Tuesday morning headlines

Stocks open higher: Dow is back over 13,000.

Apple comeback?: After five straight down days, the stock is up $15 in early trading. That brings it back to $594 a share. From AP:

Many market watchers wonder if Apple's stock may just be coming back down to earth. The company's shares have risen 77 percent over the past year and are still up 43 percent in 2012. Apple's stock price ascent this year has been fueled by blowout sales of iPhones and iPads in the holiday quarter, plus the announcement that the company will start paying a dividend this summer and buy back shares. That's a way to reward shareholders by tapping Apple's $97.6 billion cash hoard.

Your taxes are due: No excuses, considering that the deadline was pushed back by a couple of days this year. But be warned: No post offices in the L.A. area will be staying open later than usual tonight. (Huffington Post)

Gas update: Prices fell from Monday, but not by much. An average gallon of regular in the L.A. area is $4.239, according to the Auto Club, down 15 cents from a month ago.

Curbing oil speculators: The Obama administration proposes that traders put up more of their own money and that penalties are raised in cases of market manipulation. From CNNMoney:

Many argue that investment money, especially index fund money, is largely to blame for the spike in oil prices seen over the last several years. They say the amount of oil traded in futures contracts greatly exceeds the amount of actual oil available, and that the bets on higher prices made by index funds are a self-fulfilling prophecy. But others say that if oil prices were artificially high, there would be a surplus of crude accumulating around the world, a situation that has not occurred.

Start booking for Memorial Day: Best deals for domestic travel are available four to six weeks out, according to Travelocity. (USA Today)

L.A. County's surprising source of revenue: A drop in welfare rolls is expected to save more than $27 million this year and help close a $76 million budget shortfall. From the LAT:

The nearly $24-billion proposed budget is $565 million less than last year's. It calls for eliminating 2,100 unfilled positions but does not include any furlough days or layoffs. The budget also includes money to hire 185 more employees and make repairs and upgrades to hospitals, parks and beaches. Unlike previous years, county departments will not have to make any cuts, although many unions agreed to accept pay freezes.

Concerns about seafood labeling: Red snapper, Dover sole, white tuna, and other fish are often misidentified in L.A. restaurants and grocery stores, according to the group Oceana. From the LAT:

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration prohibits so-called species substitution. Still, the practice remains prevalent. Consumer Reports found that 18% of seafood samples its researchers collected from retail stores and restaurants on the East Coast last year was mislabeled. A 2011 investigation by the Boston Globe reported that 48% of the fish it collected from Boston restaurants, grocery stores and seafood markets was sold with the wrong species name.

Toy company accused in drug scheme: City of Industry-based Woody Toys received U.S. dollars that were to be laundered into clean pesos for drug lords in Mexico and Colombia, according to federal officials. From the LAT:

With tighter banking regulations in the U.S. and overseas, drug cartels are increasingly looking for innovative ways to move their lucrative proceeds across borders, and legitimate businesses are lured into illicit schemes in tough economic times, said Claude Arnold, special agent in charge of ICE in Los Angeles. "This is the way they convert cash into seemingly legitimate income," he said. "They can make all the money in the world, but it doesn't do any good to have cash stacked in a semi somewhere."

Calpers facing computer backlog: After converting to a new system that cost more than $500 million, the pension fund is struggling to process benefits for hundreds of thousands of California public agency retirees. From the Sacramento Bee:

Since September, CalPERS has run into snags issuing death benefits to widows and widowers, and for a while failed to make timely payments to health insurers. The delayed payments triggered cancellation notices from the insurers, shocking retirees who thought everything was fine. CalPERS apologized and assured the members that their insurance hadn't lapsed. CalPERS' ongoing struggles with the system have angered members, tarnished the fund's reputation for strong service and frustrated front-line staff who can't get their work done because of computer foul-ups.

Woodland Hills homeowners sue over development: Lawsuit contends that a proposed shopping center already approved by the City Council violates the Warner Center Specific Plan by encouraging car use. Groundbreaking had been set for the end of the year. (Daily News)

More by Mark Lacter:
American-US Air settlement with DOJ includes small tweak at LAX
Socal housing market going nowhere fast
Amazon keeps pushing for faster L.A. delivery
Another rugged quarter for Tribune Co. papers
How does Stanford compete with the big boys?
Those awful infographics that promise to explain and only distort
Best to low-ball today's employment report
Further fallout from airport shootings
Crazy opening for Twitter*
Should Twitter be valued at $18 billion?
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Mark Lacter
Mark Lacter created the LA Biz Observed blog in 2006. He posted until the day before his death on Nov. 13, 2013.
Mark Lacter, business writer and editor was 59
The multi-talented Mark Lacter
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