Stocks keep gaining: The Dow is up about 275 points after about two hours of trading.
Scrap prices fall: After peaking at $450 a metric ton, prices are now going for about $130. Scrap metal is one of California's major exports, most of it going to China, South Korea or Taiwan, where it gets melted down and turned into products that are shipped back to the U.S. But the economy has put a damper on all that. (Daily Breeze)
Credit union seized: San Dimas-based WesCorp (Western Corporate Federal Credit Union) has been struggling with substantial losses on investments in mortgage-backed securities. Also taken over on Friday was U.S. Central Federal Credit Union. These institutions are wholesale operators - sometimes called corporate credit unions - that provide liquidity and settlement services to retail credit unions. From Real Time Economics:
It’s a middleman of sorts, often taking mortgage and vehicle loans from credit unions, slicing them up, and selling them off to investors. The proceeds are commonly loaned back to credit unions at low rates to help them fund their business, the same way the Federal Reserve’s funds are loaned to banks. There are 28 “corporates” in the U.S., which support the 8,500 or so credit unions that hold about a twelfth of the nation’s $8.3 trillion in deposits, according to Mike Moebs, who runs Moebs Services, a research and consulting firm in Lake Bluff, Ill. Credit unions are cooperatives, with members as opposed to customers, and so they have two unique features: they’re not taxed, and they don’t issue preferred stock — which is particularly relevant right now, because it means they’re not eligible for the Treasury’s “bailout” funds.
Nixing port plan: The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that a temporary injunction should be granted to halt parts of a program aimed at reducing pollution at the ports of L.A. and Long Beach. Earlier, an injunction request by the American Trucking Associations had been denied by U.S. District Judge Christina A. Snyder. From AP:
The group, which represents 37,000 trucking companies, argued the so-called Clean Trucks Program could jeopardize the ability of independent haulers to work at the ports, noting a requirement at the Port of Los Angeles that all truckers become employees of trucking companies. "The District Court shall proceed as quickly as possible so that ATA will not suffer unnecessary harm from any unconstitutional provisions," the three-judge panel wrote in its decision.
George Torres trial begins: He's the immigrant entrepreneur who prosecutors allege has used murder, theft and intimidation to build his business empire. Federal trial starts tomorrow. From the WSJ:
Mr. Torres's chain of large, brightly lit Numero Uno supermarkets are the business anchors in several largely ethnic blue-collar neighborhoods of Los Angeles and neighboring cities. Mr. Torres "was one of the trailblazers" in the local Mexican-American grocery business, said Steven Soto, president of the Mexican American Grocers Association. The indictment contends that in pursuit of zoning permits for one of his Numero Uno markets, Mr. Torres illegally made payments of cash and goods -- including Lakers basketball tickets -- to a former city-planning official, Steve Carmona.
Buyer for Rosslyn Hotel?: Downtown landlord Rob Frontiera was hit with a $1 million fine for illegally evicting people from the 264-room hotel. Now comes word that Common Ground, a NY-based nonprofit developer of low-income housing, is trying to buy the Rosslyn. Common Ground would still need to raise funds to renovate the property. (Downtown News)