Gasoline price rise first in nine weeks
The average U.S. retail price for gasoline rose for the first time in nine weeks, climbing 0.7 cent to $1.498 a gallon, as crude-oil costs increased, the U.S. Energy Department said. The price of crude, which accounts for almost half of the cost of making gasoline, has risen as much as 14 percent since the end of April, partly on expectations that Saudi Arabia and other top producers will cut production starting next month. “We’re leading up to Memorial Day, so increased demand pressures and increased supply costs due to crude oil” are causing higher prices, Energy Department economist Doug MacIntyre said. The nationwide average for regular-grade fuel is still down 23 cents, or 13 percent, from a record $1.728 in the week ended March 17. The price, for the week ended Monday, was up 7.2 percent from $1.397 a year ago. The average U.S. price of $1.491 in the week ended May 12 was the lowest since the week of Jan. 27.
Ad firms win Addys
Local advertising companies won 20 Addy awards over the weekend in a competition organized by the District Two of the American Advertising Federation. Pittsburgh-based Blattner Brunner won three gold and nine silver Addys for work done for clients ranging from Zippo to the Washington Wild Things and the Holy Family Institute. Pittsburgh-based Marc USA won a gold and five silver Addys for work done for clients including Make-A-Wish Foundation and Rite Aid Corp. Flaherty Sabol Carroll Marketing Communications won a gold Addy for an invitation created for the North Catholic Class of 1972 reunion. Winners in the District competition are entered into the National ADDY Awards, which will be presented June 7 in Los Angeles.
Now Marconi Corp.
Marconi Corp. plc began trading again on the London Stock Exchange Monday morning as planned, marking its re-emergence following a two-year restructuring that saw its creditors swap more than $6 billion in debt for equity control of the company. The company’s Broadband Routing and Switching division, headquartered in Marshall, employs about 750. Moody’s Investors Service said it withdrew its credit ratings on Marconi after the company completed a financial reorganization.
Del Monte forecast
Del Monte Foods Co. said it expects earnings per share of 80 cents to 84 cents per share for the fiscal year ended May 2, 2004, and that the integration of the business units acquired in December from H.J. Heinz Co. is proceeding on and, in some cases, ahead of schedule. The company said it expects revenue growth of 2 to 4 percent in fiscal 2004. Integration expenses of about $25 million will detract about 8 cents per share from earnings. The company expects free cash flow from operations during the year of $200 million, which will be used to pay down debt.
Complex breaks ground
Altoona officials broke ground Monday on a shopping complex that its developer says is the largest between Pittsburgh and Philadelphia. The Logan Town Centre project in Blair County will create more than 1,000 construction jobs and up to 4,000 permanent jobs, developer Gregg Morris and community leaders said. When the shopping center opens next summer, it will include a Home Depot, Barnes & Noble and Dick’s Sporting Goods stores, officials said.
Comcast Cable, which serves more than 600,000 customers in western Pennsylvania, switched digital servers from a national hub site to a local site last night, allowing some digital channels and all premium channels to be made available to all customers. The conversion allows Comcast to broadcast local messages to viewers, tailor digital channels and prepare for future launch of “on-demand” features.
Verizon spans Turnpike
Verizon Wireless is now offering wireless coverage along the entire 531-mile span of the Pennsylvania Turnpike. A Verizon Wireless customer could conceivably conduct a wireless conversation from one end of the Turnpike to the other. The coverage is expected to improve convenience and safety, by providing round-the-clock, end-to-end access to the Turnpike’s emergency roadside assistance number.
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