Stocks up a bit: After three straight losing days, the market is on the plus side (can't keep going down, right?). The Dow is up around 65 points in early trading, already down from its highs.
Global pullback: It's one of those misery loves company things. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development predicts that gross domestic product for its 30 member countries would decline 0.3 percent in 2009, before recovering slightly to grow by 1.5 percent in 2010. Data shows that Germany is already in a recession; France and Italy are not far behind. (NYT)
Grim forecast: Speaking at a private equity conference today in Hong Kong, Bain Capital Managing Director Paul Edgerley said he expected U.S. housing prices to drop a further 15 percent to 20 percent and predicted "a very deep recession, I think the worst we’ve seen in my lifetime." From DealBook:
Mr. Edgerley was more optimistic about Asia, saying the region was in a better position to weather the financial storm. Bain’s Asia focus is China, Japan and India. His hope for Asia was based on the growth of the consumer market and burgeoning middle class. “I think it’s likely that China will grow at 7 to 8 percent for most of 2009 and 2010,” he said. He was less encouraging about India’s prospects, as the country’s economy is not as driven by exports as China’s.
California foreclosures fall: Don't get excited - October's 44 percent drop in filings from a year earlier is the result of a new law that requires lenders to contact borrowers in advance of a foreclosure. The CEO of RealtyTrac, which came out with the latest numbers, says the drop in filings "understates the severity of the foreclosure problem." (Bloomberg)
California seeks help: Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger says the feds should give money to states as part of a financial stimulus package. He has already sent a letter to congressional leaders asking for "a temporary increase in the Medicaid matching rate and/or by providing direct grants to states." From the Sac Bee:
Legislative Analyst Mac Taylor on Tuesday projected that without immediate action the state will face a $27.8 billion revenue shortfall over the next 20 months, and deficits of roughly $22 billion in subsequent years. Schwarzenegger last week proposed a mix of taxes and spending cuts to close the current year gap of $11.2 billion. State legislative leaders may travel next week to Washington, D.C., to plead their case, Schwarzenegger said. Assembly Speaker Karen Bass, D-Los Angeles, said Tuesday that California deserves federal money as much as struggling industries.
Speaking of handouts: You just knew Villaraigosa would get into the act. He has asked city officials to draw up a list of projects that could be started immediately if federal funds were made available. City officials? L.A.? Free money? I smell disaster. (Daily News)
Live Nation slumps: When consumers cut back, it's a good bet they won't go to as many concerts. So it's not a big surprise to see two analysts downgrade the L.A.-based concert promoter/ticketing service - and for its stock to take a big dip. Shares are up a touch this morning. (LABJ)
Remember Barry Minkow?: The ZZZZ Best con-man-turned-corporate-crusader has found at least seven instances of resume cheating by senior executives. Minkow surveyed 358 senior executives and directors at 53 public companies (he says it's not a scientific sampling - just suspect companies or industries). From the WSJ:
One of the discrepancies Mr. Minkow turned up in SEC filings involves Dennis Workman, chief technical officer at Trimble Navigation Ltd. According to his biography in the Sunnyvale, Calif., company's annual report, Mr. Workman holds a master's degree in electrical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. M.I.T. says Mr. Workman attended the school, studying physics for two semesters, but never earned a degree. A spokeswoman for Trimble, LeaAnn McNabb, says Mr. Workman thought he had received a master's degree when he left M.I.T.'s doctoral program in the late 1960s. "The professor gave his assurance to Dennis that he would submit the necessary paperwork," Ms. McNabb says. "Dennis is working with M.I.T. to work out the situation."
Valleywag pulls back: Silicon Valley's preeminent rumor blog will be shut down and folded into gossip site Gawker.com. Gawker Media head Nick Denton has painted a pessimistic picture about the economy, which presumably is the reason for the move. From CNET:
It was a tough sell for advertisers, given its niche audience, and many tech companies would be hesitant to advertise on a publication dedicated to ridiculing tech companies. And then there was the fact that you just can't turn the average Valley exec or VC into a Perez Hilton-style celebrity. The likes of Mark Zuckerberg, Peter Thiel, and Elon Musk simply don't add up to Britney Spears-like followings.