Monday morning headlines

Market keeps lumbering: Last week's slow-mo sessions seem to be carrying over. Dow is up about 40 points.

Brighter prospects for 2011: Expansion will accelerate as the year progresses, according to a WSJ survey of economists, with growth projections, on average, to be 3 percent.

Data on trade, retail sales, consumer sentiment and manufacturing have been looking better. Economists also were generally encouraged by news from Washington on a tax-cut compromise that included an unexpected temporary reduction in payroll taxes in addition an extension of the Bush-era tax cuts.

Fewer homeowners under water: But the drop is slight: About 10.8 million homes, or 22.5 percent of those with mortgages, were worth less than the debt owed on them as of Sept. 30, according to CoreLogic, down from 23 percent at the end of June. (Bloomberg)

Senate expected to pass tax bill: Looks like there will be more than enough votes when a key vote comes up later today. That brings it to the House, where the prospects are less certain. (Washington Post)

Ex-Vitesse executives indicted: Former CEO Louis Tomasetta and former Executive VP Eugene Hovanec were released on bond after pleading not guilty. They're accused of defrauding investors in the Camarillo technology firm by overstating its revenue and manipulating stock options. (LAT)

Big bus orders?: Chinese battery and car maker BYD is in talks with L.A. officials to supply e-buses that could eventually lead to a manufacturing plant in the city. From the WSJ:

[Stella Li, BYD's senior vice president and head of its U.S. operations] said BYD plans to ship at least one electric bus by the second quarter of next year as "a demonstration vehicle" so that "the city could experience our bus first-hand." If the test produced positive results, then the Los Angeles municipal government and BYD would sign an agreement to make the Chinese company a formal supplier of city buses.

Mark Madoff was anxious in recent days: The son of scamster Bernie Madoff, who committed suicide over the weekend, had been upset by a rash of lawsuits and by the second anniversary of his father's arrest. From the NYT:

"Andy was always tougher than Mark," said a friend, referring to Mr. Madoff's younger brother. "Mark was much more sensitive and took all the press coverage very personally." "He loved his wife and his kids so much," this friend added. "The only way to accept this is that he was in so much pain, and that pain outweighed the love he had for his wife and his kids. And I guess he thought this was the only way out."

No Fear not paying bills: The Carlsbad-based clothing chain has been sued by several area malls for falling months behind in rent. Sales have been way down because of the economy and intense competition. (LAT)

Burkle taking over supermarket chain?: A&P's bankruptcy could allow the L.A. billionaire to gain control from the German-based Tengelmann family, which has been a major investor in the company for decades. (NY Post)

Icahn pulls Lions Gate offer: Says that there's no chance he could win a proxy contest. (DealBook)

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
Previous story: *Madoff son found dead

Next story: Tribute to Jack Kyser

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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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