Wednesday morning headlines

Stocks settling down: Global markets recover from debt-related volatility. Dow is up about 80 points in early trading.

Morgan Stanley probed: Did the Wall Street bank mislead investors about mortgage-derivatives deals it helped design and sometimes bet against? Federal investigation is in the early stages. From the WSJ:

Morgan Stanley arranged and marketed to investors pools of bond-related investments called collateralized-debt obligations, or CDOs, and its trading desk at times placed bets that their value would fall, traders said. Investigators are examining, among other things, whether Morgan Stanley made proper representations about its roles. Among the deals that have been scrutinized are two named after U.S. Presidents James Buchanan and Andrew Jackson, a person familiar with the matter said. Morgan Stanley helped design the deals and bet against them but didn't market them to clients. Traders called them the "Dead Presidents" deals.

"Flash Crash" update: Regulators are looking at a single trader who was selling big numbers of stock-index futures 10 minutes before the free-fall began. From the NYT:

Gary Gensler, the chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, said at a Congressional hearing on Tuesday that during that crucial time period, the futures trader, whom he would not identify, accounted for about 9 percent of trading volume in the most actively traded stock-index derivative contract, known as the 500 e-mini futures contract. All of the trader's orders were to sell, Mr. Gensler said, while most of the other 250 traders who were active in the same market that day were both buying and selling securities.

Council considers AZ boycott: City officials would suspend travel to the state, refrain from entering new contracts and review current ones for possible termination. From the LAT:

The Harbor Department and Los Angeles World Airports expressed concern about possible termination of their contracts with Arizona businesses. The Harbor Department has four contracts with Arizona firms totaling $25.6 million, mostly involving a clean truck incentive program. Under the program, three Arizona firms have brought hundreds of newer short-haul trucks with significantly lower emissions into Southern California. The harbor's $56-million program is projected to reduce port-related truck pollution by 80% by 2012.

Disneyland business is soft: First-quarter attendance at the Anaheim theme park was flat compared with a year earlier. Also, occupancy rates at Disney resorts in OC were down. The folks who were there spent more money. (OC Register)

Disney earnings fine, but...: The Mouse House missed its numbers on the cable side, which some analysts say is a bigger deal than the better-than-expected film results. Stock is up a bit this morning. (MarketBeat)

Ralphs accused of overcharging: City Attorney's allegations center on prepackaged and weighed products that were not weighed properly. The chain was fined for similar violations in 2008 and 2009. (LAT)

Port forecast: Container traffic in 2010 will be up 10 percent from a year earlier (easy comparison), and job growth is supposed to return in 2011, says a report by the L.A. Economic Development Corp. (press release)

Maguire changes name: The L.A.-based office landlord will now be called MPG Office Trust. Having the name of the guy who no longer calls the shots was a little confusing. (LAT)

C-17 production suspended: The Boeing plant's production floor next to Long Beach Airport will remain closed until the labor dispute involving 1,700 workers is resolved. (Press-Telegram)

More by Mark Lacter:
American-US Air settlement with DOJ includes small tweak at LAX
Socal housing market going nowhere fast
Amazon keeps pushing for faster L.A. delivery
Another rugged quarter for Tribune Co. papers
How does Stanford compete with the big boys?
Those awful infographics that promise to explain and only distort
Best to low-ball today's employment report
Further fallout from airport shootings
Crazy opening for Twitter*
Should Twitter be valued at $18 billion?
Recent stories:
Letter from Down Under: Welcome to the Homogenocene
One last Florida photo
Signs of Saturday: No refund
'I Am Woman,' hear them roar
Bobcat crossing

New at LA Observed
On the Media Page
Go to Media

On the Politics Page
Go to Politics
Arts and culture

Sign up for daily email from LA Observed

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Mark Lacter
Mark Lacter created the LA Biz Observed blog in 2006. He posted until the day before his death on Nov. 13, 2013.
Mark Lacter, business writer and editor was 59
The multi-talented Mark Lacter
LA Observed on Twitter and Facebook