Friday morning headlines

Market slips: Weak results from Microsoft, Amex and Amazon might be taking a toll. That, plus the profit taking from the last few days. Dow is down about 40 points in early trading.

Senate passes budget plan: Passage came after a grueling all-nighter. But the Assembly has yet to take up some of the most controversial portions of the plan. One potential sticking point is a bill that deals with how schools would be repaid some of the money the state is cutting. From the LAT:

As of this morning, the Assembly had yet to vote on it. As the hours dragged on, lawmakers waited for bills that had not even been drafted yet, and they cast their votes on legislation they had barely been able to peruse. Several lawmakers sent streams of consciousness out to the world with regular postings on Twitter. "What do members do in between bill votes?" wrote Assemblyman Tony Mendoza (D-Artesia)."We gather in members lounge and sing Hotel CA with guitar: gathered around like in a campfire. Nice."

7-Elevens all over town: The convenience store chain plans to add up to 600 new locations in the region. By leasing stores in the middle of a real estate slump, 7-Eleven can save millions of bucks on rent. From the LAT:

7-Eleven, which at its peak in the 1980s had about 1,500 stores in California, is banking on consumers' stopping in for chicken wings or a prepackaged sandwich instead of buying lunch out, part of a nationwide shift that has consumers shopping at Target instead of Nordstrom and taking advantage of dollar specials at fast-food chains. By offering inexpensive food and other impulse items, said Jeff Lenard, spokesman for the National Assn. of Convenience Stores, 7-Eleven and its competitors can attract more business during downturns than other retailers.

Denny's sued over salt: Meals "are dangerously high in sodium," claims a New Jersey man with the support of the Center for Science in the Public Interest. From the LAT:

Salt-laden selections include the Meat Lover's Scramble, an amalgamation of cheese, eggs, bacon, diced ham and sausage that comes with more meat on the side plus hash browns and pancakes. The meal has 5,690 milligrams of sodium -- the equivalent of nearly three days' advised maximum salt intake. A scrambled eggs and cheddar cheese meal on the Denny's "senior" menu has 2,060 milligrams of sodium.

Price declines slow: An average gallon of self-serve regular gasoline in the Los Angeles-Long Beach area is $2.845 per gallon, just 2.4 cents less than last week, according to the Auto Club. Prices nationally have started to rise (oil is edging higher) so you might want to fill up.

BW's horrible numbers: No wonder McGraw-Hill is putting the place up for sale: The magazine lost around $20 million on revenues of $147 million in 2008, with slightly smaller losses projected in 2009. Add in rent and other costs and the losses jump to $40 million. From Business Week:

One company participating in that process is OpenGate Capital, the Los Angeles private equity firm that in October 2008 purchased TV Guide magazine (without its Web operations) for $1 plus the assumption of substantial liabilities.

OC payrolls shrink: Here's a sobering stat: Almost 115,000 jobs have been lost from the peak in December 2006. That brings down employment to levels not seen since January 2004. (OC Register)

SFV prices stabilize: June's median price was 13 percent below that of a year earlier - still pretty lousy but it's the smallest percentage decline in 18 months. The 375K median was also a $25,000 increase from May. (Daily News)

More by Mark Lacter:
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Those awful infographics that promise to explain and only distort
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Mark Lacter
Mark Lacter created the LA Biz Observed blog in 2006. He posted until the day before his death on Nov. 13, 2013.
Mark Lacter, business writer and editor was 59
The multi-talented Mark Lacter
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