AP Business NewsBrief at 12:05 a.m. EST
(Associated Press Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Drivers endure high gas prices despite US oil boomNEW YORK (AP) _ The U.S. is increasing its oil production faster than ever, and American drivers are guzzling less gas. But you'd never know it from the price at the pump. The national average price of gasoline is $3.69 per gallon and forecast to creep higher, possibly approaching $4 by May.
Sierra Club blasts new plan to improve frackingPITTSBURGH (AP) _ The Sierra Club and some other environmental groups are harshly criticizing a new partnership that aims to create tough new standards for fracking. The criticism Thursday came a day after two of the nation's biggest oil and gas companies made peace with some national and regional environmental groups, agreeing to go through an independent review of their shale oil and gas drilling operations in the Northeast.
Deal to sell Dell may be about to face competitionSAN FRANCISCO (AP) _ Is Michael Dell's attempt to gain more control over his company about to turn into a financial tug-of-war The answer could come Friday. That's the end of a 45-day period that Dell Inc.'s board of directors set to allow for offers that might top a Feb. 5 deal to sell the personal computer maker to CEO Michael Dell and a group of investors for $24.4 billion.
Weak Oracle sales, Cyprus fears weigh on US stocksStocks closed lower on Wall Street Thursday after Oracle's weak sales results weighed down big U.S. technology companies. Traders also worried about Cyprus running out of time to avoid bankruptcy. Major indexes followed European markets lower at the open and remained solidly negative all day. The Dow Jones industrial average fell as much as 129 points by mid-afternoon before paring the loss to close down 90 points.
Judge: Aggregator of AP news can't have free rideNEW YORK (AP) _ A federal judge ordered an Internet news clipping service to stop reselling stories from The Associated Press, saying the ability of news organizations to perform an "essential function of democracy" was jeopardized when a company is allowed to "free ride" on the costly work of others. Media observers say the ruling against Meltwater U.S. Holdings Inc. and its Meltwater News Service, if upheld on appeal, could provide strong protection for the news industry as it struggles to survive in an Internet age.
Asian markets muted amid Cyprus uncertaintyHONG KONG (AP) _ Japanese stocks tumbled Friday as investors were disappointed by a lack of specifics from the new central bank chief on boosting the economy while other Asian markets fluctuated because of uncertainty over Cyprus' troubled bank restructuring. Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 fell 1.5 percent to 12,449.90 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng lost 0.2 percent to 22,170.51. South Korea's Kospi was up less than 0.1 percent at 1,952.45. In mainland China, the Shanghai Composite Index added 0.1 percent to 2,326.39 after swinging between gains and losses.
US homes sales highest in more than 3 yearsWASHINGTON (AP) _ U.S. sales of previously occupied homes rose in February to their fastest pace in more than three years, and more people put their homes on the market. The increases suggest a growing number of Americans believe the housing recovery will strengthen. The National Association of Realtors said Thursday that sales increased 0.8 percent in February from January to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.98 million. That was the fastest sales pace since November 2009, when a temporary home buyer tax credit had boosted sales. The February sales pace was also 10.2 percent higher than the same month a year ago.
House passes GOP budget plan promising deep cutsWASHINGTON (AP) _ Moving on two fronts, the Republican-controlled House on Thursday voted to keep the government running for the next six months while pushing through a tea-party flavored budget for next year that would shrink the government by another $4.6 trillion over the next decade. The spending authorization on its way to the White House for President Barack Obama's signature leaves in place $85 billion in spending cuts to the Pentagon and domestic programs. The result will be temporary furloughs for hundreds of thousands of federal workers and contractors over the next six months and interrupted, slower or halted services and aid for many Americans.
Brother of hedge fund founder indicted in NYCNEW YORK (AP) _ The brother of a jailed one-time billionaire hedge fund boss has been charged with conspiring with his brother to cheat on Wall Street and earn nearly $1.2 million illegally, federal authorities announced Thursday. Rengan Rajaratnam, 42, of Manhattan, was charged in an indictment returned Wednesday and unsealed a day later with conspiracy to commit securities fraud and six counts of securities fraud. He was not immediately arrested. His brother, Raj Rajaratnam, is serving an 11-year prison sentence after he was convicted in 2011 of earning up to $75 million by swapping secrets about public companies with other hedge fund managers and friends at public companies.
SKorea ready for more cyberattacks; banks recoverSEOUL, South Korea (AP) _ South Korea said Friday it was preparing for the possibility of more cyberattacks as a new team of investigators tried to determine if North Korea was behind a synchronized shutdown of tens of thousands of computers at six South Korean banks and media companies. Many in Seoul suspect hackers loyal to Pyongyang were responsible for Wednesday's attack, but South Korean officials have yet to assign blame and say they have no proof yet of North Korea's involvement. Pyongyang hasn't yet mentioned the shutdown.
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