Stocks open sharply lower: Wall Street focuses on the weak jobs report. Dow is down 145 points.
Summing up employment numbers: Economist Stephen Stanley has it right. From the WSJ:
The best description I can come up with for this report would a technical term: blah... At this point, I am inclined to believe that employers have simply gone into slumber mode -- waiting for some clarity in fiscal and regulatory policy that will only come November 6.
Gas update: An average gallon of regular in the L.A. area is $3.729, down 6.4 cents from last week, according to the Auto Club. But the drops could be ending - oil prices have been rising this week.
Big vote on high-speed rail: Senate Democrats were trying to line up enough votes today for initial funding on the controversial project. The Assembly approved the measure on Thursday. From the Sacramento Bee:
With no Republican senator expected to support the measure, it will require the votes of 21 of 25 Senate Democrats. "This is a very tight and tough vote," said Steinberg, D-Sacramento. "But I've had tight and tough votes before." Critics were preparing for today's vote, too. The Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association urged members to call three Democratic lawmakers it believed could be persuaded: Michael Rubio of East Bakersfield, Fran Pavley of Agoura Hills and Gloria Negrete McLeod of Chino.
Small banks struggle to repay TARP money: The government wants to unload its stakes in 324 financial institutions, mainly of them small community banks. From the LAT:
Nowhere is the struggle more apparent than in California, where 28 banks still owe TARP funds, more than in any other state. They include rural Plumas Bank north of Lake Tahoe, Ojai Community Bank in an exclusive part of Ventura County and Saigon National Bank, which caters to Vietnamese immigrants in Orange County. The Treasury Department is encouraging the banks to buy back their own stock, which some are planning to do. But most are required to clean up soured loan portfolios, strengthen management and raise new capital privately before regulators will allow them to buy their own stock or even to pay dividends.
Comcast selling off A&E stake: Disney and Hearst, which each own a 42.5 percent share, are buying Comcast's 15 percent slice for $2.8 billion, the NY Post is reporting.
Historic Dunbar hotel to be revamped: The Central Avenue property, whose guest list has included Billie Holiday, Duke Ellington, and Thurgood Marshall, is being renovated as part of mixed-use project called Dunbar Village. (LAT)