Business Highlights

Published on NewsOK Modified: September 25, 2014 at 5:00 pm •  Published: September 25, 2014
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Prices at the pump head below $3 in much of US

NEW YORK (AP) — The price of a gallon of gasoline may soon start with a "2'' across much the country.

Gasoline prices typically decline in autumn, and this year they are being pulled even lower by falling global oil prices. By the end of the year, up to 30 states could have an average gasoline price of less than $3 a gallon.

The average in Springfield, Missouri, is already below $3, according to Tom Kloza, chief oil analyst at the Oil Price Information Service and GasBuddy.com. Several other cities are on the brink.

At the current national average of $3.35 a gallon, gas is a dime cheaper than a year ago at this time. The gap is 20 cents or more in seven states, including California, Kansas, South Dakota and Connecticut, according to AAA.

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Mexican cartels steal billions from oil industry

CIUDAD MIER, Mexico (AP) — Mexico overcame 75 years of nationalist pride to reform its flagging, state-owned oil industry. But as it prepares to develop rich shale fields along the Gulf Coast, and attract foreign investors, another challenge awaits: taming the brutal drug cartels that rule the region and are stealing billions of dollars' worth of oil from pipelines.

Figures released by Petroleos Mexicanos last week show the gangs are becoming more prolific and sophisticated. So far this year, thieves across Mexico have drilled 2,481 illegal taps into state-owned pipelines, up more than one-third from the same period of 2013. Pemex estimates it's lost some 7.5 million barrels worth $1.15 billion.

Pemex director Emilio Lozoya called the trend "worrisome."

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'Eau de Revolution': Cuba scents honor Che, Chavez

HAVANA (AP) — Call it "Eau de Revolution."

Cuba's biggest producer of natural products has come up with a pair of colognes for the discerning supporter of international socialism who wants something more than just the iconic "Che" T-shirt.

A woodsy and refreshing citric scent with notes of talcum powder called "Ernesto" honors guerrilla leader Ernesto "Che" Guevara. For those seeking something softer and fruitier, there's a blend with hints of mango and papaya called "Hugo," for the late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.

Formulated by a French company and produced in Cuba, the men's colognes are being presented this week at a Labiofam convention in Havana. The two scents so far have generic bottles and simple printed labels bearing only their names. But Labiofam is developing more attractive bottles and labels with hopes of putting the colognes on sale in Cuba and internationally0.

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Applications for US unemployment rise 12K to 293K

WASHINGTON (AP) — The number of people seeking U.S. unemployment benefits increased last week after falling sharply two weeks ago. Despite the rise, the level of applications remains near pre-recession levels, a sign that hiring will likely remain healthy.

Weekly unemployment benefit applications rose 12,000 to a seasonally adjusted 293,000, the Labor Department said Thursday. Yet the four-week average, a less volatile measure, fell for the second straight week to 298,500.

Two weeks ago, applications had plummeted to 281,000, near a 14-year low first reached in July. Over the past year, the four-week average for applications has fallen 7.1 percent. They climbed above 650,000 during the recession in 2009.

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US durable goods fell 18.2 percent in August

WASHINGTON (AP) — Orders for long-lasting manufactured goods slumped in August as demand for commercial aircraft descended from record highs, but investment plans by businesses posted promising gains.

Durable goods orders fell 18.2 percent in August following a 22.5 percent jump in July, the Commerce Department reported Thursday. Both the big increase and the big drop were records. They reflected sharp swings in demand for commercial aircraft, an extremely volatile category that can skew overall results. Airplane orders fell 74.3 percent in August.

More importantly, however, a key category that serves as a proxy for business spending plans rose 0.6 percent.

The figure offers further evidence that manufacturing is a key source of strength for the economy this year. Economists expect businesses to boost spending as they expand and modernize their operations.

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