Netflix shipments back to normal

Online DVD rental leader Netflix Inc. resumed normal shipments Friday after its distribution centers were crippled by three days of severe technical problems, a spokesman said.

The Los Gatos-based company also offered a 15 percent credit to customers whose discs were delayed by the outage, the longest disruption since Netflix launched its subscription service nine years ago.

The outage held up shipments for about a third of the company’s 8.4 million subscribers, meaning the total value of the credits could run into the millions of dollars.


Price of oil dips to 3-month low

Oil fell to its lowest price in three months Friday, briefly touching the $111 level after the dollar muscled higher and OPEC predicted world demand next year will fall to its lowest point since 2002.

Light sweet crude for September delivery fell $1.24 to settle at $113.77 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange after falling to $111.34, its lowest price since May 2 and more than $35 – or 24 percent – below its July 11 trading record above $147.

As energy costs cause countries to cut back on consumption, crude prices have plummeted and are now within striking distance of $100 a barrel, a level first reached Feb. 19.


Industrial output increases slightly

Industrial output rose in July at a slightly better pace than expected as a further rebound in the auto industry offset a big plunge in output at the nation’s utilities.

The Federal Reserve reported Friday that industrial production edged up 0.2 percent last month. That was half the pace of the 0.4 percent gain in June, but it did surpass analysts’ expectations for flat production in July.

Motor vehicles and parts showed the biggest increase in manufacturing, advancing for a third straight month.


Not-so-sweet news from Hershey Co.

Hershey Co. said Friday it plans to raise prices on its products by an average of 11 percent as it tries to stem the impact of soaring commodities costs, and trimmed its projections for 2008 and 2009.

The candy company known for its chocolate bars and bite-size Kisses said the immediate increase was necessary to offset “significant increases” in the cost of raw materials such as sugar, cocoa and peanuts – up as much as 45 percent since the start of the year – as well as the growing cost of fuel, utilities and transportation.

From wire reports

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