Stories for August 2005

Wednesday, August 31

Mortgage Applications Fall

Applications for U.S. home mortgages fell for the second week despite a decline in fixed mortgage interest rates in August, an industry group said Wednesday.

Sunstone Selling Stock to Fund Century Plaza Hotel Buy

Sunstone Hotel Investors Inc. said Wednesday it will sell about $194 million worth of stock to help fund its $293 million purchase of the Century Plaza Hotel & Spa in Century City.

Morning Headlines

An overview of today's top business stories.

Fossil Sued to Stop Guess Licensing Pact

Callanen International filed a lawsuit Wednesday to stop Fossil from producing and selling Guess watches. The subsidiary of Timex said its exclusive right to distribute Guess watches hasn't expired.

Second-Quarter GDP Down

The economy grew at a 3.3 percent annual rate in the second quarter, slightly less than initially estimated but still a solid performance, given surging energy prices.

Stocks Climb on Falling Oil Prices

Stocks climbed on Wednesday as oil prices slipped, but the record levels of August left investors concerned high energy costs will slow economic growth.

Update: Hilton New Orleans Hotels Closed

Nearly a dozen Hilton hotels in New Orleans were closed Wednesday after city officials decided to evacuate thousands of storm refugees in the wake of the devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina.

Oil Dips, Gasoline Prices Surge

Crude oil prices dropped Wednesday after the U.S. government's decision to make petroleum available from its strategic reserve.

U.S. to Loan Oil to Refiners

Energy Secretary Samuel W. Bodman said the Bush administration will release oil from federal petroleum reserves to help refiners affected by Hurricane Katrina.

Chicago Manufacturing Activity Slips

The Purchasing Management Association of Chicago said Wednesday that its index of area business activity fell to 49.2 in August from 63.5 in July.

Tuesday, August 30

LAX Expects More Travelers This Year

LAX expects to serve 2 percent more travelers this year than last year despite summer travel at the airport remaining flat, according to information released Tuesday by Los Angeles World Airports.

Business Briefs: Hot Topic, Jacobs Engineering, Gemstar-TV Guide

Hot Topic Inc. reports a 7.1 percent dip in comparable store sales in August, a Jacobs Engineering Group Inc. subsidiary is awarded a one-year, $6.3 million contract, and other briefs about L.A. companies.

Indictment Issued in Massive Identity Theft Case

A 42-year-old North Hollywood man has been indicted on 15 additional counts of criminal activity associated with one of the largest identity theft cases filed in Los Angeles County.

Chain Store Sales Fall

U.S. chain store sales fell in the final week of August, with back-to-school sales suffering due to unusually warm weather, a report said on Tuesday.

Stocks Drop in Hurricane's Aftermath

Stocked dipped on Tuesday as investors reacted to Hurricane Katrina, which slammed into the Gulf Coast, crippling oil refineries and sending oil prices surging.

Consumer Confidence Picks Up

The mood of consumers brightened in August as an improving job market outweighed rising gasoline prices, the Conference Board said Tuesday.

Federated Completes May Acquisition

Federated Department Stores Inc. on Tuesday said it completed its $11.9 billion acquisition of May Department Stores Co., forming a retail company with more than 1,000 stores and $30 billion in annual sales.

Factory Orders Dip in July

Orders to U.S. factories fell in July by the largest amount in 15 months, reflecting cutbacks in demand for commercial aircraft, the government said Tuesday.

Morning Headlines

An overview of today's top business stories.

Oil Surges on Pipeline Snags

The shutdown of oil platforms, refineries and pipelines along the Gulf Coast drove energy prices to new highs Tuesday. Oil briefly jumped above $70 a barrel.

More Students Signing Up for Chinese

More students are signing up for Chinese language classes as they see doing business with Beijing a possibility in their future. UCLA and USC are bracing for the huge demand this fall.

Snyder-Led Group Sells Bella Terra Mall

Investors led by L.A. developer Jerry Snyder are selling the 770,000-square-foot Bella Terra mall in Huntington Beach to a joint venture for $224 million.

Monday, August 29

Newspapers Take Hit as Studios Cut Back on Movie Advertising

Newspapers are increasingly losing out in the battle for shrinking studio ad budgets, a shift with important implications for the Los Angeles Times and Daily News.

Game Designer Gets to Play With His Work

People across Los Angeles tell us how they do what they do.

Digital Verit & #233;

An idea once considered unthinkable releasing a movie and its DVD version at the same time is getting a second look.

L.A. Gas Prices Up Less Than a Cent

The average gallon of self-serve regular in L.A. rose just six-tenths of a cent to $2.772 for the week ended Aug. 29, a slowdown after weeks of price increases that saw gas rise 3 cents a week earlier.

Katrina May Cost Insurers $25 Billion

Hurricane Katrina may be the most expensive hurricane ever to hit the U.S., costing insurers as much as $25 billion, a storm modeler said on Monday.

High Tech Wages Slip in Face of Outsourcing, But Some Still Benefit

Outsourcing tech jobs continues to put downward pressure on wages.

Passion for People Leads to Success in Property Investment

For Jonathan Weiss, it was a tip from a former employee that led him to Marcus & Millichap Real Estate Investment Brokerage Co.

KPMG to Pay $456 Million Fine

KPMG agreed to pay a $456 million fine in a settlement with U.S. authorities over past tax shelter sales, avoiding an indictment of the firm.

Morning Headlines

An overview of today's top business stories.

Infomercial King Sells Company, Ronco Goes Public for Expansion

Ron Popeil, hawker of Showtime and the Veg-O-Matic, has sold his company for $56.5 million. And now Ronco Corp. has gone public and is set to expand.

Livin' Large

Faced with stiff competition and the prospect of a burst bubble, developer Avi Brosh is venturing into the extended-stay hotel business.

Sacramento's Misguided Bailout of Hollywood

Just because a competitor takes away part of your business by slashing his price doesn't mean you should do the same, especially if you still control the brunt of the business.

Housing, Fuel and Health Costs Create Inflationary Trend in L.A.

While L.A.'s inflation rate historically has been higher than the rest of the nation's, the spread has widened as a result of skyrocketing energy and housing costs.

No Ad Windfall Results From Battle Over Court Nomination

What happened to the much-anticipated media battle over President Bush's choice for the Supreme Court? Well, so far nothing.

Yahoo Signing for Office Space That MGM Is Leaving Behind

Yahoo is nearly doubling its Santa Monica office space in a deal valued at $80 million.

Stocks Rebound on Weakened Katrina

Stocks ended higher on Monday after Hurricane Katrina weakened, calming investors' anxieties about refinery outages along the Gulf of Mexico.

Wave of Development Appearing in Long-Dormant Area

After years of little or no activity, a variety of mixed-use projects are in the works.

Internet Advertising Fraud Places Google, Yahoo on Defensive

At least two class action suits have been filed so far against Yahoo, Google and other search engines by advertisers who claim they have been overcharged because of widespread click fraud activity.

Oil Leaps Past $70 Before Easing

Oil prices surged to a record above $70 a barrel before easing on Monday as one of the biggest hurricanes in U.S. history disrupted production in the Gulf of Mexico.

Intelsat to Buy PanAmSat

Intelsat Ltd. said Monday it agreed to acquire PanAmSat Holding Corp. for $3.2 billion in cash in a deal that would create a commercial satellite powerhouse.

Gas Price Hikes Revive Suspicion of Manipulation

With record-high prices and record-high oil company profits, the question is inevitable: Is there manipulation by the energy industry?

Retiring Boomers Add to Numbers of Businesses for Sale

It's been a busy year for Sunbelt Business Sales and Acquisitions, as the leading edge of the Baby Boom generation approaches retirement age amid a growing economy.

Busy Body Builds Muscle With Purchase of L.A. Gym Equipment

FHI Inc., the Long Beach-based company behind the exercise retailer Busy Body Home Fitness, has pumped up its assets with the purchase of competitor L.A. Gym Equipment.

Strong Growth Boosting Shares Despite Staff Woes, Litigation

Herbalife Ltd., which burst on the scene in 1980s with a weight loss drink concocted by its salesman-founder Mark Hughes, has become a high-flying stock once again.

Chinese Challenge

More students sign up for Chinese language classes as they see doing business with Beijing a possibility in their future.

New Line Settles Licensing Rights Suit

New Line Cinema has settled a $20 million lawsuit brought by movie mogul Saul Zaentz, who owned the licensing rights to "Lord of the Rings."

$293 Million Sale of Century Plaza Sets California Record

When many large hotel chains are selling properties these days, Global Hyatt Corp.'s anticipated take-over of the Century Plaza may not be out of line.

Business Briefs: Computer Sciences, Teledyne Technologies, LADWP

Computer Sciences Corp. wins an $86 million contract from the Environmental Protection Agency, Teledyne Technologies Inc. completes its acquisition of RD Instruments, and other briefs about L.A. companies.

Stuff

A look at inventive, new products from Los Angeles-area companies.

On the Road

An ongoing nursing shortage and tougher state staffing requirements have forced hospitals to expand their use of out-of-state nurses, as well as "local" traveling nurses.

Fewer Readers Flipping Through Glossies' Pages

Newsstand sales of regional magazines, including local titles Los Angeles and Angeleno, are down, echoing a national trend.

Oil Firms Fear Damage From Katrina

Oil companies said Monday they were worried that Katrina may have caused damage to offshore oil platforms and undersea pipelines in the Gulf of Mexico.

Newsmakers

The appointments and promotions of the movers and shakers of L.A.'s business community.

Variety, Tribune in Syndication Deal

Stories from Variety, the Hollywood trade bible, will be distributed nationally to print and online publishers under a new syndication deal with Tribune Media Services, the companies said Monday.

Cost Question

Stuart Gabriel, a USC professor who's developed expertise on the effects of Proposition 13, sees significant problems with the region's housing supply.

New Line Settles Mogul's Suit Over Licensing Rights to 'Lord of the Rings'

New Line Cinema has settled a $20 million lawsuit brought by Saul Zaentz, who owned the licensing rights to "Lord of the Rings."

Wild Cards

Steven Streit founded Next Estate, a prepaid credit card company, after he learned online businesses were having trouble making sales.

More 'Story Tellers' Claim Overtime

Reality show writers are seeking compensation for unpaid overtime they claim they were forced to work.

Political Ambition, Upcoming Election Seen Driving Industry Subsidy Package

A tax credit package for film and TV production is moving through the state Legislature at lightning speed and widely expected to be signed into law next month.

As Firm Dissolves, Future of Coudert Partners Is Uncertain

Coudert Brothers is gone with the wind and the biggest hit on the West Coast is being taken in Los Angeles.

Investing in the Possibility of a Transformation

A first-person account of assimilating into Chinatown.

Fox Hills Mall Prepares for Grove-Influenced Renovation

The Fox Hills Mall is about to get a makeover, but will the facelift be more than window dressing? Locals say they're shopping for a better mix of stores.

Hanging Up: Ads Move Online

Newspapers are finally adjusting to the Internet world and standing to benefit is AdStar Inc., a Marina del Rey company that has been contracted to provide technology that allows for the placing of ads online.

Friday, August 26

Oil Falls Despite Hurricane Fears

Oil prices fell $1.36 a barrel Friday as traders took profits from recent record highs, but worries lingered that Hurricane Katrina might disrupt supplies from the Gulf Coast.

Greenspan Warns About Economy's Health

Creeping trade protectionism and bloated budget deficits pose a risk to long-term economic vitality, Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan warned Friday.

Ports to Replace Polluting Locomotives

Under pressure to reduce air pollution at the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports, the two port agencies and their railroad operator reached a deal to replace 18 polluting locomotives with cleaner models.

Stocks Falls on Consumer Confidence

Stocks ended lower on Friday as falling oil prices failed to offset a larger-than-expected drop in consumer confidence.

Yahoo Signing for Office Space MGM Is Leaving Behind

Yahoo Inc. is nearly doubling its office space at Santa Monica's Colorado Center in a lease deal valued at $80 million, said sources close to the agreement.

Consumer Optimism Weaker in August

U.S. consumer optimism fell more than expected in August from July due to record gasoline prices during the summer driving season, a report said on Friday.

Guess, Fossil Close to Licensing Pact

Guess Inc. and Fossil Inc. announced Friday that they are in advanced negotiations for a 10-year licensing agreement in which Fossil will produce and distribute Guess watches beginning in January 2007.

Merck May Settle Some Vioxx Suits

Merck & Co. might consider settling a small number of Vioxx cases involving people who fit a very narrow profile, The Wall Street Journal reported on Friday.

Morning Headlines

An overview of today's top business stories.

Business Briefs: Big 5 Sporting Goods, Northrop, Morgan Stanley Dean Witter

The Nasdaq gives Big 5 Sporting Goods more time to complete its financial statements, Fitch Ratings upgrades the debt ratings of Northrop Grumman, and other briefs about L.A. companies.

Refinery Snags Send Gas Prices Higher

Midweek production problems at two major Bay Area refineries caused L.A. gas prices to rise once again after a few days of price decreases, said the Automobile Club of Southern California.

Thursday, August 25

New Jobless Claims Edge Lower

The number of Americans making new claims for jobless benefits fell 4,000 last week, the government said on Thursday, suggesting the job market remains healthy.

Earnings Roundup

Magnetek Inc., Qualstar Corp. and Peerless Systems Corp. were among the companies that reported earnings Thursday.

California Sues 39 Drug Makers

California's attorney general said the state has filed a lawsuit accusing 39 pharmaceutical companies of bilking the state's Medicaid program of hundreds of millions of dollars by inflating drug prices.

Morning Headlines

An overview of today's top business stories.

Oil Prices Creep Higher

Oil prices crept higher Thursday on a rally in gasoline futures, though worries eased over what effect storms may have on production in the Gulf of Mexico.

Maguire Portfolio Draws Heavy Bidding

Maguire Properties Inc. has two Australian real estate investment trusts bidding heavily on a $1.1 billion portfolio it is selling to reduce its high leverage ratio.

MTA Settles Suit for $45 Million

The MTA confirmed it will pay $45 million in cash to settle a nine-year dispute with its primary insurer for claims brought against the agency during construction of the Metro Rail line system.

New Area Code Overlay Approved

Under the state's first new area code overlay, virtually all new phone numbers within the 310 territory will be assigned the new 424 area code, starting in August 2006; existing numbers will remain 310.

Stocks Gain Despite Record Oil

Stocks ended the session with modest gains Thursday after news of corporate acquisitions offset the impact of another record high for oil prices.

Six Flags Puts Itself Up for Sale

Six Flags Inc. on Thursday said its board decided to sell the company through an auction process, one week after a dissident shareholder offered to raise his stake and replace its management.

Kodak Trims Operations, Cuts Jobs

Eastman Kodak Co. plans to close and scale back some operations at a cost of 900 jobs as its responds to lower demand for film and photographic paper.

CB Richard Ellis Arranges Major UK Property Transaction

CB Richard Ellis Group, Inc. today announced that it arranged what it is calling the largest commercial property transaction in United Kingdom history.

Business Briefs: Hanmi, Diodes, Computer Sciences, Evergreen, SeeBeyond

Hanmi Financial Corp. buys 1.2 million shares of its common stock for $20 million, Computer Sciences Corp. is awarded a $307 million Air Force contract, and other briefs about L.A. companies.

Wednesday, August 24

Oil Prices Up on Storm Worries

Oil prices surged more than 2 percent after a large drop in U.S. gasoline stocks added to worries that a storm in the Atlantic could damage oil production platforms.

Stocks Fall on Record Oil Prices

Stocks shed early gains on Wednesday after oil prices hit another record high and government data gave investors conflicting views on the economy.

Century Plaza Fetches Record Price

Global Hyatt Corp. is buying the landmark Westin Century Plaza hotel for nearly $300 million, according to sources close to the deal. The price is a record-setting amount for a California hotel.

Getty Keeps Tax-Exempt Status

The J. Paul Getty Trust has retained its tax-exempt status after a two-year audit by the Internal Revenue Service, the Bond Buyer newspaper reported.

Blue Holdings Files Copyright Infringement Suit

Blue Holdings Inc., manufacturer of high-end Antik Denim LLC, said Wednesday that it has begun an aggressive campaign to prevent counterfeiting of Antik's signature back pocket design.

Mortgage Applications Fall

Applications for U.S. home mortgages decreased last week, with purchasing activity falling for the first time in a month despite slightly lower interest rates.

Morning Headlines

An overview of today's top business stories.

Business Briefs: CB Richard Ellis Group, Northrop Grumman

CB Richard Ellis Group Inc. agrees to buy the remaining shares of its Irish commercial affiliate for $24.6 million, and Northrop Grumman Corp. is awarded a 5-year, $208 million contract by the U.S. Navy.

New-Home Sales Hit Record High; Durable Goods Drop

Sales of new homes shot up to a record high in July, while U.S. factories saw orders for costly manufactured goods drop by the largest amount in 18 months

Google to Launch Messaging Service

Google Inc. plans to launch a long-rumored program Wednesday that provides both text instant messaging and computer-to-computer voice chat.

Tuesday, August 23

Viacom, Yahoo Sign Ad, Web Search Deal

Viacom Inc. on Tuesday said it signed a multiyear advertising and Web search distribution deal with Internet media company Yahoo Inc. Financial terms were not disclosed.

L.A. Home Price Rise Tops 20 Percent

The median home price in L.A. County surged in July to $543,890, a 20.4 percent gain from the like period a year earlier, according to a report released today by the California Association of Realtors.

Stocks Fall as Home Sales Slide

Stocks ended lower Tuesday after data showed that the red-hot housing market cooled slightly in July, and oil prices held above $65 a barrel.

Bush Proposes New SUV Fuel Standards

The Bush administration proposed new fuel economy standards for pickup trucks, minivans and some SUVs on Tuesday, calling on automakers to make improvements to gas mileage.

Morning Headlines

An overview of today's top business stories.

Oil Stays Above $65 on Supply Fears

Oil futures held above $65 a barrel Tuesday amid lingering global supply concerns.

O'Donnell Pleads Not Guilty to Illegal Campaign Contributions

Los Angeles trial attorney Pierce O'Donnell pleaded not guilty Tuesday to misdemeanor charges related to contributions made to former Mayor James Hahn's first mayoral campaign in 2000.

Outages Take Their Toll

As L.A. refineries closely guard information about their operations, there's no clear answer to the question of whether operational issues will continue to exacerbate fuel prices in coming months.

Existing Home Sales Dip

Sales of previously owned homes dropped 2.6 percent in July as mortgage rates crept up. But sales clocked in at the third-highest level on record.

Business Briefs: Northrop, Tetra Tech, Global ePoint, Jacobs Engineering, Amexdrug, TMSF Holdings

Northrop Grumman Corp. sues Agilent Technologies Inc. over patent infringement, Tetra Tech Inc. signs a 5-year, $43 million contract with the EPA, and other briefs about L.A. companies.

Chain Store Sales Fall for Week

Chain store sales fell in the third week of August, as back-to-school sales suffered from consumers postponing their purchases, a report said on Tuesday.

Monday, August 22

Mattel Opens New Front in Cell Phone Wars: Pre-Teen Girls Who Like to Talk

Mattel is launching a cell phone targeted at kids older but not much older than its core customers of Barbie buyers.

Fallout From Bid-Rigging Case Causes Many Marsh Defections

Eliot Spitzer's bid-rigging probe sent executives and agents scurrying from Marsh, and other companies have been quick to pick up the defectors.

Stuff

A look at inventive, new products from Los Angeles-area companies.

Office Architect Martin Enters Residential Fray

AC Martin Partners, builders of office towers, have jumped into the housing sector.

Chef Takes His Toque to New Challenges at Pacific Palms

As new executive chef at Pacific Palms Resort in Industry Hills, Brad Buss HAS planned more for the resort than just a meal or two.

Hollywood Signs

The Sunset Strip has long been famous for its huge billboards, but now ads will be placed on public property, too.

Northwest Shares Up as Strike Continues

With its mechanics strike in its third day, Northwest Airlines Corp. on Monday faced its biggest test yet to keep operating, but the stock rallied as investors bet the carrier would win.

Tag-It Announces Major Restructuring

Amid disappointing second-quarter earnings, Tag-It Pacific Inc. announced a sweeping restructuring initiative Monday to cut operating costs, including shutting down a U.S. factory.

United Online Playing Games in the Face of Broadband Onslaught

Dial-up Internet service provider United Online Inc., faced with rising competition from broadband services, is trying to woo customers and advertisers with video games.

Here and Gone

A look at some companies that have left.

Weathering the Storm

Industry veteran Donald R. Davis notes how things have changed.

Can Economy Hold Up With Gas at 3 Bucks?

Keep your eye on the neighborhood gas station: If that $3 price holds up for much longer, be prepared for a rocky ride.

Tishman Purchasing Properties in Beverly Hills and Downtown

Tishman Speyer Properties LP has beefed up its Los Angeles real estate holdings with purchases totaling $316 million.

Fountain of Youth

LTN is launching a Hollywood studio with local programming aimed at delivering young viewers.

Oil Prices Rise on Iraq Outages

Oil prices rose Monday as traders weighed the effects of sabotage that disrupted Iraq's southern pipeline exports against partially resumed crude production in Ecuador.

'Click' Merger Highlights Advertisers' Interest in New Web World

The merger of ValueClick and FastClick points to the increasing interest advertisers show for the Web.

L.A. Gas Prices Up 3 Cents

The average gallon of self-serve regular in the L.A. area was up 3 cents Monday to $2.766 after surging 11 cents a week earlier, according to the federal Energy Information Administration.

Morning Headlines

An overview of today's top business stories.

Trader Sees His Early Shift as the Perfect Fit

People across Los Angeles tell us how they do what they do.

Online Betting Threatened by WTO Decision on U.S. Market

Online horse race wagering has become a $1 billion industry in the U.S. one reason why Youbet.com Inc.'s stock has more than doubled in the past year.

Quiet Growth Era Over as BCBG Is Buying Up Stores

Womens retailer BCBG Max Azria is crossing the Atlantic to France and Spain in a major expansion.

Farmers Became Industry Giant With Roots Planted Deep in L.A.

Beginning life by covering vehicles driven on Southern California's agriculture properties, the L.A.-based insurer has evolved into a regional force.

Teen Viewing of TV Rising in Big Cities, Except Los Angeles

A new system for measuring TV audiences found big gains in viewership among teens in major U.S. cities. L.A. was the exception and officials at the company that tracks the audiences aren't sure why.

Workers' Compensation Insurers Step Back Into Market

Insurers haven't been offering workers' compensation coverage, but now they're getting back into the game.

Purchase of Land at Discount Price Raising Questions

The city of Inglewood has sold a Century Boulevard parcel to Haagen Co. at a fraction of what land is trading for nearby.

Personality Crisis Sweeps Radio as Stations Experiment

Stations have faced intense reaction when they've tinkered with the formula of personality-based programming.

Time Transforms Role of Buildings on Wilshire Boulevard

The boulevard west of downtown was transformed into an insurance industry hub and is now home to Koreatown.

Public Storage Bears Down on Shurgard to Force Acquisition

Public Storage appears serious in its bid for Shurgard.

Whirlpool to Acquire Maytag

Maytag Corp. signed an agreement to be acquired by its larger rival Whirlpool Corp. for more than $1.7 billion in cash and stock, the company said Monday.

L.A. Ford Dealerships Tally Big Losses in Year-to-Year Revenues

Ford's lackluster product line is blamed for stalling dealership revenues.

Mattel's New Front in Cell Phone Wars

Mattel is launching a fully functional $80 cell phone targeted at kids older but not much older than its core customers of Barbie buyers.

Newsmakers

The appointments and promotions of the movers and shakers of L.A.'s business community.

Oil Production Awakens in L.A. as Rising Prices Spur Drilling

The heyday of L.A. oil production has long since passed, but months of rising oil, gasoline and diesel prices have prompted drillers to take a closer look at the basin.

Business Briefs: Craig Consumer Electronics, Big 5 Sporting Goods, WPT, Kilroy Realty, Global ePoint

A former Craig Consumer Electronics vice president is sentenced to two months in custody for falsifying books, WPT Enterprises reports an unexpected net loss, and other briefs about L.A. companies.

Retailers Accuse Bridal-Wear Company of Failure to Pay Refunds

Lizette Creations Inc. is incurring the wrath of jilted bridal shop owners who say that the company charged them for unwanted dresses and hasn't responded to refund requests.

Howrey Bringing On Big Guns to Replace Familiar Faces

Howrey LLP's Los Angeles office has been replacing some familiar faces with local rainmakers as it rebuilds following a year's worth of declining revenues and profits.

L.A.'s Insurance Exodus

Not a single major insurer has a significant presence on the stretch of mid-Wilshire that was once home to the largest concentration of insurance-related companies west of the Mississippi River.

Curacao Deal Shows Promise of Budding Latino Market in L.A.

Citigroup's stake in the department store chain La Curacao underscores the eagerness with which large banks want to extend credit to undocumented Hispanics.

Carrying Cases

Integrated Medical Systems has developed a stretcher that holds life support equipment.

OSI Pharmaceuticals to Buy Eyetech

OSI Pharmaceuticals Inc. agreed to purchase Eyetech Pharmaceuticals Inc. for $935 million in stock and cash.

MTA Plans Record Settlement of Metro Construction Lawsuit

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority plans to pay a record settlement to resolve Metro Rail claims.

CNPC to Buy PetroKazakhstan

The Chinese oil company will buy PetroKazakhstan for $4.18 billion, in what would be China's first successful takeover of a foreign-listed energy firm.

Flights of Fancy

Many upscale travelers are opting instead for part ownership of planes.

Who's Who

Benjamin Kuo started a database of tech companies when he was on a job search; now it's a significant newsletter.

Making Waves

Manufacturers are in choppy waters as license deals change hands.

Stocks Rise on Acquisition News

Stocks ended slightly higher on Monday, amid oil prices that rose past $65 a barrel and several large acquisitions that intrigued investors.

Outages Take Their Toll

Because the refineries in L.A. closely guard information about their operations, there is no clear answer to the question of whether operational issues will continue to exacerbate fuel prices in coming months.

Friday, August 19

Merck Verdict Drags Down Stocks

Stocks ended mixed on Friday after a jury ruled Merck & Co. was negligent in the death of a man who took its painkiller Vioxx.

Sharp Drops in Sales Attributed To Uninspiring Product Lineup

After years of weak financial performance, Ford turned it around last year, but U.S. sales fell, sending the company's domestic market share down and that's what matters to local car dealerships.

L.A. Gas Hits New Record High Again

L.A. gas prices hit a new record high for the second week in a row on Friday as a surge in summertime demand continued sending pump prices soaring, said the Automobile Club of Southern California.

Update: Hallmark Channel Owner Mulling Sale of Company

Investors reacted positively Friday to news that Crown Media Holdings Inc., operator of the top-rated Hallmark Channel, may be for sale, sending its shares up 20.2 percent in heavy trading.

Disney to Probe Labor Claims in Factories

Walt Disney Co said it will investigate claims by a labor rights advocacy group of unsafe conditions at Chinese factories that make books for Disney.

Widow Gets $253 Million in Vioxx Trial

Merck & Co. was found liable Friday for the death of a man who took Vioxx, awarding his widow $253.4 million in damages in the first of thousands of lawsuits pending across the country.

Oil Prices Climb Nearly $2

Oil prices rose nearly $2 a barrel on Friday, as markets reacted to a fire at a massive refining complex in Venezuela and developments in Ecuador, where protesters had forced a halt to production.

Beverly to Review Second Bid

Beverly Enterprises Inc. said Friday it received a higher bid of $1.91 billion from a private investor group, forcing the original bidder to decide whether to submit another proposal to buy the company by Tuesday.

Business Briefs: Hot Topic, SeaLife Marine Products, Creative Computer Applications, CKE Restaurants

Hot Topic Inc.'s board approves the repurchase of up to $20 million of company common stock, SeaLife Marine Products Inc. reports quarterly results, and other briefs about L.A. companies.

Morning Headlines

An overview of today's top business stories.

L.A. County Unemployment Dips in July

L.A. County's unemployment rate fell in July to the lowest rate in four years as the local economy continued to perform strongly, the California Employment Development Department said Friday.

Ann Taylor Profit Falls

Ann Taylor Stores Corp. on Friday said quarterly earnings fell less than expected, and it forecast stronger margins for the rest of the year.

Northwest Makes 'Last Best Offer'

Northwest Airlines Corp. made its "last best offer" to mechanics who could walk off the job as early as midnight Friday, a union official said on Friday.

Thursday, August 18

Business Briefs: Center Financial, Disney, Jacobs, THQ, International Aluminum

Center Financial Corp. receives a delisting notice from the Nasdaq, Walt Disney Co. amends its corporate-governance guidelines to make it easier to remove directors, and other briefs about L.A. companies.

Morning Headlines

An overview of today's top business stories.

Jobless Claims Rise by 6,000

The number of newly laid off Americans filing applications for unemployment benefits rose last week but remained at levels indicating a strong labor market.

Online Listings for L.A. Jobs Down in July

Online job recruitment and job openings in Los Angeles advertised online fell in July, according to a survey released Thursday.

Indicators Suggest Sluggish Growth

The Composite Index of Leading Economic Indicators rose 0.1 percent, suggesting that rising oil prices and interest rates are slowing economic growth prospects.

Oil Prices Edge Higher

Crude-oil prices finished slightly higher on Thursday, a day after prices plunged by nearly $3 a barrel.

Google to Sell $4 Billion of Stock

Google Inc. on Thursday said it plans to sell up to 14.16 million shares of class A common stock, which would be worth $4 billion based on Wednesday's closing prices.

Hot Topic Shares Skid on Earnings, Lower Guidance

Shares of Hot Topic Inc. fell nearly 11 percent on Thursday after the mall-based retailer's second-quarter earnings missed analysts' estimates and it cut its profit forecast for the next two quarters.

Comcast Wins NHL After ESPN Declines

Comcast Corp. on Thursday said it closed a deal with the NHL to broadcast games on its Outdoor Life cable network, after Walt Disney Co.'s ESPN declined to match its offer.

Stocks Fall on Economy Fears

Stocks ended mixed on Thursday, as seesawing crude futures and a lukewarm reading of the index of leading economic indicators did little to soothe investors' worries about a slowing economy.

Times Loses Home Subscribers While Discounted Papers Climb

With circulation of the Los Angeles Times tumbling, executives of the newspaper have argued that what counts is not quantity but quality meaning home delivery, which advertisers covet the most.

Wednesday, August 17

Tribune's July Revenues Slide on L.A. Times Ad Declines

The parent company of the Los Angeles Times reported a 1.7 percent drop in revenues between July 2004 and July 2005, as most categories of advertising at the Times posted steep declines.

Public Storage Hires Goldman Sachs

Goldman Sachs & Co. was hired by Public Storage Inc. to advise the company on its unsolicited bid to acquire rival Shurgard Storage Centers Inc., the operator of self-storage facilities said Wednesday.

Wholesale Inflation Jumps on Gasoline

Inflation at the wholesale level increased by the largest amount in nine months in July, reflecting the hit consumers are taking at gas pumps.

Business Briefs: WPTE, Hilton, GNP Computers, CaminoSoft, 3D Systems, True Religion Apparel

WPT Enterprises Inc. notifies the SEC it needs to delay filing its quarterly results, Hilton Hotels Corp. sells its Palmer House hotel in Chicago for $230 million, and other briefs about L.A. companies.

Citigroup Buys Stake in La Curacao

Citigroup Inc. has bought a 10.5 percent stake in the La Curacao chain of department stores, which caters to Latinos in L.A. and Orange counties.

Oil Slips Below $64 Per Barrel

Crude oil futures dropped well below $64 Wednesday after traders took profits from recent highs, and jitters over high gasoline demand eased.

Mortgage Refinancing Rises

Applications for home mortgages climbed last week, snapping a three-week decline, as interest rates fell, an industry group said Wednesday.

Stocks Rise on Hewlett-Packard Earnings

Stocks rose on Wednesday, boosted by sliding oil prices and shares of Hewlett-Packard Co., which hit a four-year high on positive earnings and an upbeat outlook.

Morning Headlines

An overview of today's top business stories.

Hewlett-Packard Shares Up on Earnings

Shares of Hewlett-Packard Co. surged to a new 52-week high Wednesday after the company's third-quarter results beat analyst expectations.

Tuesday, August 16

Warner Bros., Taubman in Mall Partnership

Warner Bros.' Consumer Products division set up a partnership with Taubman Centers, Inc. to launch Looney Tunes-themed play areas within many of Taubman's 22 shopping malls in 10 states.

Oil Prices Slip on Profit-Taking

Crude oil futures fell Tuesday, as investors took profits following last week's rally, but fears lingered over supply after U.S. refinery breakdowns.

July Inflation Jumps on High Gas Prices

Consumer prices rose in July, reflecting higher prices for gasoline while output at the nation's factories, mines and utilities slowed sharply.

JPMorgan, TD Settle Enron Suit

JPMorgan Chase & Co. on Tuesday said it will pay $350 million in cash to resolve claims it helped Enron Corp. commit accounting fraud, leading to the energy trader's bankruptcy.

Business Briefs: Center Financial, Alliance Bancshares, Enova Systems, Jacobs, NBC Universal

Center Financial Corp. and Alliance Bancshares report quarterly results, NBC Universal plans cost-cutting measures, and other briefs about L.A. companies.

Chain Store Sales Fall

Chain store retail sales slipped in the latest week, with disappointing back-to-school sales due to hot weather in the eastern U.S., a retail report said Tuesday.

Local Inflation Remains in Check

Consumer prices jumped 0.3 percent in the L.A. region in July, trailing a nationwide 0.5 percent jump that was driven by rising fuel prices.

Mossimo Founder Drops Bid to Take Company Private

Mossimo Giannulli, founder and majority shareholder of clothing maker Mossimo Inc., on Tuesday withdrew an offer to buy the remainder of the company's shares and take it private.

Final Unocal Shareholder Tally Released

Chevron Corp. on Tuesday announced the final results of the payout options that Unocal Corp. shareholders chose, with the all-cash option including a greater mix of stocks than was anticipated.

Morning Headlines

An overview of today's top business stories.

Stocks End Sharply Lower

Stocks fell on Tuesday, as Wal-Mart Stores Inc. warned high oil prices are taking a toll on consumer spending, and government data showed a large jump in inflation.

Tishman to Buy O'Melveny's L.A. Tower; Geffen-Owned Building

O'Melveny & Myers LLP will sell the downtown L.A. building at 400 S. Hope St. that it has owned for a quarter century. And Tishman will buy 407 N. Maple Drive from a partnership that includes David Geffen.

Monday, August 15

City Attorney Under Scrutiny as County Reins in Its Court Costs

L.A. county has slashed its litigation costs, but the city Attorney's Office faces increased scrutiny over the handling of outside legal expenses.

Stock Market Points to Real Estate Bubble

Stock prices of several real estate investment trusts have taken a tumble in the past few weeks but is it a sign that the bubble is beginning to burst?

Sour Deal Behind It, Tetra Tech Gets in Position for Turnaround

Tetra Tech Inc.'s decision to name Albert Smith, a former Lockheed Martin Corp. executive, to the newly created post of vice chairman comes at a crucial time for the Pasadena-based firm.

Pattern of Copying Comes Under Fire in Apparel Industry

Samsung has begun an aggressive campaign to sue companies for infringing on pattern design used to create clothing.

Long Haul

Edward Wedbush got into the world of investing fresh out of college about 50 years ago and he still spends the morning tracking market movements.

Reliant Settles Suits With Utilities

Reliant Energy Inc. agreed to pay $445 million to settle lawsuits filed by California utilities that claimed the company pumped up trade volumes and revenues during an energy crisis in Western states.

Chinese Daily News Workers Face Second Vote on Unionization

Employees of the Chinese Daily News are expected to vote next month for a second time on whether to join the largest U.S. media labor organization.

Debatable Point: Has the Sweatshop Situation Improved?

It's been 10 years since a slavery ring was busted in El Monte. Has L.A.'s sweatshop situation improved since then, or have the worst violators been pushed deep underground?

Farewells to Jennings Also Bid Adieu to an Era

As the media elites paid tribute to Peter Jennings last week, you couldn't help but wonder whether some of the old-timers were really paying respects to their own dying trade.

White Collar Crime Defenders Make Their Move

Tom Brown and Kenneth White, two top lawyers at Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP, have left the firm to form their own boutique in downtown Los Angeles.

Attorney Relishes Role as Firm's Cheerleader

People across Los Angeles tell us how they do what they do.

Villaraigosa Taps DWP Appointees

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa selected five appointees to the L.A. Department of Water and Power's Board of Commissioners, including three current and former environmental regulators and a transportation expert.

Double Albums

John Trickett of L.A.-based 5.1 Entertainment Group sees the DualDisc an audio-DVD hybrid the next step in the album's evolution.

Stockbridge Sells Wilshire Courtyard, Costa Mesa Property

Wilshire Courtyard is changing hands as part of a portfolio transaction that values the mid-Wilshire office complex at $378 million.

Boffo Sendoff for Hollywood Scribbler Archerd as He Ankles for Retirement

Variety scribbler Army Archerd ankles for retirement, putting down his pen after half a century of tracking the small talk in the world of boffo hits and Hollywood stars.

L.A. Gas Prices Up 11 Cents

The average gallon of regular in L.A. jumped more than 11 cents to $2.736 from the previous week's $2.622, said the Energy Information Administration.

Morning Headlines

An overview of today's top business stories.

A Happy Tune

Kevin Klinger's software makes it easier to add a soundtrack to a video production; as a result, the product is on its way to becoming an industry mainstay.

Million-Dollar Sales of L.A. Homes Rise at Remarkable Pace

In another sign of how the continuing real estate boom is transforming Los Angeles, middle-class neighborhoods in North Hollywood, Tarzana, Glendale, Rancho Park and the heart of Hollywood now boast median home prices exceeding $1 million.

Restart of Refinery Should Ease Diesel Crunch

A shortage of diesel that sent pump prices over $3 a gallon should abate this week if Chevron Corp.'s El Segundo refinery goes back on line, as expected.

Business Briefs: Tag-It Pacific, Big 5 Sporting Goods, Farmer Bros., Platinum Equity, Unocal, Ducommun, Napster, AdStar

Tag-It Pacific expects to report a "significant" operating loss in the quarter, Big 5 Sporting Goods asks the Nasdaq for an additional extension to file its results, and other briefs about L.A. companies.

Making a Fresh Start

Ready Pac is emerging as an innovator in the world of fresh produce, but as appetite for its products increase it faces more attention from competitors such as Dole.

Molina's Problems Blamed on Rapid Growth, Major Missteps

Molina Healthcare went public two years ago, and its stock more than doubled before a series of missteps shook analyst and investor confidence.

Stuff

A look at inventive, new products from Los Angeles-area companies.

Plans for Merger Stall as e-Point Stock Soars After London Attacks

Normally it's a good thing for public companies when their stock rises. But the windfall is playing havoc with Global e-Point's planned reverse-merger with Astrophysics Inc.

Looking Back 10 Years

Various viewpoints on the state of sewing shops in Southern California.

Newsmakers

The appointments and promotions of the movers and shakers of L.A.'s business community.

Seeing the Big Picture in the World of Independent Films

The new vice president of marketing and distribution at advertising agency B.D. Fox & Friends Inc. has done everything from riding in a parade to posing for a movie poster.

Daredevils Still Soar but X Games Numbers Drop

X Games athletes are soaring higher than ever, but attendance has dropped and TV ratings are lower.

Night Operations at Pier Face Immediate Crunch

High demand placed an immediate strain on the new PierPass program, which promotes the use of the ports at night in a bid to relieve congestion.

Boho Trend Leads to Layered Jewelry Style

First it was the billowy skirts. Now, the Bohemian movement has a firm grasp on necklaces, boosting sales of clunky, beaded jewelry at local stores.

Too Much of a Good Thing?

The boom in nightclubs raises questions over the community's makeover from a seedy, crime-ridden corridor to a cleaner and safer area.

Oil Falls as Refinery Fears Ease

Oil prices fell sharply Monday as fears over refinery breakdowns eased after an uneventful weekend.

Trojan Fever

Now that the good times are here for USC football, season ticket holders face a surcharge if they want to keep quality seats.

Time Warner Urged to Split Business

Carl Icahn on Monday urged Time Warner Inc. to separate its cable business and buy back $20 billion worth of its stock, saying management hasn't done enough for shareholders.

Amgen to Allow FDA Review of Advertising for Its Products

Amgen has pledged to send its advertisements for FDA approval as the industry has come under fire for overstating drug benefits.

Forecasters Predict Drop in Deficit

The federal budget-deficit picture turned brighter Monday as congressional scorekeepers released new estimates showing the level of red ink for the current fiscal year would drop to $331 billion.

Times Loses Home Subscribers While Discounted Papers Climb

With circulation of the Los Angeles Times tumbling, executives of the newspaper have argued that what counts is not quantity but quality meaning home delivery, which advertisers covet the most.

Agilent to Sell Chip Unit

Agilent Technologies Inc. on Monday agreed to sell its semiconductor unit and its stake in a lighting technology firm in deals valued at about a combined $3.6 billion to focus on its measurement business.

Weider Muscle Magazine Operation Slimming Down in Woodland Hills

American Media has created uncertainty in the Woodland Hills-based fitness magazines it purchased in 2003 as it proceeds with consolidation.

Getty Gets New Museum Director

The J. Paul Getty Trust on Monday announced the hiring of a Virginia museum director as director of the J. Paul Getty Museum and its Malibu location, Getty Villa, which is scheduled to open early next year.

Stocks Rise on Falling Oil

Stocks gained on Monday after crude futures eased from record highs, soothing investors' anxiety about the effect of high energy costs on the economy.

High-Security Biometrics Finding Way to Checkout Stand

Cogent's fingerprint technology may be well suited to tracking down terrorists, but it may also be ideal for paying your bill at the local discount store.

Friday, August 12

Oil Prices Hit Record Near $67

Oil prices settled at a record high near $67 Friday, as U.S. refinery outages looked set to test gasoline supplies in the world's biggest-consuming nation.

U.S. Consumer Sentiment Eases

U.S. consumer sentiment eased in early August, pulled down by soaring gasoline prices, a report said on Friday.

Daredevils Still Soar but X Games Numbers Drop

The X Games feature daredevils who make skateboards fly and BMX bikes back flip, but its ratings and attendance are strikingly earthbound.

L.A. Gas Prices Hit New Record High

Gasoline prices in L.A. hit a new record high for the first time since April 13 as prices rose for a second week, fueled by high summertime demand, said the Automobile Club of Southern California.

Mattel Factories Pass Safety Test

A third-party monitor on Friday said that some of Mattel Inc.'s Southeast Asian factories were safe, although 40 percent of workers believed they were treated unfairly.

Former Hahn Aide Lands New Job

Tim McOsker, who was chief of staff to former Los Angeles Mayor James Hahn, has joined the law firm of Christensen, Miller, Fink, Jacobs, Glaser, Weil & Shapiro, LLP, the firm announced Friday.

Stocks Fall on Record Oil Prices

Stocks ended lower as oil topped $67, pushing up import prices, while disappointing sales from computer and component makers dragged down the indexes.

Jamdat Shares Drop on Profit Forecast

Shares of Jamdat Mobile Inc. shares fell nearly 26 percent on Friday after the company reported a third-quarter earnings forecast that was less than Wall Street expected.

Morning Headlines

An overview of today's top business stories.

Striking British Airways Staff Return

British Airways said Friday that its striking Heathrow Airport workers were returning to work after a 24-hour walkout that saw all flights canceled at the airport and about 70,000 travelers stranded.

Northrop Debt Upgraded

Northrop Grumman Corp.'s debt was upgraded after it refinanced $1.2 billion of outstanding loans using a new $2 billion loan at a lower interest rate, according to an SEC filing.

Trade Deficit Up Sharply in June

The U.S. trade deficit increased sharply in June as surging oil prices pushed the cost of petroleum imports to an all-time high.

Thursday, August 11

Yahoo Invests $1 Billion in Alibaba

Yahoo Inc. announced Thursday it would pay $1 billion in cash for a 40 percent stake in the Chinese e-commerce firm Alibaba.com.

Crude Futures Briefly Touch $66

Oil prices rose briefly to $66 a barrel Thursday on concerns about gasoline supplies.

Morning Headlines

An overview of today's top business stories.

ValueClick to Buy Fastclick

ValueClick Inc. on Thursday agreed to acquire online advertising services company FastClick Inc. for stock valued at about $214 million.

Inventories-Sales Ratio at Record Low

U.S. businesses held the value of their inventories steady in June and rising sales pushed the stocks-to-sales ratio down to a record low, the government said on Thursday.

DreamWorks Posts Second-Quarter Loss

DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. posted a second-quarter loss after slow sales of its home videos led to an 88 percent drop in revenues from a year earlier.

Northrop Wins $1.2 Billion Contract

Northrop Grumman Corp. was awarded a $1.2 billion, 20-year contract Thursday to provide aircraft maintenance and design support services to England's Royal Air Force.

Retail Sales Up, Jobless Claims Drop

Retail sales jumped last month as buyer incentives led to the biggest gain in auto sales since just after 9/11, and claims for jobless benefits dropped unexpectedly, government reports showed on Thursday.

DirecTV to Stop Marketing TiVo

DirecTV Group Inc. will stop marketing digital video recorders from TiVo Inc. this year, as part of a broader plan to replace them with News Corp.-created technology.

Ex-WorldCom CFO Gets 5 Years

Scott Sullivan, who carried out the largest accounting fraud in U.S. history but said he did it under pressure from his boss, received five years in prison Thursday.

Stocks Up Despite Crude Rise

Stocks ended the day higher Thursday after investors pushed aside concerns about record oil prices and the market rallied on upbeat economic reports.

Earnings Roundup

Jamdat Mobile Inc., Image Entertainment Inc., Mossimo Inc., Sport Chalet Inc., LJ International Inc., Superior Galleries Inc., Point.360 and Chad Therapeutics, Inc. were among the companies that reported earnings Thursday.

L.A. Home Affordability Unchanged

The number of people who could afford to purchase median-priced homes in L.A. fell in June from the year-earlier period but was unchanged from May, the California Association of Realtors said.

Wednesday, August 10

Despite Change, the Meatball Lives On

The orange Union 76 ball which was once emblematic of gasoline retailing on the West Coast will survive the sale of Unocal to Chevron.

Morning Headlines

An overview of today's top business stories.

Oil Dips Below $65 a Barrel

Oil prices surged $2 on Wednesday after a government report ignited concerns that strong demand and refinery problems could trigger a crunch in gas stockpiles.

Surging Oil Mutes Stock Rally

Oil prices that surged past $65 a barrel before easing sent stocks sliding Wednesday, shaking investors' optimism about the economy.

Update: Chevron Completes Unocal Buy

Chevron Corp. completed its $17 billion acquisition of El Segundo-based Unocal Corp. on Wednesday, creating the fourth-largest publicly traded oil company.

Federated's Profit Nearly Doubles

Federated Department Stores Inc. said Wednesday its second-quarter earnings nearly doubled, and it sees sales growth picking up in the second half of the year.

Mortgage Applications Fall Last Week

Applications for U.S. home mortgages fell last week, its third consecutive drop, as refinancing activity waned and interest rates reached four-month highs.

Yahoo, Alibaba Weighing Deal

Yahoo Inc. is discussing buying a stake in major Chinese online commerce site Alibaba.com for up to $1 billion, news reports said Wednesday.

Business Briefs: Capstone Turbine, Arden Group, Universal Games, Alexandria Real Estate, Disney

Capstone Turbine Corp. and Arden Group, Inc. report quarterly results, Vivendi Universal Games signs an agreement to produce games based on Robert Ludlum spy novels, and other briefs about L.A. companies.

Tuesday, August 9

Chain Store Sales Fall in Latest Week

U.S. chain store retail sales fell for the first time since June 25, as August got off to a slow start with consumers shopping for fall apparel, a retail report said on Tuesday.

Earnings Roundup

Southwest Water Co., Reading International, Crown Media Holdings Inc., Aames Investment Corp. and IMPCO Technologies Inc. were among the companies that reported earnings Monday.

Disney's Profit Jumps 41 Percent

Walt Disney Co. on Tuesday said its third-quarter profit jumped 41 percent, fueled by rising revenues at its Media Networks and Parks and Resorts units.

Stocks Gain on Fed Rate Rise

Stocks ended higher on Tuesday after the Federal Reserve raised short-term interest rates for the 10th time and said that inflation remains contained.

Edison International Swings to a Profit

The parent of Southern California Edison Co. returned to a profit in the second-quarter, driven by improved results from its independent power business, higher utility revenue and lower net interest expense.

Morning Headlines

An overview of today's top business stories.

Judge Sides With Disney Over Ovitz

Disney's board didn't breach their fiscal responsibilities by hiring Michael Ovitz as president, then granting him a $140 million severance package when he left 14 months later, a judge ruled Tuesday.

Fed Raises Rates Tenth Time

The Federal Reserve raised a key U.S. interest rate a quarter-percentage point on Tuesday and offered no signal that its campaign of increases was nearing an end.

Productivity Slows in April-June Quarter

The productivity of U.S. workers rose in the April-June period at the slowest pace since last summer, the government reported Tuesday.

L.A. Hotel Rates Down From May

Hotel rates in L.A. County rose in June compared with one year earlier, but fell when compared with May, according to data released by PKF Consulting.

Oil Eases After Passing $64

Crude futures edged back Tuesday after prices had rallied to a new record high at $64.27 a barrel.

Monday, August 8

Quinn Emanuel Makes a Major Leap Up the Revenue Ladder

The law firm of Quinn Emanuel Urquhart Oliver & Hedges LLP is having the kind of year that any of its competitors would envy.

Stuff

A look at inventive, new products from Los Angeles-area companies.

Labor Federation Faces Upheaval as It Prepares for Initiative Battle

The departure of three unions from the AFL-CIO could cause major headaches as an initiative fight gets under way.

Developers Chasing Dough Over Pizza Franchise Plans

Investors won $6.2 million from a franchise owner they claimed diverted their money into a pizza restaurant; now developers have filed suit too.

Nailing It

Local manufacturers have become more productive and are using fewer workers.

The Next Big Thing

Beyond the glitz of Hollywood, engineers and inventors have been busy in L.A.'s garages and research labs.

Beautiful Minds

How much do you know about what's been made in L.A.?

Clothing Companies Pleading Their Case for Space at Macy's

With the pending Federated merger, the position of Hot Kiss and other retailers that won favor with May Department Stores Co. has been thrown into limbo.

Design for Living Keeps Architect on a Roll

People across Los Angeles tell us how they do what they do.

Carlyle Group Buys Into Beverly Hills Conversion Project

While converting office buildings into residences is common in downtown Los Angeles, it's been slow to catch on in Beverly Hills.

Update: Home Prices Jump 20.9 Percent

The surging L.A. County housing market showed no sign of a letup in July, as sales volume remained strong and the median price of an existing home hit $515,000, a 20.9 percent increase from one year earlier.

Vitriol Does Not Make the Best Foreign Policy

There are just too many reasons why doing business with the Chinese is a good thing and far too few indications that Beijing is planning anything nefarious.

Power Blackouts Shed Light on Capstone Turbine's Turnaround

Capstone Turbine Corp. just got its fuel-efficient, low-emissions electrical generators approved for purchase in Manhattan, a significant coup.

Real Estate, Oil Prices Hit Stocks

Real estate and oil, two important sectors for local public companies, weighed heavily on the stock market on Monday.

Catching a Cab Could Become a Little Easier

Hailing a cab is a challenge downtown, but that may change.

Despite the Change, the Meatball Lives On

The orange 76 ball will survive the pending sale of Unocal to Chevron.

DirecTV Group Asking FCC to Prevent Shutout in Sports Deals

Time Warner Cable and Comcast Corp. could be getting a taste of their own medicine from DirecTV Group Inc.

Morning Headlines

An overview of today's top business stories

Ex-CEO Continues to Needle Intermix Even After $580 Million Acquisition

Brad Greenspan, the former chief executive of Intermix Media Inc., has yet to drop a lawsuit he filed against the company in February despite a $5 million windfall.

Earnings Roundup

Molina Healthcare Inc., Salem Communications Corp. and Blue Holdings Inc. were among the companies that reported earnings Monday.

Have Money? City Will Fix Your Sidewalks in New Program

It's the latest trend for L.A. residents and businesses: Pay an additional upfront fee and you can get your sidewalk fixed faster.

Staar Shines on Sign That FDA Will Approve Implantable Lens

Staar Surgical Co. has taken investors on a wild ride as it struggles to win regulatory approval for its permanent implantable contact lens.

Innovo Drops Its 'Experiment' With Betsey Johnson Fashions

Betsey Johnson sells her dresses and tops throughout the world. But her premium jeans have turned out to be a dud for Innovo Group Inc.

Crude Oil Prices Reach $63 a Barrel

Crude-oil prices rallied to a new high above $63 a barrel on Monday, reflecting market fears over the U.S. embassy closure in Saudi Arabia due to security threats and concerns that shutdowns of U.S. oil refineries would reduce supply.

'Face of Safeway' Says He's Been Overexposed

A model files suit over the use of his image in Safeway campaigns.

Gas Prices Continue Upward Spiral

The average gallon of self-serve regular hits $2.622 in the week ended Aug. 8, up nearly 5 cents from the prior week.

Business Briefs: Northrop Grumman, Hilton Hotels Corp., Tejon Ranch Co.

Northrop Grumman gets a $125 million conract from the U.S. Special Forces; Hilton's Conrad Hotel luxury brand finds an operator in Jakarta; Tejon Ranch Co. reports higher second-quarter losses.

Downtown Sells Out

Downtown developers are finding enthusiastic buyers for conversion condominiums, and at high prices.

Cutting Edge Trio

Profiles of three regional firms that are bringing new concepts from the drawing board to the marketplace.

Century City Hospital to Open After Lengthy, Costly Revamp

Century City Doctors Hospital is scheduled to open this month, almost a year behind schedule.

Newsmakers

The awards and promotions of the movers and shakers of L.A.'s business community.

Fed Expected to Boost Short Term Rates Amid Strenghtening Economy

Looking to keep inflation under wraps amid signs that the economy remains strong, the Federal Reserve is expected to raise short-term interest rates by a quarter point to 3.5% when it meets Tuesday.

Backhand Smash

The Tennis Channel targets a small but upscale market of fans who would like to watch more than just the marquee matches.

Tribune Co. Takes On Validity of Nielsen's People Meter Ratings

Tribune Co. is challenging the validity of Nielsen's new People Meter system given the swoon of WB programming on its broadcast stations.

L.A. Has Most Businesses in Nation

L.A. has more businesses than any other county in the nation, while workers in Manhattan are paid the most, according to a new U.S. Census Bureau report.

Japanese Banks Tiptoe Back to L.A. After 1980s Debacle

Japanese bankers who weathered the last L.A. real estate boom are back, but this time they are more cautious.

Skadden Still Staggers as Other Firms Shift to Recovery Mode

Skadden Arps is still staggering from the dot-com bust half a decade ago.

Private Move

As a government attorney, Terree Bowers has handled war crimes and the recent civil settlement with Fleishman-Hillard; now he's moving into private practice.

The Right Stuff

Four authorities give their views on what's necessary for innovative success.

Bigger, but Better?

Westwood homeowners are questioning high-rises being built with approvals nearly three decades old.

Smartz Leaves Barbie Behind for New Job at Primedia

As the new director of retail development for Primedia Enterprises, Julie Smartz will be responsible for building the brand in the retail sector.

A Mann's Man

Alfred Mann, has agreed to contribute another $87.5 million to his development stage drug company

Put on Your Dancing Shoes

Gwen Stefani chose to team with a K-Swiss subsidiary rather than better-known footwear brands

Businesses Seeing Partial Savings From Workers' Comp Reforms

A study by the Department of Insurance finds that workers' compensation reforms have lowered costs to insurers by about a third, but premiums paid by businesses are not dropping as fast.

Music Web Site Acquires Anti-Piracy Software Company

After spending more than $200 million on a failed record label, ArtistDirect Inc. will try its hand at another line of business: anti-piracy software.

Friday, August 5

Delgadillo Digs Up Sunshine Landfill Extension

City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo cites the council's own rules in issuing an opinion late Friday that the L.A. City Council's failed vote to extend a contract with Browning Ferris Industries to handle city trash at the Sunshine Canyon Landfill will have to

Homestore Jumps on Earnings, Upgrade

Homestore Inc.'s shares took off Friday, gaining almost 40 percent following a positive earnings announcement that surprised investors and Wall Street analysts.

L.A. Gas Prices Move Higher Again

Gasoline prices in Los Angeles resumed their upward march fueled by surging demand by summertime vacation drivers, said the Automobile Club of Southern California.

Downtown Sells Out

There may be a speculative bubble headed downtown L.A.'s way, but the buyers at three condominium projects still under construction don't appear to be paying attention.

Morning Headlines

An overview of today's top business stories.

Earnings Roundup

Thomas Properties Group Inc., Anworth Mortgage Asset Corp. and Bell Industries Inc. were among the companies releasing quarterly results on Friday.

Thursday, August 4

Shell Appoints Ollila as Chairman

Royal Dutch Shell PLC said Thursday it has appointed the departing chief executive of Nokia Corp. to be its non-executive chairman as of June 2006.

Jobless Claims Dip Slightly

Fewer people signed up for unemployment benefits last week, an encouraging sign that the nation's jobs climate is improving.

Univision Profit Drops on Charge

Univision Communications Inc. on Thursday said its second-quarter profit fell 57 percent as a result of a charge related to its investment in Entravision Communications Corp.

Oil Futures Edge Above $61

Oil prices rose Thursday as traders remained wary over possible supply woes because of refinery shutdowns and forecasters predicted a busy hurricane season that could hurt Gulf of Mexico output.

Stocks Drop on Weak Retail Sales

Stocks fell on Thursday as investors reacted to major retailers failing to meet July sales expectations, while a rise in oil prices revived worries about oil's impact on consumer spending.

Computer Sciences Earnings Rise

Computer Sciences Corp. said Thursday that its first-quarter profit jumped 19 percent, bolstered by strong demand for commercial and U.S. government consulting and systems integration services.

Update: Earnings Roundup

On Assignment Inc., Nara Bancorp Inc., Youbet.com Inc., Homestore Inc., Macerich Co., Gemstar-TV Guide International Inc., Health Net Inc. and Keystone Automotive Industries, Inc. were among the companies releasing quarterly results on Thursday.

DirecTV Swings to a Profit

DirecTV Group Inc. on Thursday returned to a profit in the second quarter compared with a loss in the year-ago period as subscriber growth drove a 21 percent rise in revenue.

Retailers Miss Forecasts

Top U.S. retailers ranging from Gap Inc. to Nordstrom Inc. posted disappointing July sales on Thursday as a heat wave curbed demand for back-to-school fashions.

Morning Headlines

An overview of today's top business stories.

Wednesday, August 3

Adidas to Buy Reebok for $3.8 Billion

Adidas-Salomon agreed to buy rival Reebok for $3.8 billion, closing the gap on Nike and promising a profit jump by expanding in the U.S. and entering new markets.

Hotel Construction Jumps in First Half

The number of hotels under construction in L.A. County jumped in the first half of 2005, according to a new survey scheduled for release Wednesday.

Stocks Mixed on Oil Drop, Time Warner

Stocks ended mixed on Wednesday as crude oil prices fell from record levels and Time Warner Inc. reported disappointing earnings.

Service Sector Grows at Slow Rate

Activity in the service economy grew at a slower rate in July than in the previous month, a private research group said Wednesday.

Morning Headlines

An overview of today's top business stories.

L.A. Daily News Editor Heads to Detroit

David Butler, editor of the Daily News and vice president of news of the Los Angeles Newspaper Group, was named editor and publisher of The Detroit News, staff at the newspapers were told Wednesday.

Crude Moves Above $62

U.S. refinery outages and forecasts of storms in the Gulf of Mexico boosted oil prices Wednesday, with crude futures surpassing the previous intraday high.

Time Warner Settles Shareholder Suit

Time Warner on Wednesday said it would pay $2.4 billion to settle charges it overstated revenue and posted a quarterly net loss as a result of the settlement.

Update: Earnings Roundup

Entravision Communications Corp., Napster Inc., American Reprographics Co., Tekelec, THQ Inc., Pacific Energy Partners LP, Earle M. Jorgensen Co. and Electro Rent Corp. were among the companies releasing quarterly results on Wednesday.

Business Briefs: MannKind Corp., Korn/Ferry International, Northrop Grumman Corp., American IDC Corp.

MannKind enters into a $175 million private placement agreement, Korn/Ferry sues a top executive and former employees for allegedly stealing trade secrets, Northrop Grumman wins another big contract, American IDC changes its name.

Tuesday, August 2

Housing Even Less Affordable

The gap between how much Southern Californians make and the amount they need to buy a home widened by 21 percent in the second quarter.

Morning Headlines

An overview of today's top business stories.

Stocks Up on Economic Data

Stocks rose Tuesday on upbeat economic data and a continuation of positive corporate earnings growth, which led the S & P; 500 and Nasdaq to four-year highs.

June Factory Orders Rise

New orders at U.S. factories rose 1 percent in June as demand for electronics outstripped weakness in transportation equipment, the Commerce Department said Tuesday.

CNOOC Withdraws Bid for Unocal

China's CNOOC Ltd. said Tuesday it has withdrawn its $18.5 billion cash offer for Unocal Corp., stating it considered raising its bid, and "would have done so but for the political environment in the U.S."

Tyco's Third-Quarter Profit Increases

Tyco International Ltd. said Tuesday its fiscal third-quarter earnings rose, but revenue fell short of expectations and the company issued guidance below Wall Street targets.

Ares Buys Maker of Serta Mattresses

The private-equity arms of L.A.-based Ares Management LLC and the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan agreed on Tuesday to purchase National Bedding Co., maker of Serta brand mattresses.

Consumer Spending Strong on Auto Sales

U.S. consumer spending advanced 0.8 percent in June as shoppers took to auto showrooms to enjoy sales incentives that helped keep inflation steady, a government report said Tuesday.

Earnings Roundup

United Online Inc., Maguire Properties Inc., CB Richard Ellis Group Inc., LTC Properties Inc. and Alexandria Real Estate Equities Inc. were among the companies releasing quarterly results on Tuesday.

W Takes Lead on Grand Avenue

Downtown's hip quotient could be getting a boost with Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc.'s W brand emerging as the leading contender in the Grand Avenue project.

Oil Prices Slip

Crude oil prices slipped Tuesday after rallying to record highs Monday on news of the Saudi king's death and Iran's announcement it plans to resume its nuclear processing activities.

Monday, August 1

California Wineries See China as Market With a Major Thirst

California wineries are eyeing the potential benefits of the recent revaluation of Chinese currency, not to mention the nation's estimated market of 250 million wine drinkers.

Factories Gain Momentum in July

U.S. manufacturing grew more quickly in July with a rise in new orders and a decrease in prices paid, according to a survey published on Friday.

Newsmakers

The awards and promotions of the movers and shakers of L.A.'s business community.

Morning Headlines

An overview of today's top business stories.

Stocks End Mixed on Record Oil

Stocks ended the session mixed on Monday as investors weighed a fresh record high in oil prices against positive manufacturing data.

Chip Maker Shifts Product Line Toward a More Profitable Mix

Alex Lidow, chief executive of International Rectifier Corp., gets amped up when he talks about the energy needs of China and India. But steer clear if you're an analyst with a question about options expensing.

L.A. Stories

A collection of stories about culture and business in and around Los Angeles.

New Age of Bigger Ships Brings New Woes to Overbooked Ports

Port officials are preparing for the consequences of massive freighters unloading extra cargo in Los Angeles and Long Beach.

Getting Your Goods in the Department Stores

Getting merchandise into department stores is becoming more challenging, according to Jay Heidhues, president of Fire's jeans division.

Villaraigosa Names Several Top Aides

L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa on Monday filled out his top management staff with several officials with national and statewide experience.

Beverly Hills Bar Gets Back on Track After Embezzlement

Eighteen months after its former controller embezzled more than $800,000 from the organization, the Beverly Hills Bar Association is getting its financial house in order.

Hot Air Cools as L.A.Talk Radio Sees Ratings Drop

The ratings drop for local talk radio parallels a slowdown of the format nationwide that may not be reversed by coming political battles over the future of the Supreme Court.

Amid Some Uncertainty, Profits Continue to Increase

Profits are rising at a slower pace than last year, though companies such as KB Home and Occidental Petroleum have reported strong figures.

Aerospace Company Finds Boom in Seat Refurbishment

Regent Aerospace has found a boom in refurbishing seats for airliners, with a significant contract from United Airlines.

Century City Law Firm Stakes Ground in Intellectual Property

A recent victory against Sony was another notch in the belt for Irell & Manella, considered one of the leading intellectual property practices in the nation.

Public Storage's Bid for Shurgard Rejected

Public Storage Inc. on Monday made an unsolicited $2.5 billion public offer for rival Shurgard Storage Centers Inc. despite the Seattle-based real estate investment trust's position that it is not for sale.

East Side Story

Activity is booming near a planned rail line on the east side of Los Angeles as the success of transit projects in other neighborhoods inspires confidence.

Private Equity Firms Step Into Hollywood Spotlight

A consortium of private equity firms is planning to invest more than $500 million in a five-year, 25-film partnership with Warner Bros., a unit of Time Warner Inc.

Fresh Start

In his new role on the Los Angeles City Council, Bill Rosendahl will be facing challenges that include a redesign of LAX and major traffic and transportation issues.

Apex CEO Still Held in China Over Charges of Unpaid Invoices

It's been 10 months since the chief executive of Ontario-based electronics importer Apex Digital Inc. was detained on a business trip to China. And he's still stuck there.

Century City Site Serves as Major Draw for Ground Floor

Tenants are fighting to get into the ground floor of Century City's newest high-rise, even though completion is more than a year away.

Downtown Landlords Propose Voluntary Training for Guards

To sidestep the imposition of new union rules for security guards, landlords will provide between eight and 24 hours of training, in addition to the 40 hours required by state law.

Maguire's Plans to Reduce Debt Facing Obstacles

Maguire Properties' plan to sell assets and bring on investors to reduce the real estate investment trust's growing debt burden is in danger of running aground.

W Takes Lead on Grand Avenue

Downtown's hip quotient could be getting a boost with W emerging as the leading contender in the Grand Avenue project.

More Interactive Ads Put You in the Picture

An increasing number of advertisers are calling on consumers to participate in their campaigns.

Girdle-Style Jeans Become a Hit as Women Want Fashion and Fit

Lisa Rudes-Sandel wasn't finding jeans that fit her. So she launched a line of denim pants that cinch fuller stomachs. It's a hit.

Retailers Look Forward to Back-to-School Season Spending

This could be a good back-to-school summer for Los Angeles retailers. Families with children in the western U.S. are expected to increase their back-to-school spending 7 percent, to nearly $410 this year.

Labor's Role Should Conform to New Reality

Organized labor went through a wrenching revolution last week when two of the nation's largest unions bolted from the mighty AFL-CIO. But was anyone really listening?

Union Pacific Losing Market Share Over Capacity Problems

Union Pacific is struggling with capacity problems as it can only upgrade its tracks one section at a time

Oil Prices Up on Saudi King's Death

Crude prices jumped $1 a barrel Monday after the death of Saudi Arabia's King Fahd raised concerns about the kingdom's long-term political stability and whether its oil policy would change.

Calabasas Promoter Named in Spitzer's Investigation of Payola

Promoter Michele Clark is receiving some unwanted exposure herself because of promotional efforts for artists such as Robert Cray, the Dave Matthews Band and John Mayer.

Procter & Gamble Profit, Sales Up

Procter & Gamble Co. on Monday said fourth-quarter profit rose 9 percent, led by strong volume growth in its beauty, health and home care segments.

L.A. Gas Prices Up Again

Surging crude futures forced L.A.-area gas prices back up once again after they fell for the first time in five weeks just 7 days ago, according to data from the federal Energy Information Administration.

Earnings Roundup

Digital Theatre Systems Inc., Mercury General Corp., Herbalife Ltd., 3-D Systems Corp. and Ducommun Inc. were among the companies releasing quarterly results on Monday.

Big Media Paying Big to Find Kids

Recent deals for two popular social Web sites underscore the frantic search for teens and 20-somethings who have cut back on their television time and are turning away from newspapers, magazines and even radio.

Experienced Investigator Bringing His Skills to Deloitte

As principal in the forensic and dispute services practice of Deloitte Financial Advisory Services LLP, Don Mullinax will be working in both the public and private sector in developing anti-fraud programs.

Wedding Site Deal Brings Pictage Into Wider Angle

Pictage Inc. teams up with photographers to get wedding photos online so out-of-town relatives can order them more easily.