Mixed market: Stocks opened higher, then fell, and now they're back up again.
Jobless claims down a bit: Weekly filings slipped 2,000, to 386,000. But the more reliable four-week moving average rose 5,500 to 374,750, indicating that hiring has slowed down. (Reuters)
Gas update: Another price drop - an average gallon of regular in the L.A. area is $4.228, according to the Auto Club. Prices have fallen to just about what they were a year ago.
Why are pump prices dropping?: Lower oil prices mean that gasoline futures are heading down - and that helps determine what we pay. From the WSJ:
Joanne Shore, a senior analyst of the EIA, says retail prices typically lag behind those of gasoline futures by a few weeks. About half of the change in futures gets passed through within a week, and the rest tends to show up over the next several weeks, according to Ms. Shore. who follows gasoline prices. That suggests that there is further relief ahead at the pump.
Good news at B of A: Well, encouraging news - less money was set aside to cover bad loans in the first quarter than at any time since before the 2008 financial crisis. The bank also reported a better-than-expected operating profit. (DealBook)
Rising costs for F-35 fighter: The program is hundreds of billions of dollars over budget, and the Obama administration wants to start cutting. From the LAT:
Although much of the debate is taking place in Washington, the melodrama is being closely watched in Southern California, where much is at stake. Only last week, executives of F-35 maker Lockheed Martin Corp. made an appearance in El Segundo to remind local businesses and aerospace workers that the F-35 will have a huge financial effect in the years to come -- pumping an estimated $6 billion into the state's economy and creating 27,000 jobs. "The state of California has a huge stake in this," said Danny Conroy, one of Lockheed's directors of the F-35 program. "California is the single biggest supplier base for the F-35 in the country."
THQ stock taking off: Helped by sales of the "Saints Row: The Third," the Agoura Hills-based videogame company expects a smaller-than-expected fourth-quarter loss. From Bloomberg:
THQ is working to save cash by cutting 240 jobs, reducing executives' pay and focusing development efforts on new properties and social games, Michael Pachter, an analyst with Wedbush Securities in Los Angeles, said today in an interview. "The good news is they know they face a potential cash crisis, and they're acting prudently to address it," said Pachter, who has a neutral rating on the shares. "Before they cut prices, they probably were going to run out of money by Christmas."
Internet advertising hits record: Anything connected to online searches continued to dominate the category, accounting for 46 cents of every dollar spent online. Overall, Internet advertising rose 22 percent in 2011 compared with a year earlier. (LAT)