Stories for January 2008

Thursday, January 31

Allergan up on Rival Delay, Q1 Hopes

Shares of Allergan Inc. rallied Thursday after a potential rival drug to flagship Botox hit a snag and investors regained confidence a day after the company gave lower guidance for the current quarter.

Cost Cuts Push Lenovo Profit up 198%

Lenovo Group, the world's No. 4 personal computer maker, said Thursday that profit in its third fiscal quarter rose 198% and forecast strong sales this year despite a possible U.S. economic slowdown.

MBIA Loses $2.3B on Writedowns

MBIA Inc. reported writedowns of $3.5 billion on souring credit derivatives in the fourth quarter Thursday, raising the possibility that the world's largest bond insurer could lose its top credit rating.

Jobless Claims Surge, Spending Softens

The number of workers filing new claims for jobless aid surged last week to the highest since October 2005, and consumer spending softened at the end of last year, according to reports on Thursday that heightened worries about a possible recession.

Anaheim Memorial Hospital Sale Falls Through; New Bidding Expected

The proposed $68 million sale of Anaheim Memorial Medical Center to Integrated Healthcare Holdings Inc. is off.

Advanced Medical Strikes Royalty Deal With Bausch & Lomb Inc.

Advanced Medical Optics Inc. said Thursday that it will receive an unspecified royalty payment from rival Bausch & Lomb Inc. over a patent covering fluids used in eye surgery devices.

Acer Cuts 130 Jobs at S.D. Gateway Facility

Acer Inc., the Taiwanese computer maker that bought Irvine-based Gateway Inc. for $710 million last year, is cutting jobs from the city where Gateway has its roots.

Wednesday, January 30

Fed Cuts Rate Half-Point

The Federal Reserve cut a key interest rate by a half-percentage point on Wednesday as part of an aggressive effort to halt a sharp slowdown in an economy hit by a housing slump and a credit crunch.

Plane Sales Lift Boeing Q4 Profit 4%

Boeing Co. rode continued momentum from its commercial airplane business to a 4% increase in fourth-quarter profits Wednesday, topping Wall Street's expectations despite ongoing concerns over delays in its 787 Dreamliner program.

Mitsubishi Paying $900M for Corona Concrete Maker

Corona-based concrete maker Robertson's Ready Mix Concrete Inc. is being bought for $900 million by Japan's Mitsubishi Materials Corp.

Ford-Tata Deal for Jaguar, Land Rover Could Come Next Week

A sale of Ford Motor Co.'s Jaguar and Land Rover luxury brands to India's Tata Motors Ltd. could come as early as next week, according to reports.

FBI Probes 14 Companies Over Home Loans

The FBI on Tuesday said it is investigating 14 companies for possible accounting fraud, insider trading or other violations in connection with home loans made to risky borrowers.

Subprime Lender Asks for Bankruptcy Extension

Bankrupt subprime lender People's Choice Home Loan Inc. is looking to file a plan of liquidation by the end of March, the Irvine-based company said in court filings this week.

Allergan Profit Up, Slumps on Outlook, Drug Failure

Irvine's Allergan Inc. reported higher fourth-quarter profits that beat Wall Street's expectations but said a key glaucoma pill failed a third-phase trial and offered a lower outlook for the first quarter.

Fed Rate Cut Expected

The Federal Reserve is likely to follow its bold action last week to battle an economic downturn with further interest rate reductions, although analysts are split on just what size the future cuts will be.

Tuesday, January 29

Toshiba Says Q3 Profit Rose 11%

Japanese electronics maker Toshiba said Tuesday an 11% rise in profit for quarter ended Dec. 30 came mainly from gains on the sale of a building in Tokyo's ritzy downtown Ginza district.

Edwards Delivery System Approved for Trial

Edwards Lifesciences Corp. said Tuesday that regulators approved the use of a catheter in its ongoing Sapien heart valve clinical trial.

Nordstrom Coming to Fashion Island

Fashion Island is expanding with yet another shopper's delight: Nordstrom.

Corinthian Triples Quarterly Profit, Meets Expectations

Santa Ana-based Corinthian Colleges Inc. said Tuesday that its quarterly profit more than tripled as enrollment increased at the for-profit education company's schools.

PacifiCare Fined $3.5M for Claim Violations

California regulators on Tuesday announced a $3.5 million fine against Cypress-based PacifiCare Health Systems Inc. for failing to process claims and pay doctors properly after its 2005 purchase by Minnetonka, Minn.-based UnitedHealth Group Inc.

OC Home Prices Drop in December

The price of an existing Orange County home fell 3.5% from November to December, while sales continued to be impacted by the liquidity crunch, the California Association of Realtors said on Tuesday.

ICU Medical Slumps on Profit Concerns

Shares of ICU Medical Inc., a San Clemente medical device maker, fell Tuesday on analysts' concerns about rising costs and falling profits.

House to Vote Today on Rebate Package

The $146 billion economic aid package on a fast track to passage in the House faces an uncertain future in the Senate, where lawmakers in both parties are trying to tack on billions for senior citizens and the unemployed.

Judge Keeps Ban on Qualcomm Chips

A Santa Ana judge ruled on Monday to keep in place a ban on cell phone chips made by San Diego's Qualcomm Corp. that were found to have infringed on patents held by rival chipmaker Irvine-based Broadcom Corp.

Home Foreclosure Rate Soars in 2007

The number of U.S. homes that slipped into some stage of foreclosure in 2007 was 79% higher than in the previous year, a real estate tracking company said Tuesday. Many homeowners started to fall behind on mortgage payments in the last three months, setti

Monday, January 28

Fabrik Wants to Build New Line for SimpleTech

Fabrik's looking to build up SimpleTech

Global PC Shipments Up 13% in 2007, Slower in U.S.

Global PC shipments are up 13% in 2007, but slower in the U.S., in the Technology column

Hyundai's Commercials a Go For Super Bowl Sunday

Hyundai is placing ads during the Super Bowl after all, in the Media & Marketing column

Livinglass Makes Decorative Glass for Building Design

Livinglass makes decorative glass for architects and developers, in the Small Business column

Costa Mesa Funk: Mattress Seller Sets Up Shop in Hut

A mattress seller sets up shop in Costa Mesa's West 17th Street huts, in the Marketplace column

Sale Leaseback

More Companies Looking To Get Out of Owning Buildings, Cash in on Profits

Countrywide CEO to Give up $37.5M in Payments

Countrywide Financial Corp. CEO Angelo Mozilo said on Monday that he would give up $37.5 million in severance pay and other fees he stood to gain from the mortgage lender's sale to Bank of America Corp., amid criticism over his role in the U.S. mortgage m

KUDOS

A look at people, companies and institutions receiving awards, accolades, grants and other honors

Billabong, Wonderware Drive Foreign Co. Gain

FINANCE - Billabong and Wonderware drive a jobs gain at foreign-owned companies

When You Can Trust a Politician

When You Can Trust a Politician. Commentary by Congressman John Campbell.

Changes, Food at Laguna Cliffs' Vue Close to Nirvana

Changes and the food at Laguna Cliffs' Vue bring diners close to Nirvana, in the Executive Dining column

San Diego Office Market Transitioning After Flips

San Diego Office Market Transitioning After Flips

Healthcare Stocks: Downturn Darlings?

Healthcare stocks could be the downturn's darlings

Gaining Capital

Capital Gains Tax Increase Could Spur More Investors To Do 1031 Exchanges To Avoid Hit

Politics Aside, Defense Contractors Expect Another Solid Year

Defense companies are expecting a strong 2008

Surprising Strength

QLogic bucked the tech downturn with a better-than-expected fourth quarter

Prosecutor Seeks Charges Against SocGen Trader

A Paris prosecutor on Monday asked for preliminary charges of forgery, breach of trust and fraud against Jerome Kerviel, accused by Societe Generale bank of causing what may be the largest-ever trading fraud by a single person.

Watson May See Gain From Generic Osteoporosis Drug

Drug maker Watson may see a gain from a generic osteoporosis medicine, in the Healthcare column

2007: Los Angeles Experiences More Subtle Slowdown than OC

As the national economy slows, Los Angeles is starting to experience the flat rents and slowdown in leasing occurring elsewhere.

PEOPLE

Hirings, promotions and other moves at local businesses

CALENDAR

A listing of events happening all around Orange County

Sea Change

A former LendingTree executive got out of mortgages to run a yacht business

Volcom to Break into Sunglasses with Buy

Volcom buys Electric Visual to expand into sunglasses

Banning Ranch Puts Plans in the Open

The new management team overseeing Banning Ranch, one of Orange County's last stretches of largely undeveloped coastal land, plans to step up its "visibility" in 2008 as the team considers potential housing and retail development on the land, or an outrig

REAL ESTATE DEALS

Sales and leases of offices, industrial buildings, retail space and apartments

Reader Letters

A breakdown of Orange County Taxpayers Association's take on propositions

NAI Capital Economist: 'Idiots' Drove Subprime Mess

Economist for NAI Capital: "idiots" drove the subprime fallout, in the Real Estate column

New Home Sales Fall More Than Expected

New single-family U.S. home sales fell 4.7% in December to the lowest rate in nearly 13 years while the median sales price dropped sharply according to a government report on Monday that delivered more grim news for the housing sector.

Arbor Surgical Snags $20M Funding, Led by Medtronic

Medtronic Inc., a Minnesota-based medical device maker with a heart valve plant in Santa Ana, said Monday that it led a $20 million venture capital investment in Arbor Surgical Technologies Inc. of Irvine.

Slowdown Hitting SunCal, too; Steve Mihaylo Keeps Giving

Slowdown Hitting SunCal, too; Steve Mihaylo Keeps Giving

St. John Gets Groove Back, Strikes Young, Old Balance

St. John's new line and leadership are attracting younger customers and keeping older ones happy

Friday, January 25

Greenspan: U.S. at Recession Edge but not There Yet

The U.S. is at the edge of a recession, with the odds at 50% or possibly higher, former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan said on Thursday.

Nintendo Jumps After Strong Results, Outlook

Shares in Nintendo Co. briefly jumped more than 5% on Friday after robust holiday sales of Wii and DS game machines helped more than double its quarterly operating profit and prompted it to raise its outlook above market expectations.

Subprime Mess Prods new Shareholder Proposals

Corporate America, watch out: Anger is in the air as shareholders gear up for annual meetings after weathering a seemingly unending stream of bad news from companies ensnared in the subprime mortgage crisis.

Earnings Drive Broadcom, Despite Legal Drama

Shares of Irvine's Broadcom Corp. rose Friday on good earnings that overshadowed word that Chairman Henry Samueli and departed cofounder Henry Nicholas were formally cited in a federal plea bargain over misdated stock options at the Irvine chipmaker.

Local Banker Steps in at Corona's Vineyard National

Orange County banker James LeSieur is taking over running Corona-based Vineyard National Bancorp on an interim basis after the resignation of chief executive Norman Morales.

Thursday, January 24

Existing Single-Family Home Sales Drop

Sales of existing homes fell in December, closing out a horrible year for housing in which sales of single-family homes plunged by the largest amount in 25 years. The median home price dropped for the entire year, the first time that has occurred in four

Beckman Moving HQ from Fullerton to Brea

Beckman Coulter Inc., a maker of medical testing equipment and supplies, is consolidating operations in Brea after more than 50 years in Fullerton.

AT & T; reports $3.1B in Q4 Earnings

AT & T; Inc., the nation's largest telecommunications company, earned $3.1 billion during the fourth quarter on gains in its wireless business and growth in its broadband Internet sales, the company reported Thursday.

Emulex Posts Higher Quarterly Sales, Profit

Costa Mesa's Emulex Corp., a maker of electronics for data networks, saw record revenue for the quarter ended Dec. 30.

Prosecutors Cite Broadcom Founders in Plea Deal

Federal prosecutors cited Broadcom Corp. cofounders Henry Nicholas and Henry Samueli as "unindicted potential co-conspirators" in a plea deal over the backdating of stock options at the Irvine chipmaker.

Consumer Group Seeks Botox Warning Label

A consumer group on Thursday called for Irvine-based Allergan Inc.'s Botox and a similar drug to be labeled with a "black box" warning after reports of 16 deaths and other problems after the main ingredient botulinum toxin spread inside the body.

Ford Quarterly Loss Narrows, Offers Buyouts

Ford Motor Co. narrowed its losses in the fourth quarter amid continued weakness in North America, said the outlook for U.S. sales in 2008 remains grim and is making more employee buyout offers to cut costs.

Broadcom Shares Jump on Profit Bump

Shares of Irvine chipmaker Broadcom Corp. soared in afterhours trading on Thursday after the company beat analysts' expectations for the fourth quarter.

Wednesday, January 23

Western Digital Sales, Profit Beat Expectations

Shares of Lake Forest-based disk drive maker Western Digital Corp. rose Wednesday after the company's profits beat analysts' expectations for the three months ended Dec. 28.

Downey Posts $109M Q4 Loss

Newport Beach-based Downey Financial Corp. said it lost $109 million in the fourth quarter as housing market woes continue to punish the savings and loan operator.

QLogic Shares Up on Record Sales

Shares of Aliso Viejo's QLogic Corp., a maker of electronics for data storage networks, rose Wednesday after the company reported record revenues for the quarter ended Dec. 30.

GM, Toyota in Virtual tie on 2007 Sales

General Motors Corp. is in danger of losing its 76-year title as the world's sales leader, as totals for 2007 released on Wednesday showed the automaker in a virtual tie with Toyota Motor Corp.

Sallie Mae Lost $1.6B in Q4

Embattled Sallie Mae, the nation's largest student lender, on Wednesday reported a fourth-quarter loss of $1.6 billion as it slumped under heavy borrowing costs and set aside $575 million to cover expected losses on student loans.

CBO Sees $250B Deficit

The deficit for the current budget year will jump to about $250 billion, the Congressional Budget Office estimated Wednesday, citing the weakening economy. And that figure does not reflect at least $100 billion in red ink from an economic stimulus measure

Tuesday, January 22

Bank of America Q4 Profit Sinks 95%

Bank of America Corp. said on Tuesday quarterly profit sank 95%, hurt by more than $7 billion of losses tied to write-downs, poor trading decisions and mounting credit woes.

Wachovia Profit Falls Further than Expected

Wachovia Corp., the fourth-largest U.S. bank, on Tuesday said quarterly profit fell a larger-than-expected 98%, hurt by a surge in bad loans and credit losses amid mortgage and capital markets turmoil.

Corinthian Warns as Lenders Cut Student Loans

Santa Ana-based Corinthian Colleges Inc.'s shares plummeted 30% Tuesday after it said it expects lower earnings as lenders cut private loans to students who present higher credit risks.

Dow Drops 465 Points, Gains Back as Fed Cuts Rates

Wall Street struggled to steady itself Tuesday after the Federal Reserve cut interest rates 0.75% to restore stability to a faltering U.S. economy. The Dow Jones industrials, down 465 points in early trading, recovered to a loss of about 95 points.

Circuit board Maker DDi Sees Better-Than-Expected Sales

Shares of Anaheim-based circuit board maker DDi Corp. jumped Tuesday after the company posted better than expected preliminary fourth-quarter results.

Monday, January 21

U.S. Recession Fears Sink Global Markets

Asian and European stock markets plunged Monday following declines on Wall Street last week amid investor pessimism over the U.S. government's stimulus plan to prevent a recession.

Looming Debt Bills Spur Standard Talk

Speculation continues to mount about the future of Standard Pacific

White-Collar Crime

The former chief of the U.S. Attorney's Office in Santa Ana plans to offer seminars on white-collar crime for businesses

Private Equity Firm Buying Tradeshow Booth Maker

Irvine-based DisplayWorks is being bought by a private equity firm, in the Media & Marketing column

Green Planning

Green Planning. Commentary by Colette Morse

Hotels With Smaller Meeting Space Seek Their Own Niche

Hotels With Smaller Meeting Space Seek Their Own Niche

Crevier BMW Was Top Seller of Mini Coopers in 2007

Crevier BMW in Santa Ana sold the most Mini Coopers in the nation for 2007, in the Marketplace column

Stabilizing California's Budget

Stabilizing California's Budget. Commentary by David Crane

Eyeonics Being Bought by Bausch & Lomb

Eyeonics Inc., an Aliso Viejo-based medical device maker that filed to go public in July, is being bought by Bausch & Lomb Inc. for undisclosed terms.

Murdoch, Packer Offer $2.9B for Consolidated Media

Lachlan Murdoch, son of media tycoon Rupert Murdoch, and Australian gaming magnate James Packer launched a joint $2.9 billion offer on Monday to buy out the Packer-backed publishing company Consolidated Media Holdings.

Exhibitors Rely on OC Residents to Attend Local Shows, Conventions

Exhibitors Rely on OC Residents to Attend Local Shows, Conventions

Anaheim Convention Center Going After Bigger Shows

Anaheim Convention Center Going After Bigger Shows

GIVING

Fundraisers and charitable donations from companies and people

ViewSonic Turning to LCD TVs to Drum Up Business

ViewSonic is looking to get out of the red by beefing up its business selling high-definition digital TVs

Big Hopes Pegged on Wet Seal Chief

All eyes are on Wet Seal's new chief executive

NAMM Jam

Pictures from the biggest music convention, NAMM,

L.A. Times Editor Fired in Budget Dispute

The Los Angeles Times fired its top editor after he rejected a management order to cut $4 million from the newsroom budget, 14 months after his predecessor was also ousted in a budget dispute, the newspaper said Sunday.

UCI in Running for Stem-Cell Money

The University of California, Irvine placed third among 12 institutions in the running to receive part of $25 million to $50 million in grants offered by the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine.

MARKET WATCH

The Week's Best, Worst Performers; Roth OC50, Billion Dollar Club, OC Tech; Index Watch, 52-week Performance

PEOPLE

Hirings, promotions and other moves at local businesses

Office Building Sale: First Sizable One of Year

The Wells Fargo Bank Building in Newport Beach has traded hands, the first big local office sale of the year.

Private Contractors Back Prevailing Wage Crackdown

Under pressure to clamp down on prevailing wage violations, state regulators are proposing more oversight of private contractors on public works projects

First American's Big Shift

First American's plans for a spinoff means the company will see some exec changes

More Details Disclosed in Boeing Anaheim Land Sale

More details have been disclosed in the Boeing Anaheim land sale, in the Real Estate column

REAL ESTATE DEALS

Sales and leases of offices, industrial buildings, retail space and apartments

Data Center Consultant Sold to Competitor in Bid to Grow

Irvine's Agile360 Inc. has been bought by a rival, in the Technology column

Closing Costs

Brokers are braving the real estate storm

Sage Hosting Wine Tasting; Urban Thai a Ladera Find

There's something even more interesting on the horizon at Sage on the Coast, in the Executive Dining column

OCBJ SUPPLEMENTS and GUIDES

HEALTHCARE - Jan. 2008

Hospital Operator's President Out After 4 Lively Years

Larry Anderson, who cofounded Integrated Healthcare, ended his tenure as president, in the Healthcare column

3-D Software Maker Moves to Expanded HQ; $10M in Sales

Irvine startup Eon Reality Inc., a maker of 3-D and virtual reality software, has moved into larger space

Laguna Hospital Moves Ahead on $70M Project

South Coast Medical Center is moving forward with plans for a $70 million patient tower, even after a reprieve from California's earthquake safety law

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

This past week's news from www.ocbj.com and other sources

CALENDAR

A listing of events happening all around Orange County

AROUND THE COUNTY

Projects, developments and other activity in cities in and around OC

Deficit, 241 Backers Persuaded Arnold; Remembering Carl

Deficit, 241 Backers Persuaded Arnold; Remembering Carl

Changing Conventions

Education, Healthcare, Religious Groups, Sports and Retail Shows Dominate 2008 Calendar

Instruments Workshop Part of Yamaha Growth

Instrument maker Yamaha Corporation of America has expanded its Buena Park headquarters with a 5,000-square-foot workshop

Real Estate Watch: Los Angeles County

The Los Angeles market still has the market fundamentals of an attractive investment. PLUS: CHART - Net Absorption; Vacancy Rates; Average Asking Lease Rates

Friday, January 18

Sprint Nextel to cut 4,000 Jobs, Close Shops

Wireless phone company Sprint Nextel Corp. said Friday it plans to slash 4,000 jobs and close 125 retail locations to gird itself for an expected slowdown in subscriber growth and revenue.

County Ended 2007 With a Decline in Jobs

Orange County saw a net loss in jobs for 2007, the state's Employment Development Department said Friday.

Bush Calls for $145B Economy Plan

President Bush on Friday called for about $145 billion worth of tax relief and other incentives to stimulate a sagging economy and fend off a possible recession. He said a growth package must include tax incentives for business investment and "direct and

Pacific Sunwear Slumps on Analyst Comments

Shares of slumping Anaheim-based retailer Pacific Sunwear of California Inc. fell Friday after a change in sentiment from an analyst.

Industry Turmoil Slams Washington Mutual

Turmoil in the mortgage and credit markets in the second half of 2007 decimated Washington Mutual Inc.'s fourth-quarter performance and dragged the country's largest savings and loan into the red for the year.

Universal Bids on Chipmaker for Remote Controls

Shares of Cypress-based Universal Electronics Inc., a maker of remote controls for home electronics, jumped Friday after the company said it made a bid to buy San Jose-based chipmaker Zilog Inc.

New Century Investigator: $20M May Have Been Misspent

A bankruptcy court-appointed investigator looking into accounting issues at Irvine's New Century Financial Corp. said the subprime lender may have misspent up to $20 million of investor money after filing for bankruptcy.

Thursday, January 17

Former Disney Sports Exec Tavares Staging IPO

Tony Tavares, the former Walt Disney Co. executive who helped bring hockey to Anaheim, is about to take public a company that's raising money to buy sports, leisure and entertainment businesses.

Investor Ups Stake in First American

Boston's Highfields Capital Management LP has upped its stake in Santa Ana-based First American Corp. and could seek to change or influence control of Orange County's second largest public company by sales.

Irvine Apartment Developer Files for Bankruptcy

Atherton-Newport Investments LLC, an Irvine-based apartment owner that counts a number of professional athletes as investors, said on Thursday it had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

Merrill Lynch Takes $14.1B Writedown

Merrill Lynch & Co. on Thursday said it took a $14.1 billion writedown and adjustments in the fourth quarter as bad subprime mortgage bets forced the brokerage to sell pieces of the company to foreign investors to raise capital.

Housing Starts Hit 16-Year Low

Building projects started in December fell by a sharper-than-expected 14.2% to their lowest level in more than 16 years, while permits for future building hit a 14-year low, a government report on Thursday showed.

Economy on Lower Growth Track: Fed's Pianalto

Cleveland Federal Reserve Bank President Sandra Pianalto said on Thursday the economy has shifted to a lower growth track given restraints led by weak housing prices and falling stock prices.

Wednesday, January 16

Ex-Brocade CEO Sentenced to 21 Months, $15M Fine

The former chief executive of Brocade Communications Corp. was sentenced Wednesday to 21 months in prison and a $15 million fine for his role in an stock-options backdating scheme at the technology firm, according to reports.

Volcom Lowers Outlook, Buying Electric Visual

Costa Mesa clothing designer Volcom Inc. lowered its fourth-quarter and 2008 outlook and said it's buying San Clemente's Electric Visual Evolution LLC for $25.3 million.

Oracle Buying BEA for $8.5 Billion

Oracle Corp. is buying business software maker BEA Systems Inc. for $8.5 billion, 14% more than it originally offered, the companies said on Wednesday.

Home Loan Demand Surges to Near Four-Hear High

Mortgage applications surged last week, with demand hitting its highest in nearly four years as interest rates plunged, an industry group said on Wednesday.

Wells Fargo Quarterly Profit Falls

Wells Fargo & Co. on Wednesday said fourth-quarter profit fell, the first decline in more than six years, hurt by rising losses from home equity loans.

Register Scales Back OC Post

The Orange County Register's OC Post, a daily seen as the possible future of newspapers amid declining readers, is being combined with the Register's Irvine World News and no longer will circulate across the county.

Four William Lyon Directors Step Down

The downsizing at Newport Beach-based homebuilder William Lyon Homes has extended to its board of directors, with the resignation of four members.

Tuesday, January 15

Weak Retail Sales Fuel Recession Fears

Retail sales fell unexpectedly in December to close out the weakest year at the cash register since 2002, data showed on Tuesday, the strongest signal yet that the economy may be sliding into recession under the weight of a housing and credit crisis.

Citi Writes off $18B, Merrill gets $6.6B

Citigroup wrote off a colossal $18.1 billion on Tuesday and secured new capital as Merrill Lynch, also seen heading for big losses due to the U.S. subprime mortgage meltdown, announced a $6.6 billion shot in the arm.

OC Home Prices Fall in December Amid Tough Loan Environment

Orange County home prices fell 3% in December from November, while home sales remained sluggish amid a tough environment for mortgage loan-seekers.

Detroit's Big 3 Expect Tough Year for Auto Sales

U.S. auto sales will likely fall again in 2008 due to economic stress on consumers, raising pressure on struggling Detroit automakers to cut prices or use sales incentives, economists and officials said on Tuesday.

Quantum, Fisker Auto Venture Gets Funding

Irvine-based Quantum Fuel Systems Technologies Worldwide Inc. said it has received a second round of funding for a joint venture with Lake Forest-based Fisker Automotive Inc.

First American Spinning Off Businesses, Kennedy Stepping Back

Santa Ana-based First American Corp. said Tuesday it plans to spin off its financial services operations, including its core title insurance business, into a separate publicly traded company.

Slumping Quiksilver Warns About Quarterly Loss

Huntington Beach-based Quiksilver Inc., which has been slumping on Wall Street, delivered more bad news for investors on Tuesday, warning that it sees a wider-than-expected loss for the three months through Jan. 31.

Monday, January 14

Advisors Busy Helping Developers Unload Raw Land

It's a bit of a chaotic time to be a consultant to developers and homebuilders, in the Real Estate column

Law Firms See Hiring Gains; Uptick in M & A;, Patent Work

Law Firms See Hiring Gains; Uptick in M & A;, Patent Work

Report: Citigroup Could Write Down $24B, Cut 20,000 Jobs

Citigroup Inc. could make as much as $24 billion in writedowns and lay off 20,000 workers as part of a plan to cut costs and boost capital, CNBC said on its Website in a report dated Sunday.

Investor Ups Stake in Advanced Medical Optics

A New York investment firm has upped its stake in Santa Ana's Advanced Medical Optics Inc.

VIEWPOINT

Family Business Dilemma: When To Tell Kids What They're Worth. Commentary by Dana Telford

Fireman Fought, Now Preventing Fires

A former firefighter has come out with his own line of fire repellant vents, in the Small Business column

Gulf Air Orders 16 Boeing 787s for $4B

Bahrain-based airline Gulf Air has ordered 16 of Boeing Co.'s new 787 Dreamliners valued at around $4 billion, with an option for eight more, an airline official said Sunday.

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

This past week's news from www.ocbj.com and other sources

Makar Lands W Hotel for Huntington Beach Project

Newport Beach-based developer Makar Properties LLC has landed a W hotel,the first in the county for Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc.'s boutique chain,for its Pacific City project in Huntington Beach.

IBM Quarterly Sales up 24%

IBM Corp. reported a better-than-expected 24% rise in preliminary quarterly earnings on Monday on strong sales in overseas markets, driving its shares up 6% and spurring a broader tech rally.

GETTING A HANDLE

Hampton Products has made a name for itself by making household fixtures fashionable.

Carona Stepping Down to Focus on Upcoming Trial

Embattled Sheriff Mike Carona, who's set to go trial on federal corruption charges in June, is resigning to focus on his defense, according to a statement on the Sheriff Department's Web site.

Chipmakers' Spending on Materials To Be Less in '08

Chipmakers' spending on gear to make their products is likely to slow this year, in the Technology column

Beckman Genetic Tests Could Bring New Buyers

Beckman Coulter is looking to bring advanced genetic testing to everyday laboratories

LETTER

A warning for consumers: it's lawsuit season

La Vie en Rose Hosting the Godfather of Wine Events

There's a wine dinner happening this week that readers should find interesting, in the Executive Dining column

CALENDAR

A listing of events happening all around Orange County

PEOPLE

Hirings, promotions and other moves at local businesses

Bryan Cave Doubling Space in Move to Maguire's Park Plaza

Bryan Cave Doubling Space in Move to Maguire's Park Plaza

Still Singing

Robert Jones is the hero who's saving Opera Pacific

Wall Street Down on Quiksilver

Hampton Products has made a name for itself by making household fixtures fashionable.

Makar Lands W Hotel for Huntington Beach

Newport Beach-based developer Makar Properties LLC has landed a W hotel for its Pacific City project in Huntington Beach.

Office Broker: 'Clearly the Worst is Behind Us'

Orange County's office market still has some room for a little optimism

BioLase's Shares Surge on Appointment of New CEO

BioLase Technology has come out of a rough stretch with some good news, in the Healthcare column

Accounting Change Drives More Bad Loans at Downey

Newport Beach-based Downey Financial Corp. says it has more bad loans than it stated earlier after reclassifying its balance sheet.

REAL ESTATE DEALS

Sales and leases of offices, industrial buildings, retail space and apartments

Anaheim Files Brief in Appeal of Angels Name Case Loss

The city of Anaheim has filed a brief at the California Court of Appeal's fourth appellate district to try and reverse an earlier decision in favor of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim's name change.

The Closet Opens New Flagship Store in Costa Mesa

The Closet just opened a giant store in Costa Mesa, in the Marketplace column

South County Publisher Adds Dana Point to Weekly Mix

Picket Fence Media has launched a weekly newspaper in Dana Point, in the Media & Marketing column

AROUND THE COUNTY

Projects, developments and other activity in cities in and around OC

Soliciting Solicitors

Partners Target of Wealth Management, Accounting Services

Botox May Be Recession Proof, but Rival Looming

Competition looms for Allergan's key medical cosmetic products

County Home to Big Name Plaintiffs' Lawyers: Robinson, Aitken, Callahan

County Home to Big Name Plaintiffs' Lawyers: Robinson, Aitken, Callahan

Real Estate Watch: Inland Empire

The Inland Empire's industrial market continued to grow in the fourth quarter. PLUS: CHART - Net Absorption; Vacancy Rates; Average Asking Lease Rates

High School Inc.: Anaheim's Chamber May Copy Santa Ana

High School Inc.: Anaheim's Chamber May Copy Santa Ana

CES Highlights Gears' Fashion Over Function

It was all about design at last week's CES fest in Las Vegas

KUDOS

A look at people, companies and institutions receiving awards, accolades, grants and other honors

Local Lawyers Weigh in on Effect of Bill Lerach's Guilty Plea

Local Lawyers Weigh in on Effect of Bill Lerach's Guilty Plea

MARKET WATCH

The Week's Best, Worst Performers; Roth OC50, Billion Dollar Club, OC Tech; Index Watch, 52-week Performance

Friday, January 11

Nicolas Cage Sells Newport Home for Record $35M

Nicolas Cage has sold his Newport Beach home for $35 million, setting a record for Orange County, the Wall Street Journal reported Friday.

Advanced Medical Up on Analyst Report

Shares of Santa Ana-based Advanced Medical Optics Inc. jumped Friday after an analyst said that the stock is a bargain, even though the company faces serious challenges.

Bank of America to buy Countrywide for $4B

Bank of America Corp said on Friday it agreed to acquire battered mortgage lender Countrywide Financial Corp in a $4 billion transaction that could help avert one of the biggest collapses from the U.S. housing crisis.

Report: Merrill Seen Suffering $15B Loss

Merrill Lynch is expected to suffer $15 billion in losses stemming from soured mortgage investments, almost twice the company's original estimate, the New York Times reported on Friday.

Report: JPMorgan, WaMu Have Held Prelim Merger Talks

Washington Mutual Inc., the largest U.S. savings and loan, rose nearly 8% on speculation it will be bought by JPMorgan Chase & Co., the No. 3 U.S. bank.

Medical Device Maker SenoRx Sued by Hologic

Aliso Viejo's SenoRx Inc., maker of devices to diagnose and treat breast cancer, is being sued by Hologic Inc., a Massachusetts maker of mammography and other medical equipment.

Standard Pacific Falls on Bankruptcy Speculation

Shares of Irvine-based Standard Pacific Corp. plunged Friday after a report said the homebuilder hired a restructuring and bankruptcy specialist.

Thursday, January 10

Capital One Slashes Forecast on Loan Losses

Capital One Financial Corp., the largest independent U.S. credit card issuer, lowered its full-year profit forecast by 21% on Thursday, citing mounting consumer loan losses in a weakening economy and higher legal reserves.

PacSun Slumps, Wet Seal Jumps on Outlooks

Mall retailers Pacific Sunwear of California Inc. and Wet Seal Inc., both working on turnaround efforts, offered divergent outlooks on Thursday for the three months through January.

Tradeshow Exhibit Company Acquired

Irvine's DisplayWorks, one of the county's largest makers of tradeshow exhibits, is being sold by Britain's Mice Group PLC to a private equity firm.

Jazz Up on Higher Revenue Outlook

Shares of Newport Beach based Jazz Technologies Inc., the parent company of chipmaker Jazz Semiconductor Inc., jumped Thursday after the company upped its outlook for the fourth quarter.

Retailers Post Mostly Gloomy Dec. Sales

Retailers reported mostly gloomy December sales results, hurt by snowstorms as well as deep discounting aimed at getting cash-strapped consumers to open their wallets during retail's most important month.

Schwarzenegger Details Spending Cuts

Facing the worst fiscal crisis of his tenure, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger today proposed a $141-billion spending plan that would reduce health care programs for the poor, close 48 state parks, release tens of thousands of nonviolent inmates early and make

New York Launches Antitrust Probe Into Intel

New York state launched a formal investigation on Thursday to determine if Intel Corp., the world's biggest chipmaker, violated state and U.S. antitrust laws to squeeze out rival Applied Micro Devices Inc.

Larry King Pays a Visit to Edwards

Television host Larry King visited Irvine heart valve maker Edwards Lifesciences Corp. Thursday to help the company kick off a fundraising campaign aimed at providing heart healthcare for local residents in need.

Wednesday, January 9

Wall Street's Early Bruising Spells Trouble Ahead in 2008

If Wall Street's dismal start to 2008 is any indication, there is growing unease among stock investors that this year could be one of scanty returns, or worse.

Quest Back In Nasdaq Compliance

Aliso Viejo's Quest Software Inc. is back in Wall Street's good graces.

Countrywide: Lending Stabilizes, Foreclosures Up

Countrywide Financial Corp., whose shares have tumbled on concern it might not survive the nation's housing crisis, said on Wednesday it made more loans than expected in the fourth quarter, though foreclosures among loans it services increased.

New Century Examiner Blames Foot-Dragging for Report Delay

A bankruptcy court-appointed investigator looking into accounting issues at Irvine's New Century Financial Corp. said delays getting documents and interviews will push his report back two months to March.

Goldman Sachs Sees Recession in 2008

Goldman Sachs on Wednesday said it expects the economy to drop into recession this year, prompting the Federal Reserve to slash benchmark lending rates to 2.5% by the third quarter.

QLogic, Epicor Up Quarterly Outlooks

Two technology companies upped their outlooks for the recently ended quarter, offering a bit of upbeat news to a year that's started on a down note for much of the sector.

Tuesday, January 8

President of Hospital Operator Integrated Steps Down

Santa Ana-based hospital operator Integrated Healthcare Holdings Inc. said its president, Larry Anderson, has left the company.

KB Home Posts Steep Loss

KB Home posted a quarterly loss of nearly $773 million on Tuesday with abandonment and impairment charges as the U.S. housing market braced for another rough year in 2008.

Laser Maker Newport Sees Q4 Results Beating Projection

Newport Corp., an Irvine maker of industrial lasers and related gear, said it expects fourth-quarter profits and sales to exceed an earlier forecast.

PIMCO's Gross Sees Fed Funds at 3% by Midyear

The Federal Reserve will cut lending rates aggressively in the first half of 2008 as the United States faces a possible recession, PIMCO fund manager Bill Gross said in an investment outlook posted on Tuesday.

Microsemi Buying Defense Electronics Maker

Irvine chipmaker Microsemi Corp. is paying $2 million for a Massachusetts maker of electronics for military and defense contractors.

Report: November Pending Home Sales Fall

Pending sales of existing homes fell 2.6% in November from an October level that was revised sharply upwards and sales should hold steady over the next few months, a real estate trade group said Tuesday.

Monday, January 7

Paulson: Need to Offset Housing Slump's Impact

Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson said on Monday the Bush administration was trying to minimize the impact of a housing downturn on the economy rather than rush new stimulus measures.

Valeant Sells Hep C Drug Infergen for a Loss at $91M

Valeant's selling its hepatitis C drug for less than what it bought it for, in the Healthcare column

Local Stocks Slump in 2007, Few Bright Ones

2007 was mostly negative when it came to the local stock market, but there were a few gems

Executives' Outlook for Q1 Hits a Low

Executive expectations for business growth in Orange County are at a low.

BioLase Hires Cardinal Health Exec as CEO

Irvine dental laser maker BioLase Technology Inc.'s shares surged Monday after it named a chief executive and forecast fourth-quarter sales.

Ad, Marketing, PR Executives Cautiously Optimistic

PR, advertising and marketing execs are cautiously optimistic for 2008, in the Media & Marketing column

Standard Pacific Offloads 2,500 San Antonio Lots

Irvine-based Standard Pacific Homes is selling off its assets in San Antonio, the second market the homebuilder has exited in the past week, according to local reports.

Law Firm Plans Hires for Growing Practices

Stradling Yocca Carlson & Rauth is focusing the firm on its corporate and securities litigation practices

Mutual Fund Mahal

Capital Group quietly is making its mark in the county

Medical Offices Riding High Despite Credit Crunch

The county's medical office market has been relatively unfazed by the recent credit crunch, in the Real Estate column

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

This past week's news from www.ocbj.com and other sources

Newcomer Novelics Attracts Fellow Startups, Eyes Big Names

A company started by a trio of former Broadcom engineers is looking to sell big chipmakers on its design to handle memory in all-in-one chips

Impac Mortgage Talks of Growth in Bid for Survival

Executives at Impac Mortgage are planning to grow the company despite some wondering if the company will survive

Sarbanes Fallout: IPO Companies Get Bigger

The market for public offerings has been hampered by heavy regulations such as SOX

CES Gets Under Way; Local Companies on Hand

The International Consumer Electronics Show kicked off Monday at the Las Vegas Convention Center as more than 130,000 analysts, reporters, industry experts and tech enthusiasts descended on Sin City.

CALENDAR

A listing of events happening all around Orange County

Chip Startup Making Push in Home Entertainment

A well-known computer industry veteran is back with a chip startup that wants to end up in your living room

Buon Giorno Brings Italian Coffee, Snacks to Costa Mesa

What better way to start out the year than with a good cup of coffee?, in the Executive Dining column

DeVore's Travels with Charlie; RE Woes For Real Housewives

DeVore's Travels with Charlie; RE Woes For Real Housewives

D-Link Systems Ranked No. 2 for Ethernet Port Sales

D-Link's No. 2 in the market for wired networking devices, in the Technology column

Nokia Siemens Wins $935M Saudi Arabia Deal

Nokia Siemens Networks said on Monday it had won an order worth $935 million from Kuwait telecom operator Zain to build second- and third-generation mobile networks in Saudi Arabia.

Real Estate Watch: Mid-Counties

Industrial availability in mid-counties continues to move lower. PLUS: CHART - Net Absorption; Vacancy Rates; Average Asking Lease Rates

Citigroup Seen Cutting Workforce

Citigroup's new Chief Executive Vikrum Pandit continues to work on a restructuring program, the details of which will likely be announced next week, according to people familar with the plan.

Expectations for Business Growth Hit a Low for Q1

Executive sentiment hit an all-time low in the fourth quarter

Tiny, Eco-Friendly Smart Car Coming to Laguna Niguel

The Smart Car is finally coming to OC, in the Marketplace column

PEOPLE

Hirings, promotions and other moves at local businesses

Friday, January 4

Labor Market Shows Weak Growth in December

Private-sector job growth slowed in December and the number of people receiving jobless benefits hit a two-year high in late December, reports released on Thursday showed.

Boeing Saw Record Aircraft Orders in 2007

Boeing Co. reported an industry record of 1,413 firm commercial plane orders for 2007, setting up a photo-finish with rival Airbus, which reports its annual order tally later this month.

Presidential Race Focus Turns to New Hampshire

Fresh from big wins in Iowa, Democrat Barack Obama and Republican Mike Huckabee said they had momentum as they swept into New Hampshire on Friday to campaign for the next prize in the presidential race.

Pacific Sunwear Can't Find Demo Buyer, Closing Stores, Anaheim Warehouse

Anaheim-based clothing retailer Pacific Sunwear of California Inc. plans to close 154 stores selling urban styles as well as a distribution center at its headquarters.

Tech, Retail, Real Estate Stocks Plunge

Shares of technology, retail and real estate companies led a broad slump in local stocks on Friday.

Bankrupt New Century Comes to Terms With Creditors, Seeks More Time

Irvine-based New Century Financial Corp. has come to terms with unsecured creditors on its bankruptcy but needs more time to come up with a final plan, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Thursday, January 3

India's Tata Lead Bidder for Jaguar, Land Rover

India's Tata Motors Ltd. is in advanced talks to buy Ford Motor Co.'s Jaguar and Land Rover, which have their U.S. headquarters in Irvine.

State Street Takes Big Mortgage Charge

State Street Corp. said on Thursday it will take a $279 million fourth-quarter charge after making bad bets on subprime mortgages and other debt, and said it replaced its investment management chief.

Pimco's Gross Sees Fed Rate Going to 3%

The Federal Reserve will have to cut interest rates to 3% or lower as housing prices remain in a slump, said Bill Gross, chief investment officer of Newport Beach-based Pacific Investment Management Co.

Fed Minutes: Credit Woes May Force More Rate Cuts

Federal Reserve policy-makers worried that a credit crunch could sharply brake economic growth and require big interest rate cuts, according to minutes of the Fed's Dec. 11 policy meeting.

More Buyouts Expected to Unravel Amid Global Credit Crunch

News that mortgage and vehicle fleet company PHH Corp. terminated its $1.8 billion sale to General Electric Co. and Blackstone Group LP amid a global credit crunch is likely to be a harbinger of things to come in the buyout market during the next few mont

CSUF Business School Lands $30M Donation

California State University, Fullerton's business school has received a $30 million donation,the largest gift for the school.

Wednesday, January 2

Standard Pacific Finds Buyer for Arizona Assets

Irvine-based Standard Pacific Homes is pulling out of the Southern Arizona homebuilding market, according to local reports.

IBM Acquires Israel-based XIV

International Business Machines Corp. (IBM.N) said on Wednesday it had acquired XIV, a privately held storage technology company based in Tel Aviv.

Oil Hits Record $100 a Barrel

U.S. crude oil futures hit a record $100 a barrel on Wednesday, surging more than $4 as violence in OPEC members Nigeria and Algeria combined with a weak dollar and a cold snap to boost crude futures.

Broadcom Up on Qualcomm Chip Injunction

Shares of Irvine chipmaker Broadcom Corp. rose as high as 3% in New York trading and then closed flat on Wednesday as investors reacted to news that a judge ordered rival Qualcomm Inc. to stop making and selling some chips for cell phones.

Quest Files Last of Results Delayed by Options Probe

Aliso Viejo's Quest Software Inc. now is up to date on financial results for 2007 that were delayed by a long-running probe into misdated stock options.

Manufacturing Takes Sharp Turn for Worse

Factory production shrank in December for the first time in nearly a year as tighter lending conditions and a slowing economy took their toll, according to a national survey published on Wednesday.