Stocks extend gains: Dow is back over the 13,000 mark on some good economic news, but trading remains sluggish.
Pickup in retail sales: February's increase was 1.1 percent compared with a year earlier, helped along by autos, clothes and appliances. (AP)
Gas, oil update: Little change - an average gallon of regular in the L.A. area is $4.396, just two-tenths of a penny higher than Monday, according to the Auto Club. Prices have been flattish for more than a week. Crude is hovering around the $106-$107 mark, no big change.
Banks ignored errors in foreclosure process: Managers were aware of the problems and did nothing to correct them, according to federal investigators. From the NYT:
At Bank of America, which until late last year was the nation's largest mortgage servicer, two employees testified that they had raised concerns about whether documents were being properly notarized, but managers told them to proceed. One vice president said documents in her department were checked only for "formatting and spelling errors," not the underlying figures or facts in the case. "Bank of America did not establish effective control over its foreclosure process," according to the report, to be released Tuesday. And as foreclosure cases multiplied, Bank of America's management turned up the pressure on employees to move faster.
Fire Department provided inaccurate data: Instead of arriving at an emergency scene within five minutes 80 percent of the time, the actual percentage was 64 percent in 2008 and less than that the following two years. The inaccurate numbers were used in making deep cuts to the department. From the LAT:
Fire officials told The Times the department had traditionally used a six-minute time frame to calculate response statistics -- even though their reports used a five-minute time frame. The department also only counted responses to the most critical emergencies, which also improved the performance figures. Two years ago, officials began adjusting their calculations to bring them in line with the widely accepted five-minute standard of the National Fire Protection Assn., which says departments should hit that goal 90% of the time.
Alan Casden appears out of Dodgers bidding: The L.A. developer has been rejected by Major League Baseball, the LAT reports, reducing the field of potential buyers to six. Owner Frank McCourt can appeal Casden's rejection.
Fresno in financial trouble: Mayor Ashley Swearengin says more concessions are needed from city workers, warning that bankruptcy cannot be ruled out. But the presidents of the city's two public-safety unions said Swearengin is being overly dramatic for political reasons. (Fresno Bee)
Villaraigosa wary of tax initiatives: L.A.'s mayor says that raising taxes on the wealthy creates too much volatility in state revenue and will compound California's budget problems. Villaraigosa still may support one or more of the proposals. (LAT)
First Coda rolls off assembly line: The L.A.-based electric car company has faced numerous delays in getting its vehicles to market. Fewer than 5,000 cars are expected to be manufactured this year. (Contra Costa Times)
Disney holds annual meeting: Today's gathering in Kansas City could be a little messier than usual because of criticism about the company's corporate governance and the pay package for CEO Bob Iger. From the NY Post:
Iger's decision to assume the role of chairman in addition to CEO while lining up his successor riled some investors. The move has reignited a debate over the board's independence, with some shareholders accusing the company of backtracking on a commitment to keep the roles separate. In 2005, Eisner stepped down under pressure from shareholders, prompting Disney to split the CEO and chairman roles. Disney's board has come under fire from major shareholders, including Connecticut Treasurer Denise Nappier, who runs the state's pension fund, which owns 640,000 Disney shares.