- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 25, 2011


Crude prices rise as storm targets East Coast

NEW YORK | Oil prices rose Thursday afternoon as concerns grew about the potential impact of Hurricane Irene on U.S. oil and gas supplies.

Benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude rose 62 cents at $85.78 per barrel in New York. Brent crude, which is used to price oil produced abroad, rose $1.10 to $111.25 per barrel in London.

East Coast refineries are bracing for the possibility that Hurricane Irene could disrupt operations beginning this weekend. Refineries in Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Virginia produce nearly 8 percent of the country’s gasoline and diesel fuel. If they shut down owing to the storm, it may push fuel prices higher.

Gasoline pump prices increased nearly a penny on Thursday to a national average of $3.582 per gallon. A gallon of regular has fallen 40 cents since peaking in May near $4 per gallon, but it’s still almost 89 cents more than a year ago.


Bloomberg to pay $990M for research firm

NEW YORK | Financial data and news company Bloomberg LP said Thursday that it will pay $990 million for BNA, a publisher of legal, tax and regulatory information.

Bloomberg said it will acquire all outstanding shares of the Bureau of National Affairs Inc., which is owned by its current and former employees. Bloomberg is paying $39.50 per share in cash. The deal is expected to be completed this year.

Bloomberg said the purchase will enhance its coverage of tax, labor, health care and intellectual-property issues. Bloomberg said BNA will work with its other subsidiaries in Washington to provide coverage of U.S. regulatory issues.

Bloomberg’s other units in Washington include Bloomberg News, Bloomberg Government and Bloomberg Law. BNA’s publications include Daily Labor Report, U.S. Law Week and Daily Report for Executives.

Bloomberg is a private company founded by New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg.


Study: Escalade most likely to be stolen

NEW YORK | The Cadillac Escalade, a top pick of the rich and famous ranging from Hollywood celebrities to Wall Street executives, is also the favorite choice of thieves.

The luxury SUV, which starts at more than $63,000, is the most likely vehicle to be targeted by car crooks, according to a new study by the Highway Loss Data Institute.

The study, based on insurance claims made for model year 2008 through 2010 vehicles, showed that the Escalade is six times more likely to be hit by thieves than the average vehicle, and its overall theft losses are more than 10 times as large.

The rankings are based on vehicles that were stolen, had parts such as stereo systems taken or had other property inside the car snatched.

General Motors Co. said it’s trying to make the Escalade harder to steal. The SUV currently includes a system to prevent the vehicles from being hot-wired and a steering column lock that makes it more difficult for thieves to push the vehicles away or load them on to flat-bed trucks.


Troubled Saab delays salary payments again

STOCKHOLM | Ailing Swedish car maker Saab has delayed salary payments to its staff for the third month in a row as it continues to struggle to fund its operations.

Saab spokeswoman Gunilla Gustavs said Thursday it is unclear when payroll is expected to run smoothly again, but it will be done “as soon as we have short-term funding solutions in place.”

Saab’s financial difficulties, owing to hefty debts and dwindling sales, have left the company’s Trollhattan-based plant in southwestern Sweden idle for months. Salaries were also delayed in June and July, but have now been paid.

Although the company has been criticized for hiking board member remunerations amid the crisis, Miss Gustavs says the board hasn’t received any compensation since early 2010.


Delta confirms plan to buy 100 Boeing planes

NEW YORK | Delta Air Lines on Thursday confirmed its plan to buy 100 Boeing 737 jets as part of a fleet upgrade, with delivery set for 2013 to 2018.

The order announced Thursday is valued at $8.5 billion at list prices, although airlines commonly get discounts. The newer planes offer perks for travelers including a roomier cabin, less engine noise and more room in overhead bins. But they also have huge benefits for airlines because they are more efficient, require less maintenance and burn less fuel.

The 737-900 extended-range aircraft from Boeing Co. have a single aisle and up to 180 seats when set up with economy and first class. They have the range to fly on any of Delta’s current domestic routes. The 737-900 is the newest of Boeing’s popular 737 model.

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