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Business in brief: Crude oil futures see big fluctuations

Tue., June 17, 2008

Crude oil futures swung wildly Monday, rising to a record and then tumbling as investors wrestled with whether they should put stock in Saudi Arabia’s promise to boost production. Retail gas prices rose to a record $4.08 a gallon.

Light sweet crude for July delivery fell 25 cents to settle at $134.61 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange after earlier soaring to a trading record of $139.89. Earlier, they dropped as low as $132.84.

Analysts pointed to Saudi Arabia’s weekend decision to boost production and to today’s expiration of crude options, which are agreements to buy or sell futures at higher or lower prices.

New York

Lehman Brothers’ CEO takes blame for loss

Lehman Brothers Chief Executive Richard Fuld on Monday took the blame for the company’s staggering second-quarter loss and said the investment bank was too slow in reacting to the credit crisis.

Fuld declared it was his responsibility, in his first comments since the bank said last week that it lost nearly $3 billion from bad investments in mortgage-backed securities and other risky ventures. As the longest serving CEO left on Wall Street, his mission now is clearly to restore confidence to the firm’s tarnished image.

New York

McClatchy newspapers cutting 1,400 jobs

Newspaper publisher McClatchy Co. is slashing 1,400 jobs, or 10 percent of its work force, as part of an accelerating drive to cut costs as advertising revenues dwindle, the company announced Monday.

McClatchy also reported a 15.4 percent decline in advertising revenues in the first five months of the year. McClatchy is the No. 3 U.S. newspaper company with 30 dailies, including the Miami Herald and Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

The cuts come amid a broad retrenchment in the U.S. newspaper industry as the economic downturn combined with competition for classified advertising from online rivals such as Craigslist has resulted in a steep slump in advertising revenues.

New York

CEO pay rises amid slumping economy

As the American economy slowed to a crawl and stockholders watched their money evaporate, CEO pay still chugged to yet more dizzying heights last year, an Associated Press analysis shows.

The AP review of compensation for the heads of companies in the Standard & Poor’s 500 index finds the median pay package added up to nearly $8.4 million. That’s a comfortable gain of about $280,000 from 2006.

The 3 ½ percent pay increase for top executives came even as the landscape for both workers and shareholders darkened considerably and the economy was choked by a housing market that is in free fall, massive layoffs and soaring prices for fuel and food.


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