Stocks start to slide: This could be a jittery day, what with disappointing economic news (retail sales, jobless claims) and yesterday's big gain. Dow is down about 15 in early trading.
Real clunkers passed by: Turns out that nearly 5 million of the nation's most polluting vehicles aren't eligible for the government program. Lobbyists for antique auto parts suppliers and car collectors persuaded Congress to shut out cars built before 1984. From the LAT:
The restrictions were pushed by lobbyists for the Specialty Equipment Market Assn., a Diamond Bar group that represents companies that sell parts and services to classic and antique car collectors. The group, as well as classic car enthusiasts, have opposed cash for clunkers because they don't want older vehicles to be destroyed. When the proposals for a clunker buyback program surfaced early this year, the specialty equipment association opposed the entire concept because such a program could shrink the size of the market for aftermarket parts. The association eventually got lawmakers to adopt the age limit.
Foreclosures still high: One out of every 123 California housing units received a foreclosure filing in July, according to RealtyTrac, though that includes notices of default and other filings that are several steps before an actual foreclosure. From Bloomberg:
"There are a slew of factors showing fundamental weakness on the demand side: tighter underwriting, job loss, investors who've been badly burned," said Stuart Gabriel, director of the UCLA Ziman Center for Real Estate in Los Angeles. "We have not seen the bottom of the housing market."
CA jobless claims fall: Total initial claims filed for the week ended Aug. 1 were 73,536, down from 80,794 in the last week of July. It was the biggest drop since early May. Nationwide, claims for the week ended Aug. 8, and released this morning, were slightly higher than expected. (OC Register)
Hollywood over China?: The ruling in favor of the U.S. government's complaint against China's restrictions on foreign films might not mean that much, considering that rampant piracy limits demand for imported DVDs. From BW:
Likewise, the [World Trade Organization] ruling against China's monopoly on film imports doesn't do anything about the bigger problem, which is the 20-movie annual quota on foreign movies. As Glickman's statement says in a succinct final sentence, "that restriction remains in place."
Wal-Mart 2Q profit flat: Company officials caution that shoppers will keep going for less-expensive store label products and smaller-pack sizes. And they don't expect the holiday season to be dramatically better than last year. (AP)
KIIS-FM still tops: New Arbitron numbers shows the station with a 4.8 percent listener share. News talk station KFI-AM (640) and soft rock KOST-FM (103.5) tied for second with 4.4 percent each. (Business Journal)