Wall Street lower: The Dow is still flirting with the 11,000 mark, but trading momentum seems to be slowing.
Greenspan: Don't blame me: The former Fed chairman testified this morning that the central bank's low-interest rate policy didn't push the country into crisis. Rather, it was Wall Street's packaging of mortgage-backed securities. (Reuters)
L.A. budget update: Councilman Paul Koretz calls the standoff between the mayor and the council "a manhood contest," adding that Villaraigosa's threat to shut down city services two days a week is "bizarre." Councilmembers also question the DWP's claim that it needs a rate increase to prevent its own financial problems. From the LAT:
Council members said Tuesday that they could not understand how the standoff over the rate increase was preventing the DWP from making the transfer to the general fund. The council's proposal would have provided $30 million over the next three months to help the DWP pay its bills. The proposed transfer is more than twice that amount. "The numbers just don't add up," Council President Eric Garcetti said.
Trash pickup exempted: It would continue, as usual, under the mayor's furlough plan, along with police and fire services.
L.A.'s bond rating cut: Moody's has cut L.A.'s general-obligation bond debt rating to Aa3 from Aa2 (that's still considered high quality) and warns of further downgrades. From the LAT:
Moody's said its ratings cut "primarily reflects the continued erosion of the city's historically better-than-average willingness and ability to quickly rebalance its budget mid-year." The downgrade also "partly reflects the likelihood that the city's general fund reserves at the end of the current fiscal year could be materially weaker than we had previously expected, now that an expected transfer from the Department of Water and Power may be reduced."
Improving jobs picture: The Business Roundtable finds that 29 percent of the CEOs surveyed expect to increase payrolls over the next six months, while 21 percent predict more cuts. Half see no change in jobs. (AP)
The price of unemployment: California paid out $2 billion in jobless benefits in February, up from $1.2 billion a year earlier and $540 million two years earlier. (OC Register)
CKE gets better offer: The parent company of Carl's Jr. did not name the bidder, but noted in a press release that it is "reasonably expected" to top an earlier offer by THL Partners. (DealBook)
Yelp makes changes: Readers of the review site will be able to click on a link to see reviews that were filtered out, a source of contention among some small business owners who claimed that advertisers got preferential treatment. Also, advertisers can no longer post their favorite review at the top of the page. (NYT)
St. Regis resort sold: The 400-room hotel in Dana Point, made famous by the scheduling of an AIG sales conference in 2008, will be purchased by Washington Real Estate Holdings. Seller was Citigroup, which seized the property after the previous owners failed to make payments. (OC Register)
Blockbuster, studios cut deal: Fox and Sony will allow the video chain to rent DVDs on the same day they go on sale. That should help the retailer deal with its financial troubles. (Reuters)