Slip-sliding stocks: Early gains are being pared back as investors keep an eye on the inconclusive headlines from Italy. Dow is down about 10 points.
Berlusconi's exit would not resolve much: The Italian prime minister appears to be on his last legs, but it's doubtful whether a new government would be capable of shoring up public finances and tackling reforms. From Reuters:
A worst-case scenario could see weeks or months of instability and continued reform inertia. Italy's benchmark bond yields are at an unsustainable level well above 6 percent and would be far higher without support from the European Central Bank. Funding needs are modest for the next two months but will rise sharply going into the new year, as major debt redemptions are due in February and March.
Olympus hid losses: The camera giant admitted that acquisitions were used to mask huge losses in what's becoming one of the largest accounting frauds in Japanese history. From AP:
The company consistently denied any wrongdoing and sacked its chief executive last month after he raised concerns about the acquisitions and the payment to an obscure Wall Street firm. Olympus did an about-face on Tuesday, issuing a statement saying that an independent panel investigating allegations had found that acquisitions were used to cover up losses on investments dating to the 1990s. During that time in Japan known as the "Lost Decade," many Japanese companies took to making speculative investments in securities to offset sluggish sales following the bursting of Japan's economic bubble.
Fox not happy with Dodger auction: The sale includes separate bidding for media rights, and Fox says that it has the exclusive right to negotiate a new deal. From the WSJ:
"We fully support a change in ownership of the Dodgers," a Fox spokesman said in a statement. "In that process, Fox has rights that cannot be violated, as MLB has stated. We have rights that we negotiated and paid for. We will take all necessary steps to aggressively protect and defend those rights." As is true for every baseball team in a major market, the Dodgers' local-media rights are its most valuable asset. The Dodgers now get roughly $37 million a year from the deal with Prime Ticket. Earlier this year, Fox offered Mr. McCourt a 17-year extension of their deal, valued at $2.7 billion. The offer, which MLB vetoed, included a 35% stake in Prime Ticket.
NBA update: With tomorrow's league deadline looming, the players association is deciding whether to take another meeting with NBA officials. A group of hard-line owners seem to be running the show at this point. (Yahoo Sports)
Amgen to buy back shares: The $5 billion repurchase program, which would be financed through a bond sale, is an effort to boost the stock price of the Thousand Oaks-based biotech company. In the process, though, Amgen will be taking on more debt. (LAT)
Challenging pot dispensary closings: A group of lawsuits throughout the state is aimed at stopping U.S. attorneys from closing medical marijuana shops. The suits argue that the federal government's threats to prosecute dispensary owners and their landlords conflict with an earlier agreement. (LAT)
Playboy consolidates in Bev Hills: The Chicago-based company will move its Socal offices to the former Hilton Hotels headquarters near City Hall. (LAT)
Big drop in bankruptcies: L.A. County individual and business filings were down 17.4 percent in September compared with a year ago, the continuation of a downward trend. (OC Register)
New port director in Long Beach: Longtime shipping executive Christopher Lytle replaces Richard Steinke. Lytle joined the port in 2006 and was promoted as Steinke's deputy two years later. (Press-Telegram)
Exempt car dealers from business tax?: That's what L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa will be proposing later this morning. Over the years the city has lost dozens of dealerships to nearby municipalities. (City Maven)
LAX upgrade considered: More palm trees, improved walkways, and a paint job for the terminals are among the projects being considered. From the Daily Breeze:
The airport's lower arrivals roadway may be the most challenging area to upgrade, [said Luci Woodard, vice president of AECOM, a Los Angeles-based engineering firm that drew up the proposal]. "When you're down there, you know, it feels dirty ... with 50-year-old concrete," Woodard said. "It just looks that way, no matter how clean it is." LAX's nine terminals were all built at different times, leading to a mishmash of inconsistent designs.