Stocks open lower: Kind of predictable following yesterday's big gain. Dow is down 35 points.
Another dip in L.A. homes prices: The drop from October to November was 0.4 percent, according to the Case-Shiller index, which is a lot better than many of the metro areas surveyed. From the press release:
The only city with a gain in November was San Diego, up a scant 0.1%. While San Diego, Los Angeles and San Francisco are still ahead from November 2009, their annual rates are shrinking in recent months.
Jump in consumer confidence: The Conference Board's index rose to 60.6 this month, from 53.3 in December. Readings in the 90s indicate a healthy consumer mindset. (AP)
Gas prices steady: An average gallon of regular in the L.A. area was $3.377, up less than a penny from last week, according to the government survey. Oil prices have fallen to about $86, an eight-month low. (Bloomberg)
McDonald's to raise prices: The cost of chicken, beef and cheese is going up and some of that will be passed onto customers. From the Chicago Tribune:
If McDonald's, the world's largest restaurant chain by sales, is mulling price increases, consumers can expect to see the cost of food going up everywhere. All of the major packaged-food companies, including Northfield-based Kraft Foods Inc. and Downers Grove-based Sara Lee Corp., have cautioned of higher prices in 2011. "The expectation is we're going to have higher commodity costs, and restaurants are going to have to pass along some of those," said Ron Paul, president of Chicago-based Technomic Inc., a restaurant industry consulting firm. "Consumers are already seeing them in grocery stores, so it's not going to be a surprise."
Eric Cantor opposes bailing out states: The House Majority leader says legislation to allow states to file for bankruptcy is not an option. They'll just have to sort it out for themselves. From the Washington Post:
The idea of giving states that option has been raised publicly by Republican former House speaker Newt Gingrich and other conservative thinkers who see it as a way to allow states to escape crushing debt with little damage to taxpayers. But the proposal has generated controversy. Some analysts say the move would wreak havoc on the municipal bond markets, long viewed as a safe investment haven where ordinary Americans can buy bonds without having to worry about a state government default.
City considers more budget cuts: Faced with a $40-million shortfall, the council is considering shutting down most city services for one day a week. Workers are already required to take 26 furlough days this year. (Daily News)
Oscar nominations: "The King's Speech" leads the way with 12, followed by "True Grit" and "The Social Network." (NYT)