Stocks remain shaky: The Dow is down about 115 points at last check (GE and Disney are taking notable hits). Meanwhile, U.S. Treasurys are up, presumably because they're considered a safe haven in times of uncertainty.
Talks continue on CA budget deal: But there's no sign of progress, and no indication of when the legislature will take up the budget package. The longer this drags out, the less likely they'll be able to get the tax extension vote on the June ballot - even if it's approved in the Senate and Assembly. (Sacramento Bee)
Jobless rate at 7.7 percent come election time?: That's the average forecast of economists in the latest WSJ survey, and it's actually good news for Obama because it would show considerable improvement over the current 8.9 percent level.
Borders plans to exit bankruptcy by fall: The struggling bookseller is looking to ramp up business for the holiday shopping season. As part of the reorganization, it might close 75 additional stores (on top of the 200 already being shuttered). From the WSJ:
The operator of Borders and Waldenbooks stores, however, faces challenges ahead. In court papers Thursday, the company's unsecured creditors committee said that due to borrowing constraints in Borders' bankruptcy financing, the bookseller won't have enough funds to place orders toward the end of the summer and early fall to prepare for the next holiday season and will have to either find new investors or sell itself by mid to late June.
Blue Shield's scary-high rate increases: The cumulative hikes, once thought to be as much as 59 percent, are actually 86.5 percent. From the LAT:
Blue Shield already increased rates in October and January. If its third planned increase is allowed to take effect May 1, as expected, the San Francisco nonprofit said, 45,500 customers out of 193,800 will face cumulative hikes of 50% or more. Nine hundred will see their bills rise 80% or more.
Tokyo Disneyland stays closed: Maintenance checks are expected to last about 10 days. (Kyodo News)
Council approves Hollywood tower: The developer sold the parcel at 1601 N. Vine to the city's redevelopment agency for $5.4 million and is slated to buy it back for $825,000. Makes sense to me. (LAT)
KCET plummeting: Since splitting from PBS 10 weeks ago, the station has lost members, and ratings are down 51 percent compared with a year ago. CEO Al Jerome says, "I think it's up from here." (LABJ)
Tribune papers valued at $920 million: That includes the LAT, Chicago Tribune and six other papers - and it compares with estimates of $3 billion just a few years ago. (Chicago Tribune)
Ron Burkle goes after Warner Music: The L.A. billionaire is part of a group that includes Napster founder Sean Parker. Company is expected to fetch $2.5 billion (All Things Digital)