Stocks bouncing around: Testimony this morning by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke could set the tone. Dow is down 60 points.
No sign of Fed intervention: Despite warnings about European debt and planned cuts in federal spending, Chairman Ben Bernanke gave no hint that the central bank was ready to infuse the market with more money. From the NYT:
Mr. Bernanke's cautious testimony underscored the Fed's reluctance to ride once again to the aid of a plodding economy. The central bank has intervened repeatedly when the economy appeared at risk of sliding back into recession, and Mr. Bernanke's testimony Tuesday included his standard promise to maintain that vigilance. But the Fed has not acted with similar urgency to reduce the persistently high rate of unemployment when growth is merely lackluster.
L.A. inflation stays tame: Prices actually fell 0.4 percent in June compared with the previous month (lower gas prices helped). Over the past year the consumer price index rose just 1.6 percent. (BLS)
San Bernardino delays fiscal emergency: City officials say they need more time to consider what would be the first step towards a bankruptcy filing, though they still see no other alternative. From the Riverside Press-Enterprise:
The council meets against Wednesday, July 18, at 5 p.m. to vote on the fiscal emergency declaration and a formal resolution authorizing the filing of bankruptcy. Mayor Pat Morris warned that it's not a decision that can be delayed too long. "The longer we delay, the more vulnerable we are, the more difficult our circumstances," he said.
L.A. sues US Bank: The civil suit alleges that the bank mishandled 1,500 home foreclosures, allowing many of the properties to fall into disrepair. The city is demanding that the vacant properties be cleaned up. From the LAT:
City officials say they want to hold banks that helped fuel the housing boom responsible for the blight that rippled through the city after those loans went bad. Large financial institutions such as Deutsche Bank, which the city has previously sued, and US Bank serve as trustees for pools of loans that were turned into securities and sold to investors. Deutsche Bank and US Bank have argued that the blame for neglected, foreclosed homes lies not with them but with loan servicers, who are contracted to manage the properties.
Grand jury hears testimony in assessor scandal: Office employees and contributors to the campaign of County Assessor John Noguez have been appearing before the panel, the LAT reports. A wide-ranging criminal investigation centers on allegations that Noguez gave tax breaks to political supporters.
NBC Universal kills development plan: The proposal had centered on the construction of 3,000 homes, but it set off opposition from neighborhood groups as well as city and county officials. From the Daily News:
In a Final Environmental Impact Report released Monday, NBCUniversal introduced a "no-residential alternative" to its 20-year Universal Studios complex plan. The new plan, strongly urged by Councilman Tom LaBonge and County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, aims to preserve moviemaking and television production in a Los Angeles that has seen a historic loss of movie studios and more recent loss in production. Both men were concerned that new neighbors living within 6,500 feet of working studios might complain about industry noise.
Good quarter for Mattel: The El Segundo-based toymaker reports a 20 percent increase in net income for the April-June period, fueled by demand for dolls. The results beat Wall Street estimates. (AP)
HSBC faulted for ignoring illegal activity: The global bank has been used by Mexican drug cartels and possibly terrorist groups that wanted to bypass scrutiny, according to a Senate report. From DealBook:
The 335-page report released Monday also says that executives at HSBC and regulators at the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency ignored warning signs and failed to stop the illegal behavior at many points between 2001 and 2010. In one case, an HSBC executive successfully argued that the bank should resume business with a Saudi Arabian bank, Al Rajhi Bank, despite the fact that Al Rajhi's founder had been an early benefactor of Al Qaeda. HSBC's American branch ended up supplying a billion dollars to the bank.
Firm going after Dick Clark Productions: Todd Morley, a co-founder of Guggenheim Partners before setting up his own investment group, is bidding for the Santa Monica-based company, the NY Post is reporting. He wants the place run by Richard Beckman, who was recently ousted from Guggenheim-backed Prometheus Global Media, which owns THR.