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Business Watch- Tuesday April 3, 2012

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Texas
Texas is the second most populous state, according to the latest census numbers. As of today, there are a reported 26,030,000 residents.The milestone of note is a number with four zeros on the end. Texas ranks second only to California, with an estimated 37,955,000 residents.

The Department of Energy
The Department of Energy says the average price of a gallon of regular gas is up two cents from a week ago, and 26 cents from a year ago. Jason Toews, the co-founder of gasbuddy.com, says the good news is gas prices will eventually come back down, just not yet: “Unfortunately I don’t think we’re gonna see any relief at the pumps at least until September,” he says.”We’ll start to see gas prices coming back down again, but during the summer driving season, we’re gonna see high gas prices.” Toews added. The average price for regular unleaded around Houston is $3.88 per gallon.

Apple Inc.
How much would you pay for an Apple? The highest price target yet for Apple shares values them at $1,001 each–more than 60 percent above the current price.Topeka Capital Markets’analyst Brian White bases his price target on his estimate for Apple’s calendar year 2013 earnings, multiplied by a factor of 17. Apple shares gained three percent yesterday to just above $618 a share. The figure is slightly more than the price of an iPad three.

The World’s Largest Solar Power Plant
What would have been the world’s largest solar power plant and a keystone of the administration’s promotion of solar energy is seeking bankruptcy protection.Solar Trust failed to meet the deadline for an Energy Department loan guarantee after breaking ground on a 1,000 mega-watt facility in California. Solar Trust’s Chapter-11 bankruptcy filing lists assets between $1 million and $10 million, and liabilities between $50 million and $100 million.

The Mega-Pharmacy Benefits Manager
The Mega-Pharmacy Benefits Manager merger of Medco Health Solution and Express Scripts won’t go easily. Despite a three to one Federal Trade Commission blessing, many groups are protesting the combo as being anti-competitive or anti-consumer.Pharmacists United for Truth and Transparency predicts drug costs will rise, denouncing the deal as a license to price-gouge.

Security Breach
There is more fall-out from the security breach at Global Payments, where 1.5 million credit card numbers were compromised.Visa has dropped the company from its list of approved third parties that handle transactions between stores and banks and now, American Express says it may have been affected. Discover Card is promising to reissue cards where appropriate. So what happens if someone uses your credit card? What happens if thieves steal your credit card number? “As a consumer, you’re not responsible for any of these fraudulent charges that these thieves are making,” says Erica Sandberg of Credit Card Guide.
And you you must be told:”If fraudulent activity has occurred…if there’s been some sort of data breach, the credit card company has to notify you,” she adds.

Wall Street
A positive manufacturing report led Wall Street Higher:
The Dow closed up four tenths percent at 13,264.
The S&P 500 rose seven tenths percent to 1,418.
The Nasdaq gained nine tenths percent to 3,119.
Crude oil added on $2.21 to $105.23 a barrel.
Natural Gas down a penny at $2.13.
Gold increased $7.80 to $1,679.70 an ounce.
Silver lost 20-cents to $32.90.
Copper down a fraction at $3.91

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