Thursday morning headlines

Stocks head south: Second day the market has pulled back - perhaps investors are getting antsy. Dow is down 90 points.

Big jump in jobless claims: Filings rose 43,000, to 474,000, the highest since mid-August. These numbers tend to fluctuate, but such a large, one-week increase is not good. The April employment report is out tomorrow. (Reuters)

Oil tumbles: Well, at least the prospect of a slowing economy might get gas prices down. NY crude is trading at $105.70. (AP)

Retailers report strong April: Consumers kept buying stuff last month, despite higher gas prices. From the WSJ:

The 25 retailers tracked by Thomson Reuters are expected to show an 8.4% rise in same-store sales, which would be their best showing in a year. The figure, added to March's 1.7% rise, to "smooth" out the performance of the two months as a way of accounting for this year's late Easter, would equal what is considered a healthy 5% gain. There are also signs of trouble among retailers that do not report monthly same-store sales, including Sears Holdings Corp., which on Tuesday warned of a big first quarter loss.

Big earnings for GM: Demand for fuel-efficient cars led to the automaker's highest quarterly profit in more than a decade. (AP)

McCourt not cooperating?: Baseball investigation into the finances of the Dodgers owner is being hampered by the club's "failure to produce documents in a timely manner," said an official for Major League Baseball. Also not helping is "the complexity of the financial structures surrounding the club." (LAT)

The ever-shrinking deficit?: Those heftier-than-expected tax revenues coming into the state could sharply trim the $15 billion shortfall. Of course, it also makes it harder for Gov. Jerry Brown to convince voters about the need for tax extensions. From the LAT:

Some analysts say the surprise -- the sign of a brightening economy -- could be just the beginning. Revenue has crept up incrementally for months and jumped in April, when people paid their taxes. It may be time to raise projections, they say, with the potential for billions more to flow into state coffers. "As much as a third of the deficit will probably, hopefully, disappear," said Brad Williams, an economist and former chief revenue forecaster for the Legislature.

L.A.'s cell phone bills are coming down: Some city departments have been able to reduce costs by up to 50 percent by changing rate plans and the way the phones are used. (Daily News)

Comcast to invest more in NBC: The cable company, which bought a controlling interest in NBCUniversal, says $200 million will be spent on new NBC shows, and another $100 million will go for new shows on cable. (AP)

Fast lane for trusted air travelers?: The feds are working on a plan that would allow certain passengers to keep their shoes on. From the WSJ:

Drawing data from airline frequent-flier programs, the TSA plans to identify trusted travelers and indicate their status with a bar code on their boarding passes, said the agency's administrator, John Pistole. When the boarding pass and valid identification are presented at the security checkpoint, a trusted flier will be directed to the expedited screening line.

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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