Oct. 17-23

Earnings Wrap-Up: THQ Inc. said second-quarter net income was $3.6 million, compared with $4.8 million for the like period a year ago. Revenues for the Calabasas Hills-based video game maker rose 30 percent, to $126 million. As part of its earnings announcement, the company said that Chief Financial Officer Fred Gysi would be stepping down. Amgen Inc. reported third-quarter net income of $612.1 million, compared with a loss of $2.6 billion for the like period a year ago (because of costs related to the purchase of Immunex Corp.). Revenue for the Thousand Oaks-based biotech giant jumped 47 percent, to $2.21 billion, in part because of sales of Aranesp, used to treat anemic chemotherapy patients. Avery Dennison Corp. reported third-quarter net income of $66.5 million, compared with $63.1 million for the like period a year ago. Revenue for the Pasadena-based label maker rose 9.3 percent, to $1.2 billion. The company also announced that it would eliminate 500-600 jobs as part of a cost-cutting effort. Occidental Petroleum Corp. reported third-quarter net income of $446 million, compared with $402 million for the like period a year ago. Revenue for the Los Angeles-based energy company jumped 18 percent, to $2.3 billion. Cheesecake Factory Inc. reported third-quarter net income of $14.4 million, compared with $12.1 million for the like period a year ago. Revenue for the Calabasas-based restaurant chain was $197.8 million, from $162 million a year ago. Hilton Hotels Corp. reported third-quarter net income of $34 million, compared with $48 million for the like period a year ago. Revenue for the Beverly Hills-based hotel chain rose 3.2 percent, to $964 million.

Tenet Decline: Tenet Healthcare Corp. said its third-quarter profit was "significantly below" the average estimate of 20 cents a share from analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial. The Santa Barbara-based hospital chain didn't provide a net income figure or third-quarter estimate. Tenet said third-quarter profit fell more than expected because the company couldn't collect patient bills.

Housing Boom: L.A. median home prices dipped to $336,000 in September from $338,000 the previous month while the number of new homes sold fell to 11,395 from 11,874 in August. Prices and sales typically dip between August and September, and analysts generally downplayed the significance of the month-over-month decline given the area's limited inventory.

Gasoline Update: Believe it or not, L.A. gasoline prices are dropping so much they're almost at the level of other cities around the country. Well, some cities. For the week ended Oct. 20, the Energy Information Administration reports that an average gallon of self-serve regular was $1.773 in Los Angeles, compared with $1.713 in New York. San Francisco topped the major cities surveyed, at $1.826, and California's average was $1.769.

Burger Bankruptcy: Prandium Inc.'s Hamburger Hamlet restaurants joined the company's Chi-Chi's and Koo Koo Roo chains in filing for bankruptcy protection. Hamlet Group Inc., operator of 14 Hamburger Hamlet units, listed $50 million in assets and debts. Prandium, which hasn't joined its units filing for bankruptcy protection, said Fuddruckers Inc. has offered $4 million for Koo Koo Roo.

Governor's Pick: Gov.-elect Arnold Schwarzenegger selected former Gov. Pete Wilson aide Patricia Clarey to be his chief of staff. Clarey, who helped manage Schwarzenegger's campaign, served as deputy chief of staff under Wilson. Later, Clarey was vice president in charge of government relations at Health Net Inc.

Oct. 27 - Nov. 2

Boooooooo!: After a month of anticipation, Halloween finally arrives on Friday (31st). In case your forgot, the word itself comes from All Hollows Eve and one story has it that the disembodied spirits of all those who died in the preceding year would come back in search of living bodies to possess their only hope for the afterlife. But never mind all that for retailers, restaurants and bars, it has become one of the busiest days of the year. And with it falling on a Friday this year, be prepared for big crowds.

Fall Back: Monday night (27th) could be an especially tough rush hour because it's the first workday back on standard time, which means it will be dark when many folks are still on the road.

Sports Beat: The Lakers open the season at home on Tuesday (28th) against Dallas and they'll be back at Staples on Sunday (Nov. 2nd) against Golden State. The Clippers have their home opening on Friday (31st) against Seattle. In college football on Saturday (Nov. 1st), UCLA hosts Washington State at the Rose Bowl while USC is at Stanford. The Kings are home on Thursday (30th) against Vancouver and Saturday against Phoenix.

State of State: What a year to assess the state. The Milken Institute's annual State of the State Conference on Thursday (30th) features the usual assortment if top-level thinkers, including Michael Milken, state Controller Steve Westly and former L.A. Mayor Richard Riordan. The daylong event will be at the Century Plaza Hotel. For information: 310-570-4605.

Shell Speaks: Gemstar-TV Guide CEO Jeff Shell talks about running a company in the midst of corporate turmoil on Wednesday (29th) as part of the L.A. Area Chamber of Commerce's Inside Business Forum. Registration is at 7:30 a.m. for the session, at 350 South Bixel Street. For information: 213-580-7594.

Economic Reports: Monday (27th): New and existing home sales for September. Tuesday (28th): Durable goods orders and the Conference Board's consumer confidence data for September. Thursday (30th): Third-quarter advance gross domestic product. Friday (31st): Personal spending and personal income for September, the University of Michigan's late October consumer sentiment reading, and the Chicago Purchasing Managers Index. Also this week, another heap of third-quarter earnings.

LAPD Salute: Officers of the Los Angeles Police Department who have gone above and beyond the call of duty will be honored on Monday (27th) at the 44th annual Medal of Valor Awards Luncheon at the Hyatt Regency. Wells Fargo is the presenting sponsor. For information: 213-580-7594.

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