Another stock rally?: The Dow is up more than 200 points in early trading, despite a drop in factory orders. Traders have pretty much assumed an Obama victory tonight, and stocks are heading for a recovery no matter who is elected. They just want to get today over with.
Election freebies: Don't toss that "I Voted" sticker - it's good for a free appetizer at most Daily Grill restaurants, a draft beer at Pitfire Pizza locations, and 50 percent off at Cristophe salons. Krispy Kreme will give out star-shaped doughnuts to customers at select locations. From the LAT:
Although questions have been raised about the legality of these kinds of promotions, dozens of Southern California stores said Monday that they were going ahead with their plans. One problem with the promotions is that they are considered incentives to vote, which is illegal under federal law, said Kate Folmar, spokeswoman for Secretary of State Debra Bowen. The issue "comes up every election season," she added.
Calling race early?: The networks might make preliminary projections as early as 5 p.m., after the polls close in Pennsylvania and Florida. (Having network types talking about an early blowout almost guarantees that it'll be a later night than expected). From THR:
"There's no way to get around it," CBS News senior vp Paul Friedman said. "If one man gets 270 electoral votes before the West Coast polls are closed, we're not going to pretend (he doesn't)." Phil Alongi, who runs special events programming at NBC News, agrees. "If you project a state and (the candidate) reaches the electoral vote, what are you going to do? Lie?" Alongi said. "We will project a state when we're comfortable with the projection. If one of them hits the required 270, you have to report that, and you can't hold back."
Early indicator: Intrade, the online prediction market, is giving Obama a 92.5 percent chance of winning.
Good banks vs. bad banks: When you're handing out lots of money to some folks and not to others, you can expect problems. Already there's been criticism over the secretive way in which Treasury Department officials are divvying out those government infusions. From the NYT:
Industry sources said that banks, after filing a two-page application, are assigned a ranking from 1 to 5 — with 1 or 2 essentially guaranteeing that they are eligible, and 5 insuring they are not — by their regulator. The five officials then make what can be a life-or-death decision, with a thumbs-down generally interpreted to mean that a bank was not healthy enough to survive on its own. The work is complex, far-reaching and telescoped into an impossibly tight timetable. And it is being done against the backdrop of a change of power in Washington, which will throw many of these people out of their jobs on Inauguration Day.
Hollywood tax breaks proposed: The plan is similar to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's previous efforts to stem runaway production, all turned down by the legislature (some lawmakers call it a giveaway for companies that were unlikely to move out of state). From the LAT:
The tax concessions would probably cost the state at least $100 million a year. They are being proposed at a time when the state budget is $10 billion in the red, less than halfway into the fiscal year. The tax cut could be overshadowed by billions of dollars in sales tax hikes the governor has told education officials he wants lawmakers to approve. Administration officials say the cut is necessary to stop the industry's migration out of state. As an example, they cite the recent departure of Disney's hit television series "Ugly Betty," which relocated to New York.
Viacom cancels holiday party: But employees get two extra vacation days. Yippee! From CEO Philippe Dauman's memo (courtesy of Gawker):
As the holiday season approaches, we also want to encourage you to spend time with your family and friends, which is even more important in these uncertain times. In fact, instead of the traditional division and corporate holiday parties, this year we are giving everyone two additional vacation days to be used between December 22 and January 1. You’ll hear from your leadership about the holiday schedule in your division shortly, so you can all look forward to having a little extra time to relax and recharge for the coming year.
Lacter on radio: This morning's business chat with KPCC's Steve Julian looks at lower gas prices and heavy mark-downs by retailers. Also available at kpcc.org and on podcast.