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Economy Briefs: Natural gas prices surge on smaller supply report
NEW YORK — Natural gas prices surged Thursday after a report showing a smaller than expected increase in U.S. supplies.
Futures rose 12 cents, or 4 percent, to $3.05 per 1,000 cubic feet Thursday in New York.
The Energy Information Administration reported that natural gas in storage grew by 24 billion cubic feet to 3.241 trillion cubic feet for the week ended Aug. 3.
Analysts expected a rise of 27 billion cubic feet to 31 billion cubic feet, according to a survey by Platts, the energy information arm of McGraw-Hill Cos.
Natural gas futures have increased about 62 percent since hitting a 10-year low in April because of the hot summer weather. July was the hottest month on record, according to government scientists.
GM head promises to end fiefdom culture
DETROIT — A frustrated but upbeat General Motors CEO told employees that he’s working to wipe out fiefdoms that remain in the company and to bring its culture into the 21st century.
Chief Executive Dan Akerson told workers during a meeting Thursday that GM has made progress in shrinking its bureaucracy, but he urged them to be leaders and to fix problems rather than being told what to do.
“You shouldn’t stand around waiting for somebody to tell you where we’re going to go,” the former telecommunications and private equity executive said. “We’ve got to get this company and the culture into the 21st century.”
The town-hall meeting, which employees could phone into, gave Mr. Akerson a chance to reassure the rank and file after a series of management changes at the top, including the ouster of GM’s marketing chief. The company also reported a 41 percent drop in second-quarter earnings last week, due mainly to losses in Europe.
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