Wednesday morning headlines

Stocks bouncing around: The Dow was down a few points in early trading, but now it's up about 25 points.

L.A. gas prices inch higher: An average gallon of regular rose a little more than a penny overnight, to $3.900, according to the Auto Club, but expect much bigger increases over the next few days - the result of this week's fire at a Richmond refinery. From the SF Chronicle:

How high the prices go will depend on how much time it takes Chevron to repair the damaged unit at the state's third-largest refinery or for refiners elsewhere in the state to boost production to meet demand. Inventories in the state are already low, Cinquegrana said. Despite the fire damage, some refining resumed at the plant Tuesday. Refining industry consultant Andrew Lipow expects retail gasoline prices in Los Angeles and San Francisco to rise by 10 to 15 cents per gallon over coming weeks as a result of the fire. He said other markets in the United States could feel the pinch as fuel imports are diverted to the West Coast.

Home prices looking up: June marked the third straight month of higher prices in California, according to CoreLogic. The 2.2 percent increase was the biggest in nearly two years. From the OC Register:

"At the halfway point, 2012 is increasingly looking like the year that the residential housing market may have turned the corner," said Anand Nallathambi, president and CEO of CoreLogic. "While first-half gains have given way to second-half declines over the past three years, we see encouraging signs that modest price gains are supportable across the country in the second half of 2012."

McDonald's stalling out: The fast food giant is blaming a tough global economy for flat sales in July. From the WSJ:

McDonald's has historically been able to boost guest traffic and sales faster than most of its competitors with its increasingly diverse menu--ranging from value-price offerings to higher-margin products like blended-ice drinks--and its growing global operations. But the hamburger chain has previously warned the global economic climate remains challenging with varying degrees of consumer confidence, economic pressures and inflationary costs.

Disney has solid quarter: Strong results were reported at the film studio, helped along by "The Avengers." The company's theme parks also did well. (LAT)

L.A. supervisors approve sales tax vote: A 30-year extension of the half-cent sales tax for transportation projects will now be on the November ballot. Several supervisors had been critical of the Measure R extension. (LAT)

Celebrity magazines lead overall newsstand decline: People was down 18.6 percent for the first half of the year, Us Weekly was down 11.4 percent, In Touch Weekly down 13.3 percent and Star Magazine down 14.2 percent. Two problems: Consumers are being more careful about impulse purchases at the check-out lane and much of the news has already been reported. (NYT)

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
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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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