Stories for June 2006

Friday, June 30

Northrop Lands IT Contract

Northrop Grumman has been selected by the Department of Homeland Security as a prime contractor in a $45 billion IT contract.

Consumer Spending Slows Sharply in May

Consumer spending slowed sharply in May as rising gasoline prices left Americans with less to spend on other items, the Associated Press reports.

Dow Down 41, Nasdaq Down 2

Stocks ended a turbulent second quarter with a moderate decline Friday as money managers, doing some last-minute adustments, locked in gains from Thursday's big rally.

Headlines From Friday's Newspapers

Kerkorian Presses GM to Join Alliance; Copley to Explore Options for L.A.-Area Newspapers; GE Closes Long-Standing Facility at Ontario Airport; Wedding Snow and Surf ...

Disney Ride Reopens After Boy's Death

Walt Disney World reopened its Rock 'n' Roller Coaster Friday after determining that nothing mechanical caused the death of a 12-year-old rider yesterday.

"Poor Man's Hedge Funds" Draw Few

Mutual funds that operate like hedge funds are now more widely available but their high fees and a strong stock market are keeping investors away.

Thursday, June 29

Headlines From Thursday's Papers

Bodies in Motion Closes Irvine Site; Yahoo's Click-Fraud Settlement Gets Court Approval; New Disney Chairman Seen as Break from Past; Wider Scale of Faked Data Seen at Edison ...

Shareholders Sue Univision

Univision Communications Inc. is facing two shareholder lawsuits aimed at blocking acquisition of the nation's largest Spanish-language broadcaster by an investor group led by billionaire Haim Saban.

Fed Raises Key Rate by a Quarter Point

The Federal Reserve raised a key interest rate for the 17th consecutive time and signaled that further rate hikes may still be needed to fight inflation.

Report: Economy Zips Ahead

The economy sprang out of a year-end rut and zipped ahead in the opening quarter of this year at a 5.6 percent pace, the fastest in 2 1/2 years and even stronger than previously thought.

Biz Briefs: News About Area Companies

SEC Looking Into Computer Science's Stock Grants; Herbalife Gets Ratings Bump From S & P; Zenith Lowers Workers' Comp. Rates; Cadiz Restructures Debt

Hotel Industry Grows; So Does Hilton

As the price of rooms rises, Hilton looks to expand its presence in New York City

Mortgage Rates Climb on Inflation Fears

Interest rates on 30-year mortgages rose for a third straight week, hitting the highest level in more than four years as investors continued to express worries about inflation.

Red Line Gets Boost

Local transit officials have approved funding for major studies of a proposed Red Line subway extension to the ocean, a light rail connector through Downtown Los Angeles.

Dow Closes Up 217, Nasdaq Up 63

Despite a hike in interest rates from the Fed, The Dow Jones industrial average rose more than 215 points today, its biggest one-day point gain in more than three years.

Ameron Sells Coatings Unit to PPG

Pittsburgh-based PPG Industries Inc., the world's second largest auto paint maker, said it has agreed to purchase Ameron International Corp.'s coatings unit for $115 million.

12-Year-Old Killed on Disney Ride

A boy has died after riding the Rock 'n' Roller Coaster at Walt Disney Co.'s Disney-MGM Studios park at Walt Disney World resort in Orlando.

Wednesday, June 28

Disney Selects Pepper As Chairman

Walt Disney Co.'s board of directors has elected John E. Pepper, Jr., former chairman and chief executive of the Procter & Gamble Co., as chairman. He'll succeed George J. Mitchell, who is retiring.

Dow Closes Up 49, Nasdaq Up 10

Stocks advanced in light trading as Wall Street recovered from the previous session's selloff and awaited Thursday's expected interest rate hike.

Abraxis BioScience Completes Acquisition

Abraxis BioScience Inc. has completed its $334 million acquisition of AstraZeneca plc's U.S. branded injectable product portfolio of anesthetic and analgesic drugs.

Ports Unveil Clean Air Plan

The ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach on Wednesday unveiled a sweeping 10-year clean air plan for the nation's busiest port complex.

Vitesse Dropped From Nasdaq

Vitesse Semiconductor Corp. dropped off the Nasdaq National Market on Wednesday for failure to the stock exchange's listing requirements.

IMPCO to Reorganize Company

IMPCO Technologies Inc. said it will reorganize the company and create a new holding company, Fuel Systems Solutions Inc., which IMPCO will be a subsidiary of, the company said.

Fed to Mull Interest Rate Increase

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and his colleagues are poised to boost interest rates, wanting to make sure high energy prices don't spark a broader bout of inflation.

Fed Mulls Interest Rate Hike

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and the Federal Open Market Committee seems poised to boost interest rates, wanting to make sure high energy prices don't spark a broader bout of inflation.

Headlines From Wednesday's Papers

Chandlers Seek Potential Allies in Family's Fight Over Tribune; Cities May Lose Power Over Cable TV; $131 Billion State Budget OK'd; Economy Should Trump Port Security; Amgen to Add Colorado Jobs ...

Oil Above $72 a Barrel

Crude-oil prices rallied Wednesday after government data showed shrinking inventories of oil and gasoline last week amid rising demand and falling imports.

Biz Briefs: News About Area Companies

Image Entertainment Reports Loss; Health Net Refinances Debt; Ixia Adds Simulation Product; North American Scientific OK at Nasdaq; New President at Medical Association ...

New President at County Medical Group

Los Angeles orthopaedic surgeon Ralph John Di Libero, M.D. has been installed as the 135th president of the Los Angeles County Medical Association.

Tuesday, June 27

Dow Ends Down 121, Nasdaq Down 33

Wall Street slumped Tuesday as investors looked past another round of acquisitions and grew increasingly anxious about the Federal Reserve's upcoming decision on interest rates.

Molina Regains Medi-Cal Contracts

Molina Healthcare Inc. said that the California Department of Health Services has formally awarded its California subsidiary the Medi-Cal contracts for San Bernardino and Riverside counties.

Raytheon Gets Contract from Northrop

Raytheon Company has been awarded a contract from El Segundo-based Northrop Grumman, the nation's largest shipbuilder, to provide the electronic systems and integration for the next three U.S. Navy ships in the LPD 17 class.

Biz Briefs: News About Area Companies

Iris Inks $11 Million Deal with Idexx; CB Richard Ellis Revamps Credit Facility; Raytheon Gets Contract from Northrop; Guitar Center Names Head of New Subsidiary; Jacobs Lands U.K. Contract

Tentative Transit Pact Reached

The Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority has reached a tentative contract agreement with its major unions that should avert a strike, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa announced.

CB Richard Ellis Revamps Credit Options

Los Angeles-based CB Richard Ellis Group, Inc. announced the opening of a $600 million multi-currency revolving credit facility, which will replace its existing revolving and term loan credit facility.

Univision Agrees to Bid by Saban Team

Univision, the largest Spanish-language broadcaster in the U.S., has agreed to one of the largest private equity bids in the media sector, after a consortium led by Haim Saban raised its offer.

Consumer Confidence Edges Higher

U.S. consumer confidence increased modestly in June but uncertainty about the near future suggested the economy may be poised to slow in the months ahead, a survey showed on Tuesday.

IRIS International Inks $11 Million Deal

IRIS International Inc. said that it has signed a five-year supply agreement with IDEXX Laboratories Inc. to supply its veterinary centrifuge.

Monday, June 26

Disney Loses in Pooh Royalties Case

Walt Disney Corp. lost another round in the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday in the 15-year legal battle over the merchandising rights to Winnie the Pooh characters.

Film, Marketing Firms Help Miller Brew High-Tone Commercials

Adding flair and upscale appeal to its new TV campaign for Miller Genuine Draft, the Miller Brewing Co. has enlisted two L.A.-based firms and a British apparel whiz.

How Is the Federal Reserve Structured?

A brief explanation of the Federal Reserve, its structure and role.

Business on Ballot in November Vote

November's ballot will contain nearly a dozen measures that could affect the state's business climate for years to come.

Newsmakers & Kudos

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

New Homes Sales Increase Unexpectedly

Sales of new homes rose in May, surprising economists who had been forecasting that housing would slow down because of rising mortgage rates.

Headlines from Monday's Newspapers

Knight Ridder Shareholders Approve Sale to McClatchy; Tribune Stock Buyback Appears Likely to Reach Target; Eisner to Sell Tykes on College Sports; Sea Launch Has Many Missions on Its Plate

It's Less Than a Spectacle as Univision Bids Fail to Impress

When a company offers itself for sale, it usually sparks a rush on Wall Street. So in February, when Univision Communications Inc. announced it would "explore strategic alternatives to enhance shareholder value," including the sale of the company, it goos

One Economist's Take on Life Without the Punch Bowl

Scott Anderson, senior economist at Wells Fargo & Co., offers his perspective on the interest rate picture.

Banks Bullish On Bankruptcy

Many banks and law firms are preparing for the next cyclical downturn, anticipating a flurry of loan problems in 2007.

Sale Means Upgrade for Hermosa Beach Apartments

A 34-year-old apartment complex less than two blocks from the shore in Hermosa Beach was sold last week for $68.5 million to Equity Residential Properties Trust, which plans substantial improvements to the property.

L.A. Gas Average Falls to $3.18

The average price of a gallon of self-serve regular gasoline in the Los Angeles Area was $3.187 for the week ended June 26, down 3.3 cents from the previous week, according to federal data.

Denim Maker Blue Increases Retail Holdings

With a chain of trendy mall stores in its back pocket, Blue Holdings Inc. has plans to pump up its denim brands' retail presence and spread its store base across the country.

Good Works

The annual walk of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society in Los Angeles, organized to raise money to help people suffering from multiple sclerosis this year drew about 13,500 participants from companies in the city and helped raised more than $1.5 milli

Attorneys Lining Up Civil Suits Stemming From Pellicano Probe

Many of those whose names came up in the federal investigation of Anthony Pellicano are filing civil cases.

Job Satisfaction on Rise, Survey Finds

American workers today report a higher rate of job satisfaction than in the 1970s, according to a new book.

Good as Goal

Spanish-language KMEX-TV had 108 percent more World Cup viewers in the key 18-49 age bracket than KABC-TV.

Jacobs Lands U.K. Contract

Jacobs Engineering Group Inc., the second-largest engineering company in the U.S., announced a contract to provide engineering services for Total UK Ltd., Europe's largest oil refiner.

Financial Woes Prompt Six Flags To Consider Sale of Valencia Park

Six Flags may sell or close the landmark Valencia attraction.

Pricey Maladies Afflict California Universities

Recent cases in Indonesia raised fears that the bird flu virus had finally mutated, allowing human-to-human transmission, a development that could trigger a devastating global pandemic.

Anticipation of Hikes Already Taking Toll on County Stocks

Rising interest rates and inflationary pressures have hit the stocks of Los Angeles companies in sectors such as homebuilding, video game publishing and restaurants.

News Lives, Newspapers Die

The Chandler family's recent tussle with the owners of the Los Angeles Times points up a widespread trend: the amazing sinking fortunes of metro daily newspapers.

Starr Turn

Kenneth Starr is best known for his investigation of Bill Clinton, but the Pepperdine law school dean has moved on to new challenges.

Accounting Firm Calling Number Of Its Treasurer

After a 16-hour flight from Hong Kong and lots of bottled water, Peter Griffith still managed to sound excited about his new job as vice chair of the Pacific Southwest Area at Ernst & Young.

Finisar Wins Verdict Against DirecTV

Finisar Corp., which makes fiber-optic equipment for computer networks, won a $78.9 million jury verdict in a patent infringement lawsuit against El Segundo-based satellite-television provider DirecTV Group Inc.

Leery Lenders Feeling Exposed on Speculative Loans

Federal officials worry that rising interest rates and a cooling real estate market could spell trouble for banks in Southern California.

Homestore's Prospects Improve Despite Fraud Scandal

A Los Angeles jury returned a guilty verdict in the fraud trial of former Homestore Inc. Chief Executive Stuart Wolff.

Historical Perspective Can Prevent Hysterical Reaction

The Federal Reserve tightened interest rates in 1994 to keep inflation in check and a mild recession resulted.

L.A. Firms Helping Subway Create Hoagie Hit Parade

Customers will be able to groove to Subway Radio tunes while they decide whether to go with roast beef or the tuna, thanks to partnerships the giant sandwich chain has struck with two L.A. media companies.

Up to Specs

The luxury eyewear sector has largely been the purview of independent retailers, but corporate concentration has begun to take hold.

Economists at Two Schools Agree on Forecast for Downturn

Forecasters at Chapman University and UCLA are converging on the prospect of a downturn.

Hollywood Horsepower

NASCAR is bringing film and TV audiences along for the ride through its entertainment arm.

Nielsen Confident Of Measuring Up In an iPod World

Nielsen plans to measure content viewership on cell phones, on the Internet and on television sets outside the home.

Seeking to Utilize Excess Cash, Dealmakers Were Busy in May

The pace of L.A. dealmaking surged ahead in May as companies and private equity firms looking to put excess cash to use snapped up other companies.

County Administrator To Retire

Longtime Los Angeles County Chief Administrative Officer David Janssen informed the Board of Supervisors announced that he plans to retire in January after 10 years on the job.

Lords of the Rings

A shift in its business model has turned the Glendale-based Robbins Bros. into an enterprise with nine enormous destination stores.

Banks Getting Bullish On Bankruptcy

Many banks and law firms are preparing for the next cyclical downturn, anticipating a flurry of loan problems in 2007.

Dow, Nasdaq Post Gains at Close

A series of multi-billion dollar acquisitions gave Wall Street a modest advance Monday although many investors remained cautious ahead of the Federal Reserve's decision on interest rates later in the week.

Judge Finds Answer to Court TV Quandary on the Web

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Victoria Chaney has found a high tech solution to the classic conundrum of balancing the public's right to know with a client's right to a fair trial.

PR Firm Edelman Will Tackle Hollywood's Digital Dilemma

Music labels and movie studios face a digital dilemma. They want to give consumers easy access to products such as DVDs and downloadable music, but at the same time the companies must protect the intellectual property behind their content.

Fed Says Expansion Solid

The economy should perform well this year and in 2007 despite the restraint caused by higher energy prices, the Federal Reserve said in its 2005 annual report issued on Monday.

Asians Still Haven't Broken Down the Housing Barriers

Asian Americans are often perceived as enjoying a high degree of economic and educational success. Indeed, most data indicate that Asian Americans have among the highest household income and home ownership rates in the country.

Caught in Downtown's Conversion Crossfire

As residential hotels begin to disappear in loft conversions, the L.A. City Council enacted a moratorium. But property owners are now seeking exemptions.

Untangling the Web

CrownPeak Technology Inc. has developed a Web site template that simplifies the process of modifying and updating pages.

Pointing to Trouble

If the rate hikes send a chill through the economy, the cure may be worse than the symptoms.

Friday, June 23

Univision Cool to Sole Bid

Univision Communications Inc. so far has drawn one potential buyer this week whose bid was deemed too low, while a last-minute shakeup within a second investor group has clouded prospects for another offer.

Six Flags May Sell Magic Mountain

News that Six Flags Inc. plans to put Six Flags Magic Mountain up for sale for possible conversion into real estate development was not met with an enthusiastic response from the valley's leading developer on Friday.

Biz Briefs: News About Area Companies

Homestore Stockholders Approve Name Change; Siemens Gets Nod for Diagnostic Products Acquisition; Saehan Bancorp Declares Stock Dividend

Headlines from Friday's Newspapers

Televisa-Led Group Makes Bid for Univision; Bodies in Motion Files for Bankruptcy; Shyamalan Book Tells of Breakup with Disney; State Vulnerable to Oil Disruption

L.A. Gas Average Drops to $3.215

For the sixth straight week gasoline prices trickled lower across the Southland, according to the latest Automobile Club of Southern California's weekend gas watch.

Revised Adelphia Pact Signed

Comcast Corp. and Time Warner Cable have signed revised agreements to buy the assets of bankrupt cable operator Adelphia Communications Corp. in an attempt to overcome roadblocks that have stalled the deal.

Manufactured Goods Demand Declines

Orders to U.S. factories for big-ticket manufactured goods fell in May, reflecting a second straight month of weakness in demand for commercial aircraft, the Commerce Department reported Friday.

Wall Street Slips on Factory Order Drop

Wall Street finished the week with a listless session Friday as a decline in big ticket factory goods did little to assuage investors' economic worries and left the major indexes slightly lower.

Thursday, June 22

Jobless Claims Climb

The number of Americans filing claims for unemployment benefits rose by the largest amount in five weeks, a Thursday report said, suggesting the slowing economy is beginning to show up in a weaker employment market.

Cash Tech Invests in Payment Processor

Cash Technologies Inc. said that it has completed a $2 million investment in Business Intelligent Processing Systems Ltd., a London-based payment processor, in exchange for a 10 percent equity stake.

Stocks Retreat on Weak Economic News

Wall Street posted a moderate decline Thursday, giving back part of the prior session's gains as investors once again fretted about interest rates and the economy.

Crude Oil Prices Rise on Data

Crude oil futures rose for a second day Thursday after the U.S. government reported a smaller-than-expected build in gasoline supplies when refineries are boosting production to meet summer peak fuel demand.

Ex-Homestore CEO Found Guilty

A Los Angeles jury has found Homestore Inc.'s former chief executive, Stuart Wolff, guilty of defrauding investors by inflating advertising revenue at the Internet real estate firm.

Headlines from Thursday's Newspapers

Televisa Alliance on Univision Bid Suffers Blow; Future of C-17 Line Still Up in the Air; Study: Big One May Hit as Soon as Today; Mango Importer Expands Business; Foes of Long Beach Airport EIR Mull Options ...

Stocks Dip as Oil Rises

Stocks retreated in early trading Thursday as higher oil prices curbed Wall Street's momentum from a sharp rally in the prior session.

Fitch Upgrades DirectTV Outlook

Fitch Ratings has revised the rating outlook on DirecTV Group Inc. to "positive" from "stable," citing the El Segundo-based satellite TV service provider's focus on subscriber quality and reduced churn.

Biz Briefs: News About Area Companies

AMG 714 Is Successful in Phase II Study; Digital Insight Expands Internet Banking Relationships; Grill Concepts Names CFO; Arrowhead Research Scheduled to Join Russell Index

Wednesday, June 21

Japan Agrees to Lift Ban on U.S. Beef

Japan has agreed to lift its ban on U.S. beef imports, pending planned inspections of American meat processing plants, the two governments said Wednesday.

Pact Reached on School Takeover

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has reached a landmark compromise with teachers and state legislators over his plan for more mayoral control over the city's school district.

Headlines: Univision, Homes, Queen Mary

Two groups of investors that had been expected to bid for Univision Communications Inc. missed the submission deadline on Tuesday, though both had worked into the night to solidify their offers,

Oil Prices Rise on Inventory Data

Crude oil prices rose above $70 a barrel Wednesday after the U.S. government reported that gasoline inventories grew at a slow clip last week, despite high production levels.

Briefs: Occidental, Gemstar, Activision ...

Activision expands in South Korea; Gemstar buys jumptheshark.com; Occidental division settles 23-year-old suit over Lake Ontario contamination; Closing arguments in trial of former Homestore CEO

Housing Market to Slow Economy

The UCLA Anderson Forecast predicts a slowing housing market will lead to lower economic growth in California but not an all-out recession.

Stocks Rise on Strong Earnings News

Stocks recover on better-than-expected earnings from Morgan Stanley and FedEx Corp.

Screen Trading Move Raises Questions

Some industry players fear that New York Board of Trade's decision to develop electronic trading for its agricultural products would pull the plug on the exchange's cherished and raucous open-outcry system of trading.

Tuesday, June 20

Zaya Younan Sells L.A. Assets

Younan Properties Inc. is unloading the last of its L.A. properties, and is now the second-largest office landlord in Dallas - though it will still be based in Woodland Hills.

Briefs: Semtech, Jakks, Panavision, Sony

Semtech faces delisting, Jakks gets Pokemon agreement, Panavision approves Perelman offer, Sony releases Blu-ray DVDs, Ducommun wins 787 contract

Headlines: Univision, SEC, L.A. Schools, LAX, Lewin

Univision Communications bidders emerge, SEC expands options probe, L.A. mayor defends school takeover, LAX to get new security screeners, Lewin resigns CMA post

Stocks Mixed Despite Homebuilding Report

Wall Street pared an earlier advance to end mixed Tuesday as investors' persistent concerns about interest rates and the economy countered relief over an upbeat homebuilding report.

Stocks Mixed Despite Homes Report

Wall Street pared an earlier advance to end mixed Tuesday as investors' concerns about interest rates countered relief over an upbeat homebuilding report.

Blue Holdings Buys Retail Chain

Premium denim manufacturer of Antik and Yanuk jeans buys 24 Against the Wall contemporary fashion stores.

French Pledge Review of Airbus

Shares of Airbus parent EADS rise on pledge by French prime minister to review the troubled company's management and ownership structure.

Housing Starts Rise in May

Construction of new homes and apartments, after posting three straight months of declines, increased in May, helped by dry weather.

Federal Reserve Governor to Head Accounting Board

Mark W. Olson was named the chairman of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board.

Monday, June 19

Terrorism Concerns Provide Security Blanket for OSI Systems

The controversy over foreign management of ports has died down, but executives at OSI Systems Inc. hope the issue doesn't go away completely because it's been good for business.

7 L.A. Companies Among Largest U.S. Black-Owned Firms

Seven Los Angeles companiesare listed among the largest black-owned busi-nesses in the United States.

Gas Prices Down Slightly

The average price of a gallon of self-serve regular gasoline in the Los Angeles Area was $3.220 for the week ended June 19, according to the Energy Information Administration.

Featured Newsmaker

In grade school, Ryder Steimle worked in the warehouse of his family's business, California Pools, arranging and assembling pool parts. Now, years later and after a stint in the corporate world, he is leading the company his grandfather started in 1952.

Yahoo Scoring Big With Page Views on World Cup Site

Yahoo Inc. is producing and marketing the official Web site for the FIFA World Cup in Germany.

Shipping News

Geraldine Knatz, the first woman to serve as executive director of the Port of Los Angeles, faces challenges that include environmental concerns and freight capacity.

Headlines: 'Cars,' Calpers Benefit Cuts, Accounting Regulations

'Cars,' 'Nacho Libre' Top Box Office; Calpers Weighs Benefit Cuts; State Regulators Rolling Back Accounting Rules

News Roundup

The cost to companies of being public has dropped from historic levels but remains high due to skyrocketing audit fees and increased payouts to attract qualified directors, a study has found.

Newsmakers

Job Posting

Charitable Giving Breaks Record Last Year

Hurricane Katrina and other catastrophes around the globe drove charitable giving to disaster relief to a record level in 2005.

Change of Nameplate Means Fewer Rooms at New Hotel

L.A. officials once said the new Convention Center hotel needed 1,200 rooms, but now they'll accept 1,000.

Closing Act on Palladium Bill?

A developer is negotiating to buy the Hollywood Palladium, and experts say the land is more valuable for apartments and shops than as a concert venue.

Cold Shot

Hyekyung Hwang is testing the notion that frozen yogurt is ready for a comebackwith her Pinkberry concept, a chain that serves only two flavors: green tea and vanilla.

Picture This

Julius Shulman's famous depictions of L.A. homes and buildings have won a place of honor at a downtown gallery.

Page Three

Luck, long hours and a willingness to take risks are some of the qualities often mentioned by entrepreneurs who have built their own businesses from scratch.

Land Office Business

Zaya Younan has become the second-largest office landlord in Dallas as he liquidates the last of his L.A. assets and steps up investments in other cities.

Briefs: Platinum Equity, Herbalife, Mattel Inc., Docufide Inc.

Platinum Equity sells voice data firm; Herbalife sponsors two sporting events; Mattel introduces "High School Musical" game; Docufide wins big contract

Kudos

The Apparel Industries Group for City of Hope has honored Richard Clareman, president of Self Esteem, and Sunnie S. Kim, president and chief executive of Hana Financial Inc., with the Spirit of Life Award. The award recognizes the pair's outstanding achievements as industry leaders and philanthropists.

Stocks Fall on Wall Street

Investors are hesistant as they await next week's decision by the Federal Reserve on whether to raise interest rates again

Waiting This One Out

On the challenges of buying a house in today's market.

Address Illegal Immigration by Increasing the Minimum Wage

Forget about walls, forget about enforcement. Raise the minimum wage.

Big Top Goes Hip-Hop in 'Retro Glam' Revamp at Ringling Bros.

Los Angeles director Shanda Sawyer and local costume designer Colleen Atwood guided the remake of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus.

Cable TV Industry Gets Wake-Up Call

State legislation that would rewire the cable industry by allowing telephone companies to compete could lower prices for consumers, but it's also raising questions about whether the newcomers would enjoy an unfair advantage.

After Troubled Early Years, This Whiteboy Is Growing Up

The chief executive and chairman of Sub-Urban Brands Inc. recently took his company public in a reverse merger to bolster the L.A.-based apparel company as it descends upon stores with the latest Whiteboy-branded gear.

Major Wagering Comes to Youbet For Belmont Race

The Belmont Stakes brought major wagering to Youbet.com. Only the Kentucky Derby outranked it.

Online Service and L.A. Film Festival Growing Up Together

Withoutabox allows filmmakers to submit trailers, production notes, bios and the like online.

Steptoe & Johnson Gets Serious About L.A. Expansion

Steptoe & Johnson LLP's plans to open a West Los Angeles office could be close to fruition.

Ad-Ventures in Film Financing

Adidas AG went one step further than product placement in the movie "Goal." Instead of paying for its shoes to appear, the company bank rolled the movie.

New Yorkers Reaching West for Land in Downtown L.A.

The Moinian Group, one of New York's largest landowners, is buying a prominent downtown property near the Staples Center.

Law Firms Compete for Attorneys With Real Estate Savvy

The competition among Los Angeles firms for attorneys with real estate experience has turned into an all-out war.

Trizec Merger Shows Good Times Should Keep Rolling

The acquisition of Trizec bodes well for the sector.

Strip Stakes

Celebrity chefs, who long ago fired up their grills in Las Vegas, are starting to test the L.A. market. The city could soon be feasting at a slew of eateries opened by culinary transplants, both rising stars and established impresarios.

Belmont Means Major Wagers for Youbet

This year's Belmont Stakes drew the second-highest race day total in online betting, according to Woodland Hills-based Youbet.com Inc.

Reign of L.A.'s Royal Family Could Be Coming to an End

The Chandler family, which published the Los Angeles Times for 63 years, might have benefited from a re-reading of Machiavelli before they sold the paper to Tribune Co. in 2000.

Friday, June 16

CRA Approves 875 High-Rise Downtown Condos

Pacific Atlas Develpment Corp. wants to construct a 38-story and two other buildings on what is now a parking lot off Grand Avenue and Olive Street.

Stocks Fall at End of Topsy Turvy Week

Stocks fell slightly Friday at the end of a week of zigzag trading that saw a steep selloff followed by a dramatic rebound. The major indexes finished the week mixed, with large caps seeing gains and small caps slipping.

Execs With Military Backgrounds Do Best

Top executives who have served time in the military do a better job and stay longer in their positions than those who haven't, a new study suggests.

New Yorkers Buying Downtown Land

The Moinian Group, one of New York's largest landowners, is buying a prominent downtown property near the Staples Center.

County Unemployment Rate Rises

Los Angeles County's unemployment rate climbed to 5.1 percent in May from 4.7 percent from April as more job seekers hit the market and the educational and health sectors cooled off.

Airbus Comes Under Fire for 380 Delays

Airbus leader Noel Forgeard is facing a crisis as the European jumbo jet stumbles to the market amid technical problems.

Roundup: Thomas Properties, Superior Industries, Anderson Forecast

Thomas Properties buys 1.5-million-square-feet campus in Houston; Superior Industries lays off 225 employees at Arkansas plant; Anderson Forecast to focus on California real estate

Headlines: Nissan, Catholic Healthcare West, Tribune, Blu-ray Disc, Disney

Nissan announces staff cuts; Hospital settles gouging suit; Tribune shoots back at Chandlers; Blu-ray to ship movies; Paramount executive joins Disney

Thursday, June 15

Headlines: Tribune, Mercedes, Countrywide

Chandlers Demand Breakup of Tribune; Car Dealer Sues Over $1.7 Million Mercedes; Countrywide CEO Defends Pay Package

Roundup: Tribune, 99 Cents, Netsol, Gas Prices

Tribune's debt rating cut; 99 Cents Stores won't file on time; Netsol Technologies to raise $5.5 million; Schwarzenegger calls for gas investigation

Hilton Plans Waldorf Expansion

Hilton Hotels Corp. has grand plans to expand the Waldorf name to a series of existing and new hotels across the country, including a lodging near Walt Disney World to be finished later this decade.

U.S. Markets Rally Once Again

U.S. stocks jumped on Thursday as Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said inflation expectations have fallen.

Wednesday, June 14

Bargain Hunters Lift Stocks

Stocks rose on Wednesday as investors bought up recently beaten-down shares, and a wave of good news boosted shares of airplane manufacturer Boeing Co.

Roundup: Semtech, Guess, First Consulting, Hilton

Semtech receives subpoena; Guess hires CFO; First Consulting hires CEO; Hilton makes a move in Boston

Headlines: L.A. Times, Boeing, Tax Breaks

Billionaires Eye Purchase of L.A. Times, C-17 Extension Wins Initial OK; California Corporations Push for Tax Breaks

Tuesday, June 13

Stocks Lose Annual Gains on Inflation Data

All three major stock indices ended the day in negative territory Tuesday after new inflation data issued by the government spooked investors.

Headlines: World Cup Ratings, Getty Conflict, Pipeline Deal, Mattel Licensing

An overview of business stories in Tuesday's newspapers

Gemstar, CFO Settle Severance Pay Dispute

Gemstar-TV Guide has settled an $8.4 million legal dispute with its former chief financial officer, who has relinquished all claims to the money, according to a Securities & Exchange Commission filing.

True Religion Hires Goldman Sachs

True Religion Apparel Inc. has secured Goldman Sachs & Co. to advise the L.A.-based denim company on a possible sale.

Roundup: Sport Chalet, Maguire, CPK, Livhome

Sport Chalet net income rises; Maguire hires two executives; CPK opens second Food Show; LivHome makes an acquisition

Monday, June 12

Stocks Tumble Again on Interest Rate Fears

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 99.34 points to 10792.58. The Big Board has now fallen 850 points since May 10, a collapse similar to the beginning of the tech bust in 2000.

The Quest for Energy Savings

Building green can add up to 25 percent to the cost of construction, though the payoff in mild Southern California would seem to be less than, say, in the frigid North or the hot and sultry South.

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Letters from our readers.

State Hospital Association Sues Blue Cross Over Payment Policy

The California Hospital Association has filed suit against Blue Cross of California over a new payment policy by the health plan.

Increasing Cost Is Most Effective Deterrent to Smoking

When it comes to improving productivity and performance, taxing cigarettes is a smart business decision.

Green Scenes: Three Enviromentally friendly sites

Three sites in Los Angeles that have been recognized for their environmental design and construction.

Hallmark Channel Buys Rights To 39 Films From Warner Bros.

The Hallmark Channel acquired the U.S. rights to a slate of films from Warner Bros. Domestic Cable Distribution, including "March of the Penguins."

Singing the Blues? Maybe This Guy Can Cheer You Up

Sourena Vasseghi is a USC business school grad whose cerebral palsy isn't stopping him from consulting and launching a career in motivational speaking.

Home Sale Volume Continues Slowdown

Even as Los Angeles County's median home price continued to break records in May, the number of homes sold often a leading indicator of a looming market correction continued to drop.

J Brand Carefully Cultivates Trend of Skinny-Leg Jeans

J Brand Inc. is setting itself up for a prolonged stay in the fashion business where labels are as fleeting as Britney Spears' husbands.

Where's Waldorf?

Hilton Hotels Corp. plans to add the Waldorf name to a series of existing and new hotels across the country, including a lodging near Walt Disney World.

Soft Sales Volume Sounds Like Shift in Housing Market

As Los Angeles County's median home price continued to break records in May, the number of homes sold continued to drop.

Platform Picking Up the Pieces For Fragmented Media Market

Henry Eshelman sold his Los Angeles-based agency Public Eye to Platform Media Group, for a better position in an increasingly fragmented media environment.

That's Using Your Noodle

Crustacean restaurant's garlic noodles have gained such a following that Helene An wants to trademark them.

MyShape Finds Right Fit for Pasadena Angels Funding

For businesswomen buying clothes, guesswork over European sizes, name brands that "run small," and the need to bring three sizes of the same outfit into the dressing room have been an unfortunate fact of life.

L.A. Gas Prices Inch Down

The average retail price for a gallon of self-serve gasoline in the Los Angeles inched downward to $3.270 from $3.321 for the week ended June 12, according to the Energy Information Administration.

Determined to Go It Alone, Miller Ready to Rock 'n' Roll

For powerhouse attorney Louis R. "Skip" Miller, the rock hit "Bat Out of Hell" appears to be a way out of limbo.

Sharp Decline in TV Production Is No Laughing Matter for L.A.

As if on cue, the recent report showing a 23 percent decline in TV pilot production for 2006 elicited collective hand wringing from local officials and studio types.

Tribune Ready for Battle With Chandlers

When Tribune Co. Chief Executive Dennis FitzSimons made the decision in late May to move ahead with a restructuring plan vehemently opposed by his second-largest shareholder, he took up a fight that may end up defining his career, according to the Chicago

Going Ghana

Stephen Kanner has designed luxury homes to affordable apartments. Now he's reopening L.A.'s architectural museum and working on African projects.

Understanding the LEED Rating System

A brief explanation of Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design ratings.

Warming Up

Acme Environmental Group specializes in installation of radiant heat systems in luxury homes.

Image-Conscious Law Firms Battle Guilt by Association

When powerhouse class-action securities law firm Milberg Weiss Bershad & Schulman LLP was indicted here last month,

Marketer's Index Helping Brands Book Right Celebs

Davie-Brown Entertainment is trying to take the guesswork out of finding the perfect marketing mate with a celebrity-ranking database that pairs brands with stars.

Business Leaders Make More Time For Their Families

Entrepreneurs say they're spending more time with their families.

Beverly Hills Site Will Be Developer's Make-or-Break Test

New Pacific Realty hopes to prove environmentally friendly buildings can be profitable.

Right Stuff: Environmentally friendly materials take hold

Uncommon surfaces turn up in eco-friendly buildings. Dumpster diving doesn't often top lists of contributions to sustainable development, but that's not to say it doesn't have a place in the mix.

Bringing Business Advice to Low-Income Communities

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

Officials Add Incentives for Environmental Construction

The L.A. City Council may offer incentives to make building green projects more attractive.

Chipmaker Vitesse Has More Than Its Shares of SEC Trouble

Vitesse Semiconductor Corp.'s problems with stock options and accounting have caused a liquidity crunch.

Winning Over Business Will Tax Angelides

If Phil Angelides is going to unseat the Terminator as governor, he'll have to counter the perception that he's an anti-business candidate.

Three Awards For Business Journal

The Los Angeles Business Journal was honored with three awards by the Alliance of Area Business Publications.

Spoofing Sports Talk With Cartoon Style

Animax specializes in creating "character-driven experiences" and is selling cartoons for play on new media platforms.

Making It Happen: Profiles

Portraits of selected L.A. leaders in the green building sector.

Headlines: AFI, Dreamworks, 'Cars'

An overview of business stories from Monday's newspapers

GREEN REVOLUTION

Sustainable building used to be found only in universities and public projects, but is gaining wider note.

Newsmakers & Kudos

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

Ladies' Vroom

The Harley-Davidson dealership in Glendale has seen its female customer base explode.

THE GREEN REVOLUTION

Sustainable building used to be found only in universities and public projects, but is gaining wider note.

Flexibility Gives Reliance Steel Opportunity to Prove Its Mettle

The worldwide steel industry may be in the midst of a massive consolidation, but Reliance Steel & Aluminum Co. has prospered by acting like a smaller player than it really is.

Lions Gate Court Victory Forces Vote on Image Board

Lions Gate Entertainment Co. said June 5 that it has won a lawsuit that will require DVD distributor Image Entertainment Inc. to put all six seats on its board up for election at this year's annual meeting in October.

Roundup: PrimeZone Media, Hansen Natural, SCPIE Holdings, CorpHQ

PrimeZone Media Network is purchased by the Nasdaq, Hansen Natural announces a 4-for-1 stock split, two proxy advisory services back SCPIE Holdings, CorpHQ explores strategic alternatives.

Friday, June 9

Roundup: True Religion, 3D, Iconix

True Religion Apparel Inc. has hired Goldman, Sachs & Co. to advise on a possible sale of the company, an online business news site reported on Friday, citing industry people familiar with the discussions.

Headlines: Gas, Tribune, Disney

An overview of business stories from Friday's newspapers.

L.A. Gas Average Drops to $3.315

For the third consecutive week, gasoline prices across the region declined, according to the latest Automobile Club of Southern California's weekend gas watch.

Stocks Take Another Tumble

Wall Street finished its worst week of the year with a moderate decline Friday as persistent unease over inflation and interest rates kept investors nervous about buying.

Oil Up Amid Iraqi Unrest

Oil prices rose back near $71 a barrel Friday, with the kidnapping of a senior Iraqi official serving as a reminder that the killing of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi did not mean the end of violence and instability in that country.

DirecTV Adds Net to Service Bundle

Satellite TV providers DirecTV Group Inc. and rival EchoStar Communications Corp. have signed separate wholesale distribution deals with broadband service provider WildBlue Communications Inc.

Oil Prices Push Trade Gap Higher

The U.S. trade deficit rose in April after two months of rare declines, pushed higher by surging oil prices and a flood of imported furniture, televisions and toys from China.

Thursday, June 8

Earnings: Keystone, Cherokee

Keystone Automotive Industries Inc. said that its fourth-quarter profit jumped 74 percent as same-store sales increased and revenue outpaced the cost of sales.

Jobless Claims Fall

The number of laid off workers filing claims for unemployment plunged last week by the largest amount in eight months, the Labor Department reported Thursday, but it might have been a statistical fluke.

Stocks Recover for Mixed Close

Wall Street recovered from an earlier plunge to finish narrowly mixed Thursday as investors attempted to rally from a week of losses fueled by concerns that higher interest rates will strain the global economy.

Hospital Group Sues Blue Cross

The California Hospital Association wants to stop Blue Cross of California from providing financial incentives for doctors to perform certain procedures in less expensive ambulatory centers.

Oil Prices Drop Below $70

Oil prices sank by more than $1 a barrel Thursday following the death of al-Qaida's leader in Iraq and on concerns of a slowdown in global economic growth, among other factors.

Headlines: Galpin, Disney, Geneon

An overview of business stories from Thursday's newspapers.

Comedian Signed To ManiaTV.com Show

ManiaTV!, an Internet-based television network, has signed shock comic and talk show host Tom Green to a weekly deal for his new show, "Tom Green Live", to be aired on www.ManiaTV.com starting next week.

Health Net Expands Latino Outreach

Health Net of California has opened an East Los Angeles storefront to better promote its innovative "Salud con Health" cross-boarder managed care program for Latinos.

Tribune To Proceed with $2B Buyback

Tribune Co. said it would proceed with a major share repurchase program which had been opposed by three key board members representing the Chandler Trusts, its second-largest shareholder.

Hallmark Channel Adds to Line-Up

The Hallmark Channel has acquired the U.S. rights to a 39-film slate of Warner Bros. films, including the network television premiere of the Oscar-winning documentary, "March of the Penguins."

Wednesday, June 7

DirecTV To Enhance 'Triple Play'

DirecTV Group Inc. and Verizon Communications Inc. announced an agreement that will enable Verizon to offer a service package that will better compete with cable company "triple play" offers.

American Repro. Makes Acquisition

American Reprographics Co. said it has acquired privately-held T-Square Reprographics, a Miami-based provider of reproduction and document management services.

Stocks Take Turn for Worse

Stocks dropped late in Wednesday's session, extending investors' losses for the third straight session and pushing the Dow Jones industrial average below 11,000 for the first time since March 9.

Oil Prices Drop on Gov't Report

Oil prices fell by almost $2 a barrel on Wednesday after U.S. government data showed rising domestic inventories of crude-oil and gasoline.

Headlines: Election, Tribune, Brockovich

An overview of business stories from Wednesday's newspapers.

Tuesday, June 6

Lost in Translation?

Ben Bernanke, who took over the Fed helm in February after longtime chairman Alan Greenspan retired, has gotten off to a bumpy start in communicating the central bank's interest-rate intentions to Wall Street.

Oil Falls on Iran News

Oil prices fell Tuesday after Iran's top nuclear negotiator cited "positive steps" in a package of incentives offered to it by world powers to curb its nuclear program.

Lions Gate Wins Image Suit

Lions Gate Entertainment Co. has won a lawsuit that will require DVD distributor Image Entertainment Inc. to put all six seats on its board up for election at this year's annual meeting in October.

Dow Has Worst Close Since March

Stocks dropped for the second straight session Tuesday, with the Dow Jones industrial average falling to its worst close since March 9. Global markets also sold off as inflation fears worsened.

Amgen Buys Out Royalty Agreement

Amgen Inc. has agreed to pay Massachusetts General Hospital $186 million to settle a royalty dispute over Enbrel, a lucrative drug used to treat rheumatoid arthritis.

Farmer Bros. Names COO

Farmer Bros. Co. said that Roger "Rocky" Laverty, an experienced food and beverage business executive, has been named the company's president and chief operating officer.

N. American Scientific Gets Funding

North American Scientific Inc. has entered into a binding agreement to raise $24 million in a private placement that should enable the company to regain compliance with Nasdaq listing requirements.

Headlines: Cable, Upfront, Google

An overview of business stories from Tuesday's newspapers.

Korn/Ferry Reports Q4 Profit

Executive search firm Korn/Ferry International said that its fourth-quarter profit soared 74 percent, boosted by a one-time tax benefit and strong revenue growth.

Monday, June 5

Home Depot Buys Playa Vista Site

Home Depot has agreed to buy a former postal sorting plant near Playa Vista for close to $75 million.

Legal Eagles' Phone Service Answers Call of the Filed

Mark Wapnick's CourtCall LLC has facilitated more than 800,000 telephonic court "appearances" for California attorneys.

Blimp Designer Is SBA's Person of the Year for L.A.

The U.S.Small Business Administration's Los Angeles district office has named businessman Igor Pasternak as its person of the year.

Yahoo's eBay Partnership Seen As Response to Google Threat

The behemoth partnership between Yahoo Inc. and eBay Inc. may have been announced in Silicon Valley, but much of the alliance will be executed in the Burbank offices of Yahoo Search Marketing.

L.A. Sample Sales Move Up From the Bargain Basement

Bargain basements? Hardly. Sample sales in Los Angeles have become invitation events that feature disc jockeys and excitement over merchandise.

Chiat\Day, DDB, Ground Zero Take Home Advertising Awards

The Los Angeles Advertising Club gave away 54 Belding Bowls at its annual awards fest, including 15 to TBWA\Chiat\Day, the most of any agency.

Oxy Faces Down Risks

When Ecuador last month seized oil fields operated by Occidental Petroleum Corp., it was a sharp reminder of just how vulnerable companies are to shifting geopolitical sands.

Air Board Loading Restrictions Onto Forklift Emissions

The state is clamping down on emissions from forklift fleets.

Don't Let Big Box Superstores Overrun L.A.'s Vibrant Commercial Districts

The modern day price-busting superstore, such as Wal-Mart or Home Depot, is the 21st century version of the "One Company town," with similar economic, environmental and sociological consequences.

Fed Chairman Worries About Inflation

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said on Monday the Fed needed to be vigilant to make sure inflation stays under control even as the economy starts to shift to a slower pace of growth.

Playing the Fields

Owner's Pass LLC is offering small- and mid-sized companies the opportunity to purchase a mixed bag of luxury suites for Lakers, Clippers, Dodgers and Kings games.

Lawsuit Over Web Site is an 'Idol' Threat

Winner Taylor Hicks may have crooned his last soulful tune on "American Idol," but for attorney Jeff Valle and his client Adam Pick, the fun is just beginning.

Pizza Chain Bets ASAP Expansion Will Bring More Dough

California Pizza Kitchen Inc. wants to take a slice out of the fast-casual sector ASAP.

Perfect Fit

Rosemary Brantley has molded the Otis School of Art and Design's fashion design department into one of the most influential couture schools in the country, churning out design talent for major apparel companies.

Network Claims Turf

In the race for Hispanic TV viewers, Azteca America hopes to narrow the gap by taking on market leader Univision Communications Inc. on its own turf.

'World in Flames' Video Game Stirs Concern in Venezuela

Pandemic Studios is drawing fire from some members of the Venezuelan government.

Let Wal-Mart Come to Town

When I was a young reporter at a metro daily newspaper, a middle-aged senior editor pulled me aside and gave me a bracing lecture about how we reporters should cover the news without fear or favor. No one is above our scrutiny, he said. Nothing is off lim

Tech Firms Exploiting Tel Aviv Connection

Warren Buffett may have just discovered Israel, dropping nearly $4 billion to buy a machine tool technology company, but California businesses have been investing in the tech oasis for a long time.

Trizec To Be Acquired for $8.9 Billion

Trizec Properties Inc., which last month bought $1.63 billion in Los Angeles and San Diego office properties from Arden Realty Inc., is being acquired by Brookfield Properties Corp. and the Blackstone Group.

Malibu Film Celebration Betting on Festival Winners

A new film festival in Malibu will showcase movies from competitions around the world.

Headlines: Tax Shelters, Bookies, Bank

An overview of business stories from Monday's newspapers.

Organic Growth

Starting with its purchase of Jason Natural Products two years ago, Hain Celestial Group Inc. has been picking up niche brands and rolling them into its personal care division.

Newsmakers & Kudos

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

The Wal-Mart Way

Why do folks find it so inviting to walk into a Starbucks and read the latest press reports about some small-minded, short-sighted city council voting on an ordinance that will outlaw a Wal-Mart?

L.A. Gas Dips to $3.32

The average price of a gallon of self-serve regular gasoline in the Los Angeles area declined for a third week although at slower rate, dropping 2.3 cents to $3.321 for the week ended June 5.

Driver Discovering the Good and Bad of Hydrogen Car

Owner's Pass LLC is offering small- and mid-sized companies the opportunity to purchase a mixed bag of luxury suites for Lakers, Clippers, Dodgers and Kings games.

Chapman Consumer Index Drops 9 Points

Faced with rising gas prices and anemic wage growth, California consumers turned bearish during the second quarter, according to a university-sponsored consumer sentiment survey.

Dow Closes Down Almost 200 Points

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke's fresh warnings on inflation, on top of Iran's threat to cut its petroleum exports, sent stocks plunging on Monday.

Progress Creating Paralysis For TV's Big Ad Venture

Things are slowing down in television, if the annual upfront market is any indication. Last year's session resulted in roughly $9 billion in commitments for commercial time in the fall season. But no one is expecting that level this year.

U.S. Service Economy Slows

The service sector of the U.S. economy expanded in May, but at a slower pace than in April, a private survey of supply managers said on Monday.

Hilton Checks Out, Marriott Checks In at AEG Project

Anschutz Entertainment Group is swapping L.A.-based Hilton Hotel Corp. for Marriott International Inc. to run L.A.'s new convention center hotel.

Threat Pumps Oil Prices

Oil prices jumped above $73 a barrel Monday after Iran's supreme leader threatened that his nation could jeopardize the world's oil supply if the West punishes Tehran over its nuclear program.

Friday, June 2

Job Growth Stalls, Unemployment Dips

Job growth faltered in May, with employers boosting payrolls by just 75,000. Yet the nation's unemployment rate dipped to 4.6 percent, the lowest since the summer of 2001.

T.V. Production Falling

FilmL.A. Inc. says Los Angeles' television pilot production during the February to May pilot season declined about 23 percent in 2006, over last year, while production in other regions grew significantly.

Marriott Checks In

Anschutz Entertainment Group is swapping Los Angeles-based Hilton Hotel Corp. for Marriott International Inc. to run L.A.'s new convention center hotel.

Markets Mixed on Slowdown Fears

Wall Street struggled to the finish Friday, closing out the week barely changed after a steep dip in monthly job growth left investors confused about the economy's health.

Average L.A. Gas Price Down to $3.356

Gasoline prices in most areas declined slowly for the second straight week as an expected downward trend becomes more established, according to a weekly survey by the Automobile Club of Southern California.

Disney Launches Broadband Kids Shows

Disney Channel is the latest in its corporate family to broadcast full-length episodes of its shows online, taking advantage of the fast-growing online video ad market.

Oil Prices Rise Above $71

Oil prices jumped by more than $1 a barrel on Friday after it was reported that eight foreigners working on a drilling rig off the coast of Nigeria had been kidnapped.

Headlines: State Fund, John Laing, Sony

An overview of business stories from Friday's newspapers.

Thursday, June 1

Jacobs Engineering Announces Contracts

Jacobs Engineering Group Inc. on Wednesday announced four contracts.

Headlines: Workers' Comp., Gambling

An overview of business stories from Thursday's newspapers.

Investors Hear Downtown L.A. Pitch

The Central City Association has mounted its third mission to New York in four years to tell the story of Downtown L.A.'s renaissance to Wall Street investors.

Retail Sales Rise, But Clouds on Horizon

U.S. retailers on Thursday posted May same-store sales that largely trounced analyst forecasts, though some warned that high energy prices might slow growth.

Countrywide to Trade Derivatives

Countrywide Financial Corp. will begin trading derivatives later this year to bolster sales of U.S. Treasury securities, Chief Executive Angelo Mozilo said at a Wall Street event on Thursday.

U.S. Auto Sales Fall Sharply

Sales of American cars and trucks fell steeply in May, automakers reported today, with both General Motors and Chrysler posting double-digit declines.

Dow Closes Up 92, Nasdaq Gains 41

Wall Street rallied for a second session Thursday as investors brushed aside mixed signals on inflation a day after the Federal Reserve said it was concerned about rising prices.

Diodes Makes Growth List

Diodes Inc. said that for the second time the company has been named among "The 100 Hot Growth Companies" in BusinessWeek magazine.

DirecTV To Buy Back Shares

DirecTV Group Inc. said that it will buy back 15 million common shares this month, at a cost of $257.3 million, from its former parent company's pension fund.

Ryland Sells Notes

Ryland Group, Inc. said that that it sold $250 million of 6.875 percent senior notes, due 2013, pursuant to a shelf registration statement on file with the U.S. regulators.

Iris Gets Mayo Contract

Iris International Inc., a manufacturer and marketer of automated IVD urinalysis systems, said that it entered into a contract with the Mayo Foundation for the company's full line of products.

Productivity Rises While Economy Slows

The U.S. economy appears to be shifting into a lower gear with manufacturing activity slowing and residential construction falling sharply. Even so, worker productivity rebounded at a rapid clip at the start of this year.

Suit Settled Over Uncaptioned DVDs

Walt Disney Co. and other movie distributors have settled a lawsuit brought on behalf of hearing-impaired customers who bought DVDs containing bonus material that wasn't closed captioned.

City National Completes Acquisition

City National Corp. has completed its acquisition of Independence Investment LLC, which manages approximately $8 billion of U.S. equities on behalf of institutional clients.

Economy Signals Downshifting

The U.S. economy appears to be shifting into a lower gear with residential construction falling sharply and manufacturing activity slowing. But will the slowdown come in time to keep inflation from heating up?

National Lampoon Announces Partnership

National Lampoon Inc. and Ckrush Inc. have announced a new media alliance to capitalize on new cross-platform entertainment for the highly profitable teen market.

Roundup: Iris, Ryland, Diodes

Iris International Inc., a manufacturer and marketer of automated IVD urinalysis systems, said that it entered into a contract with the Mayo Foundation for the company's full line of products.