Monday morning headlines

Stocks keep falling: Dow is back under 11,000 in early trading. That's a 400+ point drop in the last month. Oy.

Holiday sales start off strong: Shoppers spent 6 percent more over the Thanksgiving weekend than they did a year earlier, according to a survey by the National Retail Federation. From the NYT:

Spending over the holiday weekend usually accounts for about 8 to 9 percent of the season's sales, but Ellen Davis, a federation spokeswoman, cautioned it was not always a predictor of how busy the holiday season would be. In 2008, one of the worst holiday seasons in recent years, survey respondents said they had spent about $373 on average, a record high. "It's important to keep the economy in mind here. Sometimes Black Friday is not an indicator of the holiday season, because people are so focused on deals that they'll get themselves up early," she said, while in better economic times, they will shop even on days without huge promotions.

Cyber Monday awaits: Almost seems quaint, given the number of folks who have a broadband connection in their homes - and thus don't have to wait until they come back to the office on Monday to shop. Still, analysts are looking for a 10 percent increase today over 2009. (CNNMoney)

Which electronic items did best on Black Friday? All that you would imagine - MP3 players, video game consoles and accessories, notebook computers, and tablets. What didn't sell? 3DTVs. (THR)

Small biz lending picks up: SBA loans made to L.A. area companies increased 26 percent, reversing two years of steady and substantial decline. From the Business Journal:

Even so, some banks remain hesitant to return to prerecession lending volumes. Bank of America Corp., the largest SBA lender in Los Angeles just a few years ago, all but dropped out of SBA lending and originated just 10 local SBA loans during the past year, less than half the previous year's total and down 99 percent from recent highs. But with the economy showing signs of stabilizing and recently passed small-business legislation aiding lenders, some advocates see this year's gains as the start of a full-blown recovery in small-business lending.

Salon on the block: Faced with increasing competition from Huffington Post, Politico and others, the online news pioneer has lost more than $15 million in the past five years. It's looking at an outright acquisition or some sort of partnership. (WSJ)

Sony looking for new president: Which really means the Japanese electronics giant is looking for someone to eventually succeed chairman and CEO Howard Stringer, Bloomberg reports.

Port heist: Two masked men brought their own big rigs to a depot near the Port of L.A. last night and made off at gunpoint with loaded trailers. (Daily Breeze wires)

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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
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