Oil prices closed above $100 a barrel Friday, the first time it crossed that threshold since October.
Benchmark U.S. oil for February delivery rose 77 cents to close at $100.32 in trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
The price of oil got a boost from a drop in applications for unemployment benefits, the latest sign of recovery in the U.S. job market, and expectations of a decline in U.S. crude stockpiles. Optimism about the U.S. economic recovery lifted expectations for the country's energy demand.
The last time oil traded above $100 a barrel was Oct. 21. The last day it closed above $100 a barrel was Oct. 18.
A report from the Energy Department's Energy Information Administration released Friday showed that U.S. crude stockpiles fell 4.7 million barrels last week to 367.6 million barrels.
At the gas pump, the average price of a gallon of gasoline is $3.28. That's up 6 cents from a week ago, and up 2 cents from this time last year.
Neal Communities assists Honor the Badge effort
SARASOTA -- Neal Communities donated $3,000 for the Sarasota Housing Authority's 2nd Annual "Honor the Badge" event this month.
More than 40 Sarasota Police Officers were on hand to help more than 80 children shop for the holidays. The event is intended to help build mutual trust and respect between children living in Sarasota Housing Authority communities and law enforcement officials who work in those areas.
Neal Communities joined other local businesses, religious organizations, individuals, and the Sarasota Police Department to sponsor this event, raising nearly $10,000. Honor the Badge was held at the North Sarasota Target on Fruitville Road, where children and their families arrived to officers cheering and clapping, ready to help the children with a holiday shopping spree.
Groups hosts 8-week business seminar
BRADENTON -- The Fox Business Group is sponsoring a seminar "How to Start and Manage Your Business."
The eight week seminar, which costs $40, will begin on January 13. Sessions will be held from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. The seminar will be held at 1437 Tallevast Road, in the Airport Commerce Park. For more information and registration call 751-4289.
Publix warns of unauthorized scam on Facebook
An offer for a $250 gift card to Publix has been circulating on Facebook.
The offer encourages people to like a post and says if they do so they will be eligible to win a $250 gift card. On Friday Publix posted on its own Facebook page that the item is a hoax.
"Please be aware of an unauthorized "$250 Publix gift card giveaway" being shared online," Publix officials wrote on the company's Facebook page. "This offer is not affiliated with Publix. We recommend not participating in the promotion or providing your personal information."
-- Herald staff, wire reports