Welcome to California Inc., the weekly newsletter of the L.A. Times Business Section.
I’m Business columnist David Lazarus, and here’s a rundown of upcoming stories this week and the highlights of last week.
On the dealmaking front, it was announced Friday that the Justice Department approved T-Mobile’s $26.5-billion takeover of rival Sprint. The final hurdle for the companies is a lawsuit filed by California and other states alleging the merger would be bad for consumers.
Consumer spending: The latest stats on consumer spending — a key gauge of economic activity — come out Tuesday. Spending rose 0.4% in May as households boosted purchases of motor vehicles and spent more at restaurants and on hotel accommodation.
Vehicle sales: We’ll see how the auto industry is doing as July’s motor vehicle sales are revealed Wednesday. In June, U.S. sales at Hyundai and Fiat Chrysler rose, while General Motors, Toyota, Honda and Nissan fell.
Unemployment rate: All eyes will be on the Labor Department on Friday as the unemployment rate is updated. The jobless edged up to 3.7% in June as labor force participation rose.
Monday’s Business section drives home that breaking up is hard to do. Specifically, getting divorced later in life. Splitting up after age 50 — often called “gray divorce” — may be particularly hazardous to your emotional and financial health, far worse than doing so at younger ages. A wave of new research is quantifying the damage.
Here are some of the other stories that ran in The Times Business section in recent days that we’re continuing to follow:
Feeling Luckey: At a time when some technology workers are protesting their employers’ role in defense and immigration enforcement, a start-up created by Oculus founder Palmer Luckey is eager to get in on military and border contracting. Anduril, based in Irvine and named after a sword from “Lord of the Rings,” has already lined up government bidders for its virtual border wall technology.
A-weema-weh: Walt Disney Co.'s photo-realistic version of “The Lion King” keeps pulling in crowds. But the technologically innovative film’s impact could go well beyond the box office. The film’s unusual production techniques, including its use of video game technology and virtual reality headsets, could also change the way movies are made.
Home prices: Southern California home prices rose only 1.2% in June from a year earlier, while sales fell 8.8%, reflecting a broad slowdown in the region’s pricey housing market. The six-county region’s median price clocked in at $541,250 last month.
Bad sports: Dish Network subscribers in Southern California are without their Angels and Mike Trout fix because of a dispute over fees. The Englewood, Colo.-based satellite TV service announced it is no longer carrying Fox Sports West, Fox Sports San Diego, Prime Ticket and 19 other regional sports networks that were previously part of Rupert Murdoch’s Fox entertainment company.
WHAT WE’RE READING
And some recent stories from other publications that caught our eye:
Tariffs R Us: President Trump is back on the tariff train, says the New York Times. He said “his administration would deny a request by the electronics giant Apple to avoid stiff tariffs the United States had placed on Chinese imports and threatened to hit France with heavy tariffs in response to a new digital tax that will affect American tech companies.”
Keeping it real: The popularity of Pepsi’s new offerings can’t mask the importance of one of its core brands, Gatorade, observes the Wall Street Journal. “If a business wants to win the long game, its leaders need to find a way to keep its tentpole brands dispensing cash or the time, talent and money for growth projects will dry up.”
Muddy situation: Rapper Jay-Z and folk rocker John Fogerty have pulled out of next month’s Woodstock 50 music festival after the organizer relocated the event to Maryland, Bloomberg reports. “Jay-Z was one of the headliners for the event, while Fogerty was one of the few acts from the original Woodstock that was going to appear at the 50th-anniversary celebration.”
The 1970 “Woodstock” movie remains one of the great rock documentaries, chock-full of awesome moments and performances. Here’s Jimi Hendrix playing a shredded, war-protesting version of “The Star Spangled Banner.”
For the latest money news, go to latimes.com/business. Until next time, I’ll see you in the Business section.