Wednesday morning headlines

Stocks advance a bit: Perhaps some carryover from the last two up sessions - plus the Greek debt agreement and B of A settlement. Dow is up about 50 points.

B of A cuts mortgage deal: The bank will set aside $14 billion to pay investors who bought mortgage-backed securities, many of which originated from those not-so-wonderful Countrywide subprime loans. From the NYT:

In addition to the $14 billion hit, the bank is taking additional charges totaling $6 billion in the second quarter to clean-up other areas of its troubled mortgage business. That includes the $2.6 billion non-cash write-off of the value of its home lending business - a move that tacitly acknowledge that it overpaid for its purchase of Countrywide. The deal will also require Bank of America to improve its payment collection process by hiring specialists to focus on high-risk loans and to do a better job of tracking whether the bank is adhering to its own internal loan-servicing standards.

Greek budget vote approved: Despite street protests, the Parliament approved an austerity plan that will stave off default. There's still another vote on Thursday. From Bloomberg:

The vote follows [Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou] plea to lawmakers to "do their patriotic duty" after a struggle to keep his party in line and recruit opposition allies. He appointed a new finance minister to stem defections, survived a confidence vote and outlined 5.6 billion euros of additional budget measures, including a 5 percent levy on lawmakers' wages.

McCourt has the edge over Major League Baseball: That's what some legal experts are saying after the first hearing in bankruptcy court. From the LAT:

G. Marcus Cole, a Stanford University professor of bankruptcy law, predicted that the league will have no role in operating the team during that period. Not only will its trustee, Tom Schieffer, be required to relinquish day-to-day control of the team, Cole said, but the league could be held partially responsible for the team's financial difficulties for usurping control.

State Democrats go at it alone: They passed a revised budget that did not require Republican support, but which also did not include tax provisions that Gov. Jerry Brown had been pushing. From the Sacramento Bee:

Brown agreed to a budget that includes further spending reductions, including in education, if revenue projections fall short, and leaves open the possibility of pushing deficits into next year. The agreement left unclear the future of Brown's bid for an election on taxes. In recent months, he characterized consulting the electorate as not only a political necessity but a moral imperative.

Leonard Green to Buy BJ's: The L.A.-based investment firm, along with CVC Capital Partners, will pay $2.8 billion for the nation's third-largest warehouse club chain. Leonard Green has a pending buyout with 99 Cents Only Stores. (Bloomberg)

Wedbush loses arbitration case: The L.A. securities firm has been ordered to pay a former bond trader $3.5 million in withheld compensation. The arbitrators cited the firm's "morally reprehensible failure and refusal to compensate [Stephen Kelleher] in a timely fashion." (LAT)

Grocery workers rally: Protests were staged in Arcadia, Fullerton and Compton. Talks between the three major supermarket chains and the grocery union have made limited progress, though the chains say both sides have committed to more bargaining dates into July. (OC Register)

Newport Beach lifeguards get pension cut: They will be paying a bigger share of their salary on retirement benefits, and newly hired employees will be eligible for a much smaller pension package. From AP:

A public outcry emerged last month after budget negotiations revealed most earned more than $100,000 a year in total compensation. Base salaries for Newport Beach lifeguards range from $58,000 for the lowest-paid officer to $108,492 for the top-paid battalion chief, according to a 2010 city report on lifeguard pay.

Former Magic Johnson Theaters reopen: Dallas-based Rave Cinemas takes over at the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza center. The 15-screen MJ complex was closed nearly a year ago.

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?
Recent stories:
Letter from Down Under: Welcome to the Homogenocene
One last Florida photo
Signs of Saturday: No refund
'I Am Woman,' hear them roar
Bobcat crossing

New at LA Observed
On the Media Page
Go to Media

On the Politics Page
Go to Politics
Arts and culture

Sign up for daily email from LA Observed

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

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
LA Observed on Twitter and Facebook