Stocks take off: After four straight losing sessions, investors are grabbing onto some decent news: China reporting strong growth and the possibility of further stimulus from the Fed. Dow is up 140 points.
About that stimulus...: Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke tells Congress that the central bank is prepared to infuse the markets with more cash if the economy appears to be in danger of stalling. From Bloomberg:
The comments are Bernanke's first since a government report on July 8 showed the economy added 18,000 jobs in June, less than the most pessimistic forecast in a Bloomberg News survey of economists. Bernanke said that "disappointing" job growth in May and June was partly a result of temporary effects, such as high energy prices, and repeated that the economy will pick up in the second half of the year.
Janice Hahn wins: The South Bay Democrat defeated Republican Craig Huey for the congressional seat vacated by Jane Harman. Hahn won by 9 points (okay but not great) and turnout was around 23 percent. Nate Silver's not-so-impressed take:
One common way to benchmark the results of a Congressional race is by comparing them to how the district voted for president. California's 36th District, for instance, had given Barack Obama about 64 percent of its vote in 2008, or 11 percentage points more than the 53 percent of the vote he received nationwide. Since a vote for Ms. Hahn was also necessarily a vote against her lone opponent, Mr. Huey, we might reasonably have expected Ms. Hahn to prevail by twice that amount, or a net of 22 percentage points, assuming that the political environment was fairly neutral over all. Her actual 9-point margin of victory underachieved that benchmark by 13 points.
State leads nation in green jobs: But L.A. still lags relative to its overall employment market, ranking 58th nationally in clean jobs per worker, according to a Brookings Institution study. And the median income for green workers is $40,910, way lower than in SF, at $59,896. (LAT)
Commercial real estate looking better: Higher rents and lower vacancies are expected by 2013 and 2014, according to the UCLA Anderson Forecast, based on polling of industry professionals. (press release)
Netflix customers not happy: Yesterday's hefty price increase penalizes anyone who watches moves both on DVDs and through streaming, with the monthly price jumping 60 percent. From the WSJ:
Dan Rayburn, an analyst at research firm Frost & Sullivan who follows digital media, said the move "makes no sense," predicting it will push people like him who pay $9.99 a month for Netflix streaming and DVD services--often leaving a red DVD envelope from the company unopened for months--to switch to the company's $7.99 streaming-only plan. Mr. Rayburn said customers that make such a switch can rent DVDs from kiosks run by Coinstar Inc.'s Redbox and others for $1 a night when they can't find a title on Netflix's streaming service. "They were getting an extra $2 a month from me," he said. "It's free money for them."
L.A. bond rating falls: The one-notch downgrade to Aa3 reflects a modest revenue forecast and rising employee costs. But in its report, Moody's raised the city's financial outlook from negative to stable. (LAT)
Oprah to become CEO of her network: She formally takes the reins of her struggling L.A.-based cable channel this fall. That's when a bunch of new shows are scheduled. At times, viewership has been lower than that of Discovery Health, the channel OWN replaced. (WSJ)