park in Charlotte region

Orlando-based Foundry Commercial is expanding its development footprint in the Charlotte, N.C., region with a third industrial park, this time in Huntersville. In a joint venture with PGIM Real Estate, Foundry will initially develop three light industrial buildings on a 48-acre site at Bryton Town Center. At full buildout, the park, Bryton Commerce Center, will total six buildings and 700,000 square feet. More here.

Delta testing facial recognition project

Delta Air Lines (NYSE: DAL) — the second-largest carrier at Orlando International Airport — and U.S. Customs & Border Protection are launching a test project at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport this week that will allow travelers to board flight DL82 from Atlanta to Paris through facial recognition. The airline said it plans to expand the test to multiple daily flights. More here.

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Woohoo? We’re the No. 2 most-spoofed area code in the U.S.

Well, this is not a list we wanted to be on: Orlando’s 407 was the second-most-spoofed area code in 2017, trailing only Atlanta’s 404 area code, according to Hiya. In fact, unwanted calls to U.S. consumers overall have increased by a whopping 76% in 2017, up from over 10 billion last year.