Sluggish stocks: Not much going on - Dow is down about 15 points.
U.S. home sales have strong January: The 4.3 percent increase is the largest monthly gain in nearly two years. From AP:
The report offered a mixed picture of the slowly improving housing market. The number of first-time buyers, who are critical to a housing recovery, increased slightly to make up 33 percent of all sales. That's still below 40 percent, which tends to signal a healthy market. Sales of homes at risk of foreclosure also increased to 35 percent of all purchases. Those sales hurt the market by lowering broader home prices.
Obama proposes cut in corporate taxes: The plan would reduce the top rate to 28 percent, down from 35 percent, and eliminate a variety of tax breaks. There's little chance of it getting through Congress this year. (NYT)
Local pensions in trouble: Two dozen city and county governments, including the city and county of L.A., face a combined $135.7 billion in unfunded pension liabilities, according to a study. From AP:
The report found that none of the systems is at least 80 percent funded, which often is used as a benchmark for the minimum funding level of pension funds. The study assumed a 5 percent annual rate of return for the funds' investments, much more conservative than the 7.75 percent or greater annual return rate assumed by many of the funds.
New deal for car wash workers: Two L.A. car washes agreed to collective bargaining agreements with their workers who are members of the United Steelworkers union. Wages will be $8.16 an hour, an increase of about 2 percent. From the LAT:
There are now believed to be three union carwashes in the country, with Santa Monica's Bonus Carwash becoming the first last year. But if union leaders are able to stem -- let alone reverse -- years of declining membership, it will take the allegiance of these kinds of low-wage workers. "This is the future of the labor movement," said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, gesturing to the parking lot full of workers waving signs in English and Spanish, before he went on stage.
O'Malley drops out of Dodgers bidding: The team's former owner was trying to line up funding from a South Korean conglomerate. The 10 remaining bidders have been asked to submit new offers this week. (LAT)
Community colleges face shortfall: A budget deficit of $149-million is expected to result in more class cuts, layoffs, borrowing and probable elimination of summer programs. Apparently, revenue from student fees are below expectations. (LAT)