Stories for February 2006

Tuesday, February 28

Reinhold Exploring Sale

Reinhold Industries Inc. said on Tuesday it is exploring strategic alternatives to enhance shareholder value, including a possible sale of the company, sending its shares soaring.

Google CFO Warns of Slow Growth

Google Inc. Chief Financial Officer George Reyes sparked more than a 10 percent sell-off in the Web search leader's stock after he cautioned online ad revenue growth could slow.

Stocks Fall on Mixed Economic Data

A mixed economic picture sent stocks tumbling, after investors were unnerved by weakness in home sales, consumer confidence and manufacturing.

Hospitals Help Drive L.A. Economy

The total economic output of hospitals and related services in L.A. and five surrounding counties is $85.5 billion, or 12.1 percent of the region's $708 billion economy, said a report released Tuesday.

Economy Grows at Mediocre Pace

The economy grew at an annual rate of 1.6 percent in the final quarter of last year, a mediocre performance that turned out to be better than first thought.

Existing Home Sales Slip

Sales of existing homes fell for a fifth consecutive month in January as the once-sizzling housing market cooled further.

L.A. Home Prices Rise, Sales Plunge

The median price of an existing home in L.A. rose significantly from the year-earlier period in January and edged up slightly from December as homes sales declined sharply across Southern California.

Consumer Sentiment Falls

Americans in February became less optimistic about the economy, sending a widely followed barometer of consumer sentiment below analysts' estimates.

Morning Headlines

An overview of business stories from today's newspapers.

Business Briefs: Reliance Steel, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, Jacobs, First Consulting Group, Cogent

Reliance Steel & Aluminum Co.'s subsidiary agrees to acquire certain assets of Flat Rock Metal Processing L.L.C., in a move expected to expand its processing capabilities, and other briefs about L.A. businesses.

Monday, February 27

Inserts Bringing Revenue Gains for L.A. Times' Sunday Papers

Income from advertising circulars was among the few bright spots in the L.A. Times' latest monthly revenue report, and a recent national consumer survey gives one indication why.

Taking TV Time

Toni Erickson Knight's WorldLink acts as the intermediary between ad agencies that represent infomercials and the networks that air them.

Lowe's Profit Tops Estimates

Lowe's Cos. Inc. reported higher-than-expected earnings and gave a bullish outlook as renovations and commercial business fueled its strongest sales increase in years.

Title Companies Scaling Down as Real Estate Cools Off

Title companies, many located in the Glendale area, are scaling back as the real estate market cools off.

Inside Oscar's Wallet

The bounty from TV licensing rights to the Academy Awards provides the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences with the lion's share of its operating budget.

Former L.A. Times Publisher Otis Chandler Dies

Otis Chandler, the former publisher of the Los Angeles Times who transformed his family's provincial, conservative newspaper into a respected national media voice, died early Monday. He was 78.

Morning Headlines

An overview of business stories from today's newspapers.

Maker of Bounce Equipment Leaps to Height of His Sector

Thanks largely to its licensed characters, Ninja Jump Inc. has leaped toward the top of the inflatable bouncer industry.

Apparel Protege Scores Quick Success With Hot Clothing Label

Short takes on companies in and around Los Angeles.

$25 Million Gift Goes to USC for Stem Cell Work

Eli Broad's foundation is contributing $25 million to help launch a major stem cell research initiative at the University of Southern California

Stuff

Inventive, new products from Los Angeles-area companies.

Guess Shares Take a Beating Due to Investigation Concerns

Guess Inc.'s fourth-quarter results should have been cause for celebration. But instead of uncorking the champagne, investors took a hammer to Guess shares.

DirecTV to Buy Back Shares From GM

DirecTV Group Inc. said Monday it agreed to buy back 100 million of its shares from General Motors Corp.'s pension funds for $1.55 billion, or $15.50 a share.

Going for the Long Ball With New Gig at Trinity Capital

Robert Woolway has been in private equity on the West Coast for close to 24 years. But football was a big part of the life of Trinity Capital LLC's new senior managing director.

Newsmakers

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

Building Design Seen as a Key to Fighting Crime

Los Angeles Councilman Tony Cardenas believes developers can build better crime-resistant residential and mixed-use projects.

Smoke Signals

Business interests are mounting opposition to legislative proposals for pollution controls at the ports.

Board Members Would Overhaul Law, Survey Says

More than half of all directors who took part in a recent survey would repeal or overhaul the landmark Sarbanes-Oxley Act.

Swank Gift Bags Build Buzz but the Academy Isn't Talking

Should the fact that the rich get richer ever have to be proven in a court of law, the Oscar gift bags could be Exhibit A.

L.A. Gas Down for Third Week

The average price of a gallon of self-serve regular gasoline in the Los Angeles area fell for the third consecutive week, slipping 5.1 cents to $2.456 for the week ended Feb. 13.

High Tech, Legal Hiring Strong in Online Recruitment

Online job recruitment in the Los Angeles metropolitan area held steady in January as gains in legal and high tech hiring were offset by drops in health care and education.

Clash Could Mean a Delay for Big Downtown Project

For the first time, a redevelopment project is pitting neighbor against neighbor and raising concerns about the future of a new "western gateway" to the area.

Solar Power Does Just Fine Without Tax Breaks

A subsidy program to install solar panels on roofs is an unnecessary taxpayer subsidy to an industry that even environmentalists claim is already growing strongly.

Having a Ball

Two L.A. bloggers have launched a campaign urging ConocoPhillips to keep using their distinctive orange Union 76 balls.

Local Companies in Orbit Over Latest Mission to Mars

Companies in Commerce and Camarillo have gear aboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, which is now approaching the Red Planet.

More Asbestos Cases Heading to Courthouses Across Region

The first wave of asbestos lawsuits targeted manufacturers and insurers. Next could be construction and installation companies many of which are in California.

Who Will Pick Up the Mantle of L.A.'s Civic Leadership?

All of us have the opportunity, the responsibility and the power to design the future Los Angeles.

Gaz De France, Suez Detail Merger Plan

French utilities Gaz de France SA and Suez SA announced details of their merger, designed to fend off a bid for Suez by Italian power company Enel.

Hispanic Hit Parade

Since Lotus Communications teamed up last year with ESPN's Spanish-language sports network, its stations that flipped to the all-sports format are experiencing intense advertiser interest

Making the Best of Things at City of Hope

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

Tax for Preschool Divides Businesses

The universal preschool initiative has caused a split in the business community in L.A. and across the state.

Have the Movies Lost It?

Do you enjoy going to the movies these days? The answer is probably not. Americans are not going to many movies.

Boxer, Hatch, Bush Agree on Ninth Circuit Nomination

President Bush has nominated Milan D. Smith Jr., a Torrance-based transactions attorney, for a seat on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Can Homestore Restore Its Tarnished Image and Rebuild?

Homestore Inc. may have put an end to four years of problems by capping the legal payments to a former executive.

Merger Activity Remains Healthy as New Year Kicks Off

Several billion-dollar deals and increased activity in the entertainment, health care and real estate sectors drove corporate mergers in January.

Data Shows Housing Boom Slowing

Sales of new homes fell for the second time in three months in January, providing more evidence that the nation's five-year housing boom is slowing.

Stocks Up Oil, Lowe's Earnings

Falling oil prices and strong earnings from Lowe's Cos. sent stocks higher Monday as investors regained optimism about corporate profits and the economy.

DirecTV Clears Up the Static Thanks to Range of Initiatives

DirecTV Group Inc. is still struggling to get ahead of cable and telecom competitors that also want to become the one-stop shop for consumers' entertainment needs.

Klasky Csupo Forsakes 'Rugrats' Roots to Realize Big Screen Dreams

Klasky Csupo Inc., the animation studio behind several hit cartoon series, is trying to transform itself into an independent feature film company

Top Floors of Downtown's Aon Center Set to Go Condo

The owners of the Aon Center are looking to convert 10 upper floors of the 62-story building into condominiums, according to sources close to the deal.

Mayor Passes on Meat and Greet at FilmLA's Fiesta

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa must be serious about his low-carb diet.

L.A. Family's Hot Red Car to Become Hot 'Green' Car

A Los Angeles father and son designed a hot red racer that now is being transformed into a hot "green" hybrid.

Business Briefs: Northrop, NBC Universal, Fox Mobile, Ducommun, ValueClick

Northrop Grumman sells assets of its Litton assembly business, NBC Universal Television Group signs a deal to produce English versions of Spanish-language "telenovelas," and other briefs about L.A. businesses.

Oil, Gasoline Futures Fall Sharply

Energy futures fell after an announcement by the Islamic republic and Russia that they would establish a joint uranium enrichment venture.

Revisioning L.A.

Noted architect Ron Altoon shares his thoughts on the redevelopment of Grand Avenue and other L.A. urban renewal issues.

Friday, February 24

L.A. Gas Prices Down for Second Week

L.A. gas prices fell for the second week on Friday after six weeks of increases as refineries flooded the market with the last supplies of winter blend fuel, said the Automobile Club of Southern California.

Oil Jumps on Saudi Attack

Crude futures soared more than $2 after an attack on a massive oil facility in Saudi Arabia triggered worries about supply from the world's top crude producer.

National Grid in Talks With KeySpan

British utility National Grid PLC is in talks with KeySpan Corp., offering a reported $7.3 billion in cash for the U.S.-based natural gas and electric utility.

Stocks Mixed on Oil Facility Attack

Stocks finished mixed Friday as investors grappled with a terror attack against a Saudi Arabian oil processing plant and a surprising decrease in factory orders.

Equity Firms About to Bid on VNU

A group of seven private equity firms is close to making a bid for Dutch publisher and market research giant VNU NV for about 7.2 billion euros ($8.6 billion), the Wall Street Journal reported.

Morning Headlines

An overview of business stories from today's newspapers.

Manufactured Goods Orders Tumble

Orders to factories for manufactured goods fell by the largest amount in 5 1/2 years in January as demand for commercial aircraft suffered a big setback.

Turner to Leave Time Warner Board

Time Warner Inc. said Ted Turner will leave the board at its upcoming annual meeting, marking the latest turmoil at the world's largest media company.

Board Members Would Overhaul Law, Survey Says

More than half of all directors who took part in a recent survey would repeal or overhaul the landmark Sarbanes-Oxley Act.

Thursday, February 23

L.A. Job Market Unchanged in January

The level of online job recruitment in the Los Angeles metropolitan area held steady in January according to a survey from MonsterWorldwide.com.

Morning Headlines

An overview of business stories from today's newspapers.

HealthSouth to Settle Lawsuits

HealthSouth Corp. said it has agreed to pay at least $445 million to settle class-action lawsuits over its accounting and financial reporting.

Fannie Mae Probe Points to Top Execs

An investigation of Fannie Mae points to its former finance chief and controller as mainly responsible for the accounting failures at the mortgage giant now struggling to emerge from an $11 billion scandal.

Hilton Group Changes Name

Hilton Group PLC changed its name to Ladbrokes PLC after finalizing the sale of its hotels business to its U.S. namesake, leaving the British company with just its gambling division.

CBS Records $9 Billion Loss

CBS Corp. reported a fourth-quarter loss of $9.1 billion on charges to write down the value of its radio and television businesses, the media company said Thursday.

Business Briefs: Fox Cable Networks, Intermix, Hilton Hotels, Entravision Communications, Breeder's Choice, KB Home, Occidental Petroleum

Fox Cable Networks agrees to buy Turner South, a regional sports and entertainment channel, Intermix Media founder Brad Greenspan sues over the Web-site operator's acquisition by News Corp, and other briefs about L.A. businesses.

Jobless Claims Dip by 20,000

The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits dropped by a larger-than-expected amount last week, indicating the nation's labor market remains strong.

Stocks Drop on Inflation Concerns

Stocks fell Thursday, with inflation concerns and a disappointing earnings report from Viacom Inc. prompting investors to collect profits.

Governor's Approval Rating Drops

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's bounce in the polls after his State of the State speech last month has disappeared, according to a survey released Thursday by the Public Policy Institute of California.

Wednesday, February 22

Container Traffic Up at Long Beach Port

The Port of Long Beach reported an 18 percent increase in loaded container traffic in January, led by a 22 percent surge in exports.

Stocks Up on Tame Inflation, Oil Slide

Moderate inflation and falling oil prices sent stocks higher as investors grew optimistic about an end to the Federal Reserve's interest rate hikes.

Morning Headlines

An overview of business stories from today's newspapers.

Business Briefs: In-N-Out, DirecTV, KB Home, Activision

Ousted executive Richard Boyd sues In-N-Out Burgers for wrongful termination, defamation and breech of contract, DirecTV Group expects 18 million subscribers by 2008, and other briefs about L.A. businesses.

January Consumer Prices Surge

Consumer prices shot up in January at the fastest pace in four months as the cost of gasoline and electricity posted big gains.

Sprint Nextel Profit Drops 55 Percent

Sprint Nextel Corp. reported Wednesday a 55 percent drop in fourth-quarter net income, dragged down by merger costs.

Fed Vice Chair Ferguson Resigns

Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Roger Ferguson, the last Democrat on the central bank's board of governors, announced he is submitting his resignation, effective April 28.

News Corp. to Launch Mini-Network

News Corp. will launch a mini-network called My Network TV to supply shows for the 10 local TV stations the company owns that were left without programming after UPN announced it would close.

Advertising Helps Martha Stewart Profit

Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Inc. posted better-than-expected quarterly profit as increased advertising helped reverse a year-earlier loss.

L.A. Luxury Home Values Soar

Luxury home values rose to an all-time high in L.A. in 2005 on the strength of double-digit gains, but fourth-quarter appreciation slowed, according to a report released Wednesday by First Republic Bank.

Earnings Roundup

IHOP Corp., Skechers USA Inc., 21st Century Insurance Group, Molina Healthcare Inc. and Thomas Properties Group Inc. were among the companies that reported earnings Wednesday.

Tuesday, February 21

Stocks Slide Amid Inflation, Oil Fears

The major market indices fell Tuesday as a stronger-than-expected increase in the Index of Leading Indicators cemented worries of another interest rate hike.

Ludlow Announces Resignation From Union Post

The Los Angeles County Federation of Labor chief is facing possible indictment for allegedly employing illegel union assistance during his 2003 Los Angeles City Council campaign.

Gas Prices Dip

Gas prices dipped slightly for the week in Los Angeles, which was the most expensive city for gas. California was the most expensive state.

Wal-Mart Fourth-Quarter Profit Up

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. said Tuesday its fourth-quarter earnings rose 13.4 percent after aggressive holiday advertising helped boost sales by 8.6 percent.

Men's Spending Boosts Apparel Sales

Men flocked to stores to buy suits and other tailored clothing last year, helping drive U.S. apparel sales up 4 percent overall, according to an industry study.

Blackstone to Buy MeriStar

MeriStar Hospitality Corp. agreed to be bought by private equity firm Blackstone Group for about $2.6 billion, making it the latest deal in a spate of mergers in the lodging industry.

Morning Headlines

An overview of business stories from today's newspapers.

Business Briefs: National Lampoon, Public Works Bonds, Tenet Healthcare

National Lampoon launches broadband channel, Assembly Speaker proposes bond cut, Tenet Healthcare settles Florida suit.

Leading Economic Indicators Rise

A gauge of future economic activity rose sharply in January, suggesting the nation's economy could see robust growth in the spring, a private research group said Tuesday.

Monday, February 20

Westinghouse Digital Scores Touchdown on Screen Play

Westinghouse Digital has become the fifth biggest seller of LCD televisions. It's strategy: be the low-price leader.

Oil Prices Jump More Than $1

Oil prices rose more than $1 in response to militant action against oil pipelines in the Niger Delta that led to a 20 percent cut to Nigeria's oil production.

Sikorsky Aircraft Workers on Strike

Nearly 3,600 Sikorsky Aircraft workers in Connecticut and Florida went on strike, blaming increased health insurance costs in the company's contract offer.

Eminent Domain Shouldn't Be Curtailed by Legislation

California property owners deserve strong protections that prevent local or state government from misusing their powers of eminent domain.

Academy's Movie Museum Grows Closer With Hollywood Parcel Purchase

The Academy of Motion Pictures has purchased a Hollywood site that will become home to a $200 million museum of cinema history.

Newsmakers

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

Planetwide Playing on Bigger Stage Thanks to Deal With Geographic

Planetwide Games Inc. has teamed up with the National Geographic Society to launch its Comic Book Creator software with National Geographic content.

Music Industry Rivals Gather for Forum on Digital Platforms

Digital music executives, record company executives and Hollywood creative types are meeting this week to discuss the world of multiplatform entertainment.

Macquarie Won't Hike Exchange Bid

Australia's Macquarie Bank Ltd. dropped its takeover bid for the London Stock Exchange PLC, announcing it will not increase its $2.6 billion offer.

Renovations Already Paying Off for Luxe on Sunset Boulevard

With its latest makeover, the Luxe Hotel on Sunset Boulevard is keeping up with its upscale Bel-Air neighbors.

Hospitality Executive Takes a Leap at Perfect Opportunity

In his new position as the chief operating officer of SBE Restaurant Group, Arich Berghammer is working toward opening two restaurants in Los Angeles.

Searching the World for New Pet Accessories

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

Schering Sets Share Buyback

Schering AG announced its biggest share buyback program to date and raised its profitability targets after a 30 percent rise in quarterly earnings.

FDA Approval Fails to Win American Pharmaceutical Support

American Pharmaceutical Partners Inc. won U.S. regulatory approval to market generic versions of a popular antibiotic, but an analyst downgraded its shares anyway.

Eminent Domain Battle Is Imminent

One of the most potent tools of Los Angeles-area redevelopment agencies is coming under broad attack in Sacramento and Washington.

L.A. Finds Its Business Voice

L.A.'s Kellie Johnson has become an influential figure as the voice of local industry on the Washington scene.

HSAs Spill Into the Workplace

Health Savings Accounts are the most talked about vehicle in the trend toward consumer-driven health care. They can hold down costs for businesses, but the level of coverage is a question.

Race Cases

Minority businesses are gearing up to protect affirmative action rules that have favored them when seeking bids for government work.

Lincoln Bedroom? It's the Italian Alps fror Bush's Friends

The President's pals gets perks, like front-row seats at the Olympics.

Strength in Capital Spending Gives Boost to Jacobs Shares

The Pasadena-based engineering giant, has been riding a wave of corporate capital spending that has helped propel its stock up 40 percent in the last three months to record highs.

Court Provides Concrete Evidence With Ruling on Cemex

Mexican cement giant Cemex won a round in federal court this month in its fight against the city of Santa Clarita to operate a quarry in Soledad Canyon.

Wall Street Banks on Fees From Employee HSA Savings

Wall Street is banking on generating revenue with the money workers place into Health Savings Accounts.

Consumer-Driven Accounts Prompt Divergent Opinions

Chris Ohman favors HSAs, and Jerry Flanagan is a critic of the plans. They debate their views.

$600 Million Sale Possible for Burbank Office Buildings

Developer M. David Paul & Associates Inc. has put a 1.4-million-square-foot portfolio of Burbank office buildings on the market that could fetch upwards of $600 million.

High Court Ruling Signals Need for New Limits

Whether property rights advocates are forced to pursue the initiative route is dependent on the willingness of the Legislature and municipal interests to accept meaningful reform.

In Pregnant Pause, Kirkland & Ellis Thinks Best of Moms

The prevailing image of the high-powered female litigator often has her giving up on family for a dream job.

A Rise in Shares Doesn't Lift This Company's Boat

Wall Street analysts have been dinging LTC Properties, a Westlake Village-based real estate investment trust, for having a share price that's already overvalued.

Women's Clothier BCBG Beats Wet Seal to G+G Retail

Women's clothier BCBG has picked up another store chain by besting rival Wet Seal Inc. in a bankruptcy auction.

Seoul Music

It's not Marvin Gaye and the Temptations: Two Korean radio stations are carving out their niche on the dial with a different sort of Seoul sound.

Burbank Office Buildings Could Fetch $600 Million

Santa Monica developer M. David Paul & Associates Inc. has put a 1.4-million-square-foot portfolio of Burbank office buildings on the market that could fetch upwards of $600 million.

Nightclub Plans Aren't Getting the Red Carpet

SBE Entertainment, attempting to weave together a network of restaurants, clubs and hotels in L.A., has encountered fierce resistance to its Hollywood nightclub.

Morning Headlines

An overview of business stories from today's newspapers.

Stuff

Inventive, new products from Los Angeles-area companies.

Asian Occasion

The Cheesecake Factory is launching a new line in its casual dining concepts, this one featuring Asian cuisine.

Law Firms Become Choice Landing Points for L.A. Politicos

For local ex-politicos these days, the hottest landing spots are at the city's top law firms.

Losing Their Monopoly

What happened to the networks? Why do they seem stuck in this slow, downward spiral?

Pepperdine Time

Linda Livingstone, one of the rare woman deans of a major business school, has brought new programs to Pepperdine's Graziadio.

It Adds Up

The founders of Mathnasium started with a storefront location in Westwood and now lead a growing franchise of math tutoring centers.

Publisher Goes Back to School to Launch Youth Sports Mag

If you're a magazine publisher trying to reach 18- to 25-year-old females, who better to enlist than a group of 18- to 25-year-olds?

Is WPT Getting Ready to Fold 'Em?

The past year dealt WPT Enterprises a tough hand, but the pioneering TV poker company is holding a couple of strong pocket cards.

Downtown Renaissance Now Has a Price Tag: $12.2 Billion

A study shows the downtown construction boom should generate a total of 174,000 jobs and $25.9 billion in direct economic impact.

Friday, February 17

L.A. Gas Dips After Weeks of Increases

Gas prices in L.A. slipped on Friday from last week, giving motorists some relief from a trend of higher prices that lasted six consecutive weeks, said the Automobile Club of Southern California.

Business Briefs: Bell Industries, Trio-Tech, Jakks Pacific

Bell Industries Inc. makes another appeal to Coast Distribution System Inc.'s board, expressing its desire to enter into good-faith negotiations to buy the company, and other briefs about L.A. businesses.

RadioShack Earnings Plunge

RadioShack Corp.'s fourth-quarter earnings dropped 62 percent and it plans to close 400 to 700 underperforming stores and distribution centers as part of a plan to improve its financial performance.

Consumer Sentiment Weakens

Consumer sentiment showed surprising weakness in early February on lower stock prices and a rebound in gasoline prices, a report showed on Friday.

Stocks Dip on Producer Prices

Stocks slipped on Friday as weakening consumer confidence and a rise in wholesale prices prompted investors to take profits.

Northrop's Sugar to Make $1.45 Million

Northrop Grumman Corp., the world's largest shipbuilder, on Friday announced that Chief Executive Ronald Sugar will be paid $1.45 million in salary this year.

Cheesecake Factory Prepares Foray Into Foreign Flavors

The Cheesecake Factory is aiming to capitalize on Americans' swelling appetites for imported flavors by launching a new line of Asian restaurants.

Delphi Delays Voiding Union Contracts

Delphi Corp. said it would delay filing court papers to void its labor contracts and to cut retiree benefits, citing progress in talks with unions and General Motors Corp.

Wholesale Inflation Moderates

Prices at the wholesale level rose moderately in January as a big drop in gasoline costs helped to offset price increases in other areas.

Westfield Buys Three L.A. Stores From Federated

Mall operator Westfield Group will pick up three Los Angeles County department stores from Federated Department Stores Inc. as part of a 15-store deal.

Thursday, February 16

MySpace Partners With Helio

MySpace.com has established an exclusive partnership with mobile phone venture Helio to offer features of its social-networking Web site on Helio's service and cell phones set to launch this spring.

Business Briefs: Jakks, Homeland Security Advisors, Salem, Disney

Jakks Pacific Inc. is sued for copyright infringement by Toronto-based toymaker Spin Master Ltd., Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa names his Homeland Security Advisors, and other briefs about L.A. companies.

Downtown Building Boom in Full Swing

Downtown has 154 projects costing $12.2 billion either recently completed, under way or in the planning stages, according to a study released Thursday by the Downtown Center Business Improvement District.

Stocks Up on HP, Home Construction

Stocks rose Thursday, buoyed by Hewlett-Packard Co.'s earnings, a surprising jump in home construction and more positive comments from the Fed.

DaimlerChrysler Earnings Rise

DaimlerChrysler AG reported an annual and a fourth-quarter profit on improved results from its commercial vehicles unit and strong earnings at its Chrysler unit.

Nara Bancorp CEO Resigns

Ho Yang, the president and chief executive of Nara Bancorp Inc., resigned unexpectedly, the second management shake-up at the Korean-American bank in the past year.

Housing Construction Soars

Construction of new homes and apartments, defying forecasts of a housing slowdown, shot up in January at the fastest pace in more than three decades.

XM Loss Widens, Director Quits

XM Satellite Radio Holdings Inc. posted a wider fourth-quarter loss, hurt by higher programing and marketing costs even as revenue more than doubled.

Morning Headlines

An overview of business stories from today's newspapers.

Earnings Roundup

Reliance Steel & Aluminum Co., Guess Inc. and Youbet.com Inc. were among the companies that reported earnings Thursday.

Target Fourth-Quarter Profit Climbs

Target Corp., helped by store expansion and improved sales at existing locations, reported a 14 percent rise in profits in the fourth-quarter.

Wednesday, February 15

Earnings Roundup

DaVita Inc., Guitar Center Inc., Digital Insight Corp. and MRV Communications Inc. were among the companies that reported earnings Wednesday.

Morning Headlines

An overview of business stories from today's newspapers.

Business Briefs: Guess, BCBG Max Azria, Superior Industries

Guess Inc. said it was notified by the SEC that its chief operating officer may face civil charges for violating securities laws while working at his previous company, and other briefs about L.A. companies.

Christensen Indicted in Pellicano Probe

Prominent Hollywood lawyer Terry Christensen on Wednesday has become the first attorney to be indicted in association with former private detective Anthony Pellicano on charges including wiretapping and conspiracy.

Industrial Production Dips in January

A record plunge in output at the nation's utilities due to unusually warm weather in January led to a small decline in industrial production in January.

Merrill to Combine Unit With BlackRock

BlackRock Inc. is gaining control of the asset management arm of Merrill Lynch & Co. in a deal that creates a major money manager with $1 trillion in assets.

Bernanke Boosts Stocks

Stocks rose modestly Wednesday after investors hung on every word of new Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke's testimony before Congress.

Oil Futures Drop Below $58

The price of oil fell by almost $2 a barrel after OPEC warned of weakening energy demand and the government confirmed domestic supplies of oil and gas are rising.

L.A. Home Sales Off in January

January home sales in Los Angeles plunged 11.4 percent from a year earlier and 23.6 percent from December, as many potential buyers decided to sit out the real estate market's off- season.

Platinum to Acquire PNA Group

Platinum Equity announced plans to purchase PNA Group Inc., a steel products processor and distributor with annual revenue of $1.2 billion, from German travel and tourism giant TUI AG.

Fed Sees Upside Inflation Risks

Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke said the U.S. economy was running so close to capacity that it faced heightened risks of an outbreak in inflation that could require higher interest rates to tame.

Tuesday, February 14

Morning Headlines

An overview of business stories from today's newspapers.

Cancellations May Affect KB Home Outlook

KB Home said the number of canceled home orders rose in the first two months of the year while net orders for new homes fell, which could force the company to adjust revenue projections if it continues.

MWD Names General Manager

After a lengthy search, the board of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California on Tuesday named the agency's own general counsel, Jeff Kightlinger, as its 13th general manager.

Oil Boosts Dow Above 11,000

A drop in oil prices below $60 a barrel sent stocks soaring Tuesday, carrying the Dow 136 points higher and past 11,000 for the first time in a month.

Activision to Cut Work Force

Activision Inc. said it will cut more than 6 percent of its global work force amid struggles to weather a rocky transition to new video-game technology.

Boeing Move May Save Long Beach Plant

Boeing Co. on Tuesday said it may produce Air Force tankers in Long Beach, a move that could keep the factory there open past 2008, when the last C-17 cargo plane will be built, Bloomberg News reported.

Retail Sales Post Strong Gains

Consumers boosted retail sales by a much larger than expected amount in January with sales outside of autos surging at the fastest pace in six years.

Oil Prices Drop Below $60

Oil prices sank below $60 a barrel Tuesday, and gasoline futures fell to their lowest price in almost a year as traders turned their attention to rising supplies.

MovieBeam Relaunches as Independent

Walt Disney Co.'s short-lived on-demand movie service, MovieBeam, relaunched Tuesday as an independent company, flush with $48.5 million in private equity investment.

Marsh & McLennan Swings to Profit

Marsh & McLennan Companies Inc. reported profits of $35 million in the fourth quarter, an improvement from the year-earlier loss but below expectations.

Buffett to Step Down From Board

Billionaire investor Warren Buffett will step down as a director of Coca-Cola Co. this year after 17 years on the board, the world's largest soft-drink maker said.

Earnings Roundup

Macerich Co., Jakks Pacific Inc., Smart & Final Inc., Warner Music Group Inc. and Prospect Medical Holdings Inc. were among the companies that reported earnings Tuesday.

Monday, February 13

Banks Help Religious Groups Finance New Uses for Old Properties

Churches, temples and mosques are buying up old supermarkets, theaters and strip malls but only a few banks specialize in such lending.

Agilent Technologies Profit Soars

Agilent Technologies Inc. said its first-quarter profit ballooned, lifted by the sale of its semiconductor products business and its stake in Lumileds.

Giving the Ritz-Carlton a Contemporary Feel

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

L.A. Hotels Get Higher Occupancy, Room Rates

Occupancy rates and room prices at Los Angeles hotels have soared to pre-9/11 levels.

L.A. Gas Prices Slip Slightly

The average price of a gallon of self-serve regular gasoline in the Los Angeles area fell slightly following two weeks of increases, slipping 2 cents to $2.550 for the week ended Feb. 13.

Rogers & Cowan Opens Office to Promote U.S. Films in U.K.

As film studios increasingly depend on overseas box office to meet profit expectations, public relations firm Rogers & Cowan has decided to open a UK film division.

Rankings Were the Business End

Yash Gupta, departing dean of USC's Marshall School of Business, didn't seem to settle into life in L.A., and may be a victim of lower B-school ratings.

A New Twist

Elise Wetzel brought the franchising savvy she developed through her husband Rick's pretzel venture to the iSold It chain.

Job Creation Could Reach Level Not Seen Since Dot-Com Boom

Tourism, construction, commercial aerospace manufacturing and business services are expected to lead job creation in Los Angeles.

Housing Price Slide Tied to Mortgage Hikes and Fickle Buyers

Los Angeles County home values shed nearly six months worth of appreciation in January as the market continued a slide that shows no sign of ending soon.

Merrill Lynch in Talks on BlackRock Stake

Shares of BlackRock Inc. shot higher on Monday amid speculation the money management firm was involved in a deal with Merrill Lynch & Co.

Special Delivery

If changes in regulations go forward, corporate logos and product placements could adorn stamps by mid-year. Stamps.com is generating some excitement.

It's Pricey, but Not a Bubble

For all the frothy blather about a housing bubble, it's hard to see where one really exists.

Union Battle Looming Over Airport Hotels

Hotel owners are gearing up for battle as they prepare to counter union efforts to organize workers at hotels near Los Angeles Airport.

Biotech Success Could Lead to CytRx Payoff, but There's Risk

CytRx Corp. is a biopharmaceutical company with an intriguing product pipeline that several years ago would have boosted its stock above its current $1.15 or so a share.

Oil Prices Remain Above $61

Oil futures fell and analysts said retail gas prices could soon dip below $2 a gallon in some parts of the country. But traders warned of an upturn in prices come spring.

Language Key to Univision Deal

A. Jerrold Perenchio's pending sale of Univision comes as the future of Spanish-language broadcasting in the U.S. is in question.

UCLA's Anderson School Leadership Issues Have Been Resolved

Not much snickering can be heard in Westwood over the upheaval at rival USC the Anderson School went through a rough patch of its own before the selection of July Olian.

Office Tenants Hit With Huge Tax Increases

Soaring property values mean that office tenants face tax hikes after their buildings have been sold.

Downtown Boosters Shrugging Off Terrorist Attack Plans

Details about a terrorist plot to fly a jetliner into L.A.'s U.S. Bank Tower rattled nerves of some tenants, but downtown boosters said the news won't have a lasting impact.

Real Estate Guys Rock the Boat for L.A. Fundraiser

The Grammy Awards may have drawn the most media attention, but the hottest ticket of the week was the MusiCares fundraising gala at the L.A. Convention Center.

The Grill Drill

Bob Spivak is stepping down from the helm of Grill Concepts Inc. after more than 20 years as chief executive.

Earnings Roundup

Mercury General Corp., Learning Tree International Inc., WPT Enterprises Inc., DTS Inc. and Electronic Clearing House Inc. were among the companies that reported earnings Monday.

Speaking Up

Executive Expression offers programs for smoothing out the accents of foreign executives.

Napster, Ericsson Debut Mobile Service

Napster Inc. on Monday launched its mobile phone offering, Napster Mobile, with Ericsson. The service is available in markets in Europe, North America and Asia through agreements with local carriers.

Newsmakers

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

For Kayo, Everything Counts in Wal-Mart's Successful Stocking

Kayo's specialization in analysis of sales data provided by Wal-Mart has allowed the chain to go beyond meeting consumer demand to anticipating it.

Intel, Cisco and Others Bring a Movie Service Back for Second Shot

Walt Disney Co.'s short-lived on-demand movie service, MovieBeam, is flickering back to life.

Traveling Audit Specialist Ready to Settle Down in L.A.

After years of life in a variety of places, Hana Hoffmann says she's settling down in L.A. with a job as senior manager in the assurance practice for Grant Thornton LLP.

Production House Fights Blockbuster on 'Monster' Fees

The makers of the movie "Monster" allege they were shortchanged over Blockbuster rentals.

L.A. Business Leaders' Names Pop Up in Pellicano Case

While much of the focus in the sensational Anthony Pellicano case centers on celebrities, the list of business figures allegedly targeted is also raising eyebrows.

Attorneys Take the Fast Track for Metrolink Crash Lawsuits

The recent string of Metrolink commuter accidents has helped midwife Los Angeles' newest tort boutique.

Business Briefs: Youbet, Jamdat, Activision, American Overseas, Adams Rite, Image Entertainment

Youbet.com completes its acquisition of privately held United Tote, Jamdat Mobile shareholders approve its $680 million sale to Electronic Arts, and other briefs about L.A. companies.

Ad Agencies, Clients Find Matchmaker and Marriage Counselor

Select Resources helped City National executives pick the agency that will lead the campaign to communicate the bank's changing image.

Morning Headlines

An overview of business stories from today's newspapers.

Stuff

Inventive, new products from Los Angeles-area companies.

Roche Halts Avastin Trial Recruiting

Roche Holding AG said Monday it has stopped recruiting patients to test its cancer drug Avastin in late-stage clinical trials after the deaths of four patients.

Furniture Outlet H.D. Buttercup Planning a Major Expansion

Short takes on companies in and around Los Angeles.

Having Faith

Left Behind hopes to find success where major companies don't dare tread: in the realm of angels, the Apocalypse and other Christian themes.

New Balance Stores Set to Make a Run for More L.A. Locations

The owner of shoe retailer FrontRunners Inc. has plans to open two to four more New Balance locations in the county.

Stocks Drop on Rate Fears

Stocks ended lower Monday as a lack of economic news returned investors' focus to interest rates and inflation ahead of comments from the new Fed chairman later in the week.

Backing Tracking

Avery Dennison Corp. introduced its Generation 2 RFID inlays, which it says are finally at a price and quality that will bring them into mainstream use.

Defense Budget Leaves Winners and Losers

The military budget set to go before Congress could benefit L.A. companies because it shows a continuing shift toward a surgical strike model geared to fight terrorism.

Friday, February 10

Morning Headlines

An overview of business stories from today's newspapers.

Trade Gap Sets Record for 2005

The U.S. trade gap widened in December to the third-highest level on record and pushed the annual deficit to a record $725.8 billion, up 17.5 percent from 2004.

Consumers Gain Confidence in Economy

Consumers' confidence in the economy and their financial fortunes climbed to a 16-month high as better prospects for jobs and wages lifted people's spirits.

Oil Prices Hover Near $62

Crude futures dipped on reports of falling demand and bulging supplies, though oil prices hovered near $62 a barrel amid concerns about unrest in producing nations.

Edison, BP Planning Power Plant

BP plc and Edison International subsidiary Edison Mission Group on Friday announced plans to build a $1 billion, 500-megawatt hydrogen-fueled power plant in Carson.

MGA Entertainment to Go Public

MGA Entertainment Inc., the maker of trendy Bratz dolls and a thorn in the side of Mattel Inc.'s Barbie empire, could go public as early as this year, according to a Bloomberg News report.

Dow Advances on Stock Rebound

Stocks rebounded from an earlier decline to post gains Friday as investors looked past a mediocre outlook from Pfizer Inc. and a new record trade deficit.

Volkswagen May Cut 20,000 Jobs

Volkswagen may cut up to 20,000 jobs in the next three years in a sweeping restructuring program that could also lead to a reduction in production capacity.

Skechers Ups Its Fourth-Quarter Outlook

Skechers USA Inc. on Friday raised its fourth-quarter profit and revenue outlook, citing better-than-expected sales growth.

L.A. Gas Prices Inch Higher

Gas prices in L.A. inched up after soaring last week to mark the sixth week of increases, but they are expected to climb again at the end of February, said the Automobile Club of Southern California.

Thursday, February 9

BlackBerry Develops Workaround

Research In Motion unveiled a plan that it says will let its BlackBerry e-mail device work even if it loses a patent dispute, and said the workaround will prevent a shutdown of U.S. service.

Stocks Mixed on Economic Worries

Market momentum sagged after investor enthusiasm over a six-year low in unemployment claims and strong corporate earnings waned due to economic worries.

AIG Sttles for Over $1.6 Billion

American International Group Inc. agreed to pay more than $1.6 billion to settle charges it used deceptive accounting practices to mislead investors and regulators.

Countrywide Loan Volume Rises

Countrywide Financial Corp. said Wednesday that its mortgage volume rose 16 percent in January to $33 billion from a year earlier despite concerns of a downturn in the red-hot housing market.

Earnings Roundup

Lions Gate Entertainment Corp., K-Swiss Inc., OSI Systems Inc., Image Entertainment Inc., United Online Inc., Alexandria Real Estate Equities Inc. and Farmer Brothers Co. were among the companies that reported earnings Thursday.

Mayor Overhauls Transportation Commission

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa on Thursday overhauled the city's transportation commission, naming a diverse group to the 7-member board, including the daughter of a rival in last year's mayoral campaign.

Jobless Claims Edge Higher

The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits edged up slightly last week but remained at a level indicating a strong labor market.

L.A. Home Affordability Drops

The number of people who could afford median-priced homes in L.A. fell in December from a year prior but gained one percentage point from November, the California Association of Realtors said.

Munitz Resigns From Getty

Barry Munitz, the embattled president and chief executive of the J. Paul Getty Trust resigned his post late Thursday, effective immediately in the wake of scandals at one of the world's richest art museums.

Morning Headlines

An overview of business stories from today's newspapers.

December Wholesale Inventories Rise

Inventories at wholesalers rose in December as automotive stocks rose and inventories of non-durable goods posted the largest monthly gain in five years.

Wednesday, February 8

Business Briefs: CKE Restaurants, Canon, Learning Tree, Oliver Peoples

CKE Restaurants says its January same-store sales rose 9.1 percent, Canon Communications' Chief Executive William Cobert will be stepping down, and other briefs about L.A. companies.

Earnings Roundup

Napster Inc., Stamps.com Inc. and Earle M. Jorgensen Co. were among the companies that reported earnings Wednesday.

DirecTV Swings to Quarterly Profit

DirecTV Group Inc. on Wednesday swung to a fourth-quarter profit versus a year-ago loss, as subscriber growth and customer turnover rate improved.

Glaxo Beats Forecasts

GlaxoSmithKline Plc beat forecasts for 2005 profit and predicted earnings growth of about 10 percent this year, with momentum building in its pipeline of new drugs.

Nortel Nears $2.5 Billion Settlement

Nortel Networks Corp. reached a tentative agreement to pay $2.47 billion to settle two shareholder class-action lawsuits over the company's accounting scandal.

Stocks Up on PepsiCo, Cisco Earnings

A drop in oil prices and strong earnings at PepsiCo Inc. and Cisco Systems Inc. sent stocks higher Wednesday, with the Dow surging more than 100 points.

Univision Mulling Sale

Univision Communications Inc. on Wednesday confirmed it is mulling putting itself up for sale, in an auction worth nearly $10 billion that could have the country's media giants vying for a slice of the lucrative U.S. Hispanic market.

PepsiCo Fourth-Quarter Profit Rises

PepsiCo Inc. said earnings rose 13 percent as it benefited from an extra selling week and sales growth across its Frito-Lay, Quaker Foods and beverage operations.

Job Growth to Be Sluggish in 2006

Employers in L.A. will add 38,000 jobs to their payrolls in 2006, led by growth in aerospace, high technology, international trade and tourism representing a sluggish job growth rate of under 1 percent.

Tuesday, February 7

Sports Equipment Companies Merge

Van Nuys-based Easton Sports Inc and Riddell Bell Holdings on Tuesday announced an agreement to merge into a combined sports equipment company called Easton-Bell Sports Inc.

WPT Exploring Sale or Merger

WPT Enterprises Inc. on Tuesday said it hired financial adviser Thomas Weisel Partners LLC to assist in exploring growth alternatives, including the sale or merger of its business.

Morning Headlines

An overview of business stories from today's newspapers.

Stocks Drop on Oil

Declining oil prices and weakness in other commodities sent stocks lower, as investors took profits and beat up the stocks that led Wall Street's early January rally.

Oil Prices Slip Below $65

Crude oil prices fell Tuesday as traders' fears eased over possible disruptions to the Iranian oil supply linked to its nuclear ambitions.

Toll Brothers Slashes Sales Outlook

Toll Brothers Inc. slashed its forecast for home sales for the second time in three months, as first-quarter new orders fell 29 percent on slumping demand.

Coca-Cola Profit Dips, Beats View

The Coca-Cola Co. reported Tuesday a 28 percent drop in fourth-quarter profit, but beat expectations when certain one-time items are excluded.

CSC Profit Up on Government Contracts

Computer Sciences Corp. on Tuesday said third-quarter earnings rose 29 percent on higher revenue from its federal government and U.S. commercial operations.

Earnings Roundup

Cheesecake Factory Inc., Maguire Properties Inc., LTC Properties Inc. and Sport Chalet Inc. were among the companies that reported earnings Tuesday.

Occidental Fourth-Quarter Profit Soars

Occidental Petroleum Corp. said its fourth-quarter profit soared 55 percent, fueled by higher oil and gas prices and gains in production.

GM Cuts Dividend, Top Salaries

General Motors Corp. halved its dividend and slashed executive pay, cutting costs and seeking leverage for long-term changes in its labor contracts.

Ex-Gemstar CFO to Pay $1.4 Million Settlement

The former chief financial officer of Gemstar-TV Guide International Inc. agreed to pay nearly $1.4 million to settle SEC charges she participated in a scheme to defraud investors by inflating Gemstar's revenues.

Monday, February 6

NFL Network Scores on League's TV Contract Power Play

The NFL's decision to televise games on its NFL Network is a boon to the Culver City-based TV studio.

Mixed-Use Expert Decides to Open Up His Own Shop

Rob York began the New Year with a new adventure: the founding of his own retail and mixed-use development consulting firm, York Consulting Group LLC.

Youbet.com Raises Stakes in Effort to Get Online Gamblers Back to the Track

Chuck Champion, chief executive of Youbet.com Inc. wants to steer young online bettors toward the horse-racing track.

Bubble-Making Company Sees Both Consistency and Change

Toymakers are being pressured by the popularity of electronic products and retail consolidation, so the new owners of Imperial Toy Corp. know they'll have to make some changes.

Marked Mann

Continuing its exodus from Westwood, the Mann Theater chain will not renew its lease on the landmark National Theatre when it runs out in August.

Digital Upgrades Are Music to Audio Houses' Ears

Audio houses are coming back from the setbacks of the recent do-it-yourself trend now that the widespread popularity of high-tech home theaters has raised the standards for sound.

SEC Ups Ante on Subpoenas in Poker Probe

The Los Angeles-based producer of the World Poker Tour and the eponymous TV show has been dogged by poor earnings and is in the shadow of an SEC investigation.

The Oprah Effect

Kashwere couldn't keep up when Oprah Winfrey selected its robes as one of her choice products. Orders came in so fast it was like going to war, the company's owner said.

Morning Headlines

An overview of business stories from today's newspapers.

THQ and Jakks Get Set for a Wrestling Match Over WWE Licensing

A smackdown has become more likely than a settlement in a long-running licensing tussle between video game publisher THQ Inc. and World Wrestling Entertainment Inc.

Chamber Serves Up Star Power at Inaugural Dinner

The Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce's inaugural dinner not only drew a larger crowd than the Golden Globes, it may have packed more star power.

AmeriPath and Specialty Labs Finalize $315 Million Merger

Short takes on companies in and around Los Angeles.

Remo Marching to the Rhythm of Different Drum Circles

Remo is taking a different approach to percussion and marketing: getting drummers together in circles. And it's not just for hippies.

Counterattack Looming Over Workers' Comp

Opponents of workers' comp reform are mounting a battle that could lead to a rollback of changes implemented after Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger took office.

Fox Sports Gets Translation Into Espa & #324;ol for Distribution by Hoy

Readers of the L.A. Spanish-language newspaper Hoy will get something extra in their weekend edition next month a new monthly sports magazine under a Fox Sports label.

Stuff

Inventive, new products from Los Angeles-area companies.

Pollution Solution?

Could a 100-foot robotic arm be the answer to the seemingly intractable pollution problem at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach? Ruben Garcia thinks so.

Sleek Chic

With a natural showcase of the Turin Olympics, Speedo is pushing its ice-wear in a drive to show it's not just a bathing suit company.

TV, Film Producer Lions Gate Sharpens Focus on Distribution

Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. aims to focus on capitalizing on its film library through distribution, particularly with its partner Showtime and the launch of a TV channel.

Disney Posts Higher Earnings

The Walt Disney Co. on Monday posted higher net income, reporting higher ad revenue at its media networks, increased attendance at its theme parks and improved sales in its consumer products unit.

Lafarge Plans Buyout of U.S. Unit

Lafarge plans a $3 billion cash offer to buy the 46.8 percent it does not own in Lafarge North America Inc. to streamline its operations and enhance earnings.

Business Women Continue Gains

There was a 33 percent increase in women-owned businesses in Los Angeles from 1997 to 2002.

Day Laborers Taking All the Risk for Just Little Reward

Day-labor worker centers deserve our support, not the unfair and emotionally laden criticism of the minutemen and other vigilante groups.

Talbots to Acquire J. Jill

Talbots Inc. agreed to buy J. Jill Group Inc. for about $517 million, trumping a bid by Liz Claiborne Inc., in a deal that creates the largest U.S. retailer catering to women over age 35.

See Through

Radlink has overcome resistance of doctors and hospitals to turn digital X-ray technology into a viable product.

Two Local Courthouses Get High Numbers on Upgrade List

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's proposed $220 billion bond referendum earmarks $1.2 billion for courthouse overhauls, and Huntington Park and Long Beach are relatively high on the list.

Vivendi Ups Stakes in Universal Music, NBC to Maximize its Online Potential

Vivendi Universal SA agreed to pay $1.15 billion to Japan's Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. for full ownership of Universal Music Group and a bigger stake in NBC.

L.A. Gas Prices Up for Second Week

The average price of a gallon of self-serve regular gasoline in L.A. jumped for the second consecutive week after a slight dip the week before, rising 3.4 cents to $2.570 for the week ended Feb. 6.

Newsmakers

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

The Sky Failed to Fall

Did the North American Free Trade Agreement result in a big loss of jobs? A new study by the Public Policy Institute of California has the answer: Nope.

Boom in Housing Has Finance Firms Going for Brokers

Brokerage firms, banks and insurance companies are increasing the ranks of stockbrokers, which swelled 16 percent last year.

L.A. Needs to Work on Better Life for Latinos

Few regions face the future with an asset as large and valuable as L.A.'s emerging Latino majority.

Citadel to Buy Disney Radio Assets

Citadel Broadcasting Corp. agreed to buy the bulk of Walt Disney Co.'s radio assets for about $2.7 billion, the companies said in a statement Monday.

Oil Falls as Traders Take Profits

Oil prices slipped when traders took profits after prices surged on fears that Iran might halt oil exports, and after a cold front in the Northeast was milder than expected.

Hollywood Faces Consequences of Residential Binge

How much is too much of a good thing? Hollywood may find out if residential conversion of office buildings makes a major change in the economic landscape.

Stocks Mixed in Listless Session

Stocks ended a listless session little changed Monday as cautious investors found few reasons to put money into the market.

Future Shock

Christopher Thornberg left the world of academia to serve as senior economist at the Anderson Forecast.

Making the Movie Packaging Look Its Best

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

Residential Project Site in Warner Center Sells for $60 Million

The site of a future large Warner Center residential complex has traded hands for close to $60 million.

Business Briefs: Nissan, Northrop, DirecTV, Gemstar-TV Guide, Inamed

Nissan Motor Co.'s North American unit will drop comprehensive health-care coverage for retired manufacturing workers age 65 and older, and other briefs about L.A. companies.

Earnings Roundup

Activision Inc., MannKind Corp., Ixia, J2 Global Communications Inc. and Diodes Inc. were among the companies that reported earnings Monday.

Cough Strips Could Soothe InnoZen's Need to Please Its Backers

Melt-in-your-mouth cough strips might make some money for the backers of InnoZen.

Reliance Deal a 'Snapshot' of Steel Industry's Consolidation

When Reliance Steel and Aluminum Co. agreed to purchase Earle M. Jorgensen Co. last month, it marked another consolidation in the industry.

A New Boss at NBC

Jeff Zucker, who was named the new chief executive of NBC Universal on Tuesday, has completed one of the most spectacular ascents of any recent media executive. Now for the hard part.

Toshiba to Buy Westinghouse Electric

Toshiba Corp. said it was buying Westinghouse Electric Co., the U.S.-based unit of the British government's British Nuclear Fuels PLC, for $5.4 billion.

Friday, February 3

Morning Headlines

An overview of business stories from today's newspapers.

Speculators Send L.A. Gas Prices Higher

L.A. motorists endured a fifth week of increases at the pump as speculators bid up gasoline prices on the expectation they will be higher this spring, said the Automobile Club of Southern California.

Hollywood Faces Consequences of Residential Binge

The sizzling rate at which Hollywood office buildings are being converted into expensive residences is getting too fast for the city of Los Angeles and members of the local business community.

Stocks Down on Consumer Confidence

Falling consumer confidence and a smaller-than-expected rise in new jobs sent stocks lower for a second session Friday.

Service Sector Growth Slows in January

The pace of growth in the U.S. service sector slowed more than expected in January and new orders fell, as rising interest rates and elevated oil prices took their toll.

Consumer Sentiment Flags in January

Consumers were not as upbeat in January as they were at the end of 2005 as higher oil prices offset the positive impact of a strong stock market and job market.

Maytag Posts Wider Loss

Maytag Corp., which has agreed to be acquired by rival Whirlpool Corp., on Friday reported a wider quarterly loss on weak demand for its Hoover vacuums.

Factory Orders Rise

America's factories saw orders rise by 1.1 in December, a good sign that manufacturing was humming along heading into the new year.

Business Briefs: THQ, DreamWorks, Paramount, Countrywide Financial

THQ Inc. reports third-quarter earnings, Paramount Pictures buys Kadokawa Holdings' stake in DreamWorks SKG, and Countrywide Financial Corp plans to sell five-year bonds in pounds.

Unemployment Rate Declines

Employers stepped up hiring in January, boosting payrolls by 193,000 and lowering the unemployment rate to 4.7 percent, the lowest since July 2001.

Thursday, February 2

Worker Productivity Slows, Costs Up

The efficiency of U.S. workers rose in 2005 at the slowest pace since 2001 while a key gauge of wage pressures rose at the fastest pace in five years.

Matsushita Sells Universal Studios Stake

Ending its 15-year investment in Hollywood, Japan's Matsushita Electric sold its remaining 7.66 percent stake in Universal Studios Holding to Vivendi Universal in a deal worth $1.15 billion.

O'Donnell Pleads No Contest to Laundering Hahn Funds

Prominent Los Angeles trial attorney Pierce O'Donnell pleaded no contest Thursday to charges that he laundered political contributions to former Los Angeles Mayor James Hahn.

USC Marshall School Dean Resigns

Yash Gupta, the dean of the University of Southern California's Marshall School of Business on Thursday, resigned abruptly from his post after just 18 months.

Mattel to Cut Over 200 Jobs

Mattel Inc. on Thursday said it expects to cut over 200 positions nearly four months after merging its Mattel and Fisher-Price brands into one division called "Mattel Brands."

Ex-General Re, AIG Executives Indicted

Three former executives at Berkshire Hathaway's General Re insurance unit and a former American International Group executive have been indicted by a federal grand jury on fraud charges.

Retail Sales Up on Gift Cards

Consumers armed with gift cards returned to stores in January, buying clearance and spring merchandise and giving many retailers a sales boost.

LAX Awarded $56.5-Million U.S. Grant

LAX has been awarded $56.5 million in federal grants to help pay to relocate one of the runways and soundproof neighboring homes, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Norman Mineta said Thursday.

SEC Subpoenas Brunson's Webmaster Over WPT Bid

The SEC filed an action in federal court to enforce subpoenas issued to a man who ran Doyle Brunson's Web site, where the professional poker player posted his $700 million bid for WPT Enterprises.

Stocks Fall on Higher Labor Costs

Investors concerned about inflation after a surprise jump in labor costs sent stocks lower Thursday. The decline came despite a drop in oil prices and positive employment news.

Morning Headlines

An overview of business stories from today's newspapers.

Chick Says Department of Transportation Mismanaged Funds

The L.A. Department of Transportation is sitting on at least $5.4 million in traffic mitigation funds collected from developers and another $7.8 million in parking revenues, said L.A. City Controller Laura Chick.

Earnings Roundup

California Pizza Kitchen Inc., Pacific Energy Partners LP, Center Financial Corp., Magnetek Inc. and Qualstar Corp. were among the companies that reported earnings Thursday.

GM to Outsource $15 Billion in IT

General Motors Corp. said on Thursday it would outsource up to $15 billion of information technology work as it tries to cut costs and restructure operations.

Wednesday, February 1

Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza Sold for $136 Million

Hager Pacific Properties has sold the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza for about $136 million to Capri Capital Advisors LLC, a minority-owned firm that invests in African-American and Hispanic areas.

DreamWorks Animation, Paramount Start Distribution Deal

DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. said Wednesday it will start operating under its new seven-year distribution deal with Paramount Pictures beginning with its film, "Over the Hedge," to be released in May.

Construction Spending Sets Record

Construction spending climbed to an all-time high in December, helping to push building for all of 2005 to a record as well.

Boeing Fourth-Quarter Net Doubles

Boeing Co. reported that earnings more than doubled, topping expectations, and the aerospace company raised its profit outlook for 2006.

Burger King Parent to File for IPO

Burger King's parent company said it plans to sell shares to the public for the first time in the fast-food chain's 52-year history to recoup ground lost in fierce competition with its rivals.

Time Warner Earnings Up 20 Percent

Time Warner Inc. on Wednesday said fourth-quarter profit rose more than 20 percent on strong growth in advanced cable services and feature films. It also gave an earnings outlook in line with expectations.

Earnings Roundup

CB Richard Ellis Group Inc., Health Net Inc., Nara Bancorp Inc. and Zenith National Insurance Corp. were among the companies that reported earnings Wednesday.

Superior to Cut Half of Employees

Superior Industries International Inc. said on Wednesday it is restructuring its Van Nuys manufacturing facility and will lay off more than half of its 635 manufacturing employees.

Tribune Profit Down 38 Percent

The Tribune Co., parent of the L.A. Times, said Wednesday that quarterly profit fell 38 percent, hurt by declines in ad revenue and circulation, as well as costs associated with staff cuts at the Times.

Stocks Rally on Oil, Boeing

Stocks rose Wednesday after oil futures fell by more than $1 a barrel and Dow Jones Industrial Boeing Co. said its earnings had more than doubled.

Factory Growth Slows Slightly

Manufacturing activity grew at a slower pace in January than in the previous month, according to report Wednesday by a private research group.

Morning Headlines

An overview of business stories from today's newspapers.