Wednesday morning headlines

Stocks still drifting: Wall Street is in a lackadaisical mood this week, (aren't we all?) with the Dow hovering around the line in early trading.

Gas update: L.A. area prices were only up a penny overnight, to $4.111, according to the Auto Club. Prices are 20 cents higher than a week ago.

Inflation is tame: L.A. area prices fell 0.1 percent in July compared with a month earlier and were up 1.9 percent from a year earlier. Look for those numbers to increase this month because of the recent gas run-up. (OC Register)

Target looking good: The retail giant reports an increase in quarterly sales, and it raised its profit forecast. Adding fresh food has been a help. (Bloomberg)

Easing up on parking rules?: The City Council is backing a plan that would allow developers, landlords, and business owners to reduce the number of spaces required for their projects. From the LAT:

Council members representing the Eastside and Central City spearheaded the new parking initiative, saying the ordinance would ignite investment in century-old neighborhoods designed without the car in mind. "We need to be a business-friendly city ... [and] stop the bleeding that occurs every time a business cannot open its shop because it needs one or two" parking spaces, said Councilman Ed Reyes.

Sluggish summer for reality shows: The older hits are showing their age while the newer programs have yet to catch on - and it's not just because of the Olympics. From THR:

"Reality is hard because it's very much more difficult now to find the shock of the new," ABC entertainment president Paul Lee told reporters during July's press tour. "I truly believe that it's a mature genre." Viewer fatigue for long-running hits was apparent. "A lot of the shows that have been driving the summer ratings for broadcasters have been on a long time, and they have a lot of competition -- especially on cable, which ramps up every summer," suggests Brad Adgate, senior vp and director of research at Horizon Media.

Pot shops to stay open: Despite the city's ban that takes effect Sept. 6, a number of owners contacted by the LA Weekly say they intend to stick it out - at least until they're forced to shut down.

More by Mark Lacter:
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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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