Thursday morning headlines

Stocks back up: Greek debt crisis seems to be taking a positive turn (I've lost track at this point), and there continues to be hope in the U.S. about raising the debt limit. Dow is up 150 points.

Jobless claims back up: Filings increased 10,000 to 418,000 - still too high to trigger any improvement in the employment picture. (Reuters)

More layoffs: Here's a big reason why there's been so little movement on the jobs front. In May, employers let go 1.8 million workers, the highest number since August 2010. From the WSJ:

The cuts also reflect the shifting outlook of employers, many of whom had expected the economy to gain speed as the year progressed. Instead, growth has faltered. If the pace continues to disappoint, more companies will feel pressure to pull back. "Layoffs have played a big role [in weak job growth] over the last few months," said Mike Montgomery, an economist at IHS Global Insight. "The soft patch is more layoffs and nothing else to pick up the slack."

Medco is sold for $29.1 billion: Express Scripts is buying the mail-order pharmacy giant in a deal that values the company at $71.36 a share, a 28 percent premium to Wednesday's close. From Bloomberg:

A company that combines Medco and Express Scripts would control about 30 percent of the market by 2013, said Helene Wolk, an analyst at Sanford Bernstein in New. CVS CareMark, based in Woonsocket, Rhode Island, will be "in the low 20s," while UnitedHealth will grow to the "low teens," she said. "It will be challenging to get this past the FTC, but with the growth of UnitedHealth," an insurer with its own pharmacy benefit unit, "we will be back to having three dominate players," Wolk said. "This is a business that is hyper price competitive, and the competition is what the FTC worries about losing. If anything, as it has consolidated, the market has only gotten more competitive."

Electric cars will cost more in CA: That's because the state has run out of $5,000 rebates. But this doesn't affect the $7,500 federal tax credit. (LAT)

Scientology real estate: All told, the church owns 26 properties in Hollywood, including seven historic holdings worth about $300 million, says THR:

Over the years, the church has transformed its Hollywood properties -- which include a former luxury hotel, apartment building, church and hospital -- into facilities that house everything from classrooms and chapels to production space, a health spa and an upscale French restaurant. Most recently, in April, the group closed on a $42 million purchase of the historic but ramshackle 4.5-acre KCET Studios on the edge of Hollywood, a complex that dates to 1912 and was once home to Monogram Pictures and Allied Artists. (The church will use it as a center for its various media endeavors.)

Katzenberg says recent movies "suck": The CEO of DreamWorks Animation blasted the studios for producing this year's crop of bad films and spoiling 3-D for film-goers. From the NY Post:

The studio boss, who spoke Tuesday at Fortune magazine's Brainstorm Tech conference in Aspen, Colo., asked the audience for a show of hands if "the last seven or eight months of movies is the worst lineup of movies you've experienced in the last five years of your life." "They suck," Katzenberg said in an unusual moment of candor. "It's unbelievable how bad movies have been, right?"

More by Mark Lacter:
American-US Air settlement with DOJ includes small tweak at LAX
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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?
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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
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