Stocks edge higher: Looks like a mixed market so far. Dow is up 30 points.
Jobless claims still elevated: Weekly filings fell by 1,000, to 388,000, but that's close to a three-month high. Not great news. From MarketBeat:
Claims have been creeping closer to the key 400,000 level, typically considered the dividing line between job gains and losses. Jobless claims have spent the last three weeks above 385,000, the first time that has happened since November. "The first week above 380,000 we were able to cite Good Friday as a reason in distorting the seasonals," writes Peter Boockvar of Miller Tabak. "The second week in a row above 380,000 we said it bears watching. Now the third week in a row above 380,000 and it's more clear that the downward trend in firings has stopped for now."
Murdoch apologizes for scandal: Testifying before a British judicial inquiry, the News Corp. CEO said he didn't pay adequate attention to his UK tabloids. From the NYT:
Mr. Murdoch's appearance offered rare public scrutiny of one of the world's most powerful media tycoons who is usually shielded from unwelcome attention by his power, influence and wealth. His son James testified at the inquiry for five hours on Tuesday. Casting himself as a victim, Mr. Murdoch coupled his apology with suggestions that there had been what he called a cover-up "from within The News of the World" to hide the extent of the phone hacking scandal. And, like James Murdoch on Tuesday, he seemed to blame subordinates for not alerting him to the practices being used at the newspaper to secure its scoops.
State deficit getting bigger?: Personal income taxes, which fund more than half of California's operating budget, are coming in below expectations. That would leave the state a "few billion dollars" shy of projections by Gov. Brown. (Capitol Alert)
Brown's tax increases receive marginal support: Only a slight majority of voters support the governor's plan to boost the sales tax and the personal income tax on wealthy people, according to a poll by the Public Policy Institute of California. (SF Chronicle)
Supervisor questions Measure R extension: Mark Ridley Thomas says he has "serious reservations" about Mayor Villaraigosa's proposal to make permanent a half-cent sales tax to be used for transit projects. Ridley Thomas is on the MTA board, which is supposed to consider the plan at today's meeting. (KPCC)
Oxy profit up slightly: L.A.-based Occidental Petroleum benefited from higher prices and increased production, especially in California and Texas. (MarketWatch)
Strong results at Chrysler: The once-struggling automaker earned $473 million in the first quarter, exceeding its profit for all of 2011. From the NYT:
After being largely written off by many industry observers, Chrysler has steadily improved its finances by overhauling a large portion of its product lineup and using creative, high-profile advertising to attract new customers. Its market share in the United States jumped two percentage points in the first quarter, to 11.2 percent. Sales at American dealerships increased 39 percent, with passenger-car deliveries up 89 percent, versus an 11 percent gain for the rest of the industry. In Canada, Chrysler surged ahead of General Motors and the Ford Motor Company to become that country's top-selling carmaker for the first time.
Wilshire Grand's liquidation sale: The downtown hotel is selling off its wares - furniture, plates, towels, TV sets, the whole shebang - in advance of a planned demolition this summer. From the LAT:
The 60-year-old hotel that closed in December is reopening its doors temporarily to let the public stroll through the lobby, the ballrooms and three of the hotel's 16 floors to shop for just about everything, including beds, paintings and even three baby grand pianos ($4,500 each). Even toilet paper roll dispensers are priced to sell at $2 each. Korean Airlines, a subsidiary of the South Korean conglomerate Hanjin Group, owns the hotel at the corner of Wilshire Boulevard and South Figueroa Street. Plans now call for replacing it with a single skyscraper between 65 and 70 stories tall, with office space in the bottom floors and hotel rooms in the top floors.