April 29, 2011 |
Two new snapshots of the economy — one showing a sharp slowdown in first-quarter economic output and the other a surge in weekly unemployment claims — underscored the fragility of the recovery, its vulnerability to global shocks and the long road still ahead for millions of American workers. Many analysts shrugged off the report that gross domestic product grew just 1.8% in the first part of the year — down from 3.1% in the fourth quarter last year. Economists said the slowdown was caused mostly by temporary factors such as the harsh winter weather and a surge in oil and food prices, which took a bite out of consumer spending and the nation's trade.
March 30, 2011 |
In his first speech to Hollywood since becoming head of the Motion Picture Assn. of America nine days ago former Sen. Christopher J. Dodd delivered a reassuring message about the state of the movie business. Dodd, speaking at the annual gathering of the cinema owners in Las Vegas on Tuesday, acknowledged concern about this year's falloff in theater attendance — which is down about 20% so far this year — but predicted that the slowdown would be temporary. "I for one do not believe the sky is falling," Dodd said.
February 9, 2011 |
Robert Morley owns one of the hottest commodities in Silicon Valley ? shares of Facebook Inc. ? but his big worry has been how to unload the stock. Morley got the shares as part of his pay when he was controller of the social-networking giant in 2007 and 2008. The likely value of the stock promptly ballooned as the Internet company's popularity and business prospects surged. Soon the stake accounted for an uncomfortably high percentage of Morley's personal wealth, and he wasn't the only Facebook shareholder in that predicament.
January 21, 2011 |
General Motors Co. on Thursday continued a shake-up of its executive ranks, naming its first female product development chief. The Detroit automaker said Mary Barra would become senior vice president of global product development and be responsible for the design, engineering and vehicle quality of the company's 11 brands around the world. The appointment comes as GM faces a slowdown in new product introductions this year and next, threatening to slow the momentum of its recovery from a 2009 bankruptcy and the closing or sale of four of its eight U.S. car brands.
December 26, 2010 |
Just before dawn in New Jersey 40 years ago, Nick Paravalos jumped ship, sneaking toward an American dream that he had nurtured for decades, leaving Greece behind for good. Starting with $20 in his pocket, the Piraeus-born seaman began to bounce from job to job, washing dishes and busing tables for years before settling in upstate New York, marrying, and setting up the first of three diners in the sleepy town of Scotia. The tale is a template of the American promise of upward mobility, one that millions of hardworking immigrants have realized in the course of several generations.
December 3, 2010 |
China will tighten monetary policy next year, the country's Communist Party leadership said Friday, signaling the world's second-largest economy will likely slow down in the coming months to combat inflation and settle into a more sustainable pace of growth. The announcement by the nine-member Politburo, which was made through the state New China News Agency, said China would shift to a "prudent" monetary policy from a "moderately loose" approach. The decision comes after two years of unprecedented bank lending has flooded the economy with excess liquidity.
September 8, 2010 |
Like the sputtering national economy, Los Angeles' movie and television production economy is sending out mixed signals. After staging two consecutive quarters of growth and a dramatic recovery from a severe slump last year, L.A.'s production sector has slowed significantly. In the last 10 weeks, combined production days for the major categories were virtually flat compared with a year earlier, according to data from FilmL.A., the nonprofit that handles film permits. One production day is defined as a crew's permission to film at a single location over a 24-hour period.
September 6, 2010 |
For generations, Chinese have flocked to this historic city to enjoy its centuries-old pagodas, Buddhist temples and scenic lakes surrounded by drooping willow trees. In recent times, Hangzhou has attracted scores of visitors for a different reason: real estate. Hordes of buyers snapped up luxury apartments, buying out some projects within hours based on little more than floor plans. Powerful developers listed properties whose prices seemed more suitable for Beverly Hills.
August 14, 2010 |
Epic financial collapses are supposed to be rare events. Once in a lifetime, we all hope. And after you live through one, your investment decisions are forever colored by the experience. That explains many investors' extreme risk aversion since the markets' crash of late 2008. Now, the risk-averse are being forced to ponder whether they feel safe enough given what might be coming at them. At the depths of the recession it was more than rhetorical to ask, "What's the worst that could happen?"
July 29, 2010 |
The Federal Reserve's latest report on regional economic activity shows that the U.S. recovery continued in June and early July, but that signs of a slowdown were evident. The Fed's "beige book" report, issued Wednesday, said two of the central bank's 12 districts — Atlanta and Chicago — said that "the pace of economic activity had slowed recently," while the Cleveland and Kansas City districts said that "activity generally held steady." The other eight districts — including San Francisco, which covers California and other Western states — reported "improvements in economic activity" from the spring, the Fed said.