Stocks just muddling: Overseas markets offer little direction, as the Fed decides on interest rates later today.
When worlds collide: Ex-Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, speaking to Asian bankers, investors and fund managers, blamed the world financial crisis on government excesses. She also said that China "rightfully makes a lot of people nervous." From the WSJ:
She described her political philosophy as a "common-sense conservatism," and said the free-market policies of Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher should be guides for how to get out of the current economic situation. "Liberalism holds that there is no human problem that government can't fix if only the right people are put in charge," she said.
Holiday jobs scarce: New surveys finds that about 40 percent of the nation's biggest chains expect to hire up to 25 percent fewer temporary workers this year than last (and hiring last year was already downshifting). From the WSJ:
In a typical Christmas season, the retail sector contributes about 700,000 temporary jobs to the economy. If retailers decrease those numbers by 10% to 20%, that would translate to a potential loss of more than 100,000 jobs this year just when they are most in demand.
Skimpy yields: Demand is so strong for California's $8.8-billion debt sale this week (so much for the state going bust) that investors should expect yields on the low end. We're talking about the 1.25 percent to 1.50 percent range. Final numbers are due out later today. (LAT)
Pasadena office complex sold: Local and Asian investors have purchased the 11-story tower at 2 N. Lake Ave. for $52 million. LAT says it may be the largest office property sale of the year in L.A. County (which isn't saying all that much). Retail tenants include Brooks Brothers.
Obama carries Letterman: The president's late-night appearance did wonders for CBS, who easily swept past NBC's Conan O'Brien. It also gave Letterman a bigger audience on Monday than Jay Leno in prime time. (NYT)
Paring down Alaska cruises: Carnival Corp. says it's just too expensive to do business in the state. Princess and Holland America already have announced cuts. From USA Today:
[Carnival Corp. Chairman and CEO Micky Arison] and other Carnival executives said it was becoming increasingly difficult to make money in Alaska due to growing fees, taxes and regulations imposed on cruise companies by the state, and they said that other destinations such as Europe now hold more appeal for their ships.
Business Week rumor mill: There's still division in the Bloomberg camp over whether buying the biz weekly is a good idea, NY Post's Keith Kelly reports. Business Week owner McGraw-Hill has already extended its deadline for bids.