Tuesday morning headlines

Bad day for stocks: New concerns about Greece - as well as a growing belief that the market has stalled out. Dow is down 160 points.

Market was just too quiet: For 45 consecutive trading days, the Dow hadn't suffered a triple-digit decline - the longest streak since 2006. That might not have been so good. From the WSJ:

Headwinds that investors see include rising oil prices, Europe's unresolved debt troubles and elections in the U.S. Amid that outlook, corporate executives are hesitant to green light deals. Still, executives have restarted deal conversations, and M&A could pick up in the second half of the year, said Jim Woolery, co-head of North America M&A at J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. In general, "people are moving in a more methodical way."

Gas prices stabilizing: That's different than going down, but it's a start. Average price of regular in the L.A. area is $4.377, according to the Auto Club, basically flat from Monday. Oil prices are mostly unchanged.

Economy keeps improving: Economists surveyed by AP expect slightly stronger growth and hiring than they did two months ago. They say that the unemployment rate should fall from its current 8.3 percent to 8 percent by Election Day.

Concerns about college loans: As many as 1 in 4 borrowers was delinquent in the third quarter, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. From the LAT:

W. Norton Grubb, a professor at UC Berkeley's School of Education, is worried that rising debt levels are forcing some students to drop out. Only 40% to 50% of those enrolling at universities such as the California State University schools end up completing their degrees, he said. Such figures have helped bolster a long-held belief by scholars that America's declining or stagnant college graduation rates have become an Achilles' heel in the competitive global economy.

Scamster Bruce Friedman dies: The former Sherman Oaks money manager had been in French custody while awaiting extradition to L.A. Friedman was arrested in France in 2010. From the LAT:

Federal prosecutors in Los Angeles had accused Friedman of defrauding hundreds of people by promising to invest in real estate but instead spending it on luxury cars, expensive homes, jewelry and travel for himself. He also gave hundreds of thousands of dollars to charity.

Record year of lobbying: A total of $286.6 million was spent in 2011, a 6.8 percent increase from the year before. The California Teachers Association spent the most, at $6.5 million. (LAT)

Dozens arrested in Sacramento protests: They refused to leave the Capitol Rotunda Monday after it closed at 6 p.m. The arrests followed a day of demonstrations over soaring tuition costs. (Sacramento Bee)

Sunset Strip project on hold: This is a proposed mixed-use strip mall on the former site of Tower Records. There's local opposition to the project because of concerns about parking, signage, and density. Developers are fine-tuning. (LA Weekly)

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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