Stocks push higher: Consumer-focused companies are doing well this morning after retailers reported better-than-expected sales for February. Dow is up about 25 points in early trading.
Good retail numbers: Target, Gap and Limited are among those announcing higher sales for February, though keep in mind that comparisons from a year earlier are pretty easy to top, given how terrible the economy was in early 2009. (AP)
Delay in iPad sales?: Some production problems in Taiwan may push back the launch date by a few days or weeks (end of March still seems doable) In any event, fewer-than-expected machines will be available for sale. (MarketBeat)
Facebook in no rush: Though taking the social networking site public would make CEO Mark Zuckerberg a mega-billionaire at age 25, he's biding his time. From the WSJ:
Unlike some of his predecessors, Mr. Zuckerberg doesn't need huge cash reserves to build factories, a global distribution system or even a massive marketing machine. "If you don't need that capital, then all the pressures are different, and the motivations [to go public] are not there in the same way," Mr. Zuckerberg says.
Flush with cash: American corporations have lots of it - hundreds of billions of dollars - and some of them are looking for deals. From the WSJ:
Through the first two months of the year, the percentage of all-cash deals in the U.S. more than doubled from 2009, according to an analysis by Thomson Reuters. Nearly 50% of deals this year have been all-cash offers, up from 24% of deals in 2009 and on par with 2006 and 2007, when credit was in oversupply. "We are sitting on a lot of cash and generating a lot as well," said Wade Miquelon, chief financial officer of drugstore chain Walgreen Co., which last month spent $618 million for the New York City drugstore chain Duane Reade. "Sitting around on all that cash and have it earning very little interest really does not make a lot of sense."
Pom Wonderful gets warning: Regulators say that the label on the popular pomegranate juice is misleading. Pom, which has operations in L.A., was one of 17 products cited by the FDA as part of a new crackdown. From the NYT:
In the case of POM pomegranate juice, the agency said that the company's Web site, which is listed on its bottles, carried misleading claims that the juice could prevent or cure diseases like hypertension, diabetes and cancer. Such claims are not allowed on food products and would require that the juice be treated, in regulatory terms, as a drug, according to the letter sent to the company. POM said that "all statements made in connection with POM products are true" and supported by scientific research.Global warning pushback: A proposed ballot initiative to suspend California's landmark global warming law will get initial funding from Texas-based Valero Energy and Tesoro, both of which own refineries in the state. From the LAT:
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, a strong supporter of AB 32, the global warming law, had asked businesses not to support the ballot measure, which was launched by a coalition of Republican politicians and conservative activists. California companies, according to a source close to the administration, "are more tolerant of California's environmental leadership. But these Texans don't want to pay to cut their emissions in California if the federal government is not going to pass climate legislation. They can throw a few mill- ion dollars into" fighting the law.
City National paid up: The L.A.-based bank wired a second and final $200-million repayment to the government. To retire the debt, the bank repurchased preferred stock it had sold to the government. (LAT)
Palin shopping a reality show?: She and producer Mark Burnett have been going around town this week pitching a TV docudrama about Alaska, according to Entertainment Weekly.
Southwest Water goes private: An investment group is buying the L.A.-based company for about $275 million in cash, a 56 percent premium to the stock's closing price on Tuesday. (Reuters)