Thursday morning headlines

Stocks slide lower: A falloff in commodities prices is taking its toll on energy stocks as investors look for safer ground. Dow is down about 50 points.

Another dive for oil: Crude futures are trading at a little over $96 a barrel, another bearish sign for global demand. But it will mean lower gas prices. (AP)

Steep drop in jobless claims: Looks like last week's big jump was an aberration. Still, weekly filings are running at 434,000, which is way too high for sustainable job growth. (AP)

Delay in California foreclosure activity: The process took a total of 330 days in the first quarter, compared with 262 days a year earlier, according to RealtyTrac. That's one reason filings fell almost 20 percent in April. From press release:

"Foreclosure activity decreased on an annual basis for the seventh straight month in April, bringing foreclosure activity to a 40-month low," said James J. Saccacio, chief executive officer of RealtyTrac. "This slowdown continues to be largely the result of massive delays in processing foreclosures rather than the result of a housing recovery that is lifting people out of foreclosure.

Another increase in California exports: Not even Japan's earthquake and tsunami were enough to stymie the state's export activity in March. It was the 17th consecutive month of year-over-year growth - and its impact on the economy has been getting next-to-no attention. (Sacramento Bee)

Local economic picture brightens: Cal State Long Beach economists expect the greatest job gains to be in health care, trade, transportation and administrative support. They'll present their findings at a conference today. (Press-Telegram)

FCC commissioner joins Comcast: Meredith Attwell Baker, who had approved the cable giant's merger with NBC Universal just four months ago, is becoming a lobbyist for the company. She won't be able to lobby anyone at the FCC for two years. From the NYT:

The announcement drew immediate criticism from some groups that had opposed the Comcast-NBC merger. They said the move was indicative of an ethically questionable revolving door between regulatory agencies and the companies they oversee.

Saab future in doubt: Suppliers have stopped extending credit to the automaker and a production deal with a Chinese manufacturer has fallen apart, Now, the company is looking to form some sort of partnership. (NYT)

Merchants fall victim to Lakers loss: Sports bars near Staples are taking it on the chin. From the LAT:

The Lakers are a huge draw for merchants and won't be easy to replace, said economist Esmael Adibi of Chapman University, who estimated that local businesses would lose at least $60 million to $70 million because of the team's early exit. "When you take the crowd that would go to the Staples Center itself and all the activities that take place, it is a large sum of money," he said. "Every sporting event has some economic impact, and unfortunately there is no substitution."

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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