World stocks tumble: Guess it's time to face reality: Consumers are still too worried to start spending again. Most all the world markets are taking big hits and the Dow is following suit in early trading. (AP)
Port outlook is grim: Expect a slow and painful recovery that will take another four years, according to a new report. That means not nearly as much work for longshoremen, truckers and warehouse workers. From the LAT:
Among the report's many points is that this recession is far more complicated than the economic downturns following the dot-com bust and the 9/11 terrorist attacks, after which pent-up consumer demand rather quickly returned the economy to relatively normal levels. This time, no such pent-up demand exists. Instead there has been a fundamental lowering of financial capability, according to the report, produced for the ports by consulting firms Tioga Group and IHS Global Insight.
Slow traffic at Port of L.A.: July inbound cargo fell 16.9 percent from a year earlier and outbound cargo was down 20.4 percent - worrying signs for the holiday shopping season because this is the time of year when merchandise begins arriving.
L.A. budget in trouble: Contract talks with public safety employees have grown acrimonious, which threatens a plan that would eliminate a $530-million shortfall. From the LAT:
And city financial advisors privately have begun warning that even if the council signs off on early retirement and wins new agreements with public safety employees, the city will still fall short by an estimated $40 million. In the meantime, the Planning Department has been hit by furloughs. The Fire Department has begun shutting down rescue units and ambulances on a rotating basis. And Police Department commanders have begun developing a contingency plan to furlough officers at least two days a month starting in October.
Money to invest: More than half the venture capital firms surveyed by Pepperdine's Graziadio School of Business and Management said they planned to make three or more investments over the next 12 months within their current fund. Nearly a quarter of the firms' capital is in software, followed by medical devices. (NYT)
Tribune creditors ask for inquiry: They want to hire special counsel to investigate the $8.2 billion leveraged buyout. Apparently this is common practice when a bankruptcy follows closely on the heels of an LBO. From the Chicago Tribune:
Creditors have not filed a lawsuit seeking to recover money against parties that were involved in the going-private transaction, which established an employee stock ownership plan to become majority owner of the company. But the court filing on Thursday signaled that they are considering pursuing litigation, said Chicago-based restructuring expert Bill Brandt.
Skinny fashion mags: September issues have gone on an unwelcome diet as frugal fashion advertisers slash their budgets. Most titles are almost a third slimmer than last year. From the WSJ:
As they spend less on magazines, the fashion companies are gingerly testing a range of lower-cost, often more measurable outlets. These include social messaging site Twitter, Google's video site YouTube, fashion and culture email newsletter DailyCandy.com and Glam Media, an Internet property targeted at women. They are reallocating some of their marketing dollars to buy space in new features on magazine Web sites, such as a shopping tool on Condé Nast's Style.com that will launch during New York Fashion Week in September.