Thursday morning headlines

Stocks taking off: After several down days, the Dow jumped more than 200 points in the opening minutes and is now up about 175 points.

Facebook earnings day: The first post-IPO look at the social network company. Stock is trading at around $27. (Breakout)

Big drop in jobless claims: Weekly filings for unemployment benefits plunged 35,000 to 353,000, but economists warn that the figure may be distorted by seasonal factors. (AP)

Penney prices to come down: Another change in strategy for the struggling retailer. This one involves deep price cuts across much of its merchandise, the WSJ is reporting.

Under the new policy, which kicks off in August, Penney will get rid of monthlong specials that cut prices of select items by 20% to 29% and instead will permanently mark down a large amount of merchandise in stores by similar amounts, the people said. The move is an acknowledgment that the department store chain needs deeper price cuts to stem a dive in sales caused by the company ending its ceaseless sales and coupons. The strategy caused revenue in the company's fiscal first quarter to fall by one fifth.

NBC books $1 billion in Olympic ads: That covers television and digital sales and it will help recoup the $1.18 billion that was paid for media rights. From the FT:

NBC is planning its most extensive broadcast of the games to date. Kicking off with the opening ceremony on Friday night, NBC will present more than 5,535 hours of coverage across its television networks and digital properties. NBC will live stream every athletic competition - or 3,500 hours - to the web. For the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics, NBC live streamed 2,200 hours online.

Underwater in downtown L.A.: Owners of nearly 80 percent of the condos and lofts in the 90014 ZIP code owe more on their properties than they're worth, according to Zillow. That compares with the nationwide figure of 31 percent. From the Weekly:

Downtown is having a harder time bouncing back than most areas because of the people who want to buy: mostly young, urban pioneers. They tend to have too-small down payments, making them high-risk. Combined with the fact that interest rates of late have sunk to record lows, lenders aren't interested. Now, downtown is filled with underwater owners who can't sell, and renters in former condos that didn't sell.

Support for separating LAX runways: A coalition of business and labor leaders say that the current layout on the north side of the field is obsolete because it doesn't accommodate larger aircraft. From the Daily Breeze:

For now, airplanes maneuvering LAX's airfield must use paths that crisscross the middle of two parallel runways that are separated by 700 feet. The Federal Aviation Administration has long stated that the runways need more separation to reduce the risk of collisions between arriving and departing aircraft. The airport's pending draft environmental impact report is expected to outline options that call for increasing the separation between the northern runways by 100, 260 and 350 feet to make room for a centerline taxiway.

Register sale is complete: An investment group led by Aaron Kushner is also purchasing the other six remaining papers in the Freedom Communications chain. The Freedom name will be kept. Terms were not disclosed. (OC Register)

Oxy earnings drop: Lower crude prices resulted in a 27.7 percent decline in second-quarter net income. But L.A.-based Occidental Petroleum reported a second straight quarter of record oil production. (LAT)

MGM considers going public: The parent company of the movie studio has hired JPMorgan Chase and Goldman Sachs to manage an IPO, Bloomberg is reporting. MGM filed for bankruptcy in 2010 after turning down a takeover bid from Lions Gate.

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?
Recent stories:
Letter from Down Under: Welcome to the Homogenocene
One last Florida photo
Signs of Saturday: No refund
'I Am Woman,' hear them roar
Bobcat crossing

New at LA Observed
On the Media Page
Go to Media

On the Politics Page
Go to Politics
Arts and culture

Sign up for daily email from LA Observed

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

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
LA Observed on Twitter and Facebook