JP Pritchard

Business Watch – Tuesday March 27, 2012

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Brent Clanton

-Higher Priced Airline Tickets-
Higher fuel prices are showing up in airline ticket prices. Southwest Airlines is boosting ticket prices up to $10 per round trip and is being matched by four other airlines. The price hike also forecasts more air travel to come, suggesting Southwest is optimistic about travel demand. The airline will not earn a profit for the first three months of the year, due to higher jet fuel prices.

-Consumer Confidence-
Consumer confidence is the key economic report due Tuesday from the Conference Board. Also on Tuesday, the Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller home price index for January is scheduled for release.

-The Economy-
How do you gauge improvements in the economy? Instead of reading odd, anecdotal tales about “upticks in the volume of liposuction procedures, or visits to dry cleaners,” humorist Joe Queenan quips in his “Moving Targets” column which perhaps offers a more appropriate indicator of economic recovery might read: “Signs of Life: Swarthmore Grad Lands Job That Does Not Involve Wearing a Cheap Plastic Vest and a Stupid Cap With a Chicken Perched on Top.”

-Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster-
The check sent to Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster for their creation of Superman is up for auction, seven decades after it was cut by DC Comics. Written for $412 and made out to the pair, the check includes a line item for $130 showing that DC paid for full ownership and rights to the man from the planet Krypton. ComicConnect.Com says the check represents the launching of the Golden Age of superheroes.

-Bausch & Lomb-
Bausch & Lomb plans to buy eye drug company Ista Pharmaceuticals for $500 million in cash or about $9.10 per share. Ista makes Bromday, a once-per-day eye drop for cataract surgery patients and Bepreve for the treatment of allergic conjunctivitis.

British Petroleum is selling some of its gas assets in the North Sea to Perenco UK for $400 million including its West Sole field, which was the first oil and gas discovery in British North Sea waters in 1965.

-Rio Tinto-
Rio Tinto is looking at options for disposing of its diamond businesses. The company operates diamond mines in Australia, Canada and Zimbabwe and is reviewing whether diamonds fit with its strategy of operating large, long-life and expandable assets.

-Wall Street-
There was A triple-digit jump on Wall Street Monday:
The Dow rose over one-percent to 13,241.
The S&P 500 up 1.4 percent to 1,416.
The Nasdaq grew nearly two percent to 3,122 for its best settlement in 11-years.
Crude oil added 16 cents to $107.03 per barrel.
Natural Gas flat at $2.22. Gold soared $23.20 to land at $1,685.60 an ounce.
Copper flat at $3.89/pound. Silver up 31-cents to $33.06/ounce.

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