MANATEE -- Average retail gasoline prices in the Bradenton-Sarasota area have fallen 4.8 cents per gallon in the past week, averaging $2.46 a gallon on Monday, according to GasBuddy's daily survey of 308 area gas outlets. This compares with the national average that has fallen 5.4 cents per gallon in the last week to $2.60 a gallon, according to gasoline price website GasBuddy.com.
The oil price plunge continues to place downward pressure on prices at the pump. Gas prices in the southeastern U.S. have fallen 5-6 cents in the past week, and more than 20 cents in the past month. The average price of gasoline in Florida has declined 21 cents during a period of 33 consecutive days in Florida.
"Gas prices are falling with very little resistance," said Mark Jenkins, spokesman, AAA - The Auto Club Group. "Oil prices are forecast to remain at this level through the rest of the year. If that happens, and there are no supply issues, markets could see $2 gasoline again this fall.
Bridges to Careers to offer free job training
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MANATEE -- Bridges to Careers, a CareerEdge program, is offering a free 10-week job readiness course funded by CareerEdge Funders in Warehouse Operations training. The course will be held in Manatee County.
Bridges to Careers focuses on core skills and certifications in transportation distribution and logistics at Suncoast Community Capital Suncoast Community Capital, a nonprofit organization serving Manatee, Sarasota, and Pinellas counties The nationally recognized CSCMP Warehousing Operations certification will help recruits to learn standard warehouse and distribution operations in the area of supply chain, facility configuration, storage and handling techniques, performance metrics, customer service consideration, and safety concerns across various types of distribution facilities.
An information session is from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Aug. 19, with classes held every Wednesday from 6 to 8 p.m. Sept. 2. Classes will be at SCC's Enterprise Center, 302 Manatee Ave. E., Suite 307 in Bradenton. For information, contact Bridges to Careers Program Coordinator Jessica Ruter at Jessica 941-744-2666, ext. 2.
Markets surge with energy sector, Buffett news
NEW YORK -- A resurgent energy sector and another big acquisition by Warren Buffett propelled the stock market to its best day in three months on Monday. Energy stocks jumped, following the price of oil higher. Crude rebounded after dropping to its lowest level of the year in early trading. Industrial stocks also climbed sharply after Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway agreed to buy Precision Castparts, a maker of industrial components, for $32 billion. The pace of corporate deal making has been surging this year as borrowing costs have stayed low, making it easier for companies to fund acquisi
tions. That tends to push up stock prices because buyers typically pay a premium to make the deal attractive to shareholders.
The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 26.61 points, or 1.3 percent, to 2,104.18. It was the biggest gain for the index since May 8. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 241.79 points, or 1.4 percent, to 17,615.17. The Nasdaq composite climbed 58.25 points, or 1.2 percent, to 5,101.80. The gains also ended a seven-day losing streak for the Dow Jones industrial average, its longest run of losses in four years.
Diet Pepsi to hit shelves without aspartame
NEW YORK -- A revamped Diet Pepsi without aspartame is popping up on store shelves. So will people start flocking back to the soda? PepsiCo says its new Diet Pepsi should be available nationally this week. In response to customer feedback, the company said this year that it would replace the aspartame in the drink with another artificial sweetener with less baggage. The rollout will test the theory that the sweetener is to blame for fleeing customers, or if other issues might be at play. Other diet sodas that still have aspartame include Diet Coke, Diet Dr Pepper and Fanta Zero. Sales of traditional diet sodas have been falling. Industry executives blaming the freefall on unfounded concerns people have about aspartame.
Two years ago, Coca-Cola even tested ads in select newspapers defending the safety of the sweetener. "It's the No. 1 thing that our customers have been calling about," said Seth Kaufman, a senior vice president at PepsiCo. At least in the short term, Diet Pepsi sales are likely to see bump from the marketing push around the new formula, which will include in-store sampling and discounting in coming weeks.
-- Herald staff, wire reports