THE Recap

The laws of supply, demand and panic

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Sunday, March 6, 2011

Oil prices surged as Libya's bloody rebellion escalated and anxiety grew that the instability would trigger unrest in other oil-exporting nations, including Algeria, Oman, Yemen, Saudi Arabia and Nigeria. ¶ U.S. crude oil futures settled at $104.42 a barrel, their highest mark since September 2008. And Saudi Arabia raised output in response to Libya's disruption. Oil experts said there is enough oil in storage and spare capacity worldwide to meet short-term needs. ¶ Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said the agency was prepared to respond if rising oil prices feed inflation. Gas prices set records in Europe and tipped past $4 a gallon in California. Economists warned higher prices could hurt the U.S. economic recovery.


Rajat Gupta, a former director of Goldman Sachs and Procter & Gamble, was accused by the SEC of passing insider information to Galleon's Raj Rajaratnam that allegedly led to $18 million in profits and avoided losses. Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd C. Blankfein agreed to testify for the U.S. government at the Rajaratnam trial.

Warren Buffett told shareholders in his annual letter that Berkshire Hathaway has $38.2 billion in cash and equivalents and he's "itchy" for a major acquisition. Earnings rose 61 percent to $13 billion in 2010, boosted by the purchase of Burlington Northern Santa Fe. Berkshire also took a $1 billion write-down on distressed bonds.

NFL, players' union extended talks on a collective-bargaining agreement, delaying by at least a week the chance of a season-threatening lockout.

Twitter is in talks to sell a minority stake to a fund run by J.P. Morgan. The investment could value Twitter at more than $4 billion.

GM, pushing ahead with its turnaround, is speeding up restructuring of its Opel operation in Europe.

Steve Jobs, out on medical leave, made an unexpected appearance at Apple's launch of iPad2; said "competitors are just flummoxed" by the tablet.

Christian Dior fashion house dismissed star designer John Galliano after a video emerged apparently showing him making racially abusive remarks. Galliano apologized.

Massey Energy security chief was charged with obstructing the investigation of the 2010 blast in West Virginia that killed 29 miners.

AIG is pushing ahead with plans to cash out its stake in MetLife through public offerings that could raise $9 billion.

AT&T suffered a defeat as the Supreme Court ruled personal-privacy rights don't apply to corporations under the Freedom of Information Act. The telecom had sought to block disclosure of e-mails and documents provided to the Federal Communications Commission during a probe into whether it overbilled public schools in New London, Conn.

Academy Awards drew a television audience of 37.6 million people, down 9.9 percent from a year ago.

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