Los Angeles Business Journal

Early Black Friday Shopping Disappoints

The number of shoppers at stores nationwide was low in the early hours of Black Friday, Reuters reports. That could be because many stores began their sales on Thanksgiving night in an effort to attract more shoppers and compete with online retailers. By the way, online shopping between midnight and 5 p.m. Thursday was up 22 percent from last year, according to the Adobe Digital Index.

ESPN Subscriptions Fall

Walt Disney Co.-owned sports network ESPN saw its subscribers drop 3.2 percent from the previous fiscal year, according to regulatory filings, CNBC reports. The shift is due to the fact more viewers are seeking sports information from digital platforms, which are cheaper. Disney stock was down 2 percent in pre-market trading Friday.

Brands Want More from Snapchat

Advertisers are naturally are attracted to Venice's Snapchat, the social-networking startup, because of its 100 million daily users, the Los Angeles Times reports. But the fact the company won’t use targeted advertising – which show users ads based on their browsing histories – is becoming a bone of contention. Chief Executive Evan Spiegel said he aims to balance what users want with advertisers’ expectations. Still, Snapchat calls targeted ads “creepy.”

Unions Say Keep Tax Hikes

Despite the state’s current budget surplus – with California’s tax income for the fiscal year expected to exceed estimates by $3.6 billion – there is a proposal to continue a tax hike 12 years after its Dec. 31, 2018, cutoff date, the Los Angeles Times reports. The measure is being sponsored by the California Teachers Association and the state Services Employees International Union and has already been cleared by California’s Secretary of State.

Protecting Vineyards from El Niño

California's wine growers are taking measures to keep their topsoil in place through the expected El Niño rains this winter, the Los Angeles Times reports. The heavy rains could make the topsoil more vulnerable, especially on steep hillsides.

Road Closures for Christmas Parade

The Hollywood Christmas Parade that travels down Hollywood Boulevard aims to please this year with the magicians Penn &Teller acting as this year’s grand marshals, Curbed Los Angeles reports. But anyone aiming to attend should be aware that parts of major streets will be closed, beginning at 1 p.m. Sunday.

Stocks Mixed

The Dow Jones industrial average was down 37 points in early trading Friday to 17,778. The S&P 500 was down one point to 2,088. The Nasdaq was up two points to 5,118. The LABJ Stock Index was down two points to 243.

Is Private Equity Worth It?

The fact that the California Public Employees’ Retirement System paid $3.4 billion in fees since 1990 to its private equity managers who earned $24.2 billion for retirees from the investments, as disclosed Tuesday, is causing a debate regarding whether pension funds should invest in such deals, the Los Angeles Times reports. Other funds, including the California State Teachers' Retirement System, may also be considering such disclosures in the near future.

New Hot Commodity: Storm Water

A Central Valley farmer says he has come up with a way to flood fields and vineyards with storm runoff, including from El Nino this winter, allowing the water to collect into an aquifer underground which would help offset the cost of pumping in the summer, CNBC reports. He and other farmers hope to get the Almond Board of California and the nonprofit Sustainable Conservation, to help spearhead the project.

Chip Technology Making Lines Long

The holidays often mean long waits at the checkout line, but this year may be worse. The reason: that new chip technology in credit cards, the Los Angeles Times reports. While the chips make purchases safer, they also are making lines longer because shoppers often have to insert their cards multiple times.

Trade Rep Backs Trans-Pacific Partnership

The 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership was praised by Trade Representative Michael Froman Tuesday at the Port of Long Beach. He described the port as “a gateway” to the region that will be helped by the agreement, the Long Beach Press Telegram reports. However, critics of the deal have concerns about the impact it might have on American jobs as well as how workers will be treated in the participating countries.

Thanksgiving Travel Warnings

As Southern Californians prepare to travel for the Thanksgiving holiday, the State Department has issued a worldwide travel alert because of “terrorist threats,” according to a City News Service report posted on NBC Los Angeles. As a result, security has been increased at the Los Angeles International Airport which is expecting about 2.1 million travelers.

Trump Hats Made in Carson by Latinos

While Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump is known for criticizing porous borders that allow illegal immigration, perhaps ironically his “Make America Great Again” hats are primarily made at the Cali-Fame hat factory in Carson, where most of the employees are Latino, LAist reports. The factory originally began making hats for Trump's golf courses.

Lauren Conrad to Sell Penthouse

Former reality TV star and fashion designer Lauren Conrad has put her Beverly Hills penthouse on the market for $3.2 million, the Los Angeles Times reports. It features a farmhouse-style kitchen, a custom spiral staircase in the living room, a lounge area with a mirrored cocktail bar and a master suite with a boutique-inspired closet.

Stocks Up

The Dow Jones industrial average was up 11 points in early trading Wednesday to 17,822. The S&P 500 was up one point to 2,091. The Nasdaq was up eight points to 5,111. The LABJ Stock Index was up two points to 245.