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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
September 30, 2012 | By Diana Marcum, Los Angeles Times
MARIPOSA — Armed robbers may have made off with as much as $2 million in gold and gems from the the California State Mining and Mineral Museum in Mariposa, a parks spokesman said. A statewide hunt was on for the robbers and the possible loot Saturday after the Friday afternoon robbery. About 4 p.m., multiple robbers dressed entirely in black and wearing face masks and night goggles broke in and threatened a museum curator and a museum guide with what were described to police as pickaxes.
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BUSINESS
September 28, 2012 | By Ricardo Lopez
The country's corn, soybean and wheat inventory fell steeply from last year, according to a report released Friday by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. In its latest grain survey , the agency reported that as of Sept. 1, old corn stocks -- grain harvested last year -- totaled 988 million bushels, a decline of 12% from the same time last year. That is the lowest level since 2004.  Shortly after the survey was released, corn futures prices jumped by the 40-cent limit on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange on Friday, with delivery for December corn at $7.56 per bushel.
BUSINESS
August 22, 2012 | By Alejandro Lazo
The Obama administration has little fear of “shadow inventory,” or eminent domain. Shadow inventory is the spooky name the real estate industry gives to a secret supply of homes on bank books or headed into foreclosure. In a meeting with Los Angeles Times editors and reporters Tuesday, Shaun Donovan, secretary of Housing and Urban Development, said the volume of distressed and lender-owned homes was down at Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, the Federal Housing Administration (which is part of HUD)
BUSINESS
June 10, 2012 | By Alejandro Lazo, Los Angeles Times
The newest problem for the slowly improving housing market isn't a shortage of serious buyers, it's a shortage of good homes. Would-be buyers are packing open houses and scrambling to make offers on properties before they are even listed. Bidding wars are erupting. And real estate agents are vying fiercely to represent the few sellers that do exist. Housing inventory has sunk to levels not seen since the bubble years. The number of American homes with a "for sale" sign hit 2.5 million in April, the lowest number for an April since 2006, according to the National Assn.
BUSINESS
April 27, 2012 | By Don Lee, Los Angeles Times
WASHINGTON - The American economy grew at a sluggish rate in the first quarter, stirring more doubts about the strength of the recovery and the outlook for jobs in coming months. The economy expanded at a lackluster 2.2% annual rate in the first three months of the year, down from a 3% pace in the fourth quarter of last year, the Commerce Department said Friday. Most analysts were expecting the gross domestic product - the total value of goods and services produced in the U.S. - to increase at a 2.6% rate or more in the January-March period.
BUSINESS
April 7, 2012 | By Alejandro Lazo, Los Angeles Times
The Federal Reserve has released guidelines that could encourage the practice of converting lender-owned foreclosed homes into rental properties. By converting foreclosures to rentals with steady cash flow, banks could reduce the number of their "substandard assets," a classification used by banking regulators to determine the health of banks. The central bank also said that lenders could receive Community Reinvestment Act credit for providing housing to low-income and moderate-income people by successfully converting foreclosed homes into rentals.
BUSINESS
March 15, 2012 | By Andrea Chang, Los Angeles Times
Worldwide TV shipments fell last year for the first time since at least 2004, slipping 0.3% to 247.7 million units. Market research firm NPD DisplaySearch said Wednesday that LCD TV shipments rose by 7% to slightly more than 205 million units, a "substantial slowdown" from the double-digit growth in previous years. The firm began tracking global TV shipments in 2004. Plasma TV shipments declined almost 7% to 17.2 million units, the largest decrease yet, and cathode ray tube, or CRT, TVs fell 34%, the firm said.
BUSINESS
January 28, 2012 | By Don Lee, Los Angeles Times
The U.S. economy ended last year on firmer footing with modestly stronger growth. But output fell short of what analysts expected, and signs point to weakness ahead. The gross domestic product rose at a 2.8% annual rate in the fourth quarter as consumers bought more cars and other goods, the Commerce Department said Friday. That was below the 3% figure many analysts had projected. But it was up from a feeble 1.8% the quarter before. But the reason for the faster growth wasn't encouraging: More than half resulted from businesses increasing their stockpiles of products rather than from sales of goods and services, which reflect actual demand.
BUSINESS
December 23, 2011 | By Jim Puzzanghera, Los Angeles Times
  Just a few months ago, the economy seemed to be skidding toward another recession. Now, a continued drop in jobless claims, a rise in consumer confidence and other signs of a growing recovery are cheering economists as the year draws to a close. "The economy has clearly re-accelerated at year's end," said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's Analytics. "It kind of stalled out midyear through the debt ceiling debacle and right up until September. "But in the last three months, it's really started to pick up and that's encouraging.
BUSINESS
November 24, 2011 | By Jerry Hirsch, Los Angeles Times
As chief executive of Hyundai Motor America, John Krafcik oversees the sales and marketing arm of one of the fastest-growing auto brands in America. Led by torrid sales of its Elantra compact sedan, Hyundai has sold almost 550,000 vehicles this year, more than it moved in all of 2011 and a sales record for the South Korean automaker. Sales have risen almost 21% through the first 10 months of this year, double the rate of the entire U.S. auto sales market. Krafcik talked with The Times about that rapid growth, the challenges of managing a tight turnover and his plans for Hyundai, which also sells the upscale Genesis and Equus brands.
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