Stocks lower: Debt worries at home and abroad start the trading week off on a sour note. Dow is down about 140 points.
Earnings season begins: Alcoa is the first significant company out of the gate, reporting its results after the closing bell. U.S. corporations have done very well these past few quarters, though the April-June period was likely on the soft side.
Debt clock ticking down: President Obama continues to push for a compromise deal, and the Republicans continue to balk. From the NYT:
Mr. Obama, meeting with leaders from both parties at the White House, bluntly challenged Republicans a day after Speaker John A. Boehner pulled back from a far-reaching agreement aimed at saving as much as $4 trillion over 10 years, officials briefed on the negotiations said. The meeting ended after an hour and 15 minutes with little progress, but the two sides agreed to resume talking Monday, and every day after that, until a deal is done.
Oil and gas roundup: Crude was down to about $95 this morning amid signs of a struggling economy. But local gas prices might have bottomed out. Government survey due out later today.
Dollar stores taking it on the chin: Price-sensitive shoppers are buying more basics, such as cleaning products and food, rather than clothes and other discretionary items. From the WSJ:
Shoppers have become less likely to splurge, for example, even on a $5 die-cast Transformer toy or 2-for-1 children's bathing suits at $7. "This is a sector that was in nirvana during the recession, as customers traded down," said Adrianne Shapira, a retail analyst at Goldman Sachs. "But now their shoppers have a bunker mentality. With all this mounting inflation crowding out discretionary purchases, it's painful."
Villaraigosa's new chief of staff: Gaye Williams, a friend and advisor to likely mayoral candidate Austin Beutner, will succeed Jeff Carr, who resigned on Wednesday. From the LAT:
The selection of Williams creates an unusual dynamic in the run-up to the March 2013 mayoral election. Williams, a Republican, spent just more than a year as a $120,000-a-year aide to Beutner when he served as Villaraigosa's jobs czar. Since she resigned in May, she has been volunteering with Beutner's exploratory campaign, serving as a sounding board and providing strategic advice. Meanwhile, the two top Villaraigosa deputies who will report directly to Williams are Matt Szabo and Janelle Erickson, both of whom have ties to City Controller Wendy Greuel, another likely mayoral contender in 2013.
Burkle says hiring Clinton was dumb: Actually, the L.A. billionaire calls it "the dumbest thing I ever did," noting in a new book that the friendship damaged his reputation. From the NY Post:
Burkle sounds off on his soured relationship with Clinton in a candid interview with Michael Gross for his new book, "Unreal Estate: Money, Ambition and the Lust for Land in Los Angeles," coming in November from Broadway Books. It profiles owners of 16 estates, including Burkle and his palatial LA home Greenacres. Gross writes that Clinton stayed there about 80 times and flew on Burkle's private planes, but their relationship became raw meat for vulturous media once Clinton was hired as an adviser to Yucaipa in 2002.L.A. bankruptcies take dip: Business and individual filings were down 4.7 percent in May compared with a year earlier. The overall numbers for the Central District of California are still quite high. (OC Register)
Socal apartments rents starting to rise: But they're still trailing the U.S. average, according to MPF Research, because apartment rents in the region were almost flat during the latter half of 2010. (OC Register)