March 6, 2014 |
Weather in February was once again a roadblock for retailers, who said sales figures for the month missed already modest expectations. One gauge from Thomson Reuters found that same-store sales rose 1.8% last month, falling short of a projected 2.8% rise at stores open a year or longer. Without the effect of drugstores, retailers turned in a 0.3% sales increase, the worst showing since a 2.4% decrease in August 2009. Analysts had expected a 1.9% boost. Some segments, however, showed surprising health, or at least the promise of it. The clothing sector, not including Gap, beat estimates by swelling 1.3%.
March 2, 2014 |
WASHINGTON - One of the mortgage products that contributed to the housing crash is booming again: New home equity credit line borrowings soared 42% in the final three months of 2013 and were up sharply for the entire year, to $111 billion. But does this point to a return to the "my house is an ATM" mentality that characterized excessive home equity borrowing from 2004 through 2007, just before the crash? Should consumers - and the banks doling out the cash - be cautious about this trend?
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 25, 2014 |
The average Los Angeles firefighter earned nearly $43,000 in overtime in 2013, up nearly 20% from the previous year, according to data released Tuesday by City Controller Ron Galperin. With overtime and bonuses factored in, the average firefighter was paid more than $142,000 last year, the data show. While firefighters got the biggest share, overtime was up substantially across city departments, climbing more than $70 million to a total of $378 million in 2013, the data show.
February 19, 2014 |
Shares of Tesla Motors Inc. soared Wednesday after the electric car company slashed its losses and issued an upbeat outlook for this year. Tesla shares jumped to a record $216.95, a 12% gain, after the automaker released its fourth-quarter and annual financial results after the stock market closed. Investors focused on Tesla's calculation that it earned $46 million, or 33 cents a share, in the latest quarter, after making special adjustments to account for the deferred profit from automotive leases and other factors.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 15, 2014 |
Bill Davila, a first-generation Mexican American who worked his way up from sweeping floors at a Vons market to being president of the supermarket chain, knew that some executives in the industry were not sure how to pronounce his last name. Was it the Spanish DAH-vee-la or the Anglicized duh-VIL-a? Davila, who was also the genial spokesman for Vons in TV and radio commercials, was used to walking in both worlds. "I'll respond to either pronunciation," he said in a 1987 Los Angeles Times interview.
February 14, 2014 |
They started near high noon, two gunslingers and a sniper. They were ready, willing and hoping to be able to bring the enemy to its knees, the enemy being the hallowed and harrowing Riviera Country Club. They were Dustin Johnson, Justin Rose and Jim Furyk, a threesome of big-name golfers and a popular choice for the galleries on the second day of the Northern Trust Open. The attraction was obvious. Two of the players, Rose and Furyk, were major winners, each having a U.S. Open title in their resume.
February 13, 2014 |
Bill Murray talked to Charlie Rose for the full hour of Rose's PBS program this week. Like most interviews with the great Murray, it was full of great, candid insight and this time, Rose even got Murray to reveal what he was planning to say for his Oscar acceptance speech. You may recall Murray received his first and only Oscar nomination in 2004 for playing the lead opposite Scarlett Johansson in Sofia Coppola's "Lost in Translation. " However, he lost out to Sean Penn, who starred in "Mystic River.
February 7, 2014 |
If you're one of the impatient ones, and have to have a bottle of Brangelina's latest rosé from Provence right now, you'll have to jet over to London or France. That's right. The first bottles of 2013 Château Miraval Côtes de Provence rosé will be sold first in France and England. There's been a waiting list for the wine since last year and the people on it were notified by email that they could sign on Thursday and buy one case of six bottles each. Just in time for Valentine's Day. Go to the website and you'll be informed very politely, in French, that the reservation list for the first bottles of the 2013 vintage is now closed.
January 30, 2014 |
Driving to Silver Lake the other day to visit his father, Leonardo DiCaprio passed through the intersection of Hollywood Boulevard and Western Avenue, the neighborhood where he spent the first nine years of his life. Back then, DiCaprio says, he'd be in the car, riding to and from school, and see micro-skirted prostitutes on every corner. In the alleyway near his home, he'd occasionally notice people smoking crack and shooting heroin. "I try to tell my godson, who lives close to that area, what it was like, how there used to be a major prostitution ring on my street corner, crime and violence everywhere.
January 25, 2014 |
Donkeys who stare, salesmen who pester, filmmakers who prod, killers who smile and kids who run wild are just a few of the weird, wacky and wonderful ideas that drive the indefinable 66 that fill this year's shorts program at the Sundance Film Festival. With technology making it relatively inexpensive and easy to go from idea to execution, the outer edge of creative invention can often be found in short films. From my sampling of this year's lineup, the further out, the better. Take "Rat Pack Rat," from filmmaker Todd Rohal ("The Guatemalan Handshake")