June 22nd, 2009
12:24 PM ET

Financial Dispatch: Gas prices hit the brakes

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/TECH/06/18/smartphone.wars/art.iphone.afp.gi.jpg caption="Apple reported it sold over 1 million new iPhones after the release of its latest version this weekend."]

Andrew Torgan
CNN Financial News Producer

After rising nearly 32% since April 29th, gas finally decreased by 3-tenths of a cent overnight to $2.69. That puts an end to 54 straight days of increases.

The average price of a gallon of gas is down $1.424 or 34.6% from the record high price of $4.114 that AAA reported on July 17, 2008.

The highest gas prices are in Hawaii ($3.057) and California ($3.027). The cheapest gas prices are in South Carolina ($2.506).

One analyst says that Father’s Day represented the highest prices we’ll pay for the next few months – adding that gas should decrease between 5 to 15 cents in the upcoming weeks.

Oil prices tumble

Oil prices dropped almost 4% to below $67 a barrel today after European stocks lost ground and the U.S. dollar strengthened.

But attacks by militants on three oil installations belonging to Royal Dutch Shell in Nigeria over the weekend and fears that civil unrest in Iran could hamper output are keeping oil traders on their toes.

The bulk of the oil that leaves the Middle East travels through the Strait of Hormuz which at its narrowest point is about 21 miles wide, effectively giving Iran control over the oil tankers that carry crude through the Strait to the rest of the world.

Crude oil has more than doubled in price since mid-December, when it reached as low as $33.87 a barrel.

Stocks extend losses

Stocks on Wall Street opened sharply lower after the World Bank said a global recovery was “unusually uncertain” and cut growth forecasts for most countries.

No economic reports are due today. However, readings on housing, consumer spending, the labor market and durable goods orders are on tap later this week.

Investors are also gearing up for a two-day meeting of the Federal Reserve that begins Tuesday. No change in the central bank’s target for short-term interest rates is expected, but investors will be looking for hints on the Fed's views of inflation and the bond market.

Apple in the spotlight

A big weekend for Apple… First we got a report that Apple CEO Steve Jobs, who has been on medical leave since January to treat a mysterious medical condition, received a liver transplant in Tennessee about two months ago

And today the company says it sold more than 1 million of the new iPhone 3GS since they went on sale Friday.

Companies cutting 401(k) contributions

One quarter of employers have eliminated matching their workers’ 401(k) contributions since September to save money during the economy's downturn.

And one quarter of employers also have instituted limited enrollment rather than open the savings plans to all employees, according to a study released today that was conducted for Charles Schwab Corp. by CFO Research Services.

Mamma just took my Kodachrome away

Eastman Kodak says it will discontinue its iconic Kodachrome color film this year due to tumbling sales as photographers embrace newer Kodak films or digital imaging technology.

Kodak introduced Kodachrome in 1935 and it became the first commercially-successful color film. But sales are just a fraction of 1% of the company's still-picture film revenue.

 “Kodachrome” is also the title of a 1973 Paul Simon song.

Filed under: Andrew Torgan • Gas Prices
soundoff (2 Responses)
  1. Louise

    Do all these folks unnecessarily driving their big SUVs (soccer Mom types, esp) for the past decade not realize that their own self interest and lack of concern for what is best for the group greatly contributes to many of our current problems, including an oil crisis and deficit, war in the middle east, nuclear dangers, etc, not to mention problems for the environment. This behavior is definitely not consistent with the Christiian values I was taught.

    June 22, 2009 at 3:50 pm |
  2. earle,florida

    The i-Phone,and all other electronic (wireless phones) gadgets, are eventually going to cause a meltdown in the brains neurons. We cannot as a species exist under the bombardment of Tera-Bytes seemlessly passing through the airwaves. These invisable electrons flying through space in every nook,and cranny,go straight into our cranium without notice,but they our building up great cell-blocks of cancer,destroying our immune(incorporated autonomic) system that we take for granted, causing irreversible brain damage. I'm sorry if this is off-topic,but the public should be made aware,because of the alarming rates of dementia,and alzheimer disease,that coincidently has become of national concern,since the advent of these devices.

    June 22, 2009 at 1:18 pm |