Thursday morning headlines

Market still edgy: The Dow briefly touched 9900 on Wednesday and then fell, adding to the concern, especially on the retail level, that the run-up can't last much longer. That, of course, could turn out to be a good thing in the market's often-contrarian way of performing. This morning the Dow is up about 32 points.

Relief for home buyers: The Federal Reserve will keep purchasing mortgage-backed securities, a move that might sound arcane but which could have important consequences for the housing market. From the WSJ:

Sales have increased in California, Florida and some other areas from the very depressed levels of a year ago, largely driven by investors and first-time home buyers chasing bargains on foreclosed properties. But the market remains weak amid worries that new waves of foreclosures will add to supply as banks sort through mountains of paperwork from distressed borrowers seeking easier loan terms. Not all of those borrowers can be saved. That leaves an unknown number of foreclosed homes -- estimated by some analysts to total several million -- to likely hit the market over the next few years.

Final tally on CA bonds: Investor demand has saved the state a few bucks in interest expenses. Notes that mature May 25 will pay an annualized tax-free yield of 1.25 percent and the notes maturing June 23 will pay 1.5 percent. From the LAT:

Those are paltry returns, but they beat what investors can find on most other short-term securities -- which is why the turnout for the note sale was so huge despite the state's weak overall credit rating. The average money market mutual fund yields a mere 0.06%. "People are really hungry for yield," said Marilyn Cohen, head of Los Angeles bond investment firm Envision Capital Management. A year ago, during the financial crisis, California had to pay yields averaging 4% to borrow via short-term debt.

Stadium suit dropped: Ed Roski's quixotic plan to build an NFL stadium in the City of Industry cleared a hurdle when the city of Walnut agreed not to pursue litigation aimed at killing the plan. Now all that's left is convincing the banks and the NFL. (LAT)

What did Kerkorian know?: Kind of a footnote in the Pellicano wiretapping saga, but an intriguing one. The federal judge in the case said there was "reasonable cause to believe" that the Bev Hills billionaire was "complicit" in some of Pellicano's illegal conduct. Kerkorian has denied any wrongdoing and hasn't been charged. (WSJ)

Citi beefs up in L.A.?: It's one of six major markets where the banking giant is expected to strengthen its retail operations - and, according to the WSJ, perhaps abandon or scale back in markets like Texas, where it has a smaller presence. (AP)

Tribune update: Bondholders are being allowed to look over legal documents in connection with the 2007 sale of the company to Sam Zell. Tribune creditors blame the leveraged buyout for driving Tribune into bankruptcy. From the NYT:

Lawyers for the bondholders will look for evidence of a breach of fiduciary duty and fraudulent conveyance to support their assertions that Tribune's banks, advisers, and two shareholder foundations may have placed company property beyond the reach of creditors.

Upgrade for Los Cerritos Center: More retailers are joining the mall's expansion effort. Nordstrom, which is opening a 138,000-square-foot store, and Santa Monica-based Macerich, which owns the mall, are funding the $95 million project. (Press-Telegram)

Insult to injury: More than 2,200 Bernie Madoff investors might have had some of their personal and financial information breached after the theft of a laptop. The computer belonged to an employee of a consulting firm that had been processing victims' claims. (Newsday)

More by Mark Lacter:
American-US Air settlement with DOJ includes small tweak at LAX
Socal housing market going nowhere fast
Amazon keeps pushing for faster L.A. delivery
Another rugged quarter for Tribune Co. papers
How does Stanford compete with the big boys?
Those awful infographics that promise to explain and only distort
Best to low-ball today's employment report
Further fallout from airport shootings
Crazy opening for Twitter*
Should Twitter be valued at $18 billion?
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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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