Stocks keep falling: Worry du jour is Greek debt. Dow has fallen below 13,000, down 100 points.
Until a few years ago, California had 14 refineries that produced the state's expensive blend of gasoline, but now there are only 12, according to the state's Energy Commission. The two fuel refineries that closed, one in Bakersfield and one in the Los Angeles, are small. But their absence can have an outsized effect on gasoline prices because there is little supply cushion. Now, four of the remaining 12 refineries are shut temporarily, mostly for maintenance, according to state petroleum statistics.
Parking fines could go up: Another effort at dealing with the structural deficit. With this latest proposed boost, the city would collect about $40 million a year more than during Mayor Villaraigosa's first year in office. From the LAT:
The mayor and City Council have turned time and again to parking infractions to help balance the city's budget, which this year faces a $238-million shortfall. Villaraigosa's office says a proposed $10 increase to an array of parking fines would make a small but important dent in the deficit. But there is a growing push-back to the ever-increasing fines, particularly from those who argue they are really a regressive tax on those who live in densely populated areas.
State job outlook: Decent but not great is the word from Chapman University economist Esmael Adibi. He expects an additional 60,000 to 65,000 jobs in the second quarter. "If it would increase to 115,000 to 120,000, it would help us much, much better," he said. (OC Register)
Chinese buying into AMC?: The Wanda Group, one of China's largest theater owners, is in talks to acquire or purchase a significant stake in the movie chain, the NYT is reporting.
Wanda's interest in AMC comes as China has been rushing headlong into new business alliances with American movie companies, as it seeks to double the contribution to its economy from entertainment and media in the next five years. Wanda, a conglomerate whose interests include commercial properties, luxury hotels and department stores, is involved with film production and distribution in China. It operates a rapidly growing theater chain that now has 86 multiplex locations, and a total of 730 screens, including 47 large-format Imax screens.
B of A starts mortgage reduction program: Principal balances can be shaved by an average of $150,000, leading to savings of up to 35 percent on mortgage payments. The program is the result of a $25 billion settlement agreement earlier this year with 49 state attorneys general. (NYT)
Fredericks of Hollywood considers options: The struggling L.A.-based retailer has hired investment bank Allen & Co. to explore strategic alternatives, including a possible sale of the company. (NY Post)