TARP to the rescue?: The White House is now considering tapping into the $700 billion Wall Street rescue package to prevent a collapse of the U.S. auto sector. At this point, it's all improv. (NYT)
Look out below: The average price of regular gasoline in the L.A. area is $1.764 per gallon, according to the Auto Club, which is 14.8 cents lower than last week and $1.53 lower than last year. Oil prices have been gyrating in recent days, leading some analysts to speculate that the market is close to bottoming out.
State's bond rating dinged: Those $5 billion worth of short term notes that were sold in October are now at SP-2, down a notch from SP-1. Standard & Poor's cited California's worsening budget crisis in lowering its rating. From the LAT:
"Should the state not enact timely midyear budget gap closing measures by February 2009, or should the state's cash position weaken significantly compared with recently revised state cash flow projections," the rating firm warns, the ratings on California's long-term debt could be lowered, S&P said. That could drive more investors away from California bonds, forcing the state to pay higher interest rates to borrow. Municipal bond yields in California and elsewhere have been surging in recent weeks as state budget troubles have deepened.
If strike authorization fails?: Leaders of the Screen Actors Guild would probably be forced to accept an earlier deal by the media companies. For SAG to be able to call a strike, 75 percent of those voting would have to approve the authorization. (Variety)
Filling Mervyns space: Forever 21 and Kohl's are expected to move into 22 of 41 Mervyns locations that are owned by Santa Monica-based Macerich (the shopping mall company purchased 41 Mervyns sites in 2007 and 2008). From the Business Journal:
In Los Angeles County, Forever 21 is taking space at the following Macerich centers: Lakewood Center Mall, Los Cerritos Center, and Montebello Town Center. Kohl's is taking space at Macerich’s Stonewood Center in Downey, and at three centers not owned by Macerich: Huntington Oaks Shopping Center in Monrovia, Galleria at South Bay in Redondo Beach, and Whittwood Town Center in Whittier.
MGA appeals: The Van Nuys-based toymaker asked a federal judge to indefinitely delay enforcing a court order that bars it from selling Bratz dolls. A permanent injunction was issued last week, preventing MGA from selling the dolls. (Reuters)
Inland Empire's downturn:Office vacancy rates reached 20 percent during the third quarter, according to USC's Casden Forecast. From the Press-Enterprise:
Almost 1.5 million square feet of office space was completed during the first nine months of this year, but demand for that property is so weak, mostly because of fallout from the region's housing slowdown, that most of that space remains vacant and is likely to be leased out slowly during the next 12 months, the report found.