Dow 11,000?: This time, they'll try to finish the day over the threshold that lots of folks say they ignore, but that everyone watches.
Still not calling recession: The committee of economists who officially determine the nation's business cycles says it cannot yet declare an end to the downturn that began in December 2007. From the NYT:
The committee, which is part of the National Bureau of Economic Research, a nonprofit group, says that the timing of an upward turn has been harder to discern than in the past. Moreover, the government has revised several statistics after they were initially released, making it more difficult to say when the economy hit bottom.
Interest rates going up: It's all about the nation's ballooning debt and the renewed prospect of inflation. Among the first to feel the effects is the housing market. From the NYT:
"Mortgage rates are unlikely to go lower than they are now, and if they go higher, we're likely to see a reversal of the gains in the housing market," said Christopher J. Mayer, a professor of finance and economics at Columbia Business School. "It's a really big risk." Each increase of 1 percentage point in rates adds as much as 19 percent to the total cost of a home, according to Mr. Mayer.
Home prices go up: The March median for L.A. County was $340,000, $13,000 higher than for the previous month, according to HomeData. Sales were up almost 7 percent. DataQuick numbers are due out tomorrow. (Business Journal)
Property tax deadline: It's due today and you can pay by mail (make sure there's an April 12 postmark), Internet, phone or in person. (OC Register)
Karatz jurors deliberate: They began Friday afternoon. The former CEO of KB Home is charged with illegally backdating stock options.
CPK exploring options: Following Friday's report that the L.A.-based restaurant chain may be on the block, the board said in a statement that it's hired Moelis & Co. to consider changes in the capital structure or an outright sale. (Reuters)
New guidelines for CA interns: The state's labor department says that interns don't need to be paid when they do the same work as regular workers - so long as the employer provides close supervision and training. (NYT)
Ad sales drop: So much for an uptick in the magazine business. First-quarter revenue fell 3.9 percent from a year earlier and ad pages were down 9.4 percent. Gossip and lifestyle titles fared better than news. (Bloomberg)
Activision soap opera: The Santa Monica videogame developer has countersued the two executives behind "Modern Warfare 2," alleging that that they were fired for insubordination and trying to poach key employees from the company. In March, Jason West and Vince Zampella sued Activision for more than $36 million, claiming that they were fired so the company could avoid paying them royalties for their work. (AP)
$28 billion pension shortfall: That's the difference between what pension systems at CA's 80 largest city and county governments have and the pension benefits their employees have earned. From the Sacramento Bee:
On top of that, those cities and counties owe about $8 billion in pension-related bond debt - all in a time of shrinking budgets. In many areas, the total pension shortfall is more than the annual payroll; in some, it is more than the general fund budget. Spread that debt evenly, and it comes out to about $4,000 per household in those cities and counties.
L.A. Film Festival heads downtown: The June 17-27 event is moving from Westwood, where it's been based for several years. Venues will include California Plaza, Regal Cinemas at L.A. Live, the Grammy Museum, the Nokia Theatre, and the Orpheum. (Downtown News)