Stocks take another hit: I don't get it: Aren't we supposed to be easing into Thanksgiving? No big news, other than airport delays and holiday shopping? Not this year, buster. The Dow is already down 150 points this morning, much of it related to the usual suspects (credit worries, high oil prices, and a lower dollar). Investors are heading for the bills - namely T-bills, whose 10-year yield has fallen below 4 percent for the first time in more than two years. Not exactly helping matters is the Federal Reserve's less-than-rosy outlook for next year (NYT). Growth will slow so much that it could feel like a recession. (AP)
$100 oil?: It could happen today. Prices rose above $99 a barrel in after-hours trading as the slumping dollar increased demand for commodities. Crude for January delivery climbed as much as $1.26 to a record $99.29 a barrel. The Energy Department comes out with its weekly inventory numbers this morning, and that could move the market either way. (Bloomberg)
Calculating strike costs: If the writers walkout extends into next month, it'll cost of local economy $21 million a day, or so says FilmLA, the group that promotes the industry. The calculation is based on the loss of most of the 44 one-hour dramas and 21 sitcoms that are shot here - a dubious measure considering that many of those losses are made up in pre- or post-strike production. Not to quibble, but lots of the facts and figures concerning the strike are pretty suspect or at least highly skewed. (LAT)
Mysteries of lost luggage: Believe it or not, you can blame dirty printer heads that produce adhesive tags for bags. Dirt makes bar codes hard to read, leading to misdirected bags. Regular wiping can help, but only to a point. It's not only dirty heads that keep bags from reaching their owners. From the NYT:
Holiday travelers can expect to feel the effects of six years of airline downsizing in one way or another. About 27 million passengers are expected to fly during the 12 days surrounding Thanksgiving, 4 percent more than last year, the Air Transport Association said. But there are fewer airline employees to look after them, and their bags. And to squeeze more flights out of the day, planes are sitting on the ground for shorter periods between flights. So predictably, more bags fail to join their owners, particularly on connecting flights. “There’s a lot of opportunity for failure,” said Hans Hauck, manager of baggage operations at American’s headquarters in Fort Worth.
Rob Maguire responds: Why on earth does the L.A. real-estate investment trust lease space in a building owned by Maguire himself - and why didn't the REIT exercise an option to purchase the building, 1733 Ocean Ave. in Santa Monica? Maguire told the WSJ that the building is convenient for business in West L.A. (well, maybe if you live in Malibu or the Palisades) and that the rent is heavily subsidized and below market rate. JMB Capital Partners, which has a 5.2 percent stake, wants Maguire to explore "strategic alternatives," including a sale. From the WSJ:
The response comes at a tense time for Maguire Properties, a REIT that owns 35 million square feet of office buildings, primarily in southern California. The company explored selling itself late last fall, but scrapped those plans and decided to continue as a public REIT early this year. It then made a $3 billion bet on a number of properties sold by the Blackstone Group LP, including 22 properties in Orange County that had a number of residential mortgage lenders as tenants before the subprime market cratered. During the summer's market turmoil, investors sold off Maguire. Total returns are down 32.7% for the year, despite a recent jump due to rumors that the company again might be for sale. (In comparison, the SNL U.S. REIT Equity Index is down 14.7% this year.)
GM-Toyota allegations: A certified auditor who has worked for 23 years at New United Motor Manufacturing Inc. in Fremont says management routinely deleted or downgraded defects from her reports on vehicles since 2005. Those defects included faulty seat belts and braking. In a lawsuit, Katy Cameron demands unspecified damages for retaliation against a whistle-blower and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Cameron claims that when she complained about the defects going through, her bosses demoted her twice, accused her of being crazy and violent, and forced her to submit to mental fitness tests, according to the documents. (AP)