Tuesday morning headlines

Stocks bouncing around: Not much direction in evidence. Dow is around the line.

Subdued holiday forecast: Sales in November and December are expected to increase 4.1 percent, according to the National Retail Federation, down more than a percentage point from growth in each of the past two years. From AP:

The holiday shopping season is one gauge of not only the shopping habits, but also the mindset of the average American during what has turned out to be a slow and uneven economic recovery. Right now, people are feeling better about rising home prices and a rebounding stock market, but job growth is still weak and prices for everything from food to gas are higher. At the same time, there's uncertainty about who the next president will be and some Americans worry that the U.S. debt crisis could lead to another recession. "In all the years, this is the most challenging year doing a forecast," said Matthew Shay, president and CEO of the National Retail Federation, based in Washington, D.C. "There are so many uncertainties."

So-so month for car sales: Chrysler was up 12 percent last month, the company's best September in five years. But Ford sales were flat and GM was only up 1.5 percent. From the LAT:

The industry is on track to sell about 14.4 million autos this year, about a 12% gain from 2011. "Even though the lack of big movements in car sales makes for less attractive headlines, the stable growth in sales is a positive for the industry," said Jesse Toprak, an analyst at auto price information company TrueCar.com. Steady growth this year has allowed the carmakers to plan production schedules, avoid price wars and improve profits, he said.

Gas update: Prices are definitely creeping higher, which isn't supposed to happen this time of year. An average gallon of regular in the L.A. area is $4.201, according to the Auto Club, up a penny-and-a-half from Monday.

"Fiscal cliff" would be expensive: U.S. households will be shelling out an average of $3,500 in higher taxes next year if Congress and the White House can't reach a budget agreement, according to a report. From the LAT:

Almost 90% of Americans would see their taxes rise through a combination of higher rates on incomes and investments, and the loss of certain tax breaks, including some enacted as part of President Obama's stimulus program that are set to expire. The temporary payroll tax break, which has been in place for the past two years to help put more cash in consumers' pockets to boost the economy, is also set to end.

Brown vetoes labor legislation: One of the three bills the governor
killed over the weekend would have made it a crime for farmers not to provide their farmworkers with adequate shade and water. From the Sacramento Bee:

Jack Pitney, a political science professor at Claremont McKenna College, said that Brown's vetoes of legislation by powerful allies shows that "even if he's your friend, he's never your friend 100 percent of the time." "Overall, he's been strongly pro-union, but strongly doesn't mean uniformly," Pitney said. "(Sometimes) it's Jerry Brown showing that he's Jerry Brown and doesn't fit neatly into any category." Larry Gerston, a government professor at San Jose State University, said that Brown's moderation in bill signings points to a much larger goal: passing Proposition 30, his multibillion-dollar tax hike, in November.

Pot debate resumes: City Council voted for a ban on dispensaries, but opponents gathered enough signatures to put the measure before voters. So the council can repeal the ordinance, put the referendum on the March 5 citywide election ballot, or call for a special election. (CNS)

Columbia Square property is sold: The former home of CBS' L.A. operations is being purchased by investment firm Kilroy Realty in a $65 million deal. (THR)

Walking dangers: Pedestrians accounted for about a third of all traffic fatalities in L.A., or nearly triple the national average, according to a study. The numbers are even worse in NY. From the LAT:

In other findings, the University of Michigan researchers found that women who lived in Los Angeles were less likely to be in an accident than men. In the city, men accounted for a higher proportion of fatalities than the national average, 62.3% compared with 57.6%. Other highlights include more fatal crashes at intersections (36% in Los Angeles versus 22% in the U.S.), and more fatal crashes at low speeds -- 35 mph or less (66.5% in Los Angeles versus 21.8% in the U.S.).

More by Mark Lacter:
American-US Air settlement with DOJ includes small tweak at LAX
Socal housing market going nowhere fast
Amazon keeps pushing for faster L.A. delivery
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
Further fallout from airport shootings
Crazy opening for Twitter*
Should Twitter be valued at $18 billion?
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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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