Stocks open higher: No strong currents one way or another. Dow is up 50 points.
Oil prices bouncing around: After jumping yesterday by more than $5 a barrel, NY crude futures are down slightly this morning, to under $102. From the WSJ:
"The market was running ahead of itself, so it will spend some days now trying to consolidate, but whether the range will be $100-$110 a barrel or $95-$105 a barrel [for WTI] is hard to say," [said Saxo Bank's Ole Hansen]
Tech hiring helps state economy: California added 90,600 jobs in the first quarter, which is more than for all of 2010 - and gives the state a higher growth rate than for the nation overall. Much of the activity is happening up north. (WSJ)
Californians not paying fair share: Virtually none of the taxes due on Internet purchases from out-of-state merchants is being paid, according to a study by the State Board of Equalization. From the OC Register:
The analysis indicates how pervasive avoidance of this tax is. Jeffrey L. McGuire, deputy director of the board's sales and use tax department estimated that California consumers owe $795 million in use tax but in 2010 they reported and paid only $10.2 million through their state income tax returns.
Will McCourt file for bankruptcy?: As Major League Baseball closes in, it could be his last best hope of holding onto the Dodgers - provided that the courts go along. From the LAT:
Bankruptcy courts need not yield to MLB rules. One high-ranking major league executive, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the potential for litigation, expressed surprise McCourt did not file for protection as soon as Selig announced his intervention. McCourt's argument to a bankruptcy judge would be the same one he has made to MLB executives and in media interviews: The Dodgers' financial problems would be resolved with the approval of a long-term broadcast contract with Fox.
Microsoft to buy Skype: The $8.5-billion cash purchase will provide a boost in voice and video communications, not to mention an attractive asset that Google won't be able to buy. From DealBook:
Microsoft's deal-making history is mixed. The company has often been an smart acquirer of start-ups and smaller companies, analysts say, picking off technical teams that are then folded into products likes Windows, Office and Internet Explorer. But during [CEO Steve] Ballmer's tenure as chief executive, beginning in 2000, the company has also made far larger, riskier bids, most of which have been viewed as unsuccessful.
Live Nation, Groupon to start group-buying site: Groupon users will have access to discount tickets for concerts, sports, theater productions and other live events, courtesy of the Bev Hills-based concert promoter. (All Things Digital)
Activision focusing on digital: CEO Bobby Kotick says online networks are changing the videogame industry. "We had more than 50 per cent of our revenues from digital this quarter - and one of the things you realize is that there's less of a need for new hardware when people become much more enthusiastic about the online components of the game," he said during an earnings call. (FT)
"American Idol" parent to be sold: CKX Inc., which has been on the block for years, is being bought by private equity firm Apollo Global Management for $509 million. (LAT)