Stocks down sharply: Procter & Gamble's fourth quarter profit fell 18 percent, a reminder that consumers remain cautious about spending. Also, a report on the service sector was weaker than expected. Dow is down about 100 points in early trading.
More job losses: U.S. private employers cut 371,000 jobs in July, according to ADP, an improvement over June's drop of 463,000 but not enough to impress Wall Street. Government employment report is out Friday. (Reuters)
Raising GDP forecasts: Cash for clunkers and a ramping up of manufacturing have some economists revising their outlooks for the rest of the year. Third quarter growth could reach as high as 3 percent, according to Wells Fargo, up from 2.2 percent. (WSJ)
Running out of cars?: Dealers had been keeping their inventories tight, given their weak business in the first half of the year. Now, with the success of cash for clunkers, they're starting to run out of cars. From the WSJ:
Galpin Ford in North Hills, Calif., the country's largest Ford dealership by sales, is running low on Escape crossovers and Focus compacts, general manager Terry Miller said Tuesday. The Focus is the top-selling model under the clunker program, and the Escape is among the top 10 best-sellers, according to the Transportation Department.
Studio hardliners: More from the LAT's Patrick Goldstein on the pay cuts that Hollywood talent has been taking.
What's going on here? In Hollywood, whenever a studio executive would sit down to negotiate with an agent for an actor, writer or filmmaker, one of the first questions volleyed across the table was: What's your client's quote? If you'd written, directed or starred in a big hit, or even enjoyed a couple of modest successes in a row, your quote went up. And unless you ran off to make some nutty labor-of-love indie film where everyone committed suicide in the third act, your salary level was assured. That quote stuck like glue. Even after a few stinkers, a big star could still get their $15- or $20-million fee. Not anymore. For basically everyone except Will Smith, salary quotes have evaporated...
No more Arena Football?: The indoor league is suspending operations, but holding off on filing for bankruptcy. It canceled the 2009 season late last year to reduce costs and now appears to be on life support. From the NYT:
The league is about $14 million in debt. Most teams were losing money. Some owners' core businesses have had serious setbacks because of the recession. An anticipated investment of $100 million by Platinum Equity, a private investment firm, which would have remade the A.F.L. into a single-entity structure, fell through last year. Without Platinum's infusion, said Ed Policy, the league's former acting commissioner, "the only source of capital contribution left was from the owners." He noted that "some wanted to, some couldn't, some wouldn't."
Whole Foods changes course: CEO John Mackey says he wants to focus more on health, which is how the supermarket chain got started. From the WSJ:
The blunt-speaking Mr. Mackey said the company's product selection had veered off-course. "We sell a bunch of junk," he said, vowing to promote healthier lifestyles for its customers and employees. "We've decided if Whole Foods doesn't take a leadership role in educating people about a healthy diet, who the heck is going to do it?"
Clifton's building up for sale: Downtown's venerable cafeteria (even the word seems quaint) has fallen on hard times, so the family owners have put the 47,000-square-foot property on the market for $4.75 million. They intend to stay open for business. (LAT)