Another big drop: Stocks have fallen off a cliff in the last hour or so. There's concern about Obama's new financial overhaul, which reportedly will limit the size of the largest banks and their risk-taking activities. Dow is down about 180 points.
Goldman's billions: The Wall Street bank posted a fourth-quarter profit of almost $5 billion, though it did reduce the share of revenue going to bonuses. From the NYT:
The figure for 2009 represented 35.8 percent of revenues, down from 48 percent in 2008, and its lowest ratio since it became a public company. And in a sign that Goldman is being swayed by the public outcry over high levels of executive compensation, the bank took about $500 million out of its bonus pool in the fourth quarter to pay for its charitable and small business initiatives. Responding to criticism, Goldman had already begun decreasing the share of revenue as the year progressed. The bank set aside 50 percent in the first quarter, but that figure fell to 48 percent and then to 43 percent in the next two quarters.
No recession in China: Fourth-quarter gross domestic product rose 10.7 percent from a year earlier, the fastest pace in two years. The economy is moving so swiftly that there's speculation the government will want to tighten lending. (Bloomberg)
Conan deal is done: NBC confirms that it's over. The network will pay him about $32 million and free him up to return to television in eight months. O'Brien's last show will be Friday. (The Wrap)
Live Nation to sell assets?: Looking to complete its merger with Ticketmaster, the Bev Hills-based concert promoter might be willing unload some of its venues to rival Anschultz Entertainment Group, according to the NY Post. AEG opposes the merger.
The Department of Justice is still reviewing the merger --a decision may come as early as next week -- and numerous sources involved in or close to the situation said Live Nation-Ticketmaster has been in talks with regulators, AEG and others about concessions to ensure approval. "The fact that they are out there talking with others about deals suggests that they are nervous about getting approval," said a person involved in the process. "They are trying to pretty up the deal as much as possible for the regulators."
More L.A. layoffs?: City officials are looking at the elimination of 1,000 more jobs, according to the LAT. The mayor and several city council members are also considering privatizing city-owned parking garages, golf courses and airports in Van Nuys and Ontario.
"Revenues are significantly lower than original projections and we are prepared to make tough decisions, including layoffs and cuts in less-essential city services to our constituents," states a letter being circulated among city leaders. A draft copy was obtained by The Times. "We will consider the elimination, consolidation, or outsourcing of city assets and services, furloughs and layoffs where permissible, continued managed hiring with consideration of a hard hiring freeze and public-private partnerships that will generate revenue."
Nara CEO resigns: Min Kim was the first woman to lead a Korean-American bank. Unlike some other Koreatown banks that have been struggling with bad loans, Nara has been holding up fairly well. (Business Journal)
You Tube charging for movies: The video sharing site will start out with selections from the Sundance Film Festival. Content providers will set their own prices, with YouTube taking a cut of the revenue. (BBC News)
Another smoking ban: Starting next year, you won't be able to light up in the city of L.A. within 10 feet of outdoor dining areas and within 40 feet of mobile food trucks. Violators face fines of up to $250. From the LAT:
Councilman Greig Smith said he proposed the measure more than a year ago after noticing that he was often choked up after being forced to walk through smoking patios to get inside his favorite restaurants -- a practice that he said was particularly dangerous to children. "We have an opportunity, folks, to extend and continue the great fight to get people out of the habit of smoking, to continue to protect the public health, which is really one of our main focuses and our responsibilities," said Smith, who added he was contacted by members of the Legislature and officials in cities who hope to adopt similar measures.The city already bars smoking at parks, beaches and within 25 feet of playgrounds, sports fields and picnic areas.
More traffic for Grove area: Guess it's not quite horrendous enough to get around that stretch - now Alan Casden wants to build a 300-unit condo project. Four years ago the community beat back a similar proposal. (LAT)