Stocks keep falling: We're just in of those stretches where the glass is considered half empty. Dow is off 50 points.
Gas update: Another drop in prices - an average gallon of regular in the L.A. area is $4.283, according to the Auto Club, down half a penny from Monday.
Limited support for NFL stadium: Only 49 percent of those surveyed by the Center for the Study of Los Angeles favor the downtown venue, and 47 percent oppose the shorter-than-normal environmental review that the developer has been given. From the LAT:
The results of the poll, which surveyed 1,600 residents, will be officially released this week. Some of its other findings confirm what many may have assumed: that the stadium is favored especially by young people, and by men. Among people 18 to 44, 53% support the stadium. That view is shared by only 42% of people 65 and older. When it comes to gender, 55% of men support the stadium compared with 44% of women. Education is also a factor. Fifty-two percent of those who never earned a high school degree support the stadium, while only 41% of those with graduate degrees do so.
Property tax shortfall: The county might receive almost $50 million less than expected. That could mean cuts in law enforcement, education and other services. From the LAT:
The biggest drop occurred in properties that declined in value. In December, [Assessor John Noguez] estimated that the tax base would drop by about $2.6 billion because of falling home prices. That number changed to about $13.5 billion in his latest report. "This inexplicably precipitous decline ... is shocking and cannot be accepted without scrutiny and verification," Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas said in a statement. Yaroslavsky and Ridley-Thomas have written a motion calling for an audit of the assessor's estimate. It also recommends an examination of the department's finances and "to determine whether the assessor's office is appropriately and efficiently administering the county's property assessment."
LAX costs head upward: Modernizing the Bradley Terminal will run nearly $2 billion, up from earlier estimates of $1.4 billion. The higher costs are being attributed to project additions, not overruns. (LAT)
Best Buy CEO is out: The resignation of Brian Dunn comes a little less than two weeks after the electronics chain announced a major restructuring plan. (AP)
Weak results for Sony: The $6.4 billion annual net loss is double an earlier forecast, though the company expects to bounce back this year. Sony plans to slice 10,000 jobs, about 6 percent of its global workforce. (Reuters)
Fresh & Easy facing new pressure: This time it's coming from large shareholders at parent company Tesco, the British retailing giant. They're not happy with the El Segundo-based grocery chain, which has been expanding rapidly and struggling to make money. From the LAT:
In part because of the competitive California grocery market, it's doubtful Fresh & Easy will ever generate enough profit to validate the $2 billion in sunken costs, said Jim Prevor, president of Perishable Pundit, a website that follows the fresh food industry. "There's no question that it's a disaster," Prevor said. "Even if they manage to turn it around and make a few pennies ... they have bigger problems because the UK market is in big trouble, and a lot of shareholders are saying it's time to cut bait and take care of business" in its much larger British market.
Film executive sues Miramax: David Bergstein claims that he is owed tens of millions of dollars in fees and other payments related to the $675 million acquisition of the movie production company. The suit, filed in L.A. Superior Court, is for breach of contract, fraud, unjust enrichment, and other claims. (THR)
Molina Healthcare takes big hit: The state of Ohio is shutting out Long Beach-based Molina from management of 1.5 million Medicaid patients, leading to a big drop in the stock. From Bloomberg:
Ohio is streamlining its Medicaid programs in an effort to save taxpayers $1.5 billion. The health program for the poor is funded jointly by the states and U.S. government. States are responding to high unemployment that has pushed more people into the program and budget shortfalls that have forced cuts. "Ouch," said Carl McDonald, an analyst with Citigroup Inc. in a note to clients. "This is unwelcome news for all of the Medicaid plans, but it is particularly problematic for Molina, since Ohio was the company's most important state."