segunda-feira, 9 de junho de 2008

Gas price record above $4.02, oil slips

Gas prices set another record above $4.02 a gallon Monday, while crude oil prices eased following a massive spike in the previous session.

The national average price for a gallon of gasoline climbed to a record $4.023 a gallon, which is more than 10% higher than $3.692 a month ago and nearly 29% higher than the $3.091 average a year ago, according to the AAA figures.

The average price is $4 a gallon or more in 22 states and the District of Columbia, according to the survey. California pays the most for gasoline, averaging $4.45 a gallon, followed by Connecticut at $4.32 and Alaska at $4.30. Other states above $4 are Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts, Maine, Michigan, Nevada, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Washington and West Virginia.

Missouri has the lowest average price at $3.83, followed by South Carolina at $3.83.

Gasoline prices in the survey have risen for 32 of the past 34 days, setting records on 30 of those days.

The price of diesel fuel, used by truckers hauling goods across the country, rose 1.1 cent to $4.773 a gallon. That's just under 2 cents below the all-time high set May 30.

Meanwhile, light, sweet crude for July delivery fell $2.66 to $135.90 a barrel in pre-market trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

On Friday, the contract shot up nearly $11 - the largest single-day jump on record - to settle at a record $138.54 a barrel.

Friday's rally was fueled by a combination of geopolitical jitters, the dollar's decline and a report from Morgan Stanley predicting oil could reach $150 a barrel by July 4.

Last week's runup in crude prices helped push the Dow Jones industrial average down nearly 400 points Friday. Many investors see higher gas prices crimping household budgets, damping consumer spending and undermining the economy.

quarta-feira, 30 de abril de 2008

CBS Proves Life Exists Outside Of Sports

CBS's flat sales in the first quarter were impressive considering the ad-magnet sports events it didn't have this go around.

The broadcaster posted a 14.4% rise in earnings thanks to rising license fees and syndication deals.

In the first three months of 2007, CBS (nyse: CBS - news - people ) had both college basketball semifinals and Super Bowl broadcasts to lure advertisers.

In 2008, however, Fox tackled Super Bowl coverage and the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament Semifinals aired in CBS's second quarter, hurting first-quarter television sales comparisons by 10.0%, the company said. The quarter's weak line-up and the writers' strike caused a 15.0% drop in advertising sales, which could have been worse if not cushioned by increased political advertising.

Weakness within the television segment overshadowed several strengths, including an international distribution deal for its grisly crime investigation series, "CSI," and second-cycle syndication for the sitcom "Everybody Loves Raymond." CBS also reported a 6.0% increase in affiliate sales driven by rate increases and subscriber growth at Showtime and CBS College Sports Network. An 85.0% increase in license fees also helped television sales grow 1.0% to $2.6 billion despite the quarter's comparatively light sporting event coverage.

CBS shares added 66 cents, or 2.9%, to close at $23.20 on Tuesday.

First-quarter net income rose 14.4% to $244.3 million, or 36 cents a share, from $213.5 million, or 28 cents a share, in the prior year. The quarter's results include $43.5 million of income tax expense and sales were flat at $3.7 billion.

Problem spots on the balance sheet were the company's publishing and radio businesses. CBS, which owns the publishing company Simon & Schuster, said the quarter's best-sellers failed to match 2007's big first-quarter page-turner: Rhonda Byrne's The Secret. Publishing sales fell 12.0% to $201.6 million.

CBS Radio revenues fell 9.0% to $363.5 million because of weak ad sales and divested stations.

CBS guided for operating income before depreciation and amortization and operating income growth to be in the range of 3.0% to 5.0% based on 2007's OIBDA of $3.2 billion and operating income of $2.7 billion, excluding compensation expense.

Indicating confidence in the future, the company's board increased the quarterly dividend by 8.0% to 27 cents from 25 cents a share. The dividend is payable on July 1 and to shareholders of record on June 3.

Source: Forbes