Friday morning headlines

Stocks seek stability: Expect a volatile session as investors begin to bargain hunt - and keep an eye on Europe. Dow has been all over the place this morning - it's now around the line.

Oil keeps falling: NY crude is running below $80 a barrel, another bearish signal among commodity traders. L.A. area gas prices have fallen slightly, with an average gallon at $3.931, down 2.7 cents from last week, according to the Auto Club.

Credit card debt jumps: Contrary to the narrative that has consumers saving instead of borrowing, Americans added $18.4 billion to their debt load in the second quarter, a 66 percent jump from a year earlier. From CNNMoney:

Despite the recent spending spree, the total amount of credit card debt consumers have accumulated is still significantly lower than in previous years. Total outstanding credit card debt as of July was $792 billion, down 18% from the September 2008 peak of $972 billion, according to data from the Federal Reserve. If current trends continue, however, consumers could find themselves even deeper in the hole. CardHub, which analyzed the consumer debt data from the Federal Reserve, estimates that consumers will run up about $54 billion more in credit card debt by the end of 2011 than they did in 2010.

KB delivering fewer homes: For the three months ended Aug. 31, the L.A.-based company delivered 1,603 homes, compared with 2,320 a year earlier. But new orders are up. KB reported a quarterly loss of $9.6 million. (AP)

White House missed warning signs on Solyndra: The Obama administration was pressuring Energy Department officials to push out a $535 million federal loan guarantee. From the NYT:

Industry analysts and government auditors fault the Obama administration for failing to properly evaluate the business proposals or take note of troubling signs already evident in the solar energy marketplace. "It was alarming," said Frank Rusco, a program director at the Government Accountability Office, which found that Energy Department preliminary loan approvals -- including the one for Solyndra -- were granted at times before officials had completed mandatory evaluations of the financial and engineering viability of the projects. "They can't really evaluate the risks without following the rules."

Meg Whitman on why she took HP job: Still sounding like a politician, the former Republican candidate for governor told All Things Digital that "HP really matters to Silicon Valley, to California, to this country and to the world." Among her first orders of business is to decide whether the company's PC business should be sold.

Brown expected to sign Amazon bill: The legislation would require the online retailer to collect sales tax on purchases by Californians, starting in September 2012. Because the state is delaying implementation, Amazon says it will open new distribution centers in California that would be staffed by thousands of new hires. (LAT)

Grocery workers vote on contract: Union officials have still not released details of the proposed contract, but they're confident that their members will ratify the deal over the weekend.

SAG President reelected: Ken Howard is still pushing for a merger with AFTRA. A vote of members might happen early next year. (THR)

Easing restrictions on farmers markets: The L.A. ordinance allows them to operate in residential areas, as well as in commercial locations without public hearings. Reaction is mixed. (Daily News)

Voters still love Prop 13: Nearly two-thirds of California voters would endorse the measure if it were up for a vote again today, according to a Field Poll. "It's still the third rail of California politics," poll director Mark DiCamillo said. "It's really an untouchable. Tinkering with Proposition 13 would probably be done at a politician's own peril." (Sacramento Bee)

Another step for Crenshaw/LAX line: The MTA board approved the final environmental impact statement/report for 8.5-mile light rail project. The line, which is budgeted at $1.7 billion (and might cost more), is scheduled to open in 2018. From The Source:

The Crenshaw/LAX Line will also include an elevated station at Aviation and Century boulevards, east of Los Angeles International Airport. The new station is closer than the existing Green Line station that is south of LAX, but Aviation/Century is still more than one mile to the LAX terminals. Metro has a separate study underway to connect the Metro Rail system to LAX via another Measure R-funded project. The city of Los Angeles, which operates LAX, also has a specific plan amendment study underway that is considering a people mover between the Aviation/Century station and the airport terminals.

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 California stories:
Volcanic cinder in Owens Valley
Holiday shopping: On your marks, get set... spend!
14 California bookstores in nine days
Uproar over health care sites could be settling down
BART strike to end Tuesday in the Bay Area

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