Stocks take another tumble: Coming off yesterday's 143-point gain, the Dow is down more than 200 points in early trading. These three-digit days, which had been very unusual in recent months, are becoming more common.
Plunge in CA revenue: State officials are trying to figure out why April tax collections were 30 percent under projections, wiping out the incremental gains since the beginning of the year. From the LAT:
The April collections came almost entirely from personal income taxes. Most corporate and sales taxes have not yet been reported. If they, too, come in below projections, the state's budget problem would grow worse. The decline sets Sacramento back as next month's deadline for passing a budget approaches. Lawmakers face a deficit of $18.6 billion -- about 20% of general fund spending -- with no easy options left for addressing it, as they have already cut state services severely and temporarily raised income, sales and vehicle taxes.
April car sales amble: The numbers were up by nearly 20 percent, but the results weren't as strong as in March. In particular, Toyota's discounts were not as effective in April. From the NYT:
"After where we were in March and everyone was quick to say the recovery was in full swing, April really gives us a reality check that that road to recovery is still going to be a long one," said Jessica Caldwell, director of pricing and industry analysis at Edmunds.com, a Web site that gives car-buying advice to consumers.
Schwarzenegger drops oil drilling: After seeing what's going on along the Gulf coast, the governor no longer wants to allow new offshore oil drilling off Santa Barbara County. From the SF Chronicle:
"All of you have seen, when you turn on the television, the devastation in the gulf, and I'm sure that they also were assured that it was safe to drill," he said at a news conference Monday. "I see on TV the birds drenched in oil, the fishermen out of work, the massive oil spill and oil slick destroying our precious ecosystem. That will not happen here in California, and this is why I am withdrawing my support for the T-Ridge project."
Bump in gas prices: An average gallon of regular in the L.A. area is $3.144, up a couple of pennies from last week, according to the government survey. Look for more hikes, given the increase in oil prices and the approaching summer season. (EIA)
L.A. to start shutting pot shops: The ordinance caps the number of marijuana dispensaries at 70, while letting 116 shops that registered before Nov. 13, 2007 remain in business. Operators of other dispensaries will receive letters this week telling them to close. (Bloomberg)
Collection, home goes on block: The Holmby Hills estate of Frances and Sidney Brody has hit the market for $24.95 million. It's for sale the same week that the Brody's art collection goes on the auction block at Christie's in NY. Francis died last fall; Sidney died in 1983. From the WSJ:
The auction will likely be one of the most closely watched sales of the spring, with rare works by artists like Giacometti, Matisse and Degas coming to the market for the first time in many years. The couple's 1932 oil painting by Picasso, "Nude, Green Leaves and Bust," which depicts the artist's mistress Marie-Thérèse Walter, could become one of the most expensive works of art to sell at auction, with a high estimate of $90 million.
Alleged scamster pleads guilty: Richard Alan Cohen is accused of conning about 1,000 victims nationwide out of $39 million by offering phony investments. Also pleading guilty was his son, Daniel Cohen. Both Cohens face hundreds of years in federal prison when they are sentenced this fall. (CNS)
CA ranks last: Chief Executive magazine says it's the worst place in the country to do business ("the Venezuela of North America"). Right above California is NY. Funny how both states somehow generate such massive economies. (OC Register)
Lacter on radio: This morning's business chat with KPCC's Steve Julian looks at the latest Chinese company to enter the U.S. electric car market and why it's best to be careful about ranking cities. Also at kpcc.org and on podcast (Business Update with Mark Lacter)