Markets up a bit: Merger news might be providing some encouragement. Dow is up about 40 points in early trading.
Same question about stocks: The economy's performance still isn't matching the market's performance - and now that we're past Labor Day, there's likely to be some reassessment on Wall Street. From the WSJ:
As long as the happy news keeps coming, the gains can continue. But the more good news investors get, the harder it is to surprise them, and the bigger the risk that some lurking disappointment could spoil the party. "World economies are no longer 'on the brink of an abyss' and economic growth seems within reach," says Gordon Fowler, chief investment officer at Philadelphia money-management firm Glenmede Trust, in a report to clients. But consumers and government need to reduce their substantial debts, and that "has the potential to derail the pleasant uptrend."
Weak hiring for Q4: Of the more than 28,000 employers surveyed by Manpower, almost 70 percent expect no change in their October-December hiring plans. In a full-bore economic recovery companies typically make plans to boost their hiring. (Calculated Risk)
Housing market holding up: August home sales in L.A. County are up 45 percent from a year earlier, according to HomeData, while the median price of $330,000 was down only 18 percent from August 2008 (and level with the July numbers). (Business Journal)
Why is Dole going public?: The nation's largest fresh produce business is facing a cash crunch, the result of interlinked loans and heavy spending by its owner, billionaire David Murdock. From the LAT:
The company, with about $7 billion in annual revenue, has nearly $2 billion in debt and a high-risk credit rating. Murdock has used the company to guarantee $205 million in loans to the tycoon's pet projects, including a luxury health resort in Westlake Village that suffered what he once described as "several hundred million dollars" in cost overruns during construction.
Deciphering summer box office: Not easy to compare this year's numbers with 2008's because Labor Day fell so late. Lop off these last few days and revenue was up. But attendance was down. From the NYT:
The decline followed a huge surge in winter and spring moviegoing, a phenomenon analysts attributed to a mix of easy, mass-appeal titles like "Paul Blart: Mall Cop" and the brutal economic downturn. Americans, teetering between bust and bailout, seemed to want escape, and movies, despite climbing ticket prices, are still a very affordable form of entertainment. But moviegoers, aided by booming social networking services that make word of mouth immediate, started to become more discerning about value: films had to be perceived as worth their leisure-time investment.
Uproar over meter hikes: SFV merchants say they're losing business because of the increased cost of street parking. Citywide, hourly rates are now $1 an hour at the minimum (some are as high as $4 an hour). L.A. had not increased its parking meter rates in 17 years. (Daily News)
Lacter on radio: This week's business chat with KPCC's Steve Julian looks at the dismissal of 1,500 workers at American Apparel and the increasing numbers of non-payroll jobs in L.A. Also on kpcc.org and on podcast.