Daily Briefing

DAILY BRIEFING

December 03, 2008

Oil, gasoline prices continue to fall

COLUMBUS, Ohio : Retail gasoline prices fell to a new three-year low yesterday and in an unprecedented decline, crude oil costs $100 less per barrel than it did four months ago with a U.S. recession eating away at energy demand. Analysts believe prices at the pump may finally be bottoming out after a precipitous decline from record highs this summer. Yet demand could fall even further in January with job losses reducing the number of people who drive to work. Crude has fallen nearly 70 percent since July 11, when it hit $147.27. Gas prices fell for the 20th week since the July 4th holiday and hit $1.811 per gallon. Light sweet crude for January delivery fell more than 4 percent, or $2.32 to settle at $46.96 a barrel.

Associated Press

Major airlines set to cut more flights

DALLAS: Executives of major U.S. airlines, already seeing signs of slumping travel demand, said yesterday they were ready to cut more flights, and Delta hinted at more job losses as the carriers jockey to survive the deepening recession. U.S. airlines have been helped by a sudden drop in jet fuel prices, and they already cut capacity this fall to further reduce costs and drive up fares. But traffic has fallen even faster than the supply of seats, especially since the stock market went into a nose dive. "October was a bang-up month, almost unexplainably strong," said Southwest Airlines Co. Chairman and Chief Executive Gary Kelly. "The trends changed in November." Delta Air Lines Inc., the world's largest carrier, said it will reduce overall capacity another 6 to 8 percent next year. Delta and its Northwest Airlines unit will cut U.S. capacity 8 percent to 10 percent. Southwest, the dominant carrier at Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport, plans to drop unprofitable routes and trim first-quarter capacity 4 percent to 5 percent, although that's slightly less than the airline's previous goal of a 5 percent to 6 percent reduction.

Associated Press

Legg Mason stock rises 14 percent

Legg Mason Inc. rose 14 percent in New York trading yeterday after the asset manager set aside an additional $470 million to cushion investors from losses in four money-market funds. Legg Mason said Monday that the fresh capital will be used to absorb losses on debt issued by structured investment vehicles. The Baltimore-based company also said it renewed a contract with banks designed to prop up $355 million of SIV securities, which tumbled in value earlier this year when credit markets froze and the investment funds couldn't refinance their borrowings. Legg Mason rose $2.08 to $17 at 4:15 p.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading, after climbing to $17.25 earlier in the day. The stock is down 77 percent this year.

Bloomberg News

Lockheed wins contract for weather satellites

Bethesda-based Lockheed Martin Corp., the world's largest defense company, beat separate bids by Boeing Co. and Northrop Grumman Corp. for a contract valued at as much as $1.09 billion to build the next series of weather satellites for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. The contract is for two spacecraft, with options for two additional satellites, NASA said yesterday. The craft are called Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites. The new spacecraft will supply about 50 times more weather and climate data than the current fleet, NASA said.

Bloomberg News

Washington Examiner to close printing plant

WASHINGTON: The Washington Examiner will close its printing plant on Pickett Street, eliminating 101 jobs. The Examiner will outsource its printing to a subsidiary of The Frederick News-Post and to the Vertis Co., which has a plant in Belcamp in Harford County. The Baltimore Examiner is already printed at the Belcamp plant. The Washington Examiner is owned by Denver-based Clarity Media.

Associated Press

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