Thursday morning headlines

Stocks edging higher: More tentative trading on mixed economic news and an improved outlook on Greece. Dow is up 50 points.

Jobless claims increase: Weekly filings were up 8,000, to 362,000, the second week in a row the numbers have not fallen significantly. Could mean nothing, could mean something. (AP)

Gas, oil update: Essentially unchanged. An average gallon of regular in the L.A. area is $4.38, according to the Auto Club. The recent price spike appears to be over, at least for now. Oil prices are hovering around the $106-a-barrel mark.

Shaky support for Brown's tax measure: Only 52 percent of likely voters back the governor's plan to temporarily raise the state sales tax and the personal income tax for the wealthy, according to a poll by the Public Policy Institute of California. That's down from 68 percent support in January. From AP:

If voters reject Brown's tax initiative in November, the poll found 72 percent oppose his plan to automatically cut K-12 education. But voters lack consensus on their preferred approach. While 45 percent of likely voters prefer Brown's mix of spending cuts and tax increases, 34 percent prefer mostly spending cuts and 11 percent prefer mostly tax increases.

Likely voters oppose high-speed rail: In that same PPIC poll, 53 percent said they would oppose a bullet train, which is expected to cost $100 million billion over the next 20 years. From California Watch:

State Sen. Doug LaMalfa, R-Oroville, is trying to send the issue back to voters. He introduced a bill and ballot measure that would stop the state from issuing and selling more rail bonds. "What (the survey) says is if we can get it on the ballot, there's a very, very strong possibility that they're going to vote to repeal the bonds," LaMalfa said. "The damage hasn't been done yet. It's not too late to save nearly $10 billion."

California first in suspicious home loans: San Jose was the top-ranked metro area per capita when it comes to suspect mortgage fraud, followed by Riverside and L.A., according to the Treasury Department Miami and Los Vegas were fourth and fifth, respectively. (California Watch)

Hollywood union talks begin: Health care is likely to be the big issue when the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees launches contract talks with producers. From the LAT:

The parties have set aside four weeks of talks, first to hash out agreements with more than a dozen crafts locals that belong to IATSE, then to negotiate the so-called Hollywood Basic Agreement that covers issues affecting all the locals, including health and pension benefits. The latter is expected to dominate the agenda. Like many other unions, IATSE and the Teamsters face a large deficit in their health and pension plans -- projected to be at least $300 million over the next three years -- because of rising medical costs. The health and pension plans are funded by residual payments and employer contributions.

Ban on mobile billboards: That includes ads attached to vehicles and bicycles parked on city streets and public land. City ordinance was unanimously approved by the council. (City Maven)

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

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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
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