Stocks a bit higher: Market seeking direction on a day of so-so news. Dow is up about 20 points.
L.A. inflation picked up in January: Blame the rising price of gas for a 0.8 percent increase in the Consumer Price Index - considerably higher than the 0.2 percent national rate. Over the last 12 months, prices were up 2.1 percent. (OC Register)
Airlines raising fares: Quick response to the increase in fuel costs - JetBlue, Southwest, United, Delta, American and US Airways are raising the price on medium-length and long flights by $10 per round trip. From AP:
Jet fuel accounts for about one-third of an airline's costs -- about the same as labor -- and the bill has been rising along with crude oil prices. This week, the spot price for Gulf Coast jet fuel was 12.1 percent higher than a year ago and up 8.5 percent so far in 2012, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. That could mean more fare hikes ahead. "It is pretty clear airlines will continue to try to recoup fuel increases regularly this year, with passengers telling carriers exactly when the price of middle seats has stepped over the line," said [Rick Seaney, CEO of FareCompare.com].
Rallying around Brown's tax plan: Time to end the sparring over competing measures for the November ballot and coalesce behind the governor's tax initiative, says Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg. From Capitol Alert:
The California Federation of Teachers is pushing a tax increase on millionaires, while attorney Molly Munger, an activist on civil rights and education policy issues, is leading a drive to raise state income taxes for all but the poorest Californians to fund schools and early childhood development proposals. Steinberg, who led a drive to increase taxes on the wealthy seven years ago, said he is convinced that the newly proposed millionaires tax would spark "significant funded opposition" that could sink it at the polls.
Apple making over Mac: The computer's new operating system, dubbed "Mountain Lion," will incorporate features from the software on iPhones and Apple's other mobile devices. From the WSJ:
Apple's moves come as fiercer competition among hardware makers is leading them to compete over software and giving consumers a familiar experience across various devices. That is leading to a convergence between different categories of devices that could have wide ramifications across the technology industry.
Yelp raising $100 million: The SF-based review site is pricing its shares at $12 to $14 each. That values the company at $778 million, which some investors say is on the high side. (Bloomberg)
China's vice president wraps up L.A. visit: Xi Jinping's schedule includes a lunchtime economic forum with Commerce Secretary John Bryson and the announcement of a deal with DreamWorks Animation to build and operate a studio in Shanghai. Yesterday he toured the Port of Los Angeles. (Daily Breeze)
Box office starts off strong in 2012: It's still early, but attendance is up almost 15 percent from 2011 and revenue is ahead by nearly the same percentage. From THR:
Whereas film after film underperformed in the second half of 2011, the opposite has been true in 2012, beginning with the $33.7 million bow of Paramount's micro-budgeted horror flick The Devil Inside during the Jan. 6 to 8 weekend (the third-best opening for the month ever). Key to the film's success were younger moviegoers, who also flocked to Fox's Chronicle and CBS Films' The Woman in Black -- with those under age 25 making up 61 percent of Chronicle's opening-weekend audience and 57 percent of Woman in Black's.