NEW YORK – The price of oil plunged to its lowest level in nearly six months Friday, falling below $100 per barrel for the first time since February. A drop in gasoline prices can’t be far behind.
It’s a welcome trend for motorists, with the summer driving season just around the corner. And it eases some pressure on the U.S. economy, which has shown only agonizingly slow growth in the nearly three years since the recession ended.
Oil fell $4.05, or 4 percent, to $98.49, after a weak U.S. jobs report offered the latest evidence that the global economy is weakening, possibly reducing demand for oil. At the same time, there is mounting evidence that world oil supplies are growing.
For the week, oil fell more than $6 and is now about $12 below its February high. U.S. gasoline prices have fallen to $3.80 per gallon from a peak of $3.94 in early April.
Now they could go as low as $3.50 per gallon by July 4, according to Tom Kloza, chief oil analyst at the Oil Price Information Service.
Dish Network threatens to drop AMC channels
LOS ANGELES – Dish Network subscribers who love AMC’s “Breaking Bad” may be out of luck if a feud between the satellite broadcaster and the cable channel’s parent AMC Networks isn’t resolved soon.
Besides AMC, home to “The Walking Dead,” “Breaking Bad” and “Mad Men,” other channels that could be dropped include WE and IFC and Sundance. Dish’s contract with AMC Networks Inc. is up at the end of June. Dish has just more than 14 million subscribers around the country.
Dish Network Corp. said it is dropping the channels because the ratings for the networks do not justify a rate increase that it says AMC Networks is seeking. Dish also said it was not happy that shows such as “Mad Men” and “Breaking Bad” are made available on other platforms such as Netflix and iTunes soon after the shows have aired on AMC.
But AMC is not the only network whose content appears on other platforms soon after a cable run. Some shows may appear on Netflix or iTunes within days of a cable run. In other cases though, shows are held from other platforms until after the season ends.
In a statement, AMC said Dish’s plans to drop the channels has nothing to do with the performance of its networks or their cost, but instead with another legal battle the two companies are in.
In 2008, Voom HD, a now-defunct group of cable channels owned by AMC, sued Dish for $2.5 billion for breach of contract. The case is wending its way through the courts and last week Dish lost an appeal, which AMC said is the cause for the bad blood.
Treasury Department selling more AIG stock
WASHINGTON – The Treasury Department says it will sell more of its shares of common stock in insurance giant American International Group to recoup more of the support the government provided AIG in what was the biggest bailout of the 2008 financial crisis.
It will be Treasury’s third sale of AIG stock. The sale is expected to raise around $6 billion. AIG said it planned to purchase $2 billion of the amount put up for sale. The new offering follows Treasury sales of $5.8 billion in AIG common stock in May 2011 and $6 billion in March of this year.
The Treasury and the Federal Reserve stepped in with $182 billion to rescue New York-based AIG from collapse. The Treasury still owns about 70 percent of AIG’s common stock.