Monday morning headlines

Stocks lower: Vague concern about Europe is about all it takes these days. Dow is down more than 130 points.

Decent bank earnings: It was Citigroup's seventh-straight quarterly profit - despite weak results from its investment bank. Wells Fargo reported a drop in the write offs of bad loans. (DealBook, AP)

New Apple iPhone off to fast start: Four million smartphones were sold in the first three days of sales - more than double the previous iPhone launch during its first three days. (PC Mag)

McCourts reach divorce settlement: Under the deal, reported by the LAT, Jamie McCourt would get about $130 million and relinquish any claim to a share of the Dodgers.

The settlement would remove Jamie McCourt as an obstacle to Frank McCourt's plan to retain ownership of the team by selling the Dodgers' television rights in U.S. Bankruptcy Court. The agreement also would appear to set up a winner-take-all court showdown for the Dodgers between Frank McCourt and Commissioner Bud Selig.

California frittering away $9.1 billion?: That's how much the state is sitting on, LAT columnist George Skelton reports. The money covers infrastructure bonds that have been sold and are costing the state $630 million in debt payments.

The borrowed money is stashed in various drawers throughout the bureaucracy instead of circulating around California creating jobs. Why? No one I talked to seems to know. They're trying to find out. Or they're waiting for someone to tell them. There's a vague partial explanation about the state changing its system of disbursing bond money three years ago and not yet adjusting to it. Something like that. Sounds a lot like bureaucratic inertia. The governor probably needs to kick some butt.

L.A. office rents keep falling: Average asking price in the third quarter was $2.47 a square foot, down from $2.56 a year earlier. Countywide, office vacancies rose slightly to 19 percent from 18.5 percent a year earlier. From the LAT:

The soft market was a boon for tenants willing to sign leases. But few companies are finding the need to expand their quarters with the economy tepid and hiring at a standstill. Business bosses "have gone on a personnel diet," said Jim Kruse of CBRE Group Inc., the real estate brokerage formerly known as CB Richard Ellis. "They are trying to get through and maintain as much market share as they can without putting a lot of cash into operations."

California has 1 in 4 solar jobs: That's way more than any other state, according to a study (Colorado was second). From the LAT:

The Golden State ranked first in the nation for generating electricity from both photovoltaic solar panels and concentrated solar power systems that use mirrors to create steam to run turbines, the study said. "This report shows that the solar industry is not only creating green jobs across California but that the industry is forecast to continue growing at a much faster pace than the overall U.S. economy," said Michelle Kinman, a clean energy advocate for Environment California. "California industry and policymakers have a tremendous opportunity to build on this solid foundation and make solar a centerpiece of the state's energy policy."

Doctors group supports legalizing pot: The California Medical Association is the first major medical association in the nation to urge legalization - despite questioning marijuana's medicinal value. From the LAT:

Dr. Donald Lyman, the Sacramento physician who wrote the group's new policy, attributed the shift to growing frustration over California's medical marijuana law, which permits cannabis use with a doctor's recommendation. That, he said, has created an untenable situation for physicians: deciding whether to give patients a substance that is illegal under federal law. "It's an uncomfortable position for doctors," he said. "It is an open question whether cannabis is useful or not. That question can only be answered once it is legalized and more research is done. Then, and only then, can we know what it is useful for."

Rocky Delgadillo's new jobs: The former L.A. City Attorney has been named the top executive of the L.A. County Medical Association. (LAT)

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