Oil tops $126, then falls on quake news
Oil prices briefly spiked to a record above $126 a barrel Monday but ended the day lower as investors cashed in profits and an earthquake in China raised the possibility of a drop in demand. Retail gas prices, meanwhile, rose to another record above $3.70 a gallon on average nationwide, again following crude's recent path higher. In the Modesto area, gas was $3.90 Monday, according to modestogasprices.com.
Economic downturn difficult for middle-aged
The economic downturn is hitting roughly one in 10 middle-aged and older Americans especially hard, compelling them to borrow money for everyday living expenses and to seek help from family, friends or charities, according to a survey released today by the AARP. In the telephone survey of 1,002 adults 45 and older, nearly four in 10 said they had helped a child pay bills or expenses. Among retirees, one-third said they'd helped their children pay bills. Eight percent said they'd helped a parent pay bills or expenses. The survey's margin of sampling error was plus or minus 3 percentage points. One-third of survey participants said they stopped putting money into their 401(k) or retirement account and 14 percent said they had cut back on their medications.
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Mortage industry down but not out
Broad damage in the mortgage industry was in full view Monday as a number of companies posted dismal first-quarter earnings, but there was also some hope that the worst of the housing crisis is over. Investors bid up shares of mortgage lenders and insurers despite billions in losses from a sustained housing downturn. Shares of bond insurer MBIA Inc., and mortgage insurers PMI Group Inc. and Radian Group Inc. all rose Monday, though shares of lender IndyMac Bancorp Inc. tumbled nearly 11 percent after warning of a rough year ahead.
HP in talks for EDS
Hewlett-Packard Co. is negotiating to buy information technology services provider Electronic Data Systems Corp. in a deal that could help the world's largest personal computer maker win more consulting contracts with large companies and government agencies. Palo Alto-based HP and Plano, Texas-based EDS confirmed the talks Monday shortly after The Wall Street Journal reported a deal could be reached as early as today.