Good economic news: Global manufacturing activity was generally stronger in August, and output at U.S. factories rose for the first time since January 2008. (AP)
Stocks higher: At last check the Dow was over 9,500. I still say the market reminds me of the Dodgers this season - and for non-baseball fans, that's not necessarily a compliment.
More Hollywood deals?: Disney's purchase of Marvel Entertainment is bound to spur such talk, though the M&A market remains spotty at best - and the Mouse House's $4 billion offer was deemed quite rich. From the WSJ:
Marvel is tied up with almost every studio in town, and unraveling those ties is going to become a long-term project for Disney. Before Marvel began financing its own films, such as "The Incredible Hulk" and "Iron Man," it licensed its characters out to other studios. Marvel owns Spider-Man, but it has a long-term agreement with Sony Corp. that allows Sony Pictures Entertainment to make movies based on the character, in exchange for royalties. Similarly, News Corp.'s Twentieth Century Fox makes the movies starring Marvel's "X-Men."
Gripes over TV coverage: LAT TV critic Mary McNamara, like many others, was not happy with the way the local stations covered the fire this weekend. She and her family were evacuated from their La Crescenta home.
So why were so few news minutes and almost no imagery given over to the flames that for days now have busily consumed the hills behind my house? To find out what's actually happening, I have to drive up as far as the roadblocks allow, walk the rest of the way and peer through the smoke myself. Not that I am averse to a bit of on-the-ground reporting, but this is a fire threatening at least five communities. What do we have to do to get a little blow-by-blow televised coverage? "If only Kate Gosselin lived in La Crescenta," I found myself thinking Monday morning as I watched KTLA-TV Channel 5 (which is owned by Tribune Co., as is The Times) move quickly off a brief report of the fire -- it's spreading -- into a segment about decoding carbs, then we'd have the news crews out in full force.
Status quo on fires: Firefighters are sounding a little more hopeful this morning as the Station fire appears to be slowing down. Cooler weather is forecast for later in the week. (LAT)
Will B of A repay?: WSJ reports that Bank of America is offering to return at least $500 million in government money, though keep in mind that the bank's overall tab runs closer to $45 billion. From the WSJ:
BofA is suggesting it could start with the $20 billion of additional aid supplied in January when the bank was hesitating to complete its takeover of loss-ridden Merrill. Repaying this would mean BofA would no longer be considered an "exceptional" aid recipient -- a designation that has put it under a microscope by Congress and regulators, with its pay packages subject to review by the federal "pay czar."
Gas prices stable: They've barely budged in the last week, according to the government's survey. An average gallon of regular in the L.A. area is $3.029.
Did Toyota conceal evidence?: Pacific Palisades attorney Dimitrios Biller says in a suit that the automaker forced him to withhold information from opposing lawyers concerning rollover accidents. Toyota called Biller's allegations "inaccurate and misleading." From the LAT:
In the July 24 lawsuit filed in federal court in Los Angeles, Biller accuses the world's largest automaker of destroying data in more than 300 accidents that proved vehicle roofs were substandard. Also in the lawsuit, he alleges the company illegally withheld e-mails and other computer-stored information from victims' attorneys. Clarence Ditlow, executive director of the Center for Auto Safety, a consumer advocacy group in Washington, said that if what Biller says is true, the financial repercussions for Toyota could be massive.
Mixed magazine news: While newsstand sales keep falling, paid subscriptions actually increased a bit. Circulation for biz magazines continues to plummet: Money was down 33.9 percent, Fortune, 29 percent, Forbes 15.3 percent. (NYT)
VF power list: Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein winds up at the top of Vanity Fair's annual roster of movers and shakers. No. 2 was Apple CEO Steve Jobs, followed by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, billionaire Warren Buffett and Google's founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin and CEO Eric Schmidt rounding out the fifth spot. (NY Post)
Lacter on radio: This morning's business chat with KPCC's Steve Julian covers the economic impact of the brushfires and a possible bankruptcy filing by the parent of the OC Register. Also on kpcc.org and on podcast.