Wednesday morning headlines

Stocks open lower: Market pulling back after Tuesday's sizable gains - perhaps the result of tepid earnings news. Dow is down a few points.

Gas price update: An average gallon of regular in the L.A. area fell another couple of pennies overnight, to $4.614, according to the Auto Club. That's about nine cents lower than its high on Oct. 9.

Smallish profit for B of A: That's after the banking giant paid out large amounts to settle legal claims that it misled shareholders in acquiring Merrill Lynch. From DealBook:

The results actually pointed to a small victory for the bank. The modest profit, padded by a $2.3 billion reduction in loan loss reserves, exceeded the estimates of analysts polled by Thomson Reuters, who had expected a loss of 6 cents a share. The bank also recorded improved investment banking income, which jumped 7 percent. Mortgage originations grew 18 percent, as interest rates remained at near record lows. And the bank's wealth management unit continued its strong gains.

SEC looking into San Bernardino: Federal investigators are calling it an "informal inquiry" and have requested that the city not alter or destroy financial documents. From the LAT:

City Atty. James Penman, to whom the letter was addressed, said he spoke with SEC attorneys Tuesday and assured them the city would cooperate. Penman said he was not told what triggered the inquiry or what, specifically, the federal agency planned to look into, although he said it would probably relate to the use of city bond funds, which falls under SEC regulatory authority.

State investigating CVS: California regulators are looking into complaints about the drugstore chain refilling prescriptions and billing insurance companies without patients' consent. From the LAT:

The state board is the third government body known to be looking into the company's refill practices. Late last week, the inspector general's office for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services launched an investigation into allegations that CVS billed Medicare for medicine that patients hadn't ordered or picked up, according to a federal official who did not have authorization to discuss the matter and asked not to be identified. The inspector general's inquiry is the starting point for any case involving possible fraud involving Medicare, which provides health coverage for about 50 million Americans.

Nike severs ties with Lance Armstrong: The clothing and footwear company cited evidence that he participated in widespread doping. (AP)

NHL's latest offer: League owners are proposing a 50-50 split of hockey-related revenue with the players - the first significant movement in the talks since the lockout began on Sept. 15. The union is expected to respond in the next day or two. (NYT)

More by Mark Lacter:
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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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