Stocks edging lower: Continuing a pattern of low volume and hesitancy. Dow is down about 25 points. From the WSJ:
Many individual investors, chastened by the dot-com collapse, the 2008-09 financial crisis and volatility since then have viewed the latest rally not as a "buy" signal but as an opportunity to take profits. According to mutual-fund flow tracker EPFR Global, individual investors have pulled $8.3 billion out of U.S. stock funds since the beginning of the year and sunk almost $10.6 billion into bond funds.
Yelp shares soar: In its first day as a public company, the online review site jumped as much as 73 percent. (DealBook)
Gas, oil update: The L.A. price hike is slowing down, with an average gallon of regular up just half a penny overnight, to $4.372, according to the Auto Club. For the week, however, prices are up more than 18 cents. Meanwhile, oil prices fell slightly after Saudi Arabia denied an Iranian media report of an explosion at a Saudi pipeline. (AP)
Credit unions picking up business: More than 1.3 million Americans opened new credit union accounts last year, up from less than 600,000 in 2010. Concern over bank fees helps explain the increase. From the LAT:
The $96 billion in credit union accounts is dwarfed by the $12.6 trillion floating in the nation's banking system. But the shift into these funds serve as a warning sign to banks, which critics say have long operated as if they had no competition. "Consumers have made it loud and clear that they are fed up," said Norma Garcia, manager of Consumers Union's financial services team in San Francisco.
Turmoil at MOCA: Three top officials have left the museum in the last three months after being in their posts for less than a year. Also, efforts have stalled to pay down large deficits, reports the LAT:
The spate of recent departures and two others in mid-2011 is "a turnover that begins to look like turmoil," MOCA's former chief executive, Charles E. Young, said this week. Young is the former UCLA chancellor who had led a partial fiscal recovery at MOCA during the 18 months before Deitch became director. He said he'd heard from former MOCA colleagues that the museum broke even during the first year under Deitch, 2010-11.
Greuel warns about budget: L.A.'s city controller said that quick fixes are not the way to deal with next year's deficit, which is estimated to be $200 million. A small increase in anticipated revenue, she said, will be well below the revenue gains from before the recession. (Daily News)
Cities can't ban pot dispensaries: But the operations may only sell marijuana that's grown on site, according to a state appellate panel. Such a requirement would force most dispensaries out of business. From the LAT:
The decision conflicted with other appellate court rulings on medical marijuana, and attorneys in the case said they expected the California Supreme Court would agree to hear an appeal. David Welch, an attorney for a now-closed Lake Forest medical pot operation, said cities should heed this week's ruling and "not implement bans simply because that is the easy route." Municipal bans of medical marijuana have proliferated since voters decriminalized the weed for medical purposes in 1996. For every city that permits medical marijuana operations, nine others ban them, Welch said.
Disney rebuffs criticism of Iger: Mouse House took issue with a shareholder advisory service that was critical of the CEO's compensation and the company's management structure. Disney called the report "deeply flawed and out of touch with shareholder interests." (NYT)
Another drop in L.A. County bankruptcies: Individual and business filings were down almost 12 percent in January compared with a year earlier. (OC Register)
Brian Grazer reduces price: The Hollywood producer's 6,000-square-foot Malibu home is now going for $17.5 million, down from the original $19.5 million asking price. (WSJ)