Stocks taking off: Job numbers are apparently having an effect - as is a decent report on manufacturing. Dow is up about 100 points.
Oil prices back up: A worrisome development: Crude futures were trading at more than $107 a barrel in NY. From the WSJ:
Gordon Kwan, head of regional energy at Mirae Asset Securities, said the Libyan tensions have coincided with refinery maintenance in Europe, which has meant oil demand is more subdued than usual. This will intensify demand for supplies of high-quality, low-sulfur crude oil that matches the lost Libyan barrels, as many refineries can't process the lower-quality crude from Saudi Arabia that has been added to the market as cover. Already the premium on prices of some light, sweet crudes, such as those from Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan, has soared to an all-time high, Mr. Kwan said.
Local gas prices keep inching higher: An average gallon of regular in the L.A. area is $4.055, almost 7 cents higher than last week, according to the Auto Club. Oil analyst Phil Flynn tells KNX this morning that the numbers could increase even further as Memorial Day approaches.
Another jump in L.A. bankruptcies: Individual and business filings in February were up 15 percent from a year earlier in L.A. County, but at least the rate of increase is slowing a bit. OC filings were up 7.5 percent. (OC Register)
Live Nation enters Warner Records bidding: The Bev Hills-based concert company is going after Warner's recorded-music operation, not its music publishing division, the WSJ reports. Presumably, such a pairing would be reviewed carefully by the feds.
Live Nation's Front Line Management Group represents hundreds of major acts, such as Christina Aguilera and Kings of Leon, and its performers could benefit from a direct affiliation with a major-label company. A single company that handled virtually every facet of an artist's career would be able to undertake across-the-board marketing and promotion efforts. That in turn could save money by eliminating redundant marketing and promotion departments. The combination also could create opportunities to combine corporate sponsorships with sales of concert tickets, recorded music, and merchandise.
More on why the state budget deal blew up: We should all look in the mirror, says Sacramento Bee columnist Dan Walters:
As we voters become disgusted with failure in the Capitol, we tend to erect even more barriers to decision-making, believing we are punishing political miscreants, but in reality we are punishing ourselves with bad government. We've built a wonderful system for gridlock and passing the buck, which is what's happening now on the budget, but a terrible system for effective decision-making. And until we muster the courage to change it and align government with reality we will continue to experience failure.
Tourism dips in Japan: Tokyo is more or less back to normal, but lots of cancellations are coming in. From the WSJ:
Some experts blame foreign media coverage for stoking fear. "While business travelers may come because they need to, leisure-oriented tourists may not visit over the next several months," said Yasokazu Terada, executive vice president at hotel investment services firm Jones Lang LaSalle Hotels.
Food truck vendors sue Monrovia: They're challenging a recently enacted law that bans them from parking in the Old Town shopping district. Monrovia officials say they wanted to protect local restaurants. (AP)
Billy Joel kills memoir: "The Book of Joel" was to hit the shelves in two months, but the singer/songwriter decided he didn't want to talk about the past after all. The book was being billed as a tell-all on Joel's battles with drugs and alcohol and the bust-up of his marriage to Christie Brinkley. (NY Post)
Mattel CEO gets pay raise: Robert Eckert's 2010 compensation was valued at $10.8 million in 2010, up 20 percent from 2009. The bulk of his pay came in stock and option awards. (AP)