Health care plan: Lots of coverage on the governor's proposal for universal health coverage (it leads the NYT). One potential consequence: higher premiums. That's because if you insure everyone, you'll be dealing with customers who are in poorer health than current enrollees. Some health plans might leave the market altogether, according to the LAT. Reaction from business groups is generally mixed, with small business owners employing more than 10 workers the most worked up (they'll have to provide coverage or pay into a state plan). One early supporter: Safeway Inc., parent of Vons, which already pays for health insurance and resents competitors who don't.
Mortgage boost: A small decline in interest rates has generated more business for mortgage brokers - for now. A number of deals are getting done on the assumption that rates will go up again come spring. NYT reports that the drop in rates is in part due to bond investors - some from Asian central banks - who have been lending billions of dollars to the federal government. Mortgage rates are closely tied to the yield on the 10-year Treasury note.
Apple to announce iPhone: That's the expectation on Wall Street this morning as Apple Computer shares were up in the hours before the start of MacWorld, where CEO Steven Jobs is likely to introduce an Apple-branded cellular phone (folks are starting to call it an iPhone). At this point, Jobs had better say something or Apple stock is going to fall. In any event, Cingular Wireless is expected to be the service carrier, according to the WSJ.
Apple has a lot riding on its next moves. While the Cupertino, Calif., company has enjoyed several years of fast growth riding on the back of its hit iPod digital music player, there is a growing sense in the financial community that Apple will soon need to enter potentially big new categories like cellphones and television set-top boxes to keep up the momentum started by the iPod. As a result, pressure is building on the company.
Speaking of Apple: The WSJ reports that Paramount movies will be added to the iTunes movie service (Jobs could announce that today, as well). For now, the deal will only cover Paramount's back catalog, which includes "Forrest Gump," "Mission: Impossible" and "The Truman Show." Disney movies are also on iTunes.
Why the Guess changes?: Paul Marciano, who becomes sole CEO, said that brother Maurice was giving up the co-CEO role in order to focus on strategy and less on day-to-day operations (they had been splitting the title for seven years). "This is where Maurice will play a much bigger role in where the company goes," Paul Marciano told the LAT, "and Maurice is excellent at that." The two guys not only work together but spend their weekends together. "Title has never really been a subject for us," he said.
(New) LAX plan: As expected, airport commissioners set aside more than $150 million to buy back Terminals 2 and 5. The move clears the way for the airport to charge higher rents and encourage lower-cost carriers from expanding their LAX operations. The airlines oppose the move and are at least talking about litigation. Daily News
New time on radio: My Tuesday business chat with KPCC's Steve Julian is now at 7:05. This morning we talked about the governor's health care proposal, Malibu real estate and Herbalife's stock implosion. It will be posted on the the station's Web site either today or tomorrow.