White House: Bring back jobless benefits
The White House is calling on Congress to make its first legislation of the new year the restoration of unemployment insurance for Americans whose benefits have expired.
More than 1 million Americans lost jobless benefits last week. White House economist Gene Sperling says restoring the benefits would not only help those individuals, but also lead to the creation of 200,000 jobs and economic growth.
Under the benefits program, the federal government provided an average monthly stipend of $1,166. However, an extension was dropped from a budget deal struck in December and Republican lawmakers have balked at its $26 billion annual cost. The White House is backing a bill that would temporarily extend the benefits for three months.
Camera stores closing
A camera company that once had 30 locations in Ohio and Indiana is shuttering six of its remaining eight stores in the face of dropping sales and increased use of smartphone cameras.
Just two stores will remain for Columbus-based Cord Camera, both in central Ohio, which had a dozen locations in October.
The Columbus Dispatch reported Wednesday that two other stores will be closed in Columbus, two in Indiana — in Bloomington and Indianapolis — and two in Cincinnati.
Pa. gas taxes rise
Taxes on gasoline and diesel in Pennsylvania were higher as of Wednesday, the first of three increases being imposed by a new law, but that does not necessarily mean that motorists filling up their tanks in the state will pay more at the pump than they did in 2013.
Effective Wednesday, the state Department of Revenue said gasoline taxes are going up by 9.5 cents per gallon while diesel taxes are going up by almost 13 cents per gallon. The tax increase applies only to transportation fuels and a number of fuel distributors and gas station owners say they plan to pass along the higher wholesale cost.
However, the U.S. Energy Information Administration is expecting a slight overall drop in average U.S. gas and diesel prices in 2014.
The agency’s projected U.S. annual average regular gasoline retail price is expected to fall from $3.50 per gallon in 2013 to $3.43 per gallon in 2014. Diesel fuel prices, which were projected to average $3.92 per gallon in 2013, are expected to fall to $3.77 per gallon in 2014.
Fiat to pay $3.65B for Chrysler shares
Italian automaker Fiat SpA announced Wednesday that it reached an agreement to acquire the remaining shares of Chrysler for $3.65 billion in payments to a union-controlled trust fund. Fiat already owns 58.5 percent of Chrysler’s shares, with the remaining 41.5 percent held by a United Auto Workers union trust fund that pays health care bills for retirees.
Under the deal, Fiat will make an initial payment of $1.9 billion to the fund, plus an additional $1.75 billion upon closing the deal.
Vindicator wire reports
Selected local stocks
Aqua America, .61, 23.62 —.16
Clear Channel, .61 24.05 .40
Cortland Bancorp, 10.25.00
Farmers Nat., .126.58 —.01
First Energy, 2.20, 32.96.19
FirstMerit Corp., .64,22.25 .07
First Niles Financial, .32,6.00.00
First Place Fin., .00.00
FNB Corp., .48,12.64—.02
General Electric, .76,28.07.18
Huntington Bank, .20, 9.67.09
JP Morgan Chase, 1.52,58.52.56
Key Corp, .22,13.45.07
LaFarge, 18.72 .07
Macy’s, 1.00, 53.39—.28
Parker Hannifin, 1.80, 128.75—.13
RTI Intl. Metals,34.32—.27
Simon Prop. Grp.,4.60,152.18—1.22
Stoneridge 12.84 .09
United Community Fin. 3.62.09
Selected prices at 4 p.m. Tuesday. Provided by Stifel. Not to be construed as an offer or recommendation to buy or sell any security.