Stocks open lower: Markets moving nowhere fast. Dow is down 40 points.
Gas run-up peaking out?: An average gallon of regular in the L.A. area rose by less than a penny overnight, according to the Auto Club, and oil analysts expect the numbers to start coming down within the next few days.
Feinstein asks for investigation: The California Democrat wonders about the sharp spike in prices last week, though there is no evidence so far of any trading irregularities. From Reuters:
Feinstein, in a letter to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), called for the agency to implement broad monitoring of oil-trading markets and investigate possible "collusion." "Publicly available data appears to confirm that market fundamentals are not to blame for rising gas prices in California," she wrote, citing state data that showed gasoline production last week was almost as high as a year ago and that gasoline and blending components were equal to this time last year. The California senator cited Reuters' Friday report on the "short squeeze," in which traders said refiner Tesoro Corp had to scramble to buy fuel from other companies to meet commitments.
Space X blasts off: The Hawthorne-based company successfully launched an unmanned craft that will deliver cargo to the International Space Station. From Bloomberg:
The supply ship is carrying about 1,000 pounds of cargo, including materials for scientific experiments aboard the station. After a three-day journey through space, it will arrive at the station for a two-week visit. The bullet-shaped capsule will return to Earth with twice as much gear when it splashes down in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of southern California.
Black Friday is not such a deal: You're better off shopping at other times during the holiday season - and certainly at other times during the year, according to a WSJ-commissioned analysis of online activity.
Ugg boots, typically a winter item, also became pricier as the holiday season progressed. Decide's data show the best time to buy Uggs during the holiday-shopping window is in September or October. The average price for a pair of women's "Classic Cardy" Uggs during those two months was $85, down from the $159.95 list price. On Black Friday and Cyber Monday, the average price jumped about 59% to $135 and $137, respectively. Hot items like flat-screen televisions also become more expensive closer to Christmas, Decide's data found. The best holiday-season time to buy a flat-screen television is in October, says Mike Fridgen, Decide's chief executive.
Chinese tech companies pose threat: So concludes a report by a House committee, which says that U.S. regulators should block mergers and acquisitions involving Huawei Technologies and ZTE Corp. From AP:
Reflecting U.S. concern over cyber-attacks traced to China, the report also recommends that U.S. government computer systems not include any components from the two firms because that could pose an espionage risk. "China has the means, opportunity, and motive to use telecommunications companies for malicious purposes," the report says.