Stocks open higher: The dollar has weakened, commodities prices are higher and that spells a strong session. Also helping is a better-than-expected jump in October home sales. At last check, the Dow was up 160 points in early trading.
End of the line?: Last week saw a drop-off in market volume as investors began shifting to short-term government debt. This could be a sign of defensiveness as the year draws to a close. From the WSJ:
That defensive behavior is relatively common toward the end of the year. But this year it's happening earlier than usual. An uncommon confluence of events is driving the shift. The biggest catalyst is a reluctance among investors to take on new aggressive bets and avoid a late-year blow-up in their portfolios. Many are sitting on big gains after a 58% surge in the Dow Jones Industrial Average since early March and record returns from some corporate bonds.
Spring pickup expected: U.S. job losses should end early next year, and companies will start adding instead of cutting jobs, according a survey of National Association for Business Economics. But local job growth might lag the rest of the nation. (OC Register)
Paying off debt: More people were paying off their credit cards on time in the third quarter than for the previous three months. Delinquency rates typically go up in the third quarter. (AP)
Jerry Brown gets showbiz help: Steven Spielberg, David Geffen, Don Henley and Hugh Hefner are among those contributing to the attorney's general's race for governor. Meanwhile, corporate types are contributing much less to Republican candidates Meg Whitman, Steve Poizner and Tom Campbell. (Sacramento Bee)
Target coming downtown?: The retail giant is considering a new store at the 7+Fig shopping mall, which lost its Macy's almost a year ago. The Targets closest to downtown are in Glendale, Eagle Rock, Pasadena and West Hollywood. (Downtown News)
Pricing problem: When demand is high, the L.A. Convention Center charges 32 cents a square foot for space. When demand is slow, the center charges 32 cents a square foot for space. See the problem? From the Downtown News:
[General Manager Pouria] Abbassi and the Convention Center are unable to respond to market shifts and aggressively compete for business. The practice was severely criticized in September in an audit by City Controller Wendy Greuel. That situation could soon change. The City Council has begun looking at options to allow for so-called "demand-based pricing" at the building a short walk from the coming 1,001-room Ritz-Carlton and JW Marriott hotel.
Tough times on golf courses: Some have closed, others are slashing fees. It turns out that golf popularity has begun to skid. From the LAT:
"People are cutting golf out of their diets because they've got to cut something," said Jeff Woolson, a real estate broker with Los Angeles-based CB Richard Ellis who specializes in buying and selling golf courses. Woolson and other real estate experts say most golf courses have lost 30% to 50% of their worth in the last two years. Several courses have been forced into bankruptcy. Among them is Chevy Chase Country Club in Glendale, which dates to 1925 and was designed by noted golf architect William P. Bell, who also designed the Bel Air Country Club and the Newport Beach Country Club.