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Preview: L.A. Times - Business

L.A. Times - Business

National and international business news. Find stock updates, the latest trends in technology, real estate news and the latest on the economy.

Last Build Date: Sat, 22 Jul 2017 19:57:22 -0700

Copyright: ©2017 Los Angeles Times

Swan, flamingo and Pegasus pool floats. How one L.A. business blew up after a nod from Taylor Swift

Sat, 22 Jul 2017 07:00:00 PDT

Taylor Swift's Instagram shots with Funboy's luxury, artsy pool floats went viral, and the Venice company soared.(image)

Wi-Fi at LAX has improved but is still slower than many other airports

Sat, 22 Jul 2017 07:00:00 PDT

If you have been stuck waiting for a flight at Los Angeles International Airport lately, you may have noticed that the speed of the free Wi-Fi in the facility has improved in the last year.

Still, LAX’s free Wi-Fi speed ranks 11th among North America’s busiest airports, Seattle-based technology...


Qatar Airways CEO apologizes for 'grandmothers' comment, but rivals aren't forgiving

Sat, 22 Jul 2017 06:00:00 PDT

The chief executive of Qatar Airways has never minced words when talking about his U.S.-based rivals.

But Akbar Al Baker admits he went too far earlier this month when he compared the crews on his airline with those of U.S.-based carriers.

“By the way, the average age of my cabin crew is only 26...


Freedom of speech doesn't end once you enter a homeowner association

Sat, 22 Jul 2017 06:00:00 PDT

Question: I live in a common interest development with a homeowner association board that aggressively stifles residents’ freedom of speech.

During association elections, the board makes ample use of newsletters, meetings and minutes, association media, the recreation room and other channels to...


SpaceX may have canceled Red Dragon Mars mission

Fri, 21 Jul 2017 17:45:00 PDT

SpaceX may have canceled its mission to Mars with a Red Dragon capsule that was set for 2020.

Company Chief Executive Elon Musk retweeted a story late Friday afternoon titled “SpaceX skipping Red Dragon for ‘vastly bigger ships’ on Mars” that was published on Tesla enthusiasts blog Teslarati.



Stocks slip as energy prices fall and 10-day tech rally ends

Fri, 21 Jul 2017 16:35:00 PDT

U.S. stocks finished slightly lower Friday as energy companies fell with oil prices and a 10-day rally for technology companies came to an end. But Wall Street mostly avoided the sharp losses that hit European stocks.

The price of U.S. crude oil fell 2.5% and pulled energy stocks lower. Technology...


Gender discrimination controversy grows at fabled Salk Institute

Fri, 21 Jul 2017 16:30:00 PDT

Accusations of gender discrimination are growing at the Salk Institute, where a third female professor has sued the La Jolla science center for allegedly giving preference to men in pay, promotions, grant funding and leadership positions.

Beverly Emerson, a prominent biochemist who studies how...


Disneyland brings back attractions that were closed for Star Wars land construction

Fri, 21 Jul 2017 17:00:00 PDT

A year and a half after they were closed to make way for construction of a new Star Wars land, four Disneyland attractions along the Rivers of America are set to reopen.

The Mark Twain Riverboat, Sailing Ship Columbia, Davy Crockett’s Explorer Canoes and the Disneyland Railroad will relaunch July...


Delta Air Lines tries letting passengers use fingerprints as boarding passes

Fri, 21 Jul 2017 16:00:00 PDT

Where’s your boarding pass? Forget it. Delta Air Lines is letting some passengers board planes with just their fingerprints.

Delta announced this week that travelers who are members of its SkyMiles loyalty program and enrolled in Clear, a third-party biometric screening program, can choose to use...


Wall Street regulatory panel soon will have only 1 member (and 4 empty seats)

Fri, 21 Jul 2017 14:50:00 PDT

After more than three years helping lead one of the country’s most powerful Wall Street regulators, Sharon Bowen is ready to step down.

Her pending departure from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission will leave the five-member board with just one member. And that’s a problem for a panel responsible...


'The yellow light is on': California loses 1,400 jobs as economy shows signs of slowing

Fri, 21 Jul 2017 14:20:00 PDT

California’s economic engine quieted in June as employers reduced their payrolls by 1,400, according to a report Friday by the state’s Employment Development Department. It was the second month this year that the state lost jobs.

The unemployment rate stayed flat at 4.7%, the lowest rate since...


U.S. orders Wells Fargo to reinstate whistle-blower and pay $577,500 in compensation

Fri, 21 Jul 2017 13:40:00 PDT

The U.S. Labor Department has ordered Wells Fargo & Co. to reinstate another former employee who alleged she was fired after reporting part of the widespread fraud that engulfed the bank in a major scandal.

The whistle-blower, a former branch manager in Pomona, will be reinstated and paid $577,500...


United Airlines says it's bumping fewer passengers since dragging scandal

Fri, 21 Jul 2017 12:15:00 PDT

United Airline’s image took a beating in April because of an ugly incident caught on video involving a passenger who was dragged from his seat.

Since an initial defensive response, the carrier has been working overtime to rebound from the scandal.

The Chicago-based carrier this week reported that...


Trump's presidency may be hurting his L.A.-area golf course

Fri, 21 Jul 2017 05:05:00 PDT

At President Trump's golf club in Rancho Palos Verdes, there is a driving range on a cliff, with a stunning view of the blue Pacific. There's room for 24 golfers.

But, on a recent afternoon, there was only one.

And he was playing with a guilty conscience.

"I feel like I'm cheating on my wife,"...


Banks' greed on full display with check-cashing fee for non-customers

Fri, 21 Jul 2017 03:00:00 PDT

When it comes to corporate greed, there are some fees charged by big companies that are so indefensible, so blatantly money-grubbing, they almost have to be savored like a fine wine. Otherwise, it’s just too painful to think these guys are routinely taking us to the cleaners.

For instance, there’s...


As California's labor shortage grows, farmers race to replace workers with robots

Fri, 21 Jul 2017 03:00:00 PDT

Driscoll’s is so secretive about its robotic strawberry picker it won’t let photographers within telephoto range of it.

But if you do get a peek, you won’t see anything humanoid or space-aged. AgroBot is still more John Deere than C-3PO — a boxy contraption moving in fits and starts, with its computer-driven...


AlphaBay sold drugs, guns and hacking tools online — until a sting operation shut it down

Thu, 20 Jul 2017 19:20:00 PDT

Two so-called “dark Web” sites dedicated to illegal drug and arms sales have been seized in an audacious sting operation, and the suspected ringleader has committed suicide, U.S. Justice Department officials said Thursday.

Alexandre Cazes,a 25-year-old man from Quebec who was suspected of creating...


Storied Owlwood estate returns to market with a bang: $180 million

Thu, 20 Jul 2017 17:55:00 PDT

The historic Owlwood Estate, former home to actor Tony Curtis and later the singing duo, Sonny Bono and Cher, has returned to the market for $180 million.

The storied Holmby Hills estate sold last year for $90 million to Sturmer Pippin Investments LLC.

The 12,000-square-foot, 1936 Tuscan-style...


Mortgage broker rolls out another online way to assess what your house is worth

Thu, 20 Jul 2017 17:35:00 PDT

Do we really need another Zillow Zestimate-style online gizmo to tell us what a computer model says our homes are worth? Probably not.

There already are scads of real estate and mortgage websites that offer some type of automated home valuation feature, such as Redfin,, Chase Mortgage,...


Sears to sell its Kenmore appliances on Amazon

Thu, 20 Jul 2017 16:30:00 PDT

In the century before there was, it was Sears that was the everything store.

With its vast inventory of tools, toys and even firearms, it upended local retailers. With its catalog model and nationwide delivery system, it promised to bring anything anyone wanted to their doorstep.



Bakersfield votes to end controversial program that funds home solar panels

Thu, 20 Jul 2017 16:05:00 PDT

As home improvement projects to increase energy efficiency have exploded in California, so has the controversy over a property tax-based financing program that’s helped spur the growth.

So-called PACE loans — which pay for solar panels, efficient appliances and other improvements — have been blamed...


Stocks waver as earnings and central-bank news dominate attention

Thu, 20 Jul 2017 14:50:00 PDT

U.S. stock indexes snoozed Thursday as investors were relieved the European Central Bank didn't announce any changes to its stimulus policies.

The European bank maintained its current policies, and ECB President Mario Draghi said it hasn't even set a date for considering changes. Investors were...


East Coast hyperloop? Elon Musk claims 'verbal' approval; city officials know nothing about it

Thu, 20 Jul 2017 14:40:00 PDT

Elon Musk said Thursday that he has received “verbal government approval” — but not a formal go-ahead — for his newest, tunnel-digging venture to build an underground, high-speed transportation system connecting New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington, D.C.

Less than two hours after his...


SeaWorld's new virtual reality show gets up close with killer whales

Thu, 20 Jul 2017 14:25:00 PDT

Watching killer whales cavort, leap and swim has long been the hallmark of a visit to SeaWorld, but now the San Diego park is taking visitors right into the water with the huge cetaceans — virtually.

DeepSee VR: Orca 360, which opened this month only at the San Diego park, is SeaWorld’s latest...


Hydro, wind and solar make inroads in California's electric grid

Thu, 20 Jul 2017 13:25:00 PDT

Wetter weather and continued growth in renewable energy sources resulted in some big changes in electricity generation in California in 2016, according to numbers recently released by the California Energy Commission.

Natural gas still accounted for the largest single share of in-state power generation...