Market moves higher: Stocks are picking up steam this morning, with the Dow up about 90 points.
California's bleak outlook: Economists at UCLA's Anderson Forecast don't expect another recession, but they don't expect much growth either. The inland areas are looking especially bad. From Reuters:
The UCLA Anderson Forecast unit also said in its report that the "significant downward revision" in its U.S. forecast implies a greater slowing of California's overall economic growth, previously expected to outpace the nation's. Ongoing cuts to state and local government payrolls along with "doldrums" in construction, retail and financial sectors will restrain California's growth, keeping the state's unemployment rate in the double digits well into 2014.
Housing market to stay soft: Expect only slight improvement in home sales and prices next year, according to the California Association of Realtors' 2012 forecast. All the usual suspects: a struggling economy, uncertainty about the future, and continued difficulty in getting financing. From press release:
The forecast for California home sales next year is for a slight 1 percent increase to 496,200 units, following essentially flat sales of 491,100 homes this year compared to the 491,500 homes sold in 2010.
Fed meets on economy: The central bank will consider various ways of boosting the economy. After the two-day session ends tomorrow, some sort of announcement will be made. From the Washington Post:
A possibility that many Fed officials seem to favor would be to shift the Fed's holdings of Treasury bonds into securities that mature in the more distant future. In effect, this step would allow the Fed to put downward pressure on mortgage rates and corporate borrowing costs without adding to its total holdings. A more dramatic possibility that has emerged would be to lay out specific targets for unemployment and inflation, and indicate that low-interest-rate policies will remain in place until one of those targets is breached.
Small dip in L.A. gas prices: An average gallon of regular is $3.958, down a couple of pennies from last week, according to the government survey. Look for the gradual price drop to continue.
Waiting for details of grocery pact: Attention will be focused on health care coverage - specifically, provisions for bolstering the health care trust fund. Members of the United Food and Commercial Union will vote on the proposed deal on Friday and Saturday. (OC Register)
CA munis not a hit with investors: Yields are too low on a $2.5 billion general obligation bond offering. From the LAT:
Market yields on California muni bonds have fallen sharply, pulled down by the slide in U.S. Treasury bond interest rates this year and by the relative calm in the muni market after a major sell-off last fall and winter fueled a spike in yields. When it issued bonds in November the state paid an annualized tax-free yield of 4.23% on 10-year securities in the offering. This time around the state set the preliminary yield on its 10-year bonds at 3.17%, more than a full percentage point less.
Brown a bit more popular: Despite a dreadful economy, the governor's approval rating stands at 49 percent, up three percentage points from June, according to a new Field Poll. (Sacramento Bee)
Qantas strike disrupting L.A. service: Be aware of flight cancellations as a result of a labor dispute involving ground staff and baggage handlers. Additional work stoppages are planned. (Sydney Morning Herald)