Stocks mixed: The Dow is down around 20 points in early trading. Today will wrap it up for October, which will be among the worst months in stock market history. Onto Thanksgiving.
Spending plunges: September saw the largest drop in consumer spending in four years. Incomes, meanwhile, rose just 0.2 percent. (AP)
Falling like a rock: L.A.-area gas prices nosedived by 20.4 cents a gallon over the past week, according to the Auto Club's new survey. An average gallon of regular now goes for $3.019, but it's well under $3 in many parts of town. Oil seems to have stabilized, trading in the $60-$65-a-barrel range.
Calling all borrowers: For all the attention paid to helping out borrowers who got stuck with a bad mortgage, the FDIC has discovered that these folks are often hard to reach. Federal regulators now in charge of IndyMac sent out 35,000 letters offering homeowners a chance to modify the terms of their loan. But more than half did not bother to respond. From the LAT:
"Anecdotally, what you hear is that a lot of people kind of hunker down when they're getting into trouble with their mortgages, and maybe just stop opening the mail," said Mike Krimminger, a special policy advisor to FDIC Chairwoman Sheila C. Bair. "Some people have contacted us previously but then just decide they can't handle it anymore and go silent," Krimminger said. "And some have maybe just walked away from the home. So it's a combination of things."
Candy update: Some financial maneuvering has provided a little breathing room for the British-based brothers who want to develop the former Robinsons-May site in Bev Hills. One of the Candy's partners, Kaupthing Bank of Iceland, will transfer its ownership stake to Christian Candy's CPC Group. The Iceland-based bank was seized by the government as a result of the credit crisis. From the LAT:
The Candys and London restaurateur Richard Caring now control the Beverly Hills property. Thursday's agreement may also help the Candys in negotiations over their default on a $365-million short-term loan that they used in their $500-million purchase of the property in 2007. The loan -- from lenders led by Credit Suisse Group -- was meant to be used just until the Candys obtained construction financing for their project, but when the credit crunch hit the money dried up.
Palmdale airport gets dumped: The struggling Antelope Valley facility will no longer be part of Los Angeles World Airports, which is the city’s umbrella agency that operates LAX and Ontario. No big surprise – the airport will lose its only commercial carrier in December when United stops service. County officials might file suit against LAWA for allegedly violating the terms of a settlement over a failed airport expansion plan. (Daily Breeze)
Portfolio gets cut: The Condé Nast business monthly will now only come out 10 times a year and up to 20 percent of the magazine's jobs could be eliminated (32 of 160 positions). Most of the Web site staff will be dismissed and much of the content unique to the site will be dropped. (NYT)
Few changes in merger: Delta and Northwest are now officially one, but Delta CFO Ed Bastian says there won’t be many changes. All hubs will stay and no flights will be eliminated (though there might be fewer seats). He says it will take two years before the two airlines can operate as a single carrier. (AP)
Rich get richer: The private equity folks appear to have traversed the world financial crisis pretty well - so much so that the average salary for senior associates at large buyouts is now $435,000, a 4 percent increase over 2007 levels. At the principal level large buyout funds pay an average salary of $885,000, also a 4 percent increase. All this is according to the 2009 Private Equity Compensation Report by Glocap Search LLC and Thomson Reuters. (Daily Deal:)
Not reading enough: JP Morgan analysts have lowered their earnings estimates for Barnes & Noble. It seems that “a full slate of distracting media events, including the Olympics, an active hurricane season, the financial credit crisis ('CNBC Effect'), and Presidential campaign trail makes for a difficult selling environment for books as retailers compete for customer mindshare." (Clusterstock)