Stocks nudging higher: Following up on Tuesday's big gain. Dow is up about 15 points.
Stinging exit from Goldman Sachs: Greg Smith is leaving the banking giant because of what he says is a drastic change in culture - and he laid out his feelings in a NYT oped piece that's getting lots of attention (and which Goldman is trying to refute):
It might sound surprising to a skeptical public, but culture was always a vital part of Goldman Sachs's success. It revolved around teamwork, integrity, a spirit of humility, and always doing right by our clients. The culture was the secret sauce that made this place great and allowed us to earn our clients' trust for 143 years. It wasn't just about making money; this alone will not sustain a firm for so long. It had something to do with pride and belief in the organization. I am sad to say that I look around today and see virtually no trace of the culture that made me love working for this firm for many years. I no longer have the pride, or the belief.
Gas, oil update: Pump prices are about where they have been - an average gallon of regular in the L.A. area rose two-tenths of a cent from Tuesday, to $4.398, according to the Auto Club. Prices are up just two pennies from a week ago. Oil is pretty much unchanged, at $106.71 a barrel.
Two more Dodger bidders turned down: Investment groups led by Stanley Gold and Leo Hindery didn't make the Major League Baseball grade, which leaves only four. The top bidder, according to the LAT and Forbes, is led by Stan Kasten and Magic Johnson, at $1.6 billion.
Brown to rewrite tax initiative: The revised measure would contain a smaller sales tax increase than what the governor had in mind and would require upper income earners to pay more than the tax increase Brown had called for. A deal could be announced as early as today. (LAT)
Big aerospace deals: Boeing and Hawthorne-based SpaceX will build and launch four communication satellites for companies in Mexico and Hong Kong. From the LAT:
The first satellite will take Boeing about three years to make at the company's complex in El Segundo, where about 5,200 employees work. Boeing did not disclose the price of the contract. Jay Gullish, a space and telecommunications analyst at Futron Corp., a Bethesda, Md., firm that tracks the industry, estimates that the deals should result in about $1 billion in new work.
Construction employment is up: California added the most jobs of any state in January - 8,900, or a 1.6 percent increase. Mild weather might be playing a role. (LAT)
Disney shareholders approve executive pay: CEO Bob Iger adds the post of chairman, and the company's directors are reelected. An activist shareholder and proxy-advisory firm had raised objections about compensation and corporate governance. (DJ).
American Apparel gets backing from George Soros: Well, sort of. The L.A.-based retailer/manufacturer has secured an $80 million credit line from Crystal Financial, a firm backed by the billionaire investor. (NY Post)