Stocks edge higher: So much for a freefall. Financials are taking a hit due to the JPMorgan news, but the overall market could be doing a lot worse (solid consumer confidence numbers might be helping). Dow is up about 50 points.
Renewed calls for bank reform: The JPMorgan mess will be used by supporters of tighter industry regulation, though time is running out. From the NYT:
The centerpiece of the new regulations, the so-called Volcker Rule, forbids banks from making bets with their own money, and a final version is expected to be issued by federal officials in the coming months. With the financial crisis fading from view, banks have successfully pushed for some exceptions that critics say will allow them to simply make proprietary trades under a different name, in this case for the purposes of hedging and market-making. The missteps by JPMorgan could highlight that murky line between proprietary trading and hedging. The bank unit responsible for losses takes positions to hedge activities in other parts of the bank.
Regulators looking into trades: Both U.S. and British officials want to know more about the bank's London-based trader who has been dubbed the "London Whale." (DealBook)
Consumer sentiment moving on up: Preliminary May reading by Thomson Reuters and the University of Michigan is at 77.8 from 76.4 in April. That's the highest level since January 2008. From Reuters:
Despite the recent slowdown in job growth, nearly twice as many consumers reported hearing about new job gains than said they had heard about recent job losses, the survey said. The data suggests that either more positive numbers on the labor market will be seen soon, or that consumers have ratcheted up their expectations too high, survey director Richard Curtin said in a statement.
Get ready for more budget cuts: Gov. Brown, who will announce his revised budget plan on Monday, says he'll need far more than the $4.2 billion in spending reductions he asked for in January. From the LAT:
Tax revenue has lagged by $3.5 billion and the state has shelled out $2.1 billion more than expected so far in the current budget, according to the state controller. Brown said Thursday that his new spending plan will fall between $85 billion and $90 billion, down from the $92.6 billion proposal he released in January.
Big jump in L.A. gas prices: They're up more than four cents a gallon in just one day, according to the Auto Club. Average price is now $4.276, but further increases are expected.
Metrolink raises fares: Faced with a $13-million deficit, the commuter rail service is proposing a 5 percent to 9 percent increase. The typical round-trip fare between downtown and Fullerton is now $15 and between L.A. and Riverside is $23. (LAT)
Betsey Johnson to liquidate: The boutique retailer with several stores in the L.A. area is holding a going-out-of-business sale after a last-ditch auction to save the chain was unsuccessful. (Bloomberg)
Hot property near Dodger Stadium: The ownership change has increased real estate activity in a one-mile radius of the stadium, the L.A. Business Journal reports. Brokers say that nearby property is likely to increase in value.