Stocks open way higher: Encouraging news about the Greek debt situation could be offset by lousy housing data. Dow is still up 75 points.
L.A. home prices keep falling: But the 0.3 percent February-to-March drop in the Case-Shiller index wasn't nearly as bad as other metro areas (Minneapolis was down 3.7 percent). From press release:
"This month's report is marked by the confirmation of a double-dip in home prices across much of the nation," says David M. Blitzer, Chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Indices. "In March 2011, 12 cities - Atlanta, Charlotte, Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, Las Vegas, Miami, Minneapolis, New York, Phoenix, Portland (OR) and Tampa - fell to their lowest levels as measured by the current housing cycle.."
Economy in a funk: Second-quarter forecasts are being revised downward. Economist Nigel Gault expects a growth rate of less than 3 percent over the next few quarters, which is too slow to make a dent in unemployment. "It's very hard to generate a rapid recovery when rapid recoveries are historically driven by housing and the consumer," said Gault. (WSJ)
Oil prices inch higher: Crude is trading at $102 a barrel - last week it was as low as $96. (AP)
FBI widens Building & Safety probe: Bribery investigation will include supervisors to determine if they knew about any misdeeds from the field. From the LAT:
The city's failure to detect those activities may have been, at least in part, the product of staffing cuts at his agency, Ovrom said in his memo, a copy of which was obtained by The Times. With high-level managers leaving as part of the city's early retirement program, the department was "not always providing adequate training" to their replacements, he wrote. "It is bad enough that these incidents happened," Ovrom said. "It is perhaps even worse that our supervisors never caught this blatant illegal activity."
L.A. unions approve concessions: The agreement between the city and civilian employee unions delays a package of raises and requires a 4 percent pay cut. Proceeds will go toward the rising cost of retirement benefits. The plan had been initially turned down. (LAT)
Reviving mall project at Santa Anita?: Billionaire Frank Stronach, who is about to become sole owner of the track, says he might try bringing back developer Rick Caruso. Earlier this month, Caruso said he was dropping out of the long-delayed retail project. (Whittier Daily News)
Huge opening for "The Hangover": The R-rated sequel raked in $137.4 million for the long holiday weekend. The movie also did well overseas. (THR)
Lakers to introduce Mike Brown: News conference is scheduled for this afternoon in El Segundo. (Daily Breeze)