Stocks edge lower: Summer doldrums on Wall Street - Dow is down about 30 points.
Gas hits $4: L.A. area prices keep rising - an average gallon of regular rose by another nickel overnight, to $4.013, according to the Auto Club.
Big repair job: Monday's fire at a Chevron refinery in Richmond could keep one of the units shut down for up to three months, Reuters is reporting. All other units at the refinery are operating.
Economists worry about Washington: Growth could be hindered in the coming months by the so-called fiscal cliff of automatic tax increases and spending cuts, warns economists surveyed by the WSJ.
Lawmakers' "hesitation adds insult to injury to an economy already flirting with a stall rate," said Diane Swonk of Mesirow Financial, referring to the slow pace of economic growth so far this year. While the 47 economists surveyed--not all of whom answer every question--expect a slight pickup to 1.8% growth in the third quarter and 2.1% in the fourth--that pace isn't strong enough to bring down the unemployment rate substantially.
Amgen halts cancer study: An outside panel concluded that an experimental drug for pancreatic cancer was unlikely to improve the survival of patients. From the NYT:
The study was in Phase 3, the final stage of clinical trials before a drug maker applies for approval. [Thousand Oaks-based] Amgen said that no safety concerns were raised in the review of the trial -- there simply was not enough evidence that it worked. A separate study of patients with locally advanced pancreatic cancer, which was in Phase 2, will also be stopped. The drug, known as ganitumab and as AMG 479, targets a hormone called insulinlike growth factor 1, which has been linked to cancer.
Dwight Howard to the Lakers: As Kevin posted last night, the All-Star center is coming to L.A. in a blockbuster multi-team trade that sends Andrew Bynum to Philadelphia. (LAT)
Greater oversight of state budget urged: Lawmakers expressed outrage at parks officials under-reporting the size of two special funds by nearly $54 million. From AP:
The revelation of the hidden money has Democratic lawmakers nervous about their chances of passing a ballot measure in November that would increase taxes. On Thursday, Republican lawmakers drew links between the special fund inquiry and the proposed tax hike. "We're losing public trust; we're asking them for money, we're cutting programs, and we've lost trust," said Assemblywoman Diane Harkey.
Health care not being covered: Of the $16 billion in future costs being promised by 20 California cities, $12 billion remains unfunded, according to a study. From California Watch:
Eleven of 20 California cities with the biggest budgets do not set aside funds for future health care costs, the study by California Common Sense found. Those cities - San Francisco, Oakland, Sacramento, Redding, Santa Ana, Long Beach, Glendale, Fresno, Riverside, Pasadena and Santa Monica - work under pay-as-you-go systems, meaning they pay benefits from their current operating budgets and do not accumulate funds for future payments.
Putting squeeze on scalpers: City Attorney Carmen Trutanich wants to bar 17 ticket scalpers from being anywhere near Dodger Stadium, Staples Center, the Nokia Theatre, or other venues in L.A. From the LAT:
It is already a misdemeanor to sell tickets above face value or make such transactions on a public street. Police have tried aggressive enforcement during games and concerts, created special task forces and even used decoys to sniff out illicit sellers. Nothing, he said, seems to work. "These scalpers rip off unsuspecting fans, hurt legitimate businesses and deprive the city of taxes owed to it, which ultimately harms all city residents," Trutanich said Thursday. "They make it more costly for all of us to cheer for our favorite teams."
Carl's Jr. parent pulls IPO: Carpinteria-based CKE Restaurants cited market conditions for cancelling the initial public offering, which had been scheduled for today. Company officials had hoped to raise as much as $230 million. (Nation's Restaurant News)
Santa Anita gets Breeder's Cup: One of the major events on the horse racing calendar is returning to the Arcadia track in 2013 after a four-year absence. (Business Journal)