Wednesday morning headlines

Stocks edge higher: More muted holiday cheer on Wall Street, with the Dow up about 10 points. Investors are betting that the Federal Reserve will continue its bond-buying program.

Consumers watching fiscal cliff?: Little sign of restraint in many parts of L.A., but Walmart CEO Mike Duke says the budget deadlock is having an effect on holiday spending. (Business Insider)

More Chinese purchases on the way: With the government's encouragement, investors are looking to the U.S. and elsewhere. From the NYT:

Two deals by Chinese companies were announced this week, and bankers and lawyers say that discussions are starting or are already under way on numerous other transactions. Many of those, however, may take as long as a year to complete given China's bureaucratic approval processes. "You will see an acceleration -- you see it now," although it would not amount to an immediate flood of transactions, said André Loesekrug-Pietri, the chairman and managing partner of A Capital, a Hong Kong-based private equity fund.

Misconduct among state workers: An annual report on whistleblower cases shows that government employees engaged in bribery and conspiracy, while others were overpaid by tens of thousands of dollars. From AP:

State Auditor Elaine Howle said her office received 7,238 reports of improper activity from April 2011 through the end of June 2012 and has opened investigations into nearly 1,500 cases from that time and before. The state's whistleblower act authorizes her office to investigate improper and illegal government activity that is wasteful or involves gross misconduct, incompetence or inefficiency.

Budget official brought into mayoral race: Union activists are asking candidates whether they would keep City Administrative Officer Miguel Santana, who has been under the gun for his cost-cutting measures, and only one of them, City Councilwoman Jan Perry, said she would. From the LAT:

The SEIU is deferring an endorsement until a runoff campaign leading up to a May 21 election. But their members have made no secret of their dislike for Santana, who has been pushing to contract out key city operations now performed by city employees. "Labor relations and collective bargaining are very important issues" in the campaign, said Victor Gordo, an attorney with the Coalition of L.A. City Unions. "And Miguel happens to be in charge of both."

Register owner buys magazine group: Newport Beach-based Churm Media publishes the monthly business magazine OC Metro and three other publications. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, and no word whether the magazines will be folded into the Register. (OC Register)

Delays at LAX: October saw the worst on-time record in at least 10 years, with 20 percent of the flights at least 15 minutes late. A year earlier it was 13 percent. (Daily Breeze)

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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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