Friday morning headlines

Market still shaky: As in Thursday's session, stocks opened solidly higher and since then have been retreating. Dow is up only a few points.

Little move on gas prices: Still waiting for a big drop - an average gallon of regular in the L.A. area fell only a penny overnight, to $4.685, according to the Auto Club From press release:

"The most frustrating aspect of this spike is that prices are still hovering near their new records even after Gov. Jerry Brown's announcement on Sunday allowing gas stations to sell 'winter blend' gasoline before Oct. 31," said Auto Club spokesperson Jeffrey Spring. "We hope to see some significant price drops in coming days, but they will only come after gas stations are able to sell off the expensive fuel they bought last week."

Jump in consumer sentiment: The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan Index for October came in at 83.1, up from 78.3 the month before, and the highest level in five years. That's well above forecasts. From Reuters:

"We are getting some quite interesting signals from consumer sentiment and employment data - both (the) unemployment rate and initial claims - that there has been some quite significant improvement in the economy," said David Sloan, an economist at 4Cast in New York.

JP Morgan helped by housing:. The banking giant blew away analyst expectations for the third quarter, with revenue from mortgage loans shooting up 29 percent. From DealBook:

JPMorgan is also cleaning up the bungled trade, which has been the focus of investors and regulators for months. In the second quarter, the bank transferred the remaining credit bets in the chief investment office to its investment banking unit. On Friday, JPMorgan said it "effectively closed" out its derivative position, which was made by the so-called London Whale. With its $449 million loss on the portfolio, the total tally of losses on the trade are around $6.25 billion.

Wells Fargo earnings: Another bank being helped by the mortgage business, though revenue was lower than expected. (AP)

Best Buy matching online prices: The struggling retailer is trying to hold its own against Amazon and other Web competitors. From the WSJ:

The number of people who browse Best Buy aisles, but buy from online competitors "is a factor. It is material," said Bill Hoffman, Best Buy's vice president of consumer insights, whose team analyzes 120,000 Best Buy customer surveys a month. "We need to pay attention to it. But it is still very low." Best Buy is still working out the details of its Internet price-matching program, which might exclude some products.

TV viewing is down: That includes both broadcast and cable. For the first two weeks of the fall season, network viewership in the 18-49 demographic is down 15 percent compared with a year earlier. From the WSJ:

The viewing slump suggests traditional television is being hurt by intensifying competition from online video outlets such as Google Inc's YouTube and Netflix Inc. The networks, meanwhile, stress that many TV watchers are simply watching less live programming and instead recording it with digital video recorders. Nielsen hasn't yet released figures that include viewing delayed by up to three days. But in a report on Thursday, Nomura Securities analyst Michael Nathanson said that historically programs viewed up to three days after air date tend to see audience increases of 3.8 percentage points over standard ratings, which include only same-day viewing.

Caruso not running for mayor: The L.A. developer had been considering a bid for 2013. (LAT)

Riordan's pension plan: The former L.A. mayor's ballot measure would require newly hired workers to be given 401(k) plans and freeze the size of pensions for current employees - unless they are promoted to a higher-paying job. From the LAT:

Julie Butcher, an organizer with the Coalition of L.A. City Unions, said employee groups from every city agency would band together to fight the proposal, by having members standing outside supermarket to persuade voters not to sign the petitions. "One of L.A.'s richest men is going to ... look his trash man in the eye and say workers in the city won't be able to retire with a little bit of dignity," she said.

Another possible bidder for AEG: Billionaire Larry Ellison is sniffing around, according to Reuters. So far no financial information on the company has been released to potential buyers.

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
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
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