Friday morning headlines

Stocks higher: After a big drop at the start of the session, Dow is up more than 120 points. But trading has been choppy.

Bernanke suggests Fed action: Nothing definitive in Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke's much-anticipated speech, but he did make a strong case for the central bank taking steps to stimulate the economy. From AP:

Bernanke stopped short of committing the Fed to any specific move, such as another round of bond purchases to lower long-term rates. But in a speech at an annual Fed conference in Jackson Hole, Wyo., Bernanke said that even with rates at super-lows, the Fed can do more. He noted that further action carries risks but says the Fed can manage them. The Fed "should not rule out" new policies to improve the job market, Bernanke says.

Consumer sentiment picks up: The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan's Index for August hit a three-month high and was above forecasts. Future expectations, however, remain low. (Reuters)

Gas update: Entering the holiday weekend, an average gallon of regular in the L.A. area is $4.166, according to the Auto Club, virtually unchanged from a day earlier, but 33 cents higher than a month ago.

Jobs and wages: Most of the positions added during the recovery have been lower paying than most of the jobs lost during the recession, according to a report. From the NYT:

Some of these new, lower-paying jobs are being taken by people just entering the labor force, like recent high school and college graduates. Many, though, are being filled by older workers who lost more lucrative jobs in the recession and were forced to take something to scrape by. "I think I've been very resilient and resistant and optimistic, up until very recently," said Ellen Pinney, 56, who was dismissed from a $75,000-a-year job in which she managed procurement and supply for an electronics company in March 2008.

San Bernardino raids funds: The money is needed to pay employees and remain solvent. From the LAT:

"If I don't have the restricted funds, I won't be able to make payroll" this week, interim City Manager Andrea Travis-Miller warned. Faced with a $45.8-million budget shortfall, the city has drafted an austerity plan that calls for a 30% cut in spending, layoffs of at least 100 city employees, closing three library branches and possibly rotating fire station closures. The council will take up the proposed plan Tuesday. Even if the council approves those measures, the city would be $7 million in the red, Travis-Miller said.

Carmen Trutanich receives Live Nation donations: L.A.'s City Attorney, who is trying to tighten up enforcement of ticket scalpers, picked up $18,000 from executives at the Beverly Hills-based concert company. Live Nation would benefit from a crackdown on ticket competitors. (LAT)

Marijuana dispensaries get reprieve: Opponents of the city's pending ban on pot shops appear to have enough signatures to put the matter on the ballot next year. If the City Council doesn't act, the dispensaries will stay open until that vote. (LA Weekly)

Buffett's birthday gift: Not for him, but for the three charitable foundations run by his children. Buffett, who turned 82 on Thursday, is increasing his donation of Berkshire Hathaway shares. (DealBook)

More by Mark Lacter:
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Another rugged quarter for Tribune Co. papers
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Those awful infographics that promise to explain and only distort
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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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