Stocks open strong: The news out of Greece isn't altogether terrible and that has Wall Street - or at least the Wall Street computers - in a buying mood. The Dow is up 135 points.
But there's always Spain...: Investors are worried that the government won't be able to cope with money woes facing the nation's largest banks. From AP:
Spain's banks are sitting on massive amounts of soured investments in the country's imploded real estate market. That has led to the recent nationalization of Bankia, the country's fourth-largest lender, which revealed last week it needed more money than expected in state aid to shore itself up. That has magnified worries of a possible debt implosion in Europe's weaker economies.
Consumer confidence takes big fall: The Conference Board index was at 64.9 in May, down from a revised 68.7 in April - and the biggest drop since last October. (AP)
Dip in gas prices: An average gallon of regular in the L.A. area is $4.298, according to the Auto Club, a six-cent drop from last week.
L.A. home prices inch higher: Just a 0.1 percent increase between February and March, according to the Case-Shiller Index. Prices were down 4.8 percent compared with a year earlier. From the press release:
"The Composites were largely unchanged with the 10-City down only 0.1% and the 20-City unchanged," [says David M. Blitzer, Chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Indices].."After close to six consecutive months of price declines across most cities, this is relatively good news. We just need to see it happen in more of the cities and for many months in a row."
Facebook watch: Stock is down 5 percent this morning, to $30.19.
"MIB3" underperforms at $70 million: Opening weekend box office was softer than expected in North American theaters, though the third installment in the "Men in Black" series did well overseas. (THR).
Council considers medical marijuana ban: Two options on the table: an outright prohibition on all dispensaries until the the California Supreme Court weighs in on a Long Beach case; and a "gentle ban" that would keep open a limited number of dispensaries. (LA Weekly)
Expo Line dangers?: A USC engineering professor tells the LAT that precautions at three crossings along the 7.9-mile route between downtown and the Westside are "woefully inadequate." MTA officials disagree. From the Times:
The mash up of passenger rail, cars, bicyclists and pedestrians, he said, makes the intersection one of the most confusing and dangerous in L.A. County and one that should be redesigned and simplified. "It's hard to believe they made this operational," [said Najmedin Meshkati, a professor and safety expert at USC's Viterbi School of Engineering]. "The intersection is complicated, and the design is awkward. All it would take is a dark, rainy evening and a driver unfamiliar with the intersection."
Borrowing woes for small business: Two-thirds of Calfornia's small business owners say they've been stymied by a difficult lending environment, according to a survey by Pepperdine University's Graziadio School of Business and Management. (OC Register)