Friday morning headlines

Stocks open higher: GDP numbers, while weak, were a little better than expected. Dow is up 65 points.

Americans cut back on spending: The economy grew at an annual rate of 1.5 percent in the April-June quarter, down from a revised 2 percent rate during the previous three months. From AP:

Growth was weaker mostly because consumer spending slowed to a growth rate of just 1.5 percent. That's down from 2.4 percent in the first quarter. Americans bought fewer autos, computers and other long-lasting manufactured goods. Spending on services increased. They also saved more. The savings rate increased to 4 percent, up from 3.6 percent in the first quarter.

Facebook shares keep sliding: Stock is now $23.10 a share, down 14 percent. Wow.

Facebook's identity crisis: With user growth slowing, LAT columnist Mike Hiltzik wonders about where the social network goes from here.

If one ignored the extraordinary costs the company incurred in converting its employees' and investors' insider shares to public shares, which is only fair, then its profits of $295 million or 12 cents a share were pretty much what investors expected. But for a company whose stock price depends almost entirely on what investors expect from it in the future, there was precious little information about what the future holds. And what information Facebook provided didn't sound especially encouraging.

Spain's sky-high unemployment: The second-quarter jobless rate hit a record 24.6 percent, and youth unemployment was 53 percent. (NYT)

L.A. gas prices inching up: Average price of regular is $3.830, according to the Auto Club, which is up about 6 cents from last week.

Real estate firm for sale?: MPG Office Trust, which owns some of downtown's most prominent buildings, is strapped for cash and might unload its 8.2 million-square-foot office portfolio. From the Business Journal:

The publicly traded real estate investment trust announced Thursday morning that a technicality that would have forced it to pay millions of dollars to company founder Robert F. Maguire III if its core downtown properties were sold will expire next June, about three years earlier than expected. That technicality effectively prevented MPG from selling or defaulting on those properties, even as it remains hobbled by debt. It had $2.7 billion in debt as of June 30, down from the more than $4 billion only four years ago as its sold off and gave back to lenders most of the rest of its portfolio.

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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