Stocks open higher: Today they're upbeat about the economy, even though there's not much news to support this morning's big gain on the Dow.
Weak holiday forecast: The normally bullish National Retail Federation predicts a 1 percent decline in sales this season. Other forecasts are a little more upbeat, but still weak. (AP)
L.A. rents tumble: They're down 4.6 percent over the past month, but that's nothing next to San Jose's 8 percent decline. OC is off 5.5 percent. Meanwhile, apartment vacancies are up everywhere - and are likely to keep rising. From the WSJ:
Driving the change is the troubled employment market, which is closely tied to rentals. With unemployment at 9.8% -- a 26-year high -- more would-be renters are doubling up or moving in with family and friends during periods of job loss. Landlords have been particularly battered because unemployment has been higher among workers under 35 years old, who are more likely to rent.
Another dip for gas: An average gallon of regular in the L.A. area fell about three cents, according to a government survey, to $3.075. California refineries have stepped up production and cut back on deliveries to other states. (LAT)
Fast-food ban no cure: New Rand study concludes that a moratorium on new fast-food restaurants in South L.A. won't do much to curb obesity rates. From the LAT:
Contrary to "conventional wisdom," the density of fast-food chain restaurants per capita is actually less in South Los Angeles than in other parts of the city, said [Roland] Sturm, a Rand senior economist. "If you look at it per 100,000 residents, the area is not overrun with McDonald's," Sturm said. "The story about fast-food chains does not hold up."
McDonald's at the Louvre: First the closing of Gourmet magazine and now this! The fast-food giant plans to open a restaurant and McCafé in the world's most visited museum. It's not going down well. From the London Daily Telegraph:
"This is the last straw," said one art historian working at the Louvre, who declined to be named. "This is the pinnacle of exhausting consumerism, deficient gastronomy and very unpleasant odours in the context of a museum," he told the Daily Telegraph. Didier Rykner, head of The Art Tribune website found the idea "shocking".
Lacter on radio: This morning's business chat with KPCC's Steve Julian looks at the holiday retail outlook and more competition among the supermarket chains. Also on kpcc.org and on podcast.