Thursday morning headlines

Stocks are sinking: So much for Dow 10,000. The index is down 125 points in early trading. Perhaps some weak economic reports this morning are spooking investors - or perhaps they just figure it's time to get out of the water.

Why Saturn was junked: Penske Automotive Group said it couldn't proceed with the acquisition because its outsourcing deal with another automaker - ID'd by the NYT as Renault-Nissan - fell through. GM has no plans to find another buyer.

Saturn's 350 dealerships across the United States will close because of the development. The Saturn stores are known for their no-haggle, low-pressure sales approach and focus on customer service. None of the stores sells vehicles made by another G.M. brand. Saturn dealers said Wednesday that they were blindsided by the news of Penske Automotive's reversal.

Update on Ken Lewis departure: Really not a lot to add from yesterday's news, other than that the Bank of America CEO apparently made the decision to leave while vacationing in Aspen. From the WSJ:

Mr. Lewis had been in discussions with the board about the appropriate time to step down after directors had made it clear it wanted a time frame, said the person close to him. Initially, he wanted to stay until the company repaid its $45 billion in federal bailout funds and returned to earning $30 billion a year. That plan changed following his return from vacation, which didn't leave him feeling as energized as it usually did, he told the person close to him. He had come to the conclusion that he was "really tired of all the mud that was being piled on him," said this person.

Comcast denies report: The cable giant said it does not have a deal to acquire NBC Universal, but the NYT reports that Comcast might go after the 20 percent that is controlled by Vivendi. And Bloomberg reports that Comcast is looking at a 50 percent share.

Class act: That would be CNBC's David Faber, who mocked The Wrap and its report of a possible Comcast-NBC Universal deal. "It's a strange world we live in when an Internet entertainment gossip site can get the entire media world going." Oh, wouldn't you just love that scoop to hold up?

Boycotting Leno: LAT reports that ABC and CBS are discouraging their stars from appearing on Jay's prime-time show. Leno didn't have this problem when he worked late night.

Many in Hollywood have been openly rooting for the demise of Leno's new show. There has been considerable hand-wringing because the talk and comedy show has eliminated hundreds of jobs for writers and cast and crew members who might otherwise have been employed in the production of five one-hour series. Until this season, NBC had traditionally filled its 10 p.m. slot with marquee dramas such as "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" and "ER."

Condo project approved: More congestion near Beverly Center - deal with it. The City Council approved a 12-story condo at the corner of 3rd Street and Wetherly Drive, despite opposition by neighbors. The developer did agree to reduce the project's height. (LAT)

Regulators seize insurer: Golden State Mutual Life Insurance Co., which serves mostly African American customers, has agreed to stop selling any new policies. The state Department of Insurance concluded that the company's reserves had run dangerously low. (LAT)

Hotel Bel-Air closes: A two-year renovation project leaves 250 people without a job. The hotel has refused to commit to rehire 250 union employees after it reopens in 2011. From the LAT:

Management has offered workers a severance package but union leaders have rejected the deal, saying it provides inadequate health insurance coverage and no guarantees that the employees will have jobs when the hotel reopens. A federal mediator is expected to oversee further meetings, starting today.

C-17 back on track: The full Senate rejected an effort led by Sen. John McCain to end funding for the cargo plane, a move that would have jeopardized several thousand jobs in Long Beach. McCain says he'll keep trying. (Press-Telegram)

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?
Recent stories:
Letter from Down Under: Welcome to the Homogenocene
One last Florida photo
Signs of Saturday: No refund
'I Am Woman,' hear them roar
Bobcat crossing
Previous story: Comcast & NBC-Universal?

Next story: Richest Angelenos

New at LA Observed
On the Media Page
Go to Media

On the Politics Page
Go to Politics
Arts and culture

Sign up for daily email from LA Observed

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

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
LA Observed on Twitter and Facebook