Stocks open higher: China's half-trillion dollar economic stimulus package is getting the week off to a promising start, as is the government's revised bailout plan for AIG (though lots of folks are steaming over the bailout bailout). In early trading, the Dow is up over 100 points.
Circuit City files Chapter 11: The bankruptcy filing comes after the electronics retailer announced it would close 20 percent of its U.S. stores, including a bunch in Socal. Best Buy has already expressed an interest in taking over some of the CC stores. (AP)
Big pullback at DHL: The package express service is cutting 9,500 U.S. jobs and eliminating U.S.-only domestic express shipping. The company plans to keep its U.S. operations for overseas packages. Still unclear is how this will affect a proposed deal to have UPS carry air packages for DHL. That plan would eliminate DHL flights out of March Air Reserve Base in Riverside. Earlier this year DHL relocated one route from March to LAX. (AP)
Home prices fall in October: L.A. County's median price was $365,000, down 4 percent from a month earlier and 30 percent from a year earlier, according to HomeData Corp. Thatís the lowest level since February 2004. Sales were up sharply, but I couldn't find any specific numbers in the Business Journal story.
DreamWorks Animation scores: "Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa" generated $63.5 million at the box office over the weekend - good news for the Glendale-based studio. Also over the weekend, "Shrek The Musical" entered previews on Broadway for its Dec. 14 debut; and the company released its summer blockbuster, "Kung Fu Panda," on DVD. From the WSJ:
As a group, the products will spell out much the company's financial future for the next year. The company's next major event is the release of "Monsters vs. Aliens," a 3-D animated film that arrives next spring. So far, DreamWorks Animation has largely escaped the slowdown on Wall Street, though its stock has fallen. On Friday, it closed at $26.36, down about 19% in the past year.
Radio taking hits: The credit squeeze and competition from iPods and the Internet are creating big problems, but the biggest problem is an advertising shortfall. From the WSJ:
In Los Angeles, for example, the local dealer association for Toyota Corp.'s Lexus last year spent $6.5 million on area radio ads through August. For the same period this year, the group spent 26% less, or about $4.8 million. Verizon Wireless, a joint venture of Verizon Communications Inc. and Vodafone Group PLC, spent $10 million on Los Angeles radio during the first eight months of last year, but just $8.3 million this year. In both cases, the companies cut advertising at other media, such as local TV stations or newspapers, by even bigger percentages. The advertising cutbacks mean more than lackluster earnings. For many companies, poor earnings can trigger clauses in their agreements with lenders that could force them to renegotiate terms, possibly resulting in higher fees or interest.
MGM on YouTube: A few of the studio's older movies and TV shows will be available on the video hub, an obvious nod to Hulu, the NBC/Fox joint venture that has been gaining traction. But don't get your hopes up. Among the features available under the new MGM/YouTube arrangement: "American Gladiators," "Bulletproof Monk" and "The Magnificent Seven." From the NYT:
The initial lineup may not be all that compelling, but for YouTube, which is owned by Google, the relationship with MGM is a crucial step in an essential reinvention. YouTube had its debut in 2005 and quickly became famous for the democratic sharing of bite-size video clips. Users love the site ó 81 million people visited in September alone, according to Nielsen. But Hollywood executives have complained over the way clips of their movies and shows pop up on the site without their permission. And advertisers have found that user-created videos of pet pratfalls and oddball skits are largely incompatible with commercials for cars and other products. Revenue at YouTube has disappointed Google investors since the company bought the start-up in 2006.