Thursday morning headlines

Another day in the red?: Stocks settling down after Wednesday's 312-point loss, but not much buying. Dow is off 35 points.

Drop in jobless claims: Weekly filings for unemployment insurance fell
8,000, to 355,000, but analysts warned that the numbers could be distorted because of the big storm. From AP:

Applications declined in one state last week because power outages prevented officials from receiving applications. The spokesman wouldn't identify the state. The storm also pushed applications in other states up because some people who could not go to work sought benefits. Most economists expect applications will rise in the coming weeks. Jill Brown, an economist at Credit Suisse, said that large hurricanes have historically pushed up applications by about 4 percent. That suggests they could reach 390,000.

Supermajority for state Democrats?: They're on the verge of winning two-thirds control in both houses of the Legislature, which would give them the power to raise taxes without Republican support. From the SF Chronicle:

But Gov. Jerry Brown and Democratic leaders in the Legislature sought Wednesday to assure the public that they would not go on a spending spree, even after voters demonstrated support for new taxes by approving a pair of propositions that will raise billions of dollars a year for the state. At a Capitol news conference, Brown said he would stick by his campaign pledge to take any new taxes to a vote of the people.

Soda taxes lose big: Voters in El Monte overwhelmingly turned down a proposal to tax businesses 1 cent for every ounce of sugary soft drinks sold. Richmond voters did much the same. Beverage companies lobbied hard. (LAT)

Villaraigosa seeks transit alternatives: With Measure J failing to receive the necessary two-thirds vote, the mayor said he would consider other ways to accelerate construction of a subway to the Westside, as well as other projects. From the LAT:

Gary Toebben, president of the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, a major supporter of Measure J, said Tuesday's results dealt "a major setback" to transportation advocates who hoped to take advantage of low interest rates and cheaper construction costs to extend rail lines. "This was an opportunity to move forward and save money, and we just won't be able to do that," Toebben said.

Bad month for McDonald's: October same-store sales fell 1.8 in October, the first monthly decline since March 2003. A weakening global economy, along with increased competition in the U.S. apparently took their toll. (AP)

Another tough travel day: A number of flights out of LAX and John Wayne Airport have been cancelled because of the latest storm to hit the Northeast. But regular service should be restored later today.

Oxy goes after oil company: L.A.-based Occidental will be bidding for privately held Yates Petroleum in a deal that could be worth as much as $3 billion, the WSJ is reporting. Yates has oil fields in New Mexico's Permian Basin.

Occidental has historically been one of the top energy producers in New Mexico, which is home to a portion of the oil-rich Permian Basin, and a consolidator there. The Permian, which stretches into west Texas and is one of the longest continuous oil-producing areas in the U.S., has seen a renaissance in recent years as new drilling technology has allowed energy producers to reach previously untapped hydrocarbons.

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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