Back under 11,000: Still too many nervous investors who suspect the market is due for a fall. Dow is down about 20 points.
Mortgage "time bomb": Newly released documents show that loan officers at Washington Mutual received more money for originating higher-risk loans, and loan processors were rewarded for speed and volume, rather than quality. Former WaMu executives are expected to testify before Congress today. From the NYT:
Loan officers and sales associates were paid even more if they overcharged borrowers through points or higher interest rates, or included stiff prepayment penalties in the loans they issued. The pay structure created "temptation to advise the borrower on means and methods to game the system," a WaMu internal memo from April 2008 found.
Trouble for Mercury Insurance: State regulators accuse the L.A.-based company of overcharging perhaps thousands of Californians for homeowner and car insurance. Mercury could face fines of at least $5,000 for each violation. From the LAT:
Mercury spokesman Coby King said the company had not overcharged customers or violated the law. He said the practice of restricting customers in certain occupations, such as artists and bartenders, was ended more than 10 years ago. In a statement, King intimated that [Insurance Commissioner Steve] Poizner released the report to further his campaign for the Republican gubernatorial nomination.
Good readings on economy: The March Ceridian-UCLA Pulse of Commerce Index was up, the fourth straight months of gains. But that comes after 22 straight months of declines. The index is based on real-time diesel fuel purchases by commercial trucks. (OC Register)
Ads on Twitter: They're called "Promoted Tweets" that businesses want to highlight. Several companies will run ads, including Best Buy, Virgin America and Starbucks, and the New York Times. (Reuters)
Jobless bill advances: Democrats were able to rustle up a few Republican votes on a measure that would extend unemployment insurance through May 5. The House approved the same legislation in March. (Washington Post)
DWP post filled: Mayor Villaraigosa has named Eric Holoman, president of Magic Johnson Enterprises, to fill the board seat vacated by Edith Ramirez, who left to joined the FTC. Meanwhile, the DWP conflict with the city council over rate hikes continues. (LAT)
No mention of Pulitzers: A lengthy account by the Washington Times of yesterday's awards failed to mention that the Washington Post had won four Pulitzers. Says Post media writer Howie Kurtz: "Stay classy, guys." (Romenesko)
Gas prices inch up: Average gallon of regular in the L.A. area rose a penny, to $3.122, according to the government's weekly report.
Lacter on radio: This morning's business chat with KPCC's Steve Julian looks at why the L.A. budget is unpredictable and whether Measure R transit projects make sense. Also at kpcc.org and on podcast.