Tuesday morning headlines

Stocks on the plus side: More investors buying into a market that's supposedly primed for further gains. Dow is up about 40 points.

Toyota to pay record fines: The automaker will shell out more than $32 million for not promptly informing government regulators of defects. From the LAT:

The record penalties, resulting from months-long investigations by the Transportation Department into the automaker's handling of safety issues, were related to floor mats that could entrap accelerator pedals and for a flaw that can cause total loss of steering control. They come in addition to a $16.4-million fine levied against Toyota in April for delaying a recall of gas pedals that could become stuck, bringing the Japanese company's total penalties to nearly $50 million this year.

Strong shopping season: Apparel sales are up 9.8 percent and jewelry is up 2.6 percent, according to SpendingPulse. Consumer electronics have trailed the pack, mostly because of deep discounting of TV sets. (WSJ)

Whatever happened to 3-D TVs?: Not many people have been buying them, that's what. Prices are down 40 percent to 50 percent, on average, since the first ones were introduced in March. From the WSJ:

"The industry got caught up on itself and misjudged its value to consumers," said Paul Gray, a research director at DisplaySearch. "Very definitely, the industry has to chew its way though the inventory." Frank DeMartin, vice president of marketing for Mitsubishi Electric Corp.'s North American arm, said he expects all manufacturers to solve the glut by slashing prices yet expressed confidence that 3-D eventually will take hold. "The situation will take care of itself, but there will be some pain for us in the process," he said.

Census data announced: Most of the attention today will focus on how the population shifts impact Congressional districts. Texas is expected to come out the best. (AP)

Pricey holiday driving: An average gallon of regular in the L.A. area is $3.26, according to the government survey, up less than a penny from last week but about a quarter since the beginning of October.

Former H-P CEO under scrutiny: The SEC is looking into whether Mark Hurd, who was ousted from the company in August, shared inside information with a former H-P event hostess who accused him of sexual harassment. From the WSJ:

Mr. Hurd has denied having an inappropriate relationship with the H-P contractor, Jodie Fisher, whose accusation of sexual harassment led to his ouster from atop the technology giant in August. The SEC is also looking at Mr. Hurd's use of corporate expenses in his dealings with Ms. Fisher, these people said. "Mark acted properly in all respects," said Glenn Bunting, a spokesman for Mr. Hurd. "It is understandable that the SEC is looking into the events surrounding Mark's departure, which was followed by a precipitous drop in the value of H-P's stock."

Former William Morris CEO sues: Jim Wiatt and his wife Elizabeth are looking to recover the $2 million they invested with scamster Kenneth Starr. The Wiatts allege that Starr and attorney Jonathan Bristol conspired to defraud them. (LAT)

MGM out of bankruptcy: The restructured company has $500 million to work with - and plans to make as many as six films a year. (THR)

Tablet fever: New study projects that by 2014, one in five American adults will own one. Men more than women, younger more than older. (All Things Digital)

More by Mark Lacter:
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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*
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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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