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September Oil Per Barrel Falls
September Oil Per Barrel Falls

Oil for September delivery (NMN:CLU2) fell 4 cents to settle at $95.97 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange Monday, after reaping steady gains over past four trading sessions. Trading ranges on black gold held firm as the market weighed speculation over a U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve release and news of a rise in Saudi Arabian production. Over the past four trading sessions oil prices climbed as high as $96.53 and fell as low as $95.02. Citing data from the Joint Organization Data Initiative, oil output from Saudi Arabia rose to the highest level in more than three decades in June. Some key reasons for the recent surge in the price of oil are Israeli saber-rattling regarding Iran and a significant tightening in U.S. oil inventories. On ICE Futures in London on Monday, October Brent was trading down 10 cents at $113.61 a barrel ahead of settlement.

For the fourth day in a row in the U.S. Monday, average gasoline prices held firm at  $3.720 a gallon. Michael Green, public relations manager for the American Automobile Association, said, “The national average price of gas has remained flat in recent days as refinery issues have stabilized in the Midwest and West Coast.” A month ago, gasoline prices averaged $3.459 per gallon and a year ago - $3.578 a gallon. Gasoline prices depend on crude-oil prices, refining operations and consumer demand.

The U.S. dollar (NYE:DXY) declined against other global currencies, including the euro (ICAPC:EURUSD) on Monday. Treasury prices rose, with the yield on the benchmark 10-year note (ICAPSD:10_YEAR) falling to 1.814%.

Lowe's Cos. (LOW) fiscal Q2 earnings fell 10% as sales at established stores returned to a decline, prompting another cut to the home-improvement retailer's outlook for the year. Shares were down 6% at the close of regular trading session on Wall Street Monday. Lowe's, America's No. 2 home-improvement chain by sales after Home Depot Inc. (HD), underperformed even Lowe's own expectations, Chief Executive Robert A. Niblock said, adding the company understands it must improve execution. Niblock added that Lowe's is absorbing a 'significant magnitude of change' as part of that business transformation. "I have confidence in our strategy and in our employees," he said. The home-improvement chain has been reshaping its operations to improve profitability and compete more readily with its larger rival. Lowe's has been making significant investments in e-commerce and modifying in-store operations to make online selling a more seamless part of the business and renew a focus on customer service. Extending the streak to more than three years, Lowe's reported its same-store sales underperformed Home Depot's for yet another quarter. Returning to a decline after three quarters of growth, sales at Lowe's established locations dropped 0.4%. Lowe's now expects earnings of $1.64 a share, after it tightened its estimate 2 cents to $1.73 to $1.83 a share in February. Lowe's reported a profit of $747 million for the quarter ended August 3, compared with $830 million a year earlier. Earnings were flat at 64 cents as the number of shares outstanding dropped 9.3% - on a per share basis. The latest earnings period included a penny charge related to staff reductions at the company's U.S. headquarters and a 3-cent charge from a calendar shift, while the year-earlier period included a net 4-cent per-share charge related to the closing of seven stores. The calendar shift accounted for $259 million or 1.8 percentage points of the total sales decline while gross margin fell to 33.9% from 34.5%. The results come as Lowe's remains in a high-profile proposal to expand in Canada by taking over a smaller rival - RONA Inc. (RONAF, RON.T) who rejected Lowe's unsolicited takeover proposal that valued the Quebec retailer at $1.75 billion. The combination would quickly vault Lowe's to the top spot of the home-improvement market in Canada, a region that has been a key source of growth for the company as it adds stores to the other side of the border, steadily but more slowly than it had hoped. Challenges Lowes face - in addition to board opposition there are political hurdles and the difficulty of integrating a complex company with multiple store formats, all while revamping operations at home.

Richard Schulze, the founder and largest shareholder of Best Buy (BBY), said Monday that he is 'disappointed and surprised' his offer to buy the electronics retailer has been rejected by the company. Earlier today Best Buy chose a new chief executive to lead the company as it struggles with falling sales and has been rocked in a public back-and-forth with Mr. Schulze, who proposed to take the retailer private earlier this month. Schulze, who owns slightly more than 20% of Best Buy, disclosed a proposal to buy out the retailer for between $24 and $26 a share, a few weeks ago. Schulze sought the board's permission to form a buyout group and conduct 'due diligence' as he was in talks with private-equity firms and his financial adviser Credit Suisse Group AG about securing equity and debt financing for a deal. Best Buy on Sunday said its board offered Schulze the opportunity to conduct 'due diligence' on the company's non-public financial information, but that Schulze declined. "The board initially proposed an 18 month standstill, which was completely unacceptable in light of the fact that urgent change is needed at Best Buy and value is eroding further every day that change is not effected," Mr. Schulze said in a statement. "We were in the process of negotiating an acceptable standstill period when, without notice to me or to any of my advisors, the board issued its announcement. I am shocked by this course of action but as the largest shareholder of Best Buy, I remain hopeful that the board will engage in good faith discussions with us for the benefit of shareholders, employees and customers," he said.


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Aug 20, 2012


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