Explaining Southern California's economy

September housing starts, more on Pandit, Microsoft prices Surface

Microsoft Surface

Microsoft

The new Microsoft Surface tablet. Microsoft will price it a levels competitive with the Apple iPad.

Builders haven't been building this fast since July 2008: "Construction activity rose in three of the nation's four regions. The biggest increases came in the West and South. Housing starts increased by nearly 20 percent in both regions." (Commerce Dept.)

Maybe buying Merrill Lynch wasn't such a great idea. Bank of America suffers an expensive quarter: "Overall, Bank of America reported a profit $340 million versus a profit of $6.23 billion a year earlier." (WSJ)

North American energy boom continues: "Exxon Mobil agreed on Wednesday to buy Celtic Exploration for about $3.1 billion in cash and stock, as it sought to expand its presence in the energy-rich shale formations of western Canada." (DealBook)

The beginning of the end for the PC? Intel takes a hit in the quarter: "The big chip maker, whose microprocessors power most desktop PCs and laptops, said it is significantly scaling back production in the fourth quarter in response to weaker than expected demand." (WSJ)

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Pandit steps down as Citigroup CEO after navigating bank through 'Too big to fail' crisis

Congressional Oversight Panel Holds Hearing TARP Assistance To Citigroup

Alex Wong/Getty Images

Citigroup CEO Vikram Pandit testifies during a hearing before the Congress. He just stepped down, ending a story that stretches back to the financial crisis.

Vikram Pandit steps down as CEO of Citigroup: "...a surprise to Wall Street that comes a day after the country's third-largest bank announced stronger-than-expected earnings." (LAT)

Son of Solyndra? A123 files for bankruptcy: "The bankruptcy filing may fuel further political debate over government financing of alternative-energy and transportation businesses." (Bloomberg)

Yahoo CEO and former Googler Marissa Mayer makes the incredibly tricky decision to...hire an Henrique de Castro, an executive from Google, as COO: "'This is a pivotal point in Yahoo!'s history, and I believe strongly in the opportunity ahead. I can't wait to join Marissa and the team and get started.'" (VatorNews) 

Oh please, oh please, oh please... The Tata Nano Americano: "So the owner of some of the world's most opulent vehicles wants to bring to the U.S. a car with fewer amenities and horsepower than your average lawn mower." (LAT)

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