Directionless market: Dow opened down sharply, but it's been coming back. There are lots of worries.
New home sales tumble: July's 12.4 percent drop from the previous month puts the sales pace at a record low, another sign of a very soft economy. (AP)
Nouriel Roubini on double-dip recession: The high-profile economist now says the chances are above 40 percent, though many others consider that too pessimistic.
Millionaire confidence index turns bearish: It's fallen to its lowest level in more than a year. Politics and jobs are the main culprits behind the sour mood among the affluent. (Reuters)
L.A. County property values fall: It's a drop of $19 billion, to just over $1 trillion (the assessed value in Lancaster tumbled 14 percent). The lower valuation is good news for homeowners, but bad news for schools and other government agencies relying on that tax money. (Daily News)
Cattle prices shooting up: It's all about dwindling herds and growing global demand. The retail price of choice beef is up 4 percent in July from December, and further increases may be in the offing. (WSJ)
U.S. rejected hen vaccine: It did wonders in Britain to virtually wipe out salmonella in eggs, but American regulators decided not to mandate a vaccination. From the NYT:
"They are the only thing I'm aware of that really controls the problem from the inside out, at the source," said Ronald Plylar, the former president of a company that developed an early salmonella vaccine. Many people in the American egg industry say they believe that the current outbreak and recall will tip the balance and force nearly all producers in the United States to begin vaccinating hens to reassure consumers.
New rentals for iTunes?: Apple is talking to News Corp. and Disney about offering Fox and ABC shows at 99 cents each. NBC, CBS and the cable channels have reservations about the plan. From the NYT:
Allowing some rentals at 99 cents would be a shift in attitude for the networks, which were said to be skeptical of the proposal when Apple made it last winter. At the time, they fretted about the possible damage that low rental prices would do to sales of DVDs and electronic episodes on iTunes and Amazon.com.
More shenanigans from Bell: City Council members got paid handsomely over the last four years to sit on commissions that rarely met. From the LAT:
Under Bell's salary system, council members received only a modest sum for attending City Council meetings, $150 a month, and $60 a month for sitting on the Redevelopment Agency. What pushed their income so high was the $1,574.65 monthly they received last year for sitting on each of the other five boards, according to records.
City unions say no to higher healthcare costs: The Engineers and Architects Association signed off on a deal requiring members to pay at least 5 percent of their premium, but the other unions are balking. Healthcare costs for the city's civilian workforce are expected to go up by $153 million by 2015. (LAT)