Market edges downward: Kind of a drip-drip-drip of uncertain/negative news this week. Dow is down about 15 in early trading.
But don't worry, be happy: U.S. consumer sentiment is at its highest level since January 2008, according to the latest Reuters/University of Michigan Surveys of Consumers - and it was above expectations. Let's go to the mall! (Reuters)
Mixed news from KB: The L.A.-based homebuilder reported a narrower loss in the third quarter, but the bottom line missed expectations. KB CEO Jeff Mezger says he's encouraged by rising orders. (AP)
Gas heads back down: But slowly. An average gallon in the L.A. area fell 2.2 cents, according to the weekly Auto Club survey, to $3.118 per gallon. Typically, demand begins to fall this time of year.
New SAG prez: Moderate Ken Howard gets the nod, with 44 percent of the vote. He defeated Anne-Marie Johnson (33 percent), who had the backing of the union's more militant side. Howard also won a majority of the seats up for grabs on the 69-member board. From the LAT:
The election results could portend less combative relations with the major studios, although anxieties that have fueled labor unrest -- how talent is paid in the Internet era, for example -- remain. Compared with 2007, when the last round of elections were held, actors and writers are facing a substantially depressed Hollywood economy. Jobs for guild members have been vanishing as studios cut back the number of movies and TV shows they produce, and low-cost reality shows have displaced scripted dramas and comedies, which are key employers of talent.
Launching refueling contract: It's Boeing vs. Northrop and the parent of Airbus in a slugfest for a $35 billion piece of business - and yes, we've been down this road before. From the NYT:
Congressional leaders said the Air Force seemed to have come up with a more objective process for judging the differences in the planes than it had before. But military analysts said it would be hard to tell whether the new process would provide an advantage to either side until the companies could study a draft of the request for bids, to be released Friday.
Samueli losses on appeal: An appellate court refused to reinstate a proposed plea bargain for the billionaire co-founder of Broadcom - one that would have kept him from doing time. But the three-judge panel did not rule on the merits of Samueli's claims. He is accused of stock option manipulation. (LAT)
Colony's not-so-swell week: Tom Barrack, founder of L.A.-based private-equity giant Colony Capital, could only raise about half of the $500 million he was seeking for a new real estate investment trust. From the LAT:
The deal tripped in large part because too many of Barrack's rivals -- including Barry Sternlicht of Starwood Capital and Leon Black of Apollo Group Management -- have raised or are trying to raise money for the same kind of vulture funds. The market is becoming at least temporarily glutted. Beyond that, many investors just don't like the structure of the deals.
Latest on MGM: The studio's debtholders and equity owners are duking it out, with the future of the film company in doubt. Some parties are threatening to force MGM into bankruptcy; others say it's just a bluff to extract better financing terms. Sounds like a mess. (NY Post, Deadline.com)
No more nudes: Talk about the end of an era: The strip club on Century Boulevard near LAX - you know, the one with the "Nudes, Nudes, Nudes" sign - has been shut down and will be demolished to make way for a parking lot. Somehow, "Cars, Cars, Cars" doesn't quite have the same ring. (LAT)