Wednesday morning headlines

Stocks on the plus side: The market's recent push-pull pattern continues, with the Dow up 70 points.

Bank of America posts profit: The second-quarter gain compares with a huge loss a year earlier. Cost cutting has helped. From DealBook:

The bank raised its projected cost-cutting targets under its "New BAC" restructuring initiative, predicting an additional $3 billion in savings by mid-2015. Bank of America plans to cut more than 30,000 workers in the coming years. As of June 30, its head count was down 3,228 to 275,460. The bank has 12,600 fewer employees than it did a year ago.

Bump in June housing starts: Not always a reliable indicator, but builders broke ground on the largest number of new homes and apartments in nearly four years. (AP)

Departures in San Bernardino: More than a dozen city employees have resigned or retired in the past week, far more than usual. The city is expected to declare a fiscal emergency and file for bankruptcy soon after that. From the San Bernardino Sun:

Lowering the number of employees creates some medium-term relief on the city's payroll, but it also sharpens a cash crunch: Employees must be paid for accrued vacation time, sick leave and other benefits they've sometimes built up over years of service, draining cash on hand that in some days has dipped as low as $150,000. Finance Director Jason Simpson said Monday the city had about $9 million, but much of that was locked up in restricted funds, and officials still fear they won't be able to make the Aug. 15 payroll.

Cal State trustees approve pay raises: Students and faculty are not happy about a new policy that freezes state-funded salaries but allows campus foundations to supplement compensation by up to 10 percent. (LAT)

Regents approve UCLA conference center, hotel: The $162-million project has been opposed by Westwood area residents because of traffic concerns. From the LAT:

The regents said they were convinced that revenues from room rentals and dining would support payments on the $112 million in bond financing they approved Tuesday. The center's next biggest chunk of money is a $50-million gift -- $40 million for construction and $10 million for a programming endowment -- from UCLA alumnus Meyer Luskin and his wife, Renee, the couple after whom it will be named. UCLA officials emphasized that the Luskin donation could not be used for an off-campus facility.

More by Mark Lacter:
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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*
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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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