Wednesday morning headlines

Stocks extend losses: But it's been an up and down day as the market looks for direction. Dow is down about 30 points.

Oil prices keep rising: Nearing $96 a barrel in NY and over $107 in London. About a quarter of Libya's production is offline, though the numbers don't seem to be as relevant as the fears. (AP)

Barnes & Nobles taking over some Borders stores?: CEO William Lynch says that several locations look attractive, especially if landlords are willing to shave off a few dollars. B&N also announced that it was suspending its dividend. (Deal Journal)

Transit hearings in L.A.: The Senate and House transportation committees will hear from L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa on plans for a Westside subway extension. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce recently endorsed the proposal. (LAT)

Demand Media posts profit: The Santa Monica-based content company reported net income of $1-million for the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31 - a better result than was projected in its IPO filing. But Demand says it will dip back into the red during the current quarter. (LAT)

Conference committee meets on budget: State lawmakers have only until March 10 to work out a deal. How far apart are they? Well, even the Democrats are not all on the same page. (Sacramento Bee)

Long Beach considers big cuts: City officials are talking about 500 positions, or 18 percent of its total staff. The cuts would be needed to help wipe out a deficit of $54.7 million. From the Press-Telegram:

The shortfalls are due to contractual employee pay raises, increased pension rates under the California Public Employees Retirement System, and increases such as skill pay hikes for workers who acquire special skills or certification. The budget deficits are expected despite projections that revenue will increase by $11.3 million over the same three-year period.

Don't take away my rights: Folks in Wisconsin have ambivalent feelings toward public sector unions, but they oppose any move to eliminate collective bargaining, according to a Gallup poll. From Nate Silver:

I suspect, then, that the near-term political risks to Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker are mostly to the downside. Part of it is that, as in debates over the budget at the federal level, there is an element of what chess players call zugzwang: since any specific solution over deficit reduction is likely to be fairly unpopular, the first mover or perceived aggressor is often at a disadvantage.

Obits: Joseph Flom, a pioneering corporate lawyer who helped build Skadden, Arps. He was 87. Sandy Sigoloff, corporate turnaround specialist who is known for his "We got the message, Mr. Sigoloff" TV commercials. He was 80.

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?
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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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