Stocks modestly higher: Some pickup after yesterday's drubbing.
Another jump in gas prices: An average gallon of regular in the L.A. area is $2.983, up about nine cents from last week, according to the government's survey Oil prices appear to have stabilized at the $70-$72 a barrel level. From the LAT:
Tom Kloza, chief oil analyst for the Oil Price Information Service in Wall, N.J., said prices may be close to a peak. But fuel pricing analyst Bob van der Valk wasn't so optimistic. He said California gasoline would hit $3.25 a gallon in the coming weeks and that the national average would come very close to $3 a gallon. "I was a pricing manager for Unocal for many years," said Van der Valk, who works for 4Refuel Inc. of Lynnwood, Wash. "It's pricing according to what the market will bear."
WH wavers on helping CA: The Obama administration has ruled out emergency aid for now, but it leaves the door open in case things really get bad. From the Wash Post:
After a series of meetings, Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner, top White House economists Lawrence Summers and Christina Romer, and other senior officials have decided that California could hold on a little longer and should get its budget in order rather than rely on a federal bailout. These policymakers continue to watch the situation closely and do not rule out helping the state if its condition significantly deteriorates, a senior administration official said. But in that case, federal help would carry conditions to protect taxpayers and make similar requests for aid unattractive to other states, the official said. The official did not detail those conditions.
GM sells Saab: Buyer is a consortium led by the sports car maker Koenigsegg Automotive. No purchase price was disclosed, though the European Investment Bank is in for $600 million in financing. From the NYT:
Saab, which has a narrow, though loyal, customer base focused on Sweden, Britain and the American Northeast, sold just 93,000 cars last year, too little to lure the world's big automakers, many of which are sniffing out potential tie-ups to increase their scale of production. Koenigsegg, an unlisted company of just 45 employees based in Angelholm, Sweden, turns out just a few "super cars" -- high-performance sports cars costing more than $1 million each -- per year.
Six Flags keeps parks: No asset sales are expected from the Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing. "This isn't a liquidation," Mark Shapiro told CNBC. "This is about the past. This is about debt that's been around for just too long." Six Flags owns Magic Mountain in Valencia. (DealBook)
Hanmi gets help: The L.A.-based Korean American bank is raising as much as $11 million in new capital from Leading Investment & Securities Co,. a South Korean brokerage firm. From the LAT:
Hanmi, the largest of more than a dozen Southern California banks whose core depositors are of Korean descent, has struggled with mounting loan losses more than most of those banks. In October state and federal regulators issued informal orders requiring Hanmi to maintain capital, restrict dividend payments and revise its standards for making loans and reserving funds to cover losses.
CalPERS likes private equity: The state pension fund is pulling back on stocks and boosting its stake in private equity deals. The CalPERS people say that private markets tend to be the most depressed after a recession and so they elicit the best bargains. (LAT)
Helping bankroll the parade: Casey and Laura Wasserman and Jerry and Margie Perenchio are among the deep pockets that will help foot the bill for Wednesday's celebration. The city had agreed to split the cost with the Lakers but there was an outcry over public funds being used in the midst of a deep recession. (LAT)
Lacter on radio: This morning's biz chat with KPCC's Steve Julian covers the new report from UCLA Anderson Forecast and the woes of the travel industry.