Stocks open higher: We're back to those sharp day-to-day swings. Dow is up 100 points.
Is economy stalling?: Recent numbers would seem to indicate as much, though to what degree is really guesswork. From the WSJ:
Separate reports this week suggested that the factory sector, a source of strength in the recovery, now is being hurt by weak growth overseas. However, recent signals have been mixed, with worrisome indicators following positive ones--such as consumer confidence and auto sales--that suggest the recovery remains on track. Economists generally believe total economic output in the first three months of the year grew at a rate a bit above 2%--slower than at the end of 2011 but significantly stronger than the same period a year ago. "It's been the weakest recovery in the post-World War II period, and that hasn't changed," said David Rosenberg, chief economist for investment firm Gluskin Sheff.
Gas update: L.A. area prices fell another half-penny from Thursday. An average gallon of regular is $4.222, according to the Auto Club.
L.A. budget day: The mayor lays out his plan for closing a $200 million-plus deficit. He says the budget will include layoffs in the hundreds.
New chatter about NFL team in L.A.: The Vikings have been unable to receive funding from the state to help build a new football stadium, and with time running out there's speculation about a move to L.A. From the Daily News:
The state now has 10 more days to either revive the bill and get a stadium deal passed or risk losing the Vikings, who intimated they will not wait until 2013 to finalize a new stadium plan in Minneapolis. "There is no next year," Vikings vice president Lester Bagley said. If no stadium deal is completed within this legislative session, Los Angeles becomes a viable relocation alternative for the Vikings - either downtown at AEG's proposed Farmers Field stadium or at Majestic Realty's proposed City of Industry project.
Baseball Commissioner wants details on Dodger deal: Bud Selig says the league doesn't intend to stop the sale, but he's unclear about the financial structure of the ownership group - as well as the joint venture the new owners have with Frank McCourt involving the Dodger Stadium parking lots. (LAT)
Region bucks trend on venture capital: First-quarter funding for Southern California firms totaled $924 million, up sharply from $602 million a year earlier. San Diego led the way, with $357 million in investments across 21 deals; L.A. was second with $$318 million in 48 deals. National numbers were down. (socaltech.com)
Pressure cited on assessor employees: A former county appraiser tells the LAT that he reduced the amount of tax owed by Westside property owners as a way of encouraging them to contribute to the campaign of his his boss, Assessor John Noguez.
Scott Schenter, the former employee at the center of a criminal investigation roiling the assessor's office, said Noguez had promised him a promotion in the summer of 2010 in the midst of Noguez's successful election campaign. After that, the pressure to raise money for the campaign was constant and "brutal," Schenter said in an interview with The Times. Although he contributed himself and got friends to contribute, Noguez "called me a few times just to say, 'Hey Scott, we need more people; we're way behind in donations.' "
CW relying more on the Web: Nearly a fifth of the network's viewers are watching online, double the amount from a year ago - and TV stations aren't happy. From the WSJ:
This shift is partly by the network's design. Conscious that its target audience of younger people is spending more time online than older viewers, the CW has moved more aggressively than many other networks to put all its shows on the Web, and has been pushing advertisers to buy its ads online and on TV in the same packages. The CW is walking a fine line, trying to get bigger online while not alienating the TV stations that pay tens of millions of dollars per year between them to broadcast the CW network. While the stations have exclusive agreements to carry the programming the night it airs, the CW recently starting putting the shows online the very next day--instead of waiting three days as in the past.
Variety receiving scant interest: Or so says the NY Post's Keith Kelly, who has heard that both Leon Black's Apollo Management and Bloomberg are taking a look at the trade (Bloomberg is considered a long shot). There's also the possibility of a vanity buyer.
Port of L.A.'s five-year plan: The idea is to stem competition from other facilities, especially with a major expansion of the Panama Canal that would allow Asian container ships to bypass Los Angeles and Long Beach. (Daily Breeze)