Stocks open higher: Encouraging news out of Germany got the market off to a strong start, but it's been pulling back. Dow is up 20 points.
Fed meets: The central bank will consider another round of bond purchases (aka quantitative easing) that might help stimulate the economy. Federal Reserve policymakers will announce their decision on Thursday, and most analysts expect some action. (AP)
It's iPhone day: Apple introduces the latest iteration of its smartphone, which is expected to offer a larger screen and 4G wireless technology. From Reuters:
Apple's selling proposition against Android has long been a combination of a sleek hardware design, smooth integration of content between various Apple devices, and larger ecosystem of applications, music, games and other media that are not available or transferable to rival devices. While Android is open and has a free-for-all approach, Apple's closed system ensures consistency and drives consumer loyalty, which in turn provides incentive to all-important developers to continue to invest in the platform. But some developers say it's difficult for new apps to stand out among the half-million or so applications in Apple's store vying for attention.
Bypassing banks: The percentage of households that do not use a bank has increased from 7.7 percent in 2009 to the current 8.2 percent, according to a report. From the WSJ:
Some are prompted by irritation over banking charges, including overdraft fees that cost Americans $31.6 billion in 2011, according to research firm Moebs Services Inc. Others are spurred by tight credit conditions spawned by the financial crisis and a loss of confidence in traditional institutions. Those drawn to newer nonbank options, such as NetSpend and Green Dot Corp., tout the benefits of new technology and services, such as real-time text alerts. The phenomenon shows how consumer behavior has changed in the five years since the onset of the global financial crisis.
Median income falls: Census Bureau reports a 1.5 percent decline in 2011 compared with a year earlier, to $50,054. The national poverty rate was 15.0 percent, down slightly from the year before. (CNNMoney)
Brown to sign pension bill: It's not everything the governor was looking for, but he'll be praising the legislation at a signing ceremony today in L.A.. From AP:
The main pension bill, AB340, will increase the retirement age for new employees, cap the annual payout at $132,120, eliminate numerous abuses of the system and require workers who are not contributing half of their retirement costs to pay more. Brown, who was scheduled to sign it into law at his Los Angeles office, said he supports the legislation even though it falls short of the 12-point reform proposal he offered last October.
UCLA conference center approved: It's not quite a done deal, but a UC panel signed off on the proposed seven-story facility, which will include a 250-room hotel. Nearby hoteliers are not happy. (LAT)