Friday morning headlines

Stock dive slowing?: The Dow is actually up a few points at last check, though the 400-plus loss over the last two days still stings.

Consumer sentiment hits five-year high: The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan preliminary reading for November indicates greater optimism about employment prospects - though not if the stock market continues to tumble. (Reuters)

Big loss for JC Penney: The struggling retailer also reported another quarter of plummeting sales. Penney has had a tough time moving away from blockbuster sales in favor of everyday low pricing. (AP)

Disney meets expectations: The Burbank-based media giant was helped in its most recent quarter by revenue gains at ESPN and an increase in traffic at its theme parks. Still, the company fell short of revenue expectations. From Reuters:

Morningstar analyst Michael Corty said Disney produced "another solid quarter" particularly with its cable networks business, though he noted that revenue was below what some analysts expected. Overall revenue rose 3 percent in the quarter to $10.8 billion. "Disney has so many good things going for it that any weakness in the stock would be a buying opportunity," he said.

Brown gets a boost: The passage of Proposition 30, coupled with a Democratic super-majority in the legislature, provide the governor with breathing room. From the LAT:

The business interests who fear what a supermajority of Democrats might do with new, unilateral power will be eager to work with the moderate governor. They may see the pragmatic Brown as a check on a hostile Legislature. Brown himself is already talking about the next steps in the state's bullet-train program and about moving on a multibillion-dollar system to send more water from the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta to Southern California -- projects that could reshape his image into one of a builder like his father, who was governor when the state built new freeways and universities.

Beck warns of layoffs: L.A,'s police chief told the LAT that the department would probably lose 500 officers unless the sales tax is increased by half a cent. Already, he's been unable to hire 911 operators.

[Council President] Wesson and City Administrative Officer Miguel Santana said Los Angeles officials have taken major steps to restructure their budget, removing thousands of workers from the payroll and rolling back pension benefits for newly hired employees. But after the meeting, Richard Close, president of the Sherman Oaks Homeowners Assn., said city officials should go further by embracing a plan from former Mayor Richard Riordan to cut retirement costs by moving new employees into a 401(k)-style retirement system. "The sales tax is already going up as the result of Proposition 30," Close said. "Enough's enough."

Cheap gas: An average gallon of regular in the L.A. area is $3.940, according to the Auto Club, which is down more than 75 cents from a month ago.

Still tough for electric cars: High prices remain the big culprit, according to a study by J.D. Power. From the LAT:

A battery-powered all-electric vehicle will cost about $10,000 more than a similar gasoline-powered vehicle, he said. Based on annual fuel savings, it would take an average of 6.5 years to recoup that money. "The payback period is longer than most consumers keep their vehicle," [said Neal Oddes, senior director of the green practice at J.D. Power.] "The bottom line is that the price has to come down, which requires a technological quantum leap to reduce the battery price."

Michael Jackson home is sold: The Holmby Hills estate where the singer died has been purchased by Steven Mayer, a senior managing director at Cerberus Capital Management, according to the WSJ. Purchase price was $18.1 million.

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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