Stories for November 2005

Wednesday, November 30

Dow Falls, Nasdaq Closes Unchanged

Strong growth in the nation's GDP renewed investors' fears that the Fed would continue raising interest rates, sending stocks to a barely mixed finish.

Oil Prices Up After Drop in Inventories

Oil prices rose Wednesday after the government reported drops in crude and gas inventories last week.

Business Briefs: Raytheon, Homestore, Disney, Northrop, LADWP, Hot Topic

Raytheon's Space and Airborne Systems group gets a new president, Homestore sells $100 million in preferred stock to Elevation Partners LP, and other briefs about L.A. companies.

Economy Grows at Robust Pace

The economy grew at a 4.3 percent pace in the third quarter, offering fresh testimony that the country's overall economic health improved despite the destructive force of hurricanes.

Disney Narrows Field for ABC Radio

Walt Disney Co. has narrowed the field of candidates to buy its ABC radio stations to three, which should pave the way for a sale of the unit before the end of the year, the Financial Times reported.

Schwarzenegger Names New Chief of Staff

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Wednesday appointed a longtime Democratic activist and a former top aide to the man he kicked out of office as his new chief of staff.

TDC Agrees to Bid From Buy-Out Firms

Denmark's TDC agreed to be bought by a group of British and U.S. private equity firms in a deal valuing the former telecoms monopoly at $12.04 billion.

Morning Headlines

An overview of today's top business stories.

Midwest Business Growth Slows

Business activity in the Midwest grew a bit more slowly in November but remained strong even as prices paid surged to their highest in 26 years.

Economic Activity Up, 'Beige Book' Says

Economic activity increased across the country through mid-November, but housing markets have cooled and higher energy costs raised worries about inflation and consumer spending, the Federal Reserve said.

LAEDC Names New Chief Executive

The Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp. has chosen William Allen as its new chief executive to succeed the retiring Lee Harrington.

Lakers Coach Gets Sirius Show

Sirius Satellite Radio announced Wednesday that Phil Jackson, head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers, will host a weekly NBA talk show.

Tuesday, November 29

US Economic Growth Solid

U.S. economic expansion is solid despite this year's hurricanes and will continue at or above its trend rate in 2006, but the inflationary impact of soaring oil prices remains a key risk, the OECD said.

Oil Falls as Warm Weather Persists

Energy prices drifted lower Tuesday as warm weather persisted in the Northeast, although expectations for shrinking reserves boosted natural gas futures.

Activision Extends Spider-Man Rights

Activision Inc. on Tuesday announced that it extended its exclusive worldwide rights to publish video games based on Spider-Man movie sequels or potential television series through 2017.

Mortgage Limit Raised to $417,000

U.S. mortgage finance regulators on Tuesday raised the limit for loans that can be bought by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to $417,000 for 2006, in most areas.

'Idol' Signs for Six More Seasons

The producers of "American Idol" said on Tuesday they reached a deal with the Los Angeles-based Fox television network for up to six more seasons of the broadcaster's ratings mainstay.

Northrop Wins $1.94 Billion Navy Contract

Northrop Grumman Corp. won a $1.94 billion contract for the refueling and overhaul of the USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier, the U.S. Navy said on Tuesday.

Entertainment Industry Job Growth Forecast to Slow

Job growth in the entertainment industry is expected to slow statewide and in L.A. County next year as runaway production, piracy and declining audiences take their toll, said a new study.

Consumer Confidence, Durable Goods, New Home Sales All Up

Orders to U.S. factories for big-ticket manufactured goods and sales of new homes rose sharply in October while consumer confidence soared in November.

Stocks End Mixed on Interest Rate Worries

Interest rate concerns stifled Wall Street's rally Tuesday, even amid upbeat reports on factory orders, housing demand and consumer confidence.

Calpine Top Executives Resign

Calpine Corp. on Tuesday replaced its CEO and CFO as the power producer struggles with a $17 billion debt load and the effects of a recent court ruling.

Inadequate Controls, Grid Blamed for L.A. Outage

Inadequate quality controls on an upgrade project and a power grid unable to handle overloads were the main factors behind the Sept. 12 power outage that swept through L.A., according to a report released Tuesday.

L.A. County Health Director Resigns

Dr. Thomas Garthwaite, whose three-year tenure has been dominated by a struggle to overhaul troubled Martin Luther King Jr./Drew Medical Center, resigned Tuesday to take a job with a Pennsylvania-based hospital system.

Morning Headlines

An overview of today's top business stories.

Business Briefs: Northrop, Tetra Tech, WPT Enterprises, Jacobs Engineering

Northrop receives a $532 million Air Force contract, the Nevada Gaming Commission approves WPT's World Poker Tour All-In Hold 'Em table game for use in casinos, and other briefs about L.A. companies.

Monday, November 28

In Pet Project, Brothers Vying to Win Where Others Lost

Alex Tabibi wants to build an online pet empire with dog.com, ferret.com, bird.com, horse.com and now fish.com, which he just bought for $1 million.

Coming Together

Media companies are taking to the world of mobile technology by offering an explosion of content.

American Pharmaceutical to Buy American BioScience

American Pharmaceutical Partners Inc. said Monday it is buying its largest shareholder, privately held American BioScience Inc. of Santa Monica, for stock worth about $4.1 billion.

Northrop Signs for More Space as South Bay Leasing Booms

Increased military spending continues to spark an expansion of the defense industry in the South Bay, one of the weakest markets in Los Angeles County.

Holiday Sales Off to Modest Start

The nation's retailers had a modest start to the holiday shopping season as consumers jammed stores on Black Friday, but seemed to lose interest once the specials were over.

Rise in Median Home Price Slows

L.A. County's median home price rose 21.7 percent to $557,730 in October compared to a year ago, but that was 0.6 percent below the September figure.

Rollout

Bert Lovitt saw some setbacks after introducing a new style of in-line skate. He now faces another problem: the struggle to meet super-hot demand after favorable media coverage.

Times Eyes O.C. for Growth as Register Defends Home Turf

Even as the Los Angeles Times make cuts in its downtown editorial staff, it's eyeing affluent Orange County as a growth opportunity but it won't be easy.

Morning Headlines

An overview of today's top business stories.

Hiring Freeze Thaws S-l-o-w-l-y at City Hall

The hiring freeze may have been lifted at City Hall, but it's slow going filling vacant positions because of the complex civil service hiring process.

Copyright Infringement Suits Besiege Textile Sellers, Makers

Textile printers are obtaining settlements in cases against retailers claiming infringement on clothing pattern copyrights.

Can't Always Get What You Want? Some People Can

Mint Lifestyle offers a subscription service to an exclusive clientele who want the best tables at the best restaurants and other high-end bookings in travel and leisure.

Bond Plan Targets Freeways, Ports

A mega-bond issue would help the state catch up on road and port construction.

Reed's Soda Adds Pop to Its Offering

Reed's Inc., an L.A.-based manufacturer of ginger soda, candies and ice cream, is taking its public offering directly to consumers.

Holiday Spirit Returning as Corporate Partying Increases

The corporate holiday party is back after several sobering years.

Newsmakers

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

Gas Continues Downward Slide

A gallon of self-service regular gasoline dropped for the eighth consecutive week in Los Angeles to $2.437, off 4.6 cents from the previous week.

Next Act

The historic El Rey Theatre is being taken over by Anschutz Entertainment Group.

Pizza Chain Gets Hit With Another Unpaid Overtime Suit

Two months after a judge finalized a settlement paid by California Pizza Kitchen Inc. to former employees, an accountant for the chain has filed a class action alleging similar wage claims.

Wall Street Gives Disney a Pass as Iger Grabs Mouse's Reins

Walt Disney Co.'s diversity and perhaps a little honeymoon glow worked in Robert Iger's favor for his first earnings report since becoming CEO of the entertainment giant.

Another Worker Sues Hot Topic Over Breaks, Unpaid Overtime

The holiday season isn't starting off very merrily for Hot Topic Inc.

Stuff

Inventive, new products from Los Angeles-area companies.

For Women In Business, It's the Same Old Song

Women must still abide by guys rules and those rules will always put them at a disadvantage. Perhaps it's time to get a little tougher with the old boys.

Existing Home Sales Fall

Sales of existing homes slowed in October to a 7.09 million unit pace, but the median price rose 16.6 percent from a year earlier, the largest jump since 1979.

Panavision's Financial Picture Appears to Be Shifting Out of Focus

Panavision Inc. has been doing some financial acrobatics as of late.

Oil Drops on Mild Weather Forecast

Mild weather across the Northeast sent crude futures sliding more than $1 as the unseasonable temperatures quelled worries about greater fuel demand this winter.

Not All L.A. County Job Growth Created Equal

The San Fernando Valley, San Gabriel Valley, Westside, South Bay and Long Beach are all expected to match or exceed the county in job growth next year.

Stocks Drop on Merck News

Stocks fell Monday as news of job cuts at Merck & Co. and a mixed holiday sales snapshot prompted Wall Street to take a breather from its recent rally.

Meditation Sets Mood for Staffing Executive

People across L.A. tell us how they do what they do.

Merck to Cut 7,000 Jobs

Merck & Co. will cut 11 percent of its work force and close or sell five of its 31 manufacturing plants by the end of 2008 in the first phase of a reorganization plan.

Port of L.A. Displaced as Top Gateway

John F. Kennedy International Airport dislodged the Port of L.A. from the No. 1 position to become the top international freight gateway by value in 2004, the Department of Transportation announced Monday.

Forgery, Fraud Rampant in Title Claims

Title fraud runs rampant in L.A., fueled by high prices and the need for speed in the lending industry.

Two-Yard Line

Bill Chadwick, president of the Coliseum Commission, believes that L.A. is about to get an NFL team or two.

Sportswear Maker Finding Right Fit With Public Offer

Danny Guez is just another 28-year-old trying to make it in L.A.'s rag trade. Luckily, he has a leg up on the competition.

Lofty Problem

The high cost of building materials and land, combined with rising interest rates, have high-rise developers moving to low-rise projects or going back to the drawing board entirely.

Gemstar Playing Tough With Yuen

If Gemstar has its way, its former chief executive will go to prison. That would mean the company won't have to fork over $29.5 million in severance payments.

It's a Small New World for the Next Generation of Communication Devices

The new video-capable iPod is sure to be a hot seller. It joins a new world of small devices used for media and communication.

Luxury Home Prices Keep Rising

L.A. County luxury home prices hit record high of $2.3 million despite signs elsewhere in California that they may have peaked.

Friday, November 25

Shoppers Rush to Grab Holiday Deals

Americans made their annual post-Thanksgiving trek to shopping malls on Friday, hitting stores before sunrise in search of bargains at the start of the holiday season.

Retailers to Expect Moderate Sales Increase

With hurricanes Katrina and Rita fading from memory and gas prices dropping, sales forecasts project a respectable, though not stellar, holiday shopping season for retailers.

Not All L.A. County Job Growth Created Equal

The job prospects in the San Fernando Valley, San Gabriel Valley, Westside, South Bay and Long Beach are expected to match or exceed the countywide job growth average next year.

Holiday Spirit Returning as Corporate Partying Increases

After a few sobering years following 9/11 and the stock market plunge, corporate holiday parties are emerging from hibernation.

Nasdaq Gives Taser Delisting Notice

Taser International Inc. said Friday that Nasdaq told the company its stock could be delisted because it failed to file its third-quarter financial report on time.

Stocks Extend November Rally

Wall Street finished the week with slight gains Friday, extending a November rally in light post-Thanksgiving trading amid signs of a strong start to the holiday shopping season.

Wednesday, November 23

Business Briefs: Disney, Ducommun, Overhill Farms

Walt Disney Co. says its Hong Kong Disneyland resort has attracted more than 1 million visitors in its first 100 days of operation, and other briefs about L.A. companies.

L.A. Gas Prices Drop for Eighth Week

L.A. gasoline prices plunged for the eighth straight week, and conditions point to the lower price trend continuing through the end of the year, said the Automobile Club of Southern California.

Consumer Sentiment Brightens

Consumer confidence improved in November as gasoline prices eased and the drag on sentiment from Hurricane Katrina abated, a report showed.

Watchdog Faults L.A. Auditor

The U.S. audit watchdog board on Wednesday revoked the registration of accounting firm Kenny H. Lee CPA Group Inc. due to violations committed while auditing Axesstel Inc. and GSL Holdings Inc.

Jobless Claims Rise Sharply

The number of new people signing up for jobless benefits last week rose, suggesting the labor market is trying to gain traction after being knocked by hurricanes.

Northrop Moving Ahead With Destroyer Program

The Northrop and General Dynamics multibillion-dollar destroyer program was approved by the Pentagon to proceed into full development, Bloomberg News reported on Wednesday.

Oil Prices Slide After Report

Energy prices fell Wednesday after a government report showed the nation's oil inventories are growing as demand for some fuels continues inching forward.

Confidence, Lower Oil Prices Lift Stocks

Consumer confidence numbers and a drop in oil prices sent stocks higher Wednesday, extending Wall Street's November rally in light trading.

Placer Dome Rejects Barrick's Bid

Placer Dome Inc. said its board is recommending shareholders reject a $9.2 billion takeover bid by Barrick Gold Corp., calling the offer "inadequate."

MPAA, BitTorrent Sign Deal

The Motion Picture Association of America and the creator of software used to download movies illegally over the Internet reached an agreement to remove links to copyrighted movies from BitTorrent.com.

Update: Holiday Travel Clogging Roads, LAX

Holiday-related travel was clogging L.A.-area freeways and filling Los International Airport on Wednesday as travelers made their way to their Thanksgiving destinations.

Tuesday, November 22

Stocks Rise on Fed Remarks

Stocks rallied Tuesday after the Fed's latest take on the economy raised hopes that the central bank's string of interest rate hikes are coming to an end.

Warner Music Settles Payola Case

Warner Music Group Corp. agreed to pay $5 million to settle an investigation into allegations of payoffs for radio airplay of its artists, New York State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer said Tuesday.

Albertsons Profit Hit by Storms

Albertsons Inc. said quarterly profit fell 30 percent, missing estimates, as higher costs from hurricanes and pressure from discount retailers weighed on results.

USC's Endowment Rises

USC ranks among the top 25 largest college endowments and it produced one of the highest returns of the richest U.S. universities, according to a Bloomberg News survey.

Artemis to Pay $190 Million in Final Decision

Artemis SA has been ordered to pay $190 million plus interest to California insurance regulators in restitution for its role in the sale of Executive Life Insurance Co.

Oil Prices Storm Past $58

Oil prices neared $59 a barrel as the approach of a storm in the Northeast boosted expectations for increased heating oil demand over the next few weeks.

Earnings Roundup

Trio-Tech International, Tag-It Pacific Inc., TMSF Holdings Inc. and The Sports Club Company Inc. were among the companies that reported earnings Tuesday.

Northrop, L-3 Team on Army Contract

Northrop Grumman Corp. and L-3 Communications Holdings Inc. said on Tuesday that they are teaming up to bid on a five-year, $2.6 billion contract for an Army translation project in Iraq.

Holiday Sales Outlook Brightens

The sales outlook looks brighter for the holiday season, a retail trade group said.

Chain Store Sales Rise

Chain store sales rose in the third week of November as dropping temperatures bolstered the demand for seasonal apparel, a report said.

Monday, November 21

Power Player

Mary Nichols, head of UCLA's Institute of the Environment, is leading the effort to reform the troubled DWP.

Cadbury Accepts Offer for Unit

Cadbury Schweppes PLC said Monday it will sell its European soft-drinks arm for $2.19 billion to private-equity firms Blackstone Group and Lion Capital.

Holiday Shoppers Hitting Malls Early

More than a quarter of shoppers will begin their serious shopping on "Black Friday," the day after Thanksgiving, and ultimately spend more than last year, according to an independent survey.

L.A. Gas Prices Plunge

The average price of a gallon of self-serve regular gasoline in the Los Angeles area dropped for the seventh week in a row, falling a whopping 15.5 cents to $2.483 for the week ended Nov. 21.

Demolition Sparks Lawsuit Explosion

Larry Taylor's hard-nosed tactics to redevelop 10000 Millenium Plaza in Century City has led to a saga of litigation.

Pop Star Simpson Sings the Blue Jean Blues

Jessica Simpson's marriage to Nick Lachey isn't the only thing of hers that's shaky. The bubbly pop star's denim line suffered a setback recently.

Auction to Sell Off Safe Deposit Items

Superior Galleries Inc. won a state contract to place abandoned safety deposit box contents on the block.

Media Mogul

Julio Campos got his start as a busboy at Chasen's. Now, his company produces events and presentations for clients such as Microsoft, Intel and Ford.

October Economic Activity Increases

A widely watched measure of future economic activity rose in October, offsetting a notable drop in September tied to hurricanes that swamped Gulf states.

Un-Rush Hour

Construction everywhere, all the time. So what happened to Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's executive order prohibiting such rush-hour work?

The New Sex Ed

A wave of litigation over harassment has resulted in a state law requiring company training on the matter.

Magic Bus

Ebus responds to cities' needs for feeder lines to main routes, and residents' needs for quiet in their community.

A Last Holdout Against Tide of Non-Equity Partners May Shift

Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP has been the last of the city's largest law firms to pay all its partners with firm profits. But the Old Guard of L.A.'s legal scene might finally cave.

Newsmakers

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

GM to Cut 30,000 Jobs

General Motors Corp. will cut about 30,000 manufacturing jobs, close or reduce operations at 12 plants and slash the number of vehicles it produces.

L.A.'s Westside: Wherever You Want It to Be

Due to the desirability of a Westside address in Los Angeles, the area's borderline can be a bit fluid.

Times Problems Bring Speculation on Future

As Knight Ridder Inc. puts itself on the market, questions arise over whether Tribune might want to sell the Los Angeles Times.

Women Don't Make Climb to Top Rungs of Board Ladders

Women have a minuscule presence on Southern California corporate boards, holding just 7 percent of the directors' seats at publicly traded companies in L.A. and neighboring counties.

This Humble Hotel Broker Sees His Role as Peacemaker

Steve Soo, as the new vice president of Brown Hotel Group, said that he's willing to sacrifice some shut-eye to see his clients and customers satisfied.

Nightclub Coils to Strike in Trademark Infringement Suits

The Viper Room in any other city may rock as hard, but it's now a trademark issue.

Stuff

Inventive, new products from Los Angeles-area companies.

Property Bubble Is Positioned to Pop, Columnist Claims

Paul Krugman, Op-Ed columnist for The New York Times, told a packed auditorium at Santa Monica College that the housing bubble is ready to burst and likely to coincide with a decline of the dollar.

Hollywood Unions Entering New Frontier

The question of studio revenue from new media such as podcasting and downloadable TV shows will soon be playing into union negotiations.

After Shakeout, Some Travel Firms Soar to New Heights

With the advent of online bookings, travel agencies looked like an endangered species. But some have thrived by adapting to the new environment.

Fox Films Joining Movielink

Movielink announced Monday that it signed a deal to offer movies from Twentieth Century Fox, making it the first Internet video-on-demand service to offer films from all the major studios.

Sony Pictures Plaza Sale Could Top the $100 Million Mark

Transpacific Development Co. is undergoing a major portfolio reorganization, cashing out its office properties and buying warehouse and distribution centers outside the state.

Claiborne Finds California Tr & #233;s Chic

Liz Claiborne has been scooping up L.A.-based companies C & C;, Juicy Couture Inc. and yoga and outdoor clothes maker Prana Apparel.

Decline in Dealmaking May Mean Mergers Have Peaked

A slowdown in activity shows that acquisitions may be past their peak.

Teledyne Sinks to New Depths in Search of Oil and Gas

Teledyne is sinking to new depths with technology that allows for oil and exploration on the ocean floor.

Homestore Back From Brink, But Looks Vulnerable to Crash

Homestore Inc. seems to have turned itself around, with three consecutive quarters of positive net income just in time for the housing market to cool off.

Competition of Bidders Heated as Arden Realty Officially Goes on Block

Arden Realty Inc. is up for sale and senior executives of the Los Angeles-based REIT want a deal in place by January, according to several sources close to the transaction.

New Media Is a Game That Moves as You Play

For new Web ventures, 2005 is just as confounding as 1999 and with little resolution in sight.

Studios Sign Deals to Install Digital Systems for Movie Projection

Get ready for a digital upgrade at the movies finally.

Intel, Micron to Form New Company

Intel Corp. and Micron Technology Inc. will form a company to manufacture flash memory for consumer electronics, removable data storage and handheld devices.

Oil Rises Amid Snowstorm Warnings

Oil prices rose Monday, lifted by forecasts of a winter storm approaching the northeastern U.S. that is likely to boost demand for heating fuels in that key market.

KCET's Licensing Fee Due as Donor Fatigue Causes Shortfall

By mid-October, it was clear KCET's overture had come at a cost: a gap of more than $1 million in its $50 million budget that likely will take several months to erase.

Negotiations Fail for Downtown Hotel

Negotiations broke down for a downtown hotel touted as a linchpin in the success of L.A. Live, despite a $250-million public financing package, the Daily News of Los Angeles reported.

CSC Buyout Talks Break Down

Shares of Computer Sciences Corp. fell as much as 13 percent on Monday following reports that potential buyers had ended talks to buy the El Segundo-based computer services company.

Parked

Nissan may be leaving, but Honda, Toyota, Mitsubishi, Kia and Hyundai are staying put even though moving out of state would cut costs.

Mentor Launches Bid for Medicis

Mentor Corp., a maker of breast implants and other medical devices, said it bid $2.2 billion bid for Medicis Pharmaceutical Co., turning an existing industry takeover battle on its head.

GM Plan Limits Stock Gains

Wall Street extended its November rally with modest gains Monday despite pressure from rising oil prices and a major restructuring plan at General Motors Corp.

Hollywood Pitch

As the Pentagon struggles to meet recruitment quotas, it is turning to Hollywood to create slicker, more sophisticated pitches.

Covering the Bases on the Green Screen Scene

People across L.A. tell us how they do what they do

Friday, November 18

Acquisitions Boost Stocks

A late rebound gave stocks modest gains as two acquisitions and upbeat earnings from Hewlett-Packard Co. lifted the major indexes to four-year highs.

GE Ups Forecast, Sells Insurance Unit

General Electric Co. forecast sharper earnings growth for 2006 and agreed to sell most of its reinsurance business to Swiss Re for up to $7.6 billion.

Unemployment Remains at Record Low

L.A. County's unemployment rate in October remained at 4.5 percent, down from a year ago and lower than state and national averages, according to the state Employment Development Department.

Cisco to Buy Scientific-Atlanta

Cisco Systems Inc. agreed Friday to acquire Scientific-Atlanta Inc. for $6.9 billion to create a one-stop shop in distributing television over the Internet.

Property Bubble to Pop, Columnist Says

Paul Krugman, Op-Ed columnist for The New York Times, told a packed auditorium at Santa Monica College that the housing bubble is ready to burst and likely to coincide with a decline of the dollar.

L.A. Gas Prices Down for Seventh Week

L.A. gasoline prices dropped for the seventh week, and the lower price trend should continue through at least the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, said the Automobile Club of Southern California.

Oil Prices Drop on Inventory News

Oil futures fell below $56 a barrel Friday on reassuring news about inventories of natural gas, easing worries about fuel supplies to heat homes this winter.

Court Clears Way for Caruso Project

An L.A. court ruled that mall developer Rick Caruso can proceed with plans to build a large mixed-use project in Glendale. Construction on the $264.2 million project, Americana at Brand, will start in 30 days.

Liz Claiborne Launches Bid for J. Jill

Liz Claiborne Inc. on Friday made an unsolicited $18 per share bid to buy apparel chain J. Jill Group Inc. after previous friendly offers were spurned.

Business Briefs: Computer Sciences, Center Financial, Jakks, Southern California Gas

Computer Sciences Corp. receives a $243 million contract from the Defense Department's Missile Defense Agency to continue working on its missile program, and other briefs about L.A. companies.

California Approves Purchase of AT

California officials approved SBC Communications Inc.'s purchase of AT & T; Corp. on Friday, clearing the final regulatory hurdle for the $16 billion deal.

Thursday, November 17

Ex-Publisher Conrad Black Indicted

Conrad Black was charged in a federal fraud indictment involving the $2.1 billion sale of Canadian newspapers and the abuse of corporate perquisites at Hollinger International Inc.

VNU Quits IMS Buy

An investor rebellion forced Dutch publisher VNU to abandon a takeover of U.S. health care data firm IMS Health and triggered the resignation of its CEO.

Movie Losses Dim Disney Earnings

Walt Disney Co on Thursday reported a lower fourth-quarter profit, as movie-studio losses canceled out strong broadcast and theme park results.

Housing Starts, Jobless Claims Fall

Housing starts fell 5.6 percent in October as construction of homes slid, while the number of workers filing for initial jobless aid fell sharply last week.

Oil Prices Slip as Inventories Rise

Oil prices slipped Thursday as U.S. natural-gas inventories rose, easing fears that there won't be enough fuel to heat homes as winter approaches.

Stocks Rally on Data, Falling Oil

Stocks surged Thursday after new data soothed inflation concerns and the price of oil tumbled to its lowest level in five months.

Factory Production Rebounds

Output at the nation's factories, mines and utilities rose at the fastest pace in 17 months in October, posting a solid rebound from the Gulf Coast hurricanes.

Northrop's Repair Costs Likely to Be Low

Northrop Grumman Corp. may have to spend little, if anything at all, to repair its hurricane-damaged shipyards in Pascagoula, Miss., the New York Times reported.

NBC Universal Makes Peer-to-Peer Deal

NBC Universal on Thursday became the first studio to make its movie and TV content available over a legitimate peer-to-peer network, announcing an agreement with closely held Wurld Media.

Business Briefs: Tetra Tech, Jakks Pacific, Save the World Air

Tetra Tech Inc. reports fourth-quarter earnings and names a new chief executive to replace 40-year company veteran Li-San Hwang, and other briefs about L.A. companies.

Gemstar Pushes for Harsher Yuen Sentence

Gemstar-TV Guide International Inc. asked a second U.S. attorneys office to investigate Henry Yuen in an effort to push for a harsher sentence for its former chief executive, Bloomberg News reported.

Wednesday, November 16

Oil Prices Climb Above $58

Oil prices rose above $58 a barrel on concerns cold weather would drive up demand for home-heating fuels and on signs gas demand is rebounding.

Activision, DreamWorks Expand Deal

Activision and DreamWorks Animation SKG have continued their partnership, setting a long-term deal granting Activision video game rights to DreamWorks' upcoming animated feature films.

Inflation Moderates as Gas Prices Fall

Inflation pressures bombarding consumers moderated significantly last month as energy prices retreated after hitting record highs in September.

Business Briefs: Hot Topic, Optical Communication Products, CKE Restaurants, Prospect Medical Holdings, Point.360, Gores Group, Tennenbaum

Hot Topic Inc. and Optical Communication Products Inc. report quarterly results, CKE Restaurants Inc. says its October same-store sales grew by 1.1 percent, and other briefs about L.A. companies.

Stocks End Mixed on GM Hit

Stocks ended the session mixed as General Motors Corp. hit an 18-year low, dragging down the Dow.

Bernanke Closer to Helming Fed

The Senate Banking Committee approved the nomination of Ben Bernanke to be the next chairman of the Fed, sending it to the Senate for a confirming vote.

Update: Dodgers Name Colletti as GM

The Dodgers announced the hiring of Ned Colletti, assistant general manager of the San Francisco Giants, as the team's new general manager at a Wednesday morning press conference.

Inamed to Evaluate Allergan Bid

Inamed Corp. said Wednesday its board of directors instructed management to evaluate a proposed $3.2 billion takeover bid from Allergan Inc. that could trump a competing offer.

Mortgage Applications Fall

U.S. mortgage applications fell last week as interest rates climbed to 17-month highs and demand for refinancings slid to their lowest level this year.

Tyco Profit Doubles but Misses Outlook

Diversified manufacturer Tyco International Ltd. said quarterly net profit doubled, but its revenue and current-quarter outlook missed estimates.

Tuesday, November 15

J & J; Reduces Guidant Offer

Johnson & Johnson agreed to acquire Guidant Corp. for $21.5 billion in cash and stock under revised terms that value the company at about $4 billion less than last year's original offer.

Business Briefs: Disney, j2 Global, Computer Sciences, IMPCO Technologies, Boeing Co.

The Walt Disney Co. announces a major restructuring of its theme park and resort businesses to better tie together its operations in Florida, California, Paris, Tokyo and Hong Kong, and other briefs about L.A. companies.

Crude Oil Futures Drift Lower

Crude futures drifted lower Tuesday amid fresh signs that high prices are depressing fuel demand.

Stocks Retreat on Inflation Concerns

Investors collected profits and sent stocks lower Tuesday, wiping out an early advance amid conflicting signals about inflation and consumer spending.

American Funds Wins Critical Ruling

American Funds won a significant court ruling Tuesday that is expected to throw out a California lawsuit accusing the company of failing to disclose $426 million in fees to its brokers.

Allergan Makes Bid for Inamed

Allergan Inc. has made a $3.2 billion bid for Santa Barbara-based Inamed Corp. in an attempt to break up Medicis Pharmaceutical Co.'s proposed takeover of Inamed.

Producer Prices Surge Unexpectedly

Producer prices rose in October as surging costs of natural gas and home heating oil outweighed cheaper gasoline, but prices outside of food and energy ticked lower.

Retail Sales Outside of Autos Post Gains

Retail sales performed better than expected in October as consumers took encouragement from falling gasoline prices to head back to the shopping malls.

Chain Store Sales Fall

Chain store retail sales fell in the latest week, as warmer weather keep shoppers out of the stores and away from the Veteran's Day sales, a retail report said on Tuesday.

Gemstar Shutters Inside TV

After only seven months on newsstands, Gemstar-TV Guide International Inc. announced Tuesday that it has dropped production of its Inside TV magazine, which launched in April.

Monday, November 14

Pruning of Discount Circulation Brings Papers Lower Numbers

Newspapers large and small are trying to put a positive spin on the latest, drooping circulation figures and with some justification.

Fantasy Football Kicks Off Shows but Ratings Remain a Dream

Networks are boosting programming aimed at the fantasy football niche.

CSC's Numbers Don't Match Lofty Price Tag

Will Computer Sciences Corp.be sold? Wall Street is divided.

Stars Not in Boom Boom Room Plans

Steven Udvar-Hazy's plans toturn a Laguna Beach gay bar into an upscale restaurant doesn't include Hollywood stars.

Election Helps Villaraigosa Consolidate Power, Advance Agenda

He wasn't on the ballot, but a big winner in last week's election was Antonio Villaraigosa.

U2 Singer Investing in Video Games Through Private Equity Partners

Pandemic Studios and Homestore.com Inc. are the beneficiaries of hefty investments from private equity firm Elevation LLC, which counts U2's Bono as one of its partners.

USC-UCLA Game Is L.A.'s Hot Ticket

The highest-priced real estate in Los Angeles these days may well be a seat at the USC-UCLA game. Sellers are asking as much as $6,000 per ticket for the battle of the cross-town rivals.

Stocks Finish Little Changed

Stocks ended the session little changed as investors cast aside earnings at Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Lowe's Cos. ahead of inflation and spending data later this week.

Maguire's Plans Draw Mixed Reaction From Wall Street

Rob Maguire is promising that next year will bring some big developments for his publicly traded L.A.-based company, Maguire Properties Inc.

Ticket In

Stacy Blackman advises MBA hopefuls on how to fashion a winning application to the top schools.

Replacements Sought for Boeing's Reliable, Versatile C-17s

If the Air Force does not order any more C-17 cargo jets, it will have to replace them with something. But what?

Local Apparel Industry Cheers China Quotas

The latest deal to limit clothing and textile imports from China is an improvement on the current system, according to local apparel makers and retailers.

Goldilocks Growth

It's tough to hire the right people and it's tough to find financing for successful companies, the challenges just keep on coming.

Thriving Small Shops Move Up While Mid-Size Ones Move Out

Success stories contradict California's reputation as a business-unfriendly state where manufacturing jobs are disappearing.

DirecTV Gets Into Rock Music Scene

DirecTV wants to give its subscribers a new weekly music programaimed at teens .

Tolls on the Silk Road

The latest deal to limit clothing and textile imports from China is an improvement on the current system, according to local apparel makers and retailers.

L.A. Gas Prices Still Falling

The average price of a gallon of self-serve regular gasoline in the Los Angeles area fell for the sixth week in a row, slipping 6.5 cents to $2.638 for the week ended Nov. 14.

Shelling Out

Billionaire grower Stewart Resnick has filed suit to shut down the California Pistachio Commission.

Computer Sciences Sale Talks Stall

Talks on the potential sale of Computer Sciences Corp. have stalled over how to structure a deal with Lockheed Martin Corp. and three private equity firms, the Wall Street Journal reported Monday.

Earnings Roundup

AdStar Inc., Pacific Energy Partners LP and Global ePoint Inc. were among the companies that reported earnings Tuesday.

Dole Facing Lawsuits Over Bagged Salads

Dole Food Co. Inc. has been sued by consumers who contracted a serious form of E. coli from its bagged salads, one of the company's fastest-growing product lines.

In Splitsville, Reputation Comes With a Price

A film director's divorce case is being closely watched as it could have an impact on how creative professionals can set value on"goodwill."

Floating Fortresses Could Haul Heavy Loads

A Tarzana company is competing with Lockheed to develop a lighter-than-air hybrid craft for hauling massive cargo loads.

Breaking the Mold, a Little, on Classical Radio

People across L.A. tell us how they do what they do. This week: Rick Capparela, morning show host, KMZT-FM (105.1).

Splichal Cooks Up Plan for Building a Real Estate Souffl & #233;

Chef Joachim Splichal of Patina Group has bought a Pasadena office building for $7.6 million, adding another piece of Southern California real estate to his personal portfolio.

Leaders of These Companies Demand Immediate Results

The 25 fastest-growing companies in Los Angeles County.

Knight Ridder Explores Company Sale

Knight Ridder said it would explore a possible sale of the company, bowing to demands from two large investors that are unhappy with the depressed stock price.

Host Marriott to Buy Starwood Hotels

Host Marriott Corp. on Monday agreed to pay about $4.04 billion to acquire a portfolio of 38 luxury and upscale hotels from Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide Inc.

Stuff

Inventive, new products from Los Angeles-area companies. This week: Solid Flavor Injector, iPod Nano Sport Case.

Latino Vision

The Spanish-language media company is cutting costs, but that doesn't mean it's in trouble. It means it's evolving.

Real Deal

Jerry Snyder hit a low point during the recession in the 1990s. But he stuck around for the boom years and he's having the time of his life.

Hard Tackle

Hot ticket? Sellers are asking as much as $6,000 per ticket to the USC - UCLA game.

Defeat of Initiatives Doesn't Bode Well for Business Class

With the defeat of the Schwarzenegger-backed initiative campaign, liberal legislative leaders and their labor allies are emboldened, and business interests are concerned.

Skechers Tries Urban Strategy to Get Shoes Into New Stores

Skechers USA Inc. is trying on new shoes, offering up a slew of product lines in an effort to rev up sales and investor interest.

Greenspan Warns on Trade Deficit

Foreign investors will likely tire of bankrolling the U.S. trade deficit but the economy's flexibility should help temper any fallout, Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan said.

It's Time for Newspapers to Get Tough or Die

If the newspaper business is to survive in anything resembling its current form, it will have to come up with some better answers and fast.

Toyota Shifts Gears in a Strategy to Build New Banking Business

Japan's No. 1 automaker is offering real estate loans and deposit accounts to its dealers in California, part of a plan to eventually go big into banking.

Experts Advise Drafting a Plan, Then Getting Ready for the Unpredictable

Authors of business books say executives at fast-growing companies should plan rather than react.

Oil Prices Rise on Weather Forecast

Crude futures opened the week slightly higher on predictions a cold snap was headed for the northeastern U.S., the world's biggest winter heating fuel market.

Why Try Mobile Phone Media? For the Bikini Babes, Of Course

Ripe TV's creators hope rock music and bikini babes will draw an audience for its cell phone shows.

StreamCast Set for Battle as Grokster Throws in the Towel

On the same day Grokster Ltd. shut down, local counterpart StreamCast Networks Inc. began gearing up for its court battle against the motion picture and music industries.

Debatable Point: Why Should Video Game Companies Play Nice?

How much is too much in the world of racy and violent video games?

Friday, November 11

GM Workers Ratify Health-Care Deal

General Motors Corp.'s hourly workers agreed to a proposal that would increase the amount retirees and active workers must pay for their health care.

Oil Prices Dip Further Below $58

Crude futures slipped further Friday, approaching levels not seen since the summer in response to rising supply and falling demand.

DaimlerChrysler Sells Mitsubishi Stake

DaimlerChrysler AG ended its ill-fated involvement with Mitsubishi Motors Co. on Friday, selling its 12.4 percent stake to Goldman Sachs for an undisclosed price.

Stocks Rise on Sliding Oil Prices

A continued slide in oil prices gave stocks a moderate advance Friday, with earnings from Dell Inc. and a labor deal at General Motors Corp. feeding gains.

Consumers Less Worried About Economy

Consumer confidence emerged from a funk. With gasoline prices moderating, people are feeling slightly better about the economy's prospects and their own.

L.A. Gas Prices Drop for Fifth Week

L.A. gas prices fell for the fifth week as ample supply and low seasonal demand helped relieve motorists who endured record high prices just two months ago, said the Automobile Club of Southern California.

Business Briefs: Mossimo, Center Financial, Health Net, Activision

Another shareholder of Mossimo Inc. said the tender offer by company founder Mossimo Giannulli to take the Santa Monica-based clothing maker private is too low, and other briefs about L.A. companies.

L.A. Hedge Fund Sues Bally for Records

Liberation Investments LP has sued Bally Total Fitness Holding Corp. to force the company to release records related to the adoption of a poison pill, as well as records related to how board members were appointed.

Schwarzenegger Drops Effort to Overturn Nurse Staffing Law

The governor drops legal action seeking to overturn a "safe staffing" law backed by the California Nurses Association in one of his first overtures to his political enemies after Tuesday's special election.

'Father of Management' Drucker Dies

Peter F. Drucker, the teacher, writer and consultant whose classic study of General Motors Corp. helped shape modern management theory, died Friday morning. He was 95.

Gauge of Economy Rises

A leading gauge of the U.S. economy rose in the latest week due to stronger housing activity and higher stock prices, a report said on Friday.

Splichal Cooks Up Real Estate Portfolio

Super chef Joachim Splichal of Patina Group has bought a Pasadena office building for $7.6 million, adding another piece of Southern California real estate to his personal portfolio.

Thursday, November 10

L.A. Occupancy, Rates Up in September

L.A. hotel occupancy and room rates rose in September compared to a year earlier as the local hospitality industry continued to see growth following a strong summer season.

Trade Deficit Hits All-Time High

The trade deficit soared to a record in September as recent hurricanes pushed America's foreign oil bill to an all-time high. The deficit with China also set a record.

L.A. Home Affordability Up in September

The number of people who could afford to purchase median-priced homes in L.A. slipped in August from a year ago but rose one percentage point from August, the California Association of Realtors said.

DirecTV Sells Hughes Stake to SkyTerra

DirecTV Group Inc. has agreed to sell its remaining 50-percent interest in Hughes Network Systems to SkyTerra Communications Inc. for $100 million.

Nissan Moving to Tennessee

Nissan Motor Co. said Thursday it is moving its North American headquarters from Gardena to to a Williamson County suburb southwest of Nashville.

Earnings Roundup

True Religion Apparel Inc., Image Entertainment Inc., Big 5 Sporting Goods Corp., Capstone Turbine Corp., Point.360, Chad Therapeutics Inc. and Arden Group Inc. were among the companies that reported earnings Thursday.

Oil Prices Drop Below $58

Crude futures fell by more than $1 Thursday, dipping below $58 a barrel, as reports from the government and an international energy watchdog eased supply concerns.

Man Group Wins Refco Asset Auction

British commodities broker Man Group PLC has won the bidding war to acquire the solvent remnants of bankrupt rival Refco Inc., Refco said Thursday.

Consumer Sentiment Rises Strongly

U.S. consumer sentiment rose more strongly than expected in early November as high gasoline prices started to fall, a report showed on Thursday.

Garamendi Urges Workers' Compensation Rate Cut

State Insurance Commissioner John Garamendi on Thursday recommended that the state's workers' compensation insurers lower their rates 15.3 percent, saying state reforms are working to reduce costs.

NFL, Los Angeles Reach Preliminary Agreement on Team

NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue and Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa reached a preliminary agreement Thursday to bring a football team to the Los Angeles Coliseum.

Intel Sets $25 Billion Stock Buyback

Intel Corp. on Thursday said it plans to buy back another $25 billion in stock, adding to some $15 billion it has repurchased since the beginning of last year.

DreamWorks Swings to a Loss

DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. posted a third-quarter loss as tax expenses and low U.S. box office sales for its "Wallace & Gromit" film led to a nearly 64 percent drop in revenues from the year-ago period.

Stocks Rise on Treasury Auction

Stocks rallied Thursday after a record Treasury auction pushed bond yields lower, raising hopes interest rates will follow and allaying fears that foreign investors would move away from U.S. debt.

Wednesday, November 9

Blackstone to Buy La Quinta

Hotel chain La Quinta Properties Inc. on Wednesday agreed to be acquired by private equity firm Blackstone group for $3.4 billion in cash and debt.

Oaktree Capital Vying for Hilfiger

L.A.-based private equity firm Oaktree Capital Management has bid for Tommy Hilfiger Corp., one of five takeover offers made for the struggling company in recent weeks, Reuters reported Wednesday.

Earnings Roundup

LJ International Inc., Southwest Water Co., Reading International Inc., American States Water Co. and Grill Concepts Inc. were among the companies that reported earnings Wednesday.

U.S. Airways Quarterly Deficit Grows

U.S. Airways Group Inc. on Wednesday posted a sharply wider third-quarter loss as merger-related expenses and fuel costs weighed on its bottom line.

Voters Reject Schwarzenegger Initiatives

Voters on Tuesday dealt a stinging rebuke to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, soundly rejecting all four of the initiatives he was backing for his "Year of Reform" agenda.

Business Briefs: Center Financial, Pacific Energy Partners, IMPCO Technologies

Center Financial Corp., Pacific Energy Partners L.P. and IMPCO Technologies Inc. all alert the Securities and Exchange Commission that they will be late in filing their third-quarter financial statements.

Amgen Sues Roche Over Patents

Amgen Inc. on Wednesday said it has sued Roche Holding AG, accusing the drug maker of infringing on six patents covering its Epogen anemia treatment.

AIG to Restate Results

American International Group Inc. said it would delay filing third-quarter results, giving it time to correct errors as it addresses previous accounting weaknesses.

Federated Profit Surges on Gain

Federated Department Stores Inc. on Wednesday reported a jump in quarterly net income, boosted by its sale of credit card assets to Citigroup Inc.

Market Gains Cut by Attacks

Stocks ended slightly higher after bombings at hotels in Jordan erased gains from an afternoon rally and raised investors' fears about terrorism.

Oil Executives Defend Profits

The chiefs of five major oil companies defended the industry's profits at a Senate hearing where lawmakers said they should explain prices and assure people they're not being gouged.

Tuesday, November 8

Countrywide Fundings Up in October

Countrywide Financial Corp. continues to benefit from the skyrocketing housing market, announcing a 60 percent increase in mortgage loan fundings for the month of October from the year-ago period.

Oil Futures Trade Below $60

Crude futures traded below $60 a barrel Tuesday, as forecasts of warmer-than-usual U.S. weather eased concerns about rising heating fuel demand.

Earnings Roundup

Jamdat Mobile Inc., Homestore Inc., WPT Enterprises Inc., Sport Chalet Inc., PC Mall Inc., Macerich Co., Farmer Brothers Co., Unico American Corp., Bell Industries Inc. and SCPIE Holdings Inc. were among the companies that reported earnings Tuesday.

Consumer Confidence Keeps Recovering

Consumer confidence recovered for a second month in November but worries about high gasoline prices kept Americans pessimistic.

Toll Brothers Cuts Forecast

Toll Brothers Inc. cut its home deliveries forecast for fiscal 2006, citing fewer-than-expected selling communities and weakened demand in several markets.

Suit Against American Apparel Dismissed

One of three sexual harassment lawsuits brought by former employees of American Apparel has been dismissed, the Los Angeles-based clothing manufacturer announced Tuesday.

Stocks Slip on Toll Brothers' Forecast

A negative sales outlook from Toll Brothers Inc. cast doubt on the health of the housing market and sent stocks falling after four sessions of gains.

Update: Voters Appear to Reject Schwarzenegger Reforms

Voters were on the verge of dealing Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger a stinging rebuke, rejecting all four of the initiatives he was backing for his "Year of Reform" agenda.

Entercom Interested in Disney Stations

Entercom Communications Corp. is mulling buying Walt Disney Co.'s ABC radio stations, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

Linens 'n Things Agrees to Buyout

Linens 'n Things Inc. on Tuesday said it agreed to be acquired by a company formed by Apollo Management LP in a deal worth about $1.3 billion.

Chain Store Sales Rise

Chain store sales rose in the first week of November, boosted by early holiday shopping and rising sales of cool-weather apparel, a report said Tuesday.

Monday, November 7

Download Blues

With Apple's iTunes dominating the market, competing music services are turning themselves inside out to come up with ways to attract buyers.

Stocks Rally as Crude Falls

Crude oil prices fell to their lowest level in three months sending the Dow and other major market indices into positive territory.

Gas Prices Dropping

The average price of a gallon of self-serve regular in the Los Angeles area dropped for the fifth consecutive week, falling 6.8 cents to $2.703.

NEWSMAKERS

Hirings and promotions in L.A.'s business community

TiVo, Yahoo Collaborate on TV Recording

TiVo Inc. and Yahoo Inc. said on Monday launched a collaborative service that allows TiVo users to program their digital video recorders remotely using Yahoo's television information Web sites.

Owners Seek $70 Million for WaMu's Chatsworth Spread

A partnership of developer IDS Real Estate Group and Rockpoint Group has put its Washington Mutual campus in Chatsworth on the market after buying the center less than a year ago.

Business Journal Editor Setting Aside Red Pencil

Mark Lacter steps down as editor of the Business Journal.

Keystone Rides Cheap Prices, Rising Quality to Parts Success

It should be a gloomy time for Keystone Automotive because of hurricane damage to its facilities in the Southeast. But the company just recorded its best second quarter ever.

Wi-Fi Wonderland

Should cities provide Wi-Fi networks, or are these ventures best left to the private sector?

Breaking the Mold on Mannequins Leads to Softer Side

L.A. companies are briskly selling new, soft mannequins for use as fit models.

Home Figures Point to Ebb in Local Market

The median price for an existing home in Los Angeles County fell to $520,000 in October from $528,000 in September.

It's a Matter of Taste for Restaurant Consultant

Ed Engoron, hospitality consultant

Stocks Open Higher as Oil Prices Fall

Stocks opened higher on Monday as oil prices below $60 a barrel soothed concerns about energy costs heading into the U.S. winter and as last week's stock gains boosted investor hopes of a late-year rally.

St. John Knits Ties Knot with Angelina

St. John Knits is getting lots of ink about the spokesmodel deal it signed with Angelina Jolie.

Suit Alleges Range of Infractions at Restaurant

The owners of Sushi Roku have been sued by a former catering manager over alleged sexual harassment and discrimination.

Modest Job Growth Expected

California should see modest job growth in the fourth quarter, according to a leading indicator forecast released Monday from the Anderson Center for Economic Research at Chapman University.

Stuff

New products

The Illusion of California's Economic Weakness

The myth is that California is not a business-friendly state. The contradiction is the state's thriving economy.

New Interpretation of the Rules Pulls Plug on the Crooner Sound

Fabulous 690, L.A.'s AM haven for the lounge lizard set, will soon be history more victim to a new interpretation of U.S. broadcast ownership rules than a lack of loyal listeners and advertisers, according to station officials.

Pantages Theater Development Criticized for Lacking Creativity

Clarett Group Inc. faces stiff opposition to initial plans for a site near the Pantages Theatre

If Chinese Banks Make It There, They'll Make It Anywhere

Two Chinese American banks in California are locked in a battle to buy a small financial institution in New York

It's Tough to See Dodgers Struggle, Fred Claire Says

Fred Claire joins L.A. Sports Council; Michael Levine turns over day-to-day operations to Dawn Miller; Mark Anson retires

Commuter Population Changes Are Like Night and Day

Census Bureau data show how certain L.A.-area cities have more daytime workers than full-time residents

Disney Buys European Game Publisher

The Walt Disney Internet Group announced the acquisition of Living Mobile, a top European mobile game developer and publisher.

Bruin Building Boom

Construction on the Westwood campus has kicked into higher gear, with several major projects under way just as others have been completed.

Reforms Slow for City Contracting

A year after a pay-to-play furor swept through the Hahn administration, little, if any, progress has been made on a range of promised reforms.

Similar Eateries, Different Name For Cheesecake and Grand Lux

The Cheesecake Factory has moved into expansion mode with its upscale Grand Lux Cafe chain, raising questions of cannibalizing its own sales.

Retailers, Restaurants Take Hits With Release of Earnings

It hasn't been a good couple of weeks for several local retail and apparel companies, as jittery investors pounced on disappointing news in third-quarter earnings reports and hammered their stocks.

Circulation Falls at Times, Other Papers

Weekday circulation of the Los Angeles Times fell 3.8 percent in the six months ending Sept. 30 from the same period a year ago, with most of the region's other newspapers reporting similar declines, according to data released Monday.

Update: Grokster Shuts Down

File-sharing software firm Grokster Ltd. shut down its Web site on Monday as part of a legal settlement.

Big Bucks Sought in Suit Over 'Big Fat Greek Wedding' Flick

A shell company formed to create tax shelters for producers and investors of "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" has sued for tens of millions of dollars in unpaid profits related to the 2002 indie flick.

Surfwear Companies Keep Balance Atop Rising Wave of Sales

Orange County companies are staying on the top of a wave of growing sales.

Apple's Eminem Spot Didn't Think Different Enough From Shoe Ad

The latest iPod ad looks similar to a three-year old ad for Lugz footwear.

Group Effort

Blair Taylor takes the helm of the L.A. chapter of the Urban League with an agenda of finding "scalable solutions" to inner city problems.

NBC Teams Up with DirecTV for Programs On-Demand

NBC Universal announced on Monday that viewers will be able to see shows shortly after air time on DirecTV commercial free for 99 cents.

Scrap Happy

The guys behind MotoArt Inc. have found that one man's aviation scrap is another man's custom furniture.

Houlihan Officers Sell Shares as Part Of Orix Takeover

At least 150 officers of Houlihan Lokey Howard & Zukin will be cashing out private shares as part of the sale to Japan's Orix Corp.

Friday, November 4

Market Shakes Off Weak Unemployment Report

Stocks were mixed but mostly higher Friday as the market mulled the the economy's health following weaker-than-expected job growth last month.

October Jobs Report Surprises Wall Street

A smaller-than-expected 56,000 new U.S. jobs were created in October despite the fading impact of Hurricane Katrina, while total job growth over the two prior months was revised lower, a government report on Friday showed.

L.A. Home Prices Take Dip in October

The October median price for an existing home in Los Angeles County fell to $520,000 from $528,000 the previous month. Combined with data measuring sales volume, evidence is building that the local housing market might finally be running out of steam.

Edison International Profit Falls 43%, but Forecast Gets Boost

Edison International, parent of Southern California Edison, said the decline in third-quarter net income came on the absence of investment gains from a year earlier.

Toyota Turns in Solid Results Once again

Toyota Motor Corp.'s profit rose 2 percent in the July-September quarter, lifted by growing sales around the world , in sharp contrast with the dismal results at U.S. counterparts General Motors and Ford.

Commercial Mortgage Broker George A. Smith Dies

George A. Smith, who built his L.A. commercial mortgage business into a major national firm, has died after a long battle with cancer. He was 70.

Fred Claire Joins L.A. Sports Council

Fred Claire joins the L.A. Sports Council; Michael Levine turns over day-to-day operations of his firm to Dawn Miller; Mark Anson resigns

Stocks Rise Modestly On Employment Report

Stocks traded on the major indices advanced less than 1 percent Friday following a less-than-spectacular employment report.

Thursday, November 3

Cold Weather Lifts Retail Sales

Cold weather toward the end of October boosted sales and gave many retailers solid sales for the month.

DirecTV Swings to Profit

DirecTV Group Inc. said Thursday it returned to a profit for the third quarter, as strong subscriber growth and higher average monthly revenue per subscriber helped boost revenue.

Earnings Roundup

Molina Healthcare Inc., OSI Systems Inc., Gemstar-TV Guide International Inc., Entravision Communications Corp., Youbet.com Inc., STAAR Surgical Co., Jacobs Engineering Group Inc., 3D Systems Corp. and Salem Communications Corp. were among the companies t

Hong Kong May Sell Disney Park Stake

Hong Kong's government may sell its 57 percent stake in the city's Walt Disney Co. theme park, the Hong Kong-based English-language newspaper The Standard reported Thursday.

Stocks Rise on Economic News, Merck

Positive financial news, from healthy retail sales and worker productivity figures to a court victory for Merck & Co., drove stocks higher Thursday.

Oil Rises Despite Supply Data

Crude prices rose Thursday after the government released data that showed rising supplies of oil and gasoline, but hinted that demand could soon rise.

Greenspan Sees Inflation Uncertainty

Fed chief Alan Greenspan said the economy has good momentum, but cautioned the prospects for keeping inflation under control were more problematic.

Jury Finds for Merck in Vioxx Case

A jury on Thursday decided Merck & Co Inc. provided adequate warning to doctors about health risks associated with Vioxx and did not commit consumer fraud in marketing the drug.

CSC Profit Falls on Contract Charge

Computer Sciences Corp. said second-quarter profit fell as it took a $33.1-million charge related to the loss of business with Nortel Networks.

LNG Terminal Not a Threat, Report Says

A proposed liquefied natural gas terminal at the Port of Long Beach would not pose a safety threat to the port and nearby neighborhoods, said a draft environmental impact report released Thursday.

Amgen Cancer Drug Trial Successful

Amgen Inc. on Thursday said its medicine for colon cancer significantly slowed tumor growth in a study involving patients who have failed standard chemotherapy treatment.

Business Productivity Beats Forecasts

Business productivity surged in the third quarter, far outpacing Wall Street forecasts, and an unexpected decline in labor costs helped ease inflation worries.

Storm-Related Job Losses Climb

Job losses related to the hurricanes climbed to 521,400 last week with layoffs from Hurricane Wilma showing up for the first time, the government said.

Wednesday, November 2

Troubled Tag-It Lays Off 171 Workers

The layoffs over the last two months are part of a previously announced restructuring plan by Tag-It Pacific Inc., a Los Angeles garment trim manufacturer that has had financial problems.

Oil Slips After Supply Report

Crude prices slipped after the government released data that showed rising supplies of oil and gasoline, but hinted that a recent decline in demand was tapering off.

Warner Cuts Studio Staff

Facing a revenue slowdown in 2006, Warner Bros. Entertainment on Wednesday cut 250 employees at its Burbank studio in an effort to deal with spiraling costs, Variety reported.

Stocks Rise on Earnings, Lower Oil

Stocks ended sharply higher Wednesday on strong earnings from Time Warner Inc. and declining oil prices.

Wells Fargo Buying Secured Capital

Wells Fargo & Co. announced it's buying L.A.-based real estate investment banking firm Secured Capital Corp. The San Francisco banking giant plans to merge Secured Capital with Eastdil Realty LLC.

Sempra Quarterly Profit Falls on Higher Litigation Costs

Sempra Energy said its third-quarter profit fell as it increased its litigation reserves by $189 million to defend against conspiracy and manipulation charges that gave rise to California's energy crisis.

Boeing Machinists Go on Strike

About 1,500 workers at Boeing Co.'s rocket facilities went on strike early on Wednesday after failing to resolve disputes over retiree health insurance.

Time Warner Posts Higher Profit

Time Warner Inc. said it more than doubled its planned stock buyback and reported a bigger-than-expected 80 percent jump in quarterly profit.

J & J; May Cancel Guidant Acquisition

Johnson & Johnson indicated it might cancel its planned $25.4 billion acquisition of Guidant Corp. even as federal regulators gave conditional approval for the deal.

Earnings Roundup

Univision Communications Inc., IRIS International Inc., Napster Inc., United Online Inc., Activision Inc. and Guess Inc. were among the companies that reported earnings Wednesday.

Home Loan Requests Fall

Mortgage applications fell for a second consecutive week as interest rates on home loans climbed to 16-month highs, an industry trade group said Wednesday.

Tuesday, November 1

Lockheed Valuing CSC at $12 Billion

Lockheed Martin Corp. and three private-equity firms may offer $64 to $65 a share for Computer Sciences Corp., valuing it at about $12 billion, the Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday.

Stocks Fall on Jump in Interest Rates

Stocks fell Tuesday after the Fed raised interest rates as expected, aggravating traders' anxiety after a disappointing profit forecast from Dell Inc.

Image Rejects Lions Gate Offer

Image Entertainment Inc. rejected a revised bid from Lions Gate Entertainment Inc. and enacted a "poison pill" to discourage a possible hostile takeover, sending its stock skidding nearly 11 percent.

Business Briefs: Tarrant Apparel, Gores Group, DirecTV, Homestore

Tarrant Apparel Group cuts its fiscal 2005 outlook, The Gores Group acquires Scotland-based Brand-Rex Ltd. from Honeywell International Inc., and other briefs about L.A. companies.

Fed Boosts Key Rate Again

The Federal Reserve raised a key interest rate on Tuesday to the highest level in more than four years and signaled more increases are likely.

Earnings Roundup

Smart & Final Inc., Magnetek Inc., Health Net Inc., Maguire Properties Inc. and ValueClick Inc. were among the companies that reported earnings Tuesday.

Viacom Swings to Third-Quarter Profit

Viacom Inc., the media conglomerate that owns MTV, CBS and the Paramount movie studio, swung to a profit of $708.5 million in the third quarter, bouncing back from a loss in the year-ago period.

Governor's Initiatives Losing, Poll Says

All four of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's ballot initiatives appear headed for defeat in next Tuesday's special election, a new Field Poll shows.

Manufacturing Grows at Slower Pace

The manufacturing sector grew at a slower pace during October, boosted by rising orders but straining under rising energy and raw materials prices.

Chain Store Sales Rise

Chain store sales rose in the last week of October as cooler temperatures and Halloween shopping lifted sales of seasonal items, a report said on Tuesday.

Oil Prices Sag on Warmer Forecast

Crude prices dipped Tuesday, extending declines from a day earlier, after forecasts calling for warmer weather in the U.S. sparked a wave of selling

Construction Spending Hits Record

Construction spending grew by 0.5 percent in September, matching expectations and reaching a record high as private residential spending jumped.

P & G; Profit Climbs on Revenue Growth

Procter & Gamble Co. said Tuesday its fiscal first-quarter net income grew 4 percent, helped by strong revenue growth and despite the effects of hurricanes and rising energy and commodity costs.