Los Angeles Business Journal

Stocks Mixed

The Dow Jones industrial average was down 40 points in Thursday morning trading to 17,990. The S&P 500 was down two points to 2,098. The Nasdaq was up 15 points to 4,921. The LABJ Stock Index was flat at 224.

Water Main Break Submerges Cars in Hollywood

An 18-inch main burst in Hollywood this morning, and water flowed down residential streets and submerged cars in an underground garage, KPCC reports. Crews are trying to shut off a series of valves in a specific sequence to avoid causing another rupture.

Snapchat’s Valuation Could Reach $19 Billion

Snapchat is seeking a new round of funding that would value the company as high as $19 billion, sources told Bloomberg, making it the third-most valuable venture-backed company in the world.

Forecast: More Jobs in L.A.

Los Angeles County should add a total of 150,000 payroll jobs over the course of this year and next, bringing employment to record levels, the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp. said in its annual forecast released this morning, the Los Angeles Business Journal reports. The forecast, from the LAEDC’s Kyser Center for Economic Research, also predicted that the unemployment rate will dip to 6.6 percent by the end of next year, its lowest level in eight years.

DWP Struggles With $1 Billion Pipe Problem

About one-fifth of the city's water pipes were installed before 1931, and these aged pipes are responsible for close to half of all water main leaks, the Los Angeles Times reports. The DWP has a $1.3 billion plan to replace 435 miles of deteriorating pipe in the next 10 years, but difficult questions remain about how the agency will find the money, how much it will inconvenience commuters and whether the utility can ever catch up with its aging infrastructure.

Cheaper Oil Prices Push Down Business Inflation

A gauge of U.S. business prices fell in January, the Labor Department said today, which is a sign that cheaper gasoline is helping push annual inflation gauges toward negative territory for the first time since the recession’s immediate aftermath, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Los Angeles Times Partners With Openly Undocumented Immigrant

The Los Angeles Times is partnering with Jose Vargas, an undocumented immigrant and veteran journalist who is an activist for immigration reform, on a multimedia project that will “explore the evolving American identity in the 21st century,” according to a release, the Washington Examiner reports.

Importers of Chinese New Year Gifts Feel Slowdown at Ports

L.A. businesses that import lanterns, posters, and other decorations from China are feeling the slowdown at West Coast ports, because their items won’t arrive in time for the Chinese New Year celebration on Thursday, KPCC reports.

L.A. Gets Broad Museum Preview

Hundreds of people poured into downtown Los Angeles over the weekend for a one-day sneak peek of the Broad Museum, which is recognizable by architects Diller Scofidio + Renfro’s honeycomb veil, and is scheduled to open officially in September, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Gas Prices Expected to Rise as Torrance Refinery Shuts Down

A mechanical issue that hit on Monday is expected to keep the ExxonMobil refinery in Torrance offline for two weeks. The shutdown will cause gasoline prices in Los Angeles to spike at least 15 cents a gallon, Bob van der Valk, senior editor for the Bakken Oil Business Journal, predicts, according to the San Gabriel Valley Tribune.

Congestion Continues as West Coast Ports Await Talks

Cargo ships continue to line up off the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports as Labor Secretary Thomas Perez prepares to meet with shipping companies and dockworkers to revive stalled contract talks today, the Los Angeles Times reports. On Monday morning, 33 vessels were anchored off the ports, unable to dock, three more than on Sunday, according to the Marine Exchange of Southern California, while an additional 55 ships waited at port berths.

Economists: NFL Team Would Have Little Economic Impact on Region

Developers of an NFL stadium in Inglewood have promised hundreds of millions of dollars in economic activity, but economists largely believe that the economic impact of sports stadiums is miniscule, KPCC reports. A 2003 analysis on Staples Center commissioned by the Los Angeles City Controller found that economic activity in Inglewood actually increased when the Lakers left town.

Success of ‘Fifty Shades’ Could Alter Hollywood’s Approach to Winter Movies

The film business is used to making its money by targeting films to young males, but “Fifty Shades of Grey,” which has taken in $94 million in domestic box office since it opened on Friday and has a viewership that is 70 percent female and mostly over the age of 26, is flipping that approach on its head, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Study: Income Equality Has Not Risen Since Financial Crisis

A new analysis says income equality has not risen since the financial crisis began, mostly because the crisis reduced the pre-tax incomes of the wealthiest more than the incomes of any other group, while the steps the federal government took in response to the crisis have helped the non-wealthy, the New York Times reports.

Beverly Hills Mansion Is Up for Lease at $475,000 a month

A Mediterranean-style villa in Beverly Hills offered for sale for $195 million by real estate entrepreneur Jeff Greene has been put up for lease at $475,000 a month, the Los Angeles Times reports. A 50-seat theater, a bowling alley, a game room and a ballroom with a revolving dance floor, DJ booth and laser-light system are among the amenities.