Wednesday morning headlines

Stocks bouncing around: More crosscurrents have left investors befuddled. For now the Dow is up 40 points.

Pickup in productivity: Businesses are finding that they could do more with less - or at least without adding more workers. Second-quarter productivity was revised to an annual increase of 2.2 percent from the initial 1.6 percent. (Reuters)

Gas update: No change in L.A. area prices from Tuesday - an average gallon of regular is $4.175, according to the Auto Club. Prices have leveled off after last month's run-up.

Zuckerberg holds onto stock: The Facebook CEO says he will not sell his shares or options for at least another year, an effort to instill investor confidence. Even so, employees and early investors will be able to sell hundreds of millions of shares at the end of next month. (NYT)

FedEx cuts forecast: The package delivery service - and economic bellwether - is projecting its first quarterly earnings decline since 2009, the result of slowing economic growth in Europe and Asia. (Bloomberg)

San Bernardino holds off on budget plan: Having already filed for bankruptcy protection, the City Council failed to pass a plan for drastic budget cuts, which include slashing more than 100 jobs and closing three of the four city libraries. Sticking point is a reduction in fire services. From the LAT:

Instead of voting on the budget plan as a whole, Councilman Chas Kelley made a proposal to vote on an alternate plan for the Fire Department that was backed by the firefighters union, and to direct staff to seek bids on a proposal to contract out some of the city's trash services. The vote, taken after midnight, passed 4 to 3 but was promptly vetoed by Mayor Pat Morris, who had called that plan "irresponsible" and an "almost slavish adoption of a union proposal without any analysis."

UCLA's funding plan challenged: Having the management school rely solely on tuition and donations rather than state support is not being well received by a committee of UC system's faculty senate. From the LAT:

UC officials said it was unclear what the next step would be. Some said UC President Mark G. Yudof could in theory still approve the funding change but that he was unlikely to do so without faculty support. UCLA leaders have said the proposed change is the best way for the program to thrive in an era of state budget cuts and would allow it to become more innovative. But critics described it as a move toward privatization of public higher education.

More by Mark Lacter:
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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
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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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