Thursday morning headlines

Stocks open flat: Some cross-currents at play - new concerns about the fiscal cliff versus decent economic news. Dow is right at the line.

Another upward revision: The economy grew at an annual rate of 3.1 percent in the third quarter, way higher than the initial estimate of 2 percent. From AP:

Disruptions from Superstorm Sandy and uncertainty weighing on consumers and businesses from the "fiscal cliff" are likely holding back growth in the October-December quarter. Many analysts predict an annual growth rate of just 1.5 percent for this quarter. Robert Kavcic, an economist at BMO Capital Markets, said the upward revision to third-quarter growth didn't change his view that the economy is slowing in the current quarter to an annual growth rate below 2 percent.

Jump in jobless claims: Weekly filings for unemployment were up 17,000, to 361,000. The numbers have been volatile since Hurricane Sandy. (AP)

Growth outlook weak: The Conference Board's index of leading indicators dropped 0.2 percent in November, the first decline since August and a sign that the economy could slow down early next year. (AP)

THQ files for bankruptcy: The Agoura Hills video game publisher says it's seeking a buyer. Meanwhile, Clearlake Capital Group has entered a $60-million "stalking horse" bid for THQ's assets. Any suitor would have to top that. From the LAT:

Once THQ's largest source of profit, the market for kids' games based on licenses from companies such as Pixar and DreamWorks Animation has virtually evaporated. An effort to revive its kids business with a device called UDraw proved a disaster. THQ vastly overestimated demand for it on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 consoles during the 2011 holiday season.

L.A. developing within: Two-thirds of new housing built between 2005 and 2009 was infill, according to an EPA analysis. Other areas with high infill rates: NY, SF and San Jose. (LAT)

Herbalife shares skidding: Activist hedge fund manager William Ackman, who says the L.A.-based distributor of nutritional supplements is a pyramid scheme, has been shorting the stock. The company's CEO says the country "would be better when Bill Ackman is gone." (Reuters)

Questionable selection for ethics panel: Council President Herb Wesson chose Erin Pak, whose husband Chris Pak is a former city commissioner and fundraiser for several city officials. From the LAT:

Chris Pak's land use consulting firm, Archeon International Group, represents businesses that seek permission to sell alcohol in Koreatown, a neighborhood in Wesson's district. Over the last decade, Archeon and its employees have given at least $47,000 to city candidates, including nine running in the March 5 election, according to interviews and city records. Kathay Feng, executive director of the campaign finance watchdog group California Common Cause, said the various ties between Pak, her husband and city politicians form a "hornet's nest" of relationships and potential conflicts of interest.

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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