Stocks are hovering: Jump in consumer confidence might trump the other news this morning: The Goldman Sachs testimony, a Federal Reserve policy meeting, the Greece debt troubles.
Goldman executives testify: CEO Lloyd Blankfein says Goldman didn't bet against its clients. Also at the hearing is Fabrice "Fabulous Fab" Tourre, a Goldman trading executive who allegedly marketed an investment designed to lose value. (AP)
The case against Goldman: Senate investigators say the Wall Street giant had devised a series of complex deals to profit from the mortgage meltdown - deals that go beyond what the SEC civil suit centers on. From the NYT:
Carl Levin, the Democrat of Michigan who heads the Senate committee, insisted that Goldman had bet against its clients repeatedly. He held up a binder the size of two breadboxes that he said contained copies of e-mail messages and other documents that showed Goldman had put its own interests first. "The evidence shows that Goldman repeatedly put its own interests and profits ahead of the interests of its clients," Mr. Levin said.
L.A. home prices dip: The Case-Shiller numbers show a 0.7 percent dip from January to February (most all the cities were down). L.A. prices were up 5.3 percent from a year earlier. From press release:
"While the year-over-year data continued to improve for 18 of the 20 MSAs and the two Composites, this simply confirms that the pace of decline is less severe than a year ago. It is too early to say that the housing market is recovering" says David M. Blitzer, Chairman of the Index Committee at Standard & Poor's.
Jump in consumer confidence: The Conference Board's index is at its highest level since the collapse of Lehman Brothers in September 2008. (Reuters)
Northrop moves to Northern Virginia: No specific site has been named, but Virginia beat out Maryland and the District of Columbia as the aerospace company's new headquarters. Formerly, Northrop had been based on L.A. (Washington Post)
LAX vendors cry foul: Three long-time airport concessionaires say that some of the finalists submitting bids did not have critical financial information. From the LAT:
The protests, which involve eight of the 10 contracts, contend that Los Angeles World Airports, the operator of LAX, did not properly vet competing bids and that some finalists did not comply with certain requirements or lacked the financial stability to deliver on promises to better reflect the cuisine and culture of Los Angeles. If the protests are successful after a review by the city, the contracts could be re-bid or awarded to other companies.
Disneyland attendance gains: The number of visitors increased 8 percent in 2009, but attendance at Universal Studios Hollywood fell 6 percent and Knott's Berry Farm was down 6.5 percent. (LAT)
Gas prices still stable: An average gallon of regular in the L.A. area is $3.120, up just a touch from last week, according to the government's survey.
Lacter on radio: This morning's biz chat with KPCC's Shirley Jahad (Steve Julian is away) looks at the economics of immigration and the latest news in the Countrywide legal battle. Also at kpcc.org and on podcast (Business Update with Mark Lacter)