Stocks wobble: Call it a pre-earnings season pause. After a four-day winning streak, Dow is up about 20 points in early trading.
Biggest defaulters are the rich: Perhaps we should say the alleged rich. More than one in seven homeowners with loans in excess of a million dollars are seriously delinquent, according to data compiled for the NYT by CoreLogic. Below the million-dollar mark, it's one in 12 mortgages.
Here in Los Altos, where the median home price of $1.5 million makes it one of the most exclusive towns in the country, several houses scheduled for auction were still occupied this week. The people who answered the door were reluctant to explain their circumstances in any detail. At one house, where the lender was owed $1.3 million, there was a couch out front wrapped in plastic. A woman said she and her husband had lost their jobs and were moving in with relatives. At another house, the family said they were renters. A third family, whose mortgage is $1.6 million, said they would be moving this weekend.
Talk of a double-dip: Morgan Stanley's Stephen Roach is more concerned than others about the possibility. He says there's about a 40 percent chance. From the WSJ:
We have a weak recovery, weak labor market, weak consumer purchasing power...and a consumer that's unable to rely on property and credit bubbles to support consumption anymore. So if you have a disappointing consumer and any kind of unexpected shock you could go down again. [...] Double-dips are not as infrequent as you might think...Weak recoveries leave you vulnerable to shocks.
Good news on CA budget: Allowing lawmakers to approve spending plans with only a majority vote is favored by 65 percent of those surveyed in a Field Poll. Currently, they need a two-thirds majority, which is why the budget gets bogged down each year. Measure to drop the two-thirds requirement is on the November ballot. (Sacramento Bee)
China renews Google license: That means providing limited services in China and directing users to an uncensored Chinese language search engine in Hong Kong. From Reuters:
"It is good news for the Chinese consumer, good news for the Chinese Internet industry that Google is still available in the country in some shape or form," said Ted Dean, president of Beijing-based business advisory firm BDA. "But many of the issues around why Google shut down its Chinese search page in the first place are still there," Dean said.
Solar gets boost: A financing plan that would be funded by the DWP promises to provide jobs, tax revenue, and 600 megawatts of renewable energy, according to the Los Angeles Business Council. The program would encourage businesses and homeowners to install solar panels on their rooftops and parking lots. (LAT)
No change in gas prices: An average gallon in the L.A. is $3.121, about where it was last week, according to the Auto Club. But oil prices have been climbing this week.
Price cut on Mary Daly home: After four months on the market, her 13,000-square-foot Malibu estate has been reduced by $10 million, to $47 million. The property has 180 feet of frontage on Carbon Beach. Daly died last year. (WSJ)
Lebron's tax break: Because Florida doesn't have a state income tax, his move to the Heat could save the superstar more than $1 million next year. Just saying...(WSJ)