Pump Price: The average price of gasoline in Southern California dropped by 5.3 cents a gallon, or 3.3 percent, amid a drop-off in driving following the peak vacation season. The Auto Club of Southern California reported that the average price for regular self-serve unleaded dropped to $1.57 this month from $1.62 in September.
IRS Probe: The Internal Revenue Service is seeking to force at least 70 companies, including Hilton Hotels Corp. and Walt Disney Co., to turn over records as part of an expanded probe into credit-card holders who use offshore accounts to evade taxes. The IRS, which said that the companies named aren’t accused of any wrongdoing, previously has forced credit card companies to turn over information on cardholders.
Higher Prices: The September median price of a Los Angeles County home rose 16.5 percent, to $269,000, according to DataQuick Information Systems Inc., equaling the all-time high reached in June. Meanwhile, the average apartment rent in L.A. County rose to $1,295 at the end of September.
Secession Lags: A new Los Angeles Times poll shows voters both citywide and in the San Fernando Valley oppose secession. Among likely voters within the Valley, 47 percent oppose breaking up the city while 42 percent are in favor and 11 percent remain undecided. In L.A. overall, secession is opposed by a 56-27 percent margin, with 17 percent undecided. In order for the secession measure to pass, it must receive a majority vote in both the Valley and the entire city.
Earnings Roundup: Northrop Grumman Corp. reported a third-quarter net loss of $59 million, compared with net income of $79 million for the like period a year ago. Revenue rose 24 percent, to $4.21 billion. TRW Inc., which is being acquired by Northrop, reported third-quarter net income of $13 million, compared with a net loss of $57 million for the like period a year ago. Sales rose to $3.95 billion from $3.59 billion. Mattel Inc. reported third-quarter net income of $280.6 million, compared with $199.8 million for the like period a year ago. Sales rose 6 percent, to $1.67 billion. City National Corp. reported third-quarter net income of $48.7 million, compared with $37.5 million for the like period a year ago.
LAX Ads: Looking to defray security related costs, operators of Los Angeles International Airport will allow advertisements in ticketing lobbies, concourse hallways and baggage claim areas. The program, expected to begin next summer, is projected to raise $31 million a year for the airport.
Showtalk: Mark Gill has resigned as a senior executive at Miramax Films to join newly established Stratus Film Co., started by Mark Gordon, producer of “Saving Private Ryan.” Gill, who has had various positions at Miramax, Columbia and Tri-Star Pictures, was responsible for marketing hits like “Pulp Fiction” and “Shakespeare in Love.” There had been reports of friction between Gill and Miramax head Harvey Weinstein.
CalPERS on GE: The California Public Employees’ Retirement System will offer a shareholder resolution to urge General Electric Co. to link executive pay with performance. The resolution by CalPERS, which owns $1.4 billion in GE stock, comes amid growing criticism of lavish payouts made to former GE Chief Executive Jack Welsh. A similar proposal by another institutional shareholder was defeated last year.
Fall Back: Clocks are turned back early Sunday morning (27th) as most of the nation returns to standard time. Just be warned of the typical traffic snarls the next day, when commuters venture home in the dark.
Full Swing: Earnings season hits its stride next week. Reports are due from International Rectifier, THQ, 99 Cents Only Stores, Avery Dennison, California Pizza Kitchen, JAKKS Pacific, Ryland Group, Amgen, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Overture Services, Hilton Hotels, MCS.Software, Tekelec, Ticketmaster, Digital Insight, WellPoint Health Systems, Stamps.com and Teledyne Technologies.
Sports Beat: Getting most of the attention this week will be the World Series. Games 3, 4 and 5 (if necessary) will be played in San Francisco on Tuesday-Thursday (22nd-24th) and games 6 and 7 back in Anaheim on Saturday (26th) and Sunday (27th). On the Saturday college football front, UCLA plays Stanford at the Rose Bowl at USC is at Oregon. The Kings are on the road.
Smith Lunch: George Smith Partners holds its annual real estate luncheon to benefit the A-T Medical Research Foundation on Monday (21st) at the Century Plaza Hotel. Keynote speaker for the gathering will be Stan Ross, chairman of the USC Lusk Center for Real Estate.
World Affairs Talk: Linda Chavez, president of the Center for Equal Opportunity, speaks before a dinner session of the Los Angeles World Affairs Council on Wednesday (23rd) at the L.A. Downtown Marriott. Information: 213-628-2333.
Two Parties?: With the state’s Republican Party seen by many as on the verge of extinction, leading national and state political analysts gather Wednesday (23rd) to discuss the future of partisan politics in California. “News Hour with Jim Lehrer” political analyst Mark Shields, Republican commentator Dan Schnur and USC political science professor Sherry Bebitch Jeffe will be on the panel. Town Hall Los Angeles and the Public Policy Institute of California are jointly sponsoring the event at the Omni Los Angeles Hotel. Information: (415) 291-4436.
Trust Issues: Deloitte & Touche Managing Partner Sharon Allen and Victor Coleman, president and COO of Arden Realty, will discuss restoring trust in our financial system and how corporate wrongdoing has impacted the real estate industry on Tuesday (22nd) at the Omni Los Angeles Hotel. The event, sponsored by the Los Angeles Headquarters Association, begins at 11:30 a.m. Information (323) 663-5242.