Stocks wavering: Federal Reserve assesses the economy later this morning. Dow is down about a point.
About that Fed announcement: Look for an acknowledgment that the economy is slowing down and a commitment to keep down interest rates. From Real Time Economics:
For the past eight months, the Fed has been buying U.S. government bonds in an effort to keep interest rates low and encourage borrowing. Amid mixed results, the central bank will likely make clear that it's entering a holding pattern. Though the economy has experienced a rough patch in the first half of this year, Chairman Ben Bernanke has made clear that he expects growth to pick up as the year progresses with temporary factors moving further back in the rear view mirror.
Brown preparing new budget plan: This time out the governor is not expected to rely on tax extensions (and thus Republican votes), focusing instead on sharp spending cuts. He's expected to announce something later today. (Bloomberg)
Commerce nominee focuses on jobs: In his confirmation hearings, former Socal utility executive John Bryson says he would work to simplify the tax code and eliminate unnecessary regulation. He's been under fire from Republicans for his environmental views. (LAT)
LAX concession deals approved: The council gave 10-year agreements to three operators for Terminals 5, 7 and 8. The contracting process was marred by vicious politicking (outrageous even by L.A. standards). (LAT)
Cities cutting back on Rose Parade floats: More victims of the fiscal crisis. From the LAT:
West Covina says it won't have a float because it cannot raise enough money. Glendale could follow suit if the City Council votes to cease its $130,000 commitment to build the annual float -- ending the city's status as the second-longest-running entrant. The potential funding cut comes amid an $18-million budget gap at City Hall. "It's a great thing, and the community does take pride in it," Mayor Laura Friedman said of the city's floats at a recent budget meeting. "But at this time, we are talking about cutting programs for children in the parks. I think it's a luxury."
Trump gets pay raise: He'll pocket $65 million for his work next season on NBC's "Celebrity Apprentice," the NY Post reports. Trump thus becomes the highest-paid reality-TV star, quite a claim to fame.
Latest add-on fee: Low-fare carrier Spirit Airlines is charging passengers an extra $5 to have boarding passes printed by a check-in agent. The carrier is encouraging travelers to print their own boarding passes. (WSJ)