The national average price of gasoline has fallen 33 cents in October, landing Friday at $3.00, according to AAA, and is expected to fall further this weekend.
When the national average crossed above $3 a gallon in December of 2010, drivers weren't sure they'd ever see $2.99 again. Global demand for oil and gasoline was rising as people in developing countries bought cars by the tens of millions and turmoil was brewing in the oil-rich Middle East.
Now demand isn't rising as fast as expected, drillers have learned to tap vast new sources of oil, particularly in the U.S., and crude continues to flow out of the Middle East.
Wall Street caps a wild month with a rally
NEW YORK (AP) — For stock investors, there was no shortage of drama in October.
Stocks started the month modestly below a record high, only to cascade to their worst slump in two years. But after flirting with a correction, or a 10 percent drop, the U.S. market rebounded and closed at all-time highs on the last day of the month.
The month's volatility at times approached levels from the 2008 financial crisis. Then again, the month has an unfortunate history for unsettling moves, with the stock market crashes of 1929 and 1987 both happening in October.
Experts: Rocket blast a setback to space tourism
MOJAVE, California (AP) — Commercial space tourism suffered a huge setback Friday when a prototype passenger rocket exploded during a test flight, scattering debris over the Mojave Desert and killing one pilot while seriously injuring the other.
Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo blew apart Friday after being released from a carrier aircraft at high altitude, according to Ken Brown, a photographer who witnessed the explosion.
British billionaire Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Galactic, has been the front-runner in the fledgling race to send large numbers of paying civilians beyond the atmosphere to give them the feeling of weightlessness and a spectacular view of Earth below. Branson tweeted that he was flying to Mojave immediately.
Hello Kitty's 40 years of cuteness and cool
TOKYO (AP) — When she came to life in 1974, she was a kitty without a name, sitting sideways in blue overalls and a big red bow, on a coin purse for Japanese girls. On Saturday, fans around the world celebrate the 40th anniversary of this global icon of "cute-cool." That is, Hello Kitty.
Only a handful of characters last so long, especially in Japan, where thousands come and go in a highly competitive market. Hello Kitty has the looks, and more.
Innovative design and clever marketing also helped expand her fan base around the world, said Christine Yano, anthropologist and author of "Pink Globalization: Hello Kitty's Trek Across the Pacific."
Wal-Mart ups ante on holiday shopping
NEW YORK (AP) — Wal-Mart is doing whatever it takes to rope in holiday shoppers however they want to buy.
For the first time, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is offering free shipping on what it considers the season's top 100 hottest gifts, from board games to items related to Disney's hit film "Frozen" items, starting Saturday.
The move comes as rival Target Corp. began offering free shipping on all items, a program that started late October and will last through Dec. 20.
US consumer spending down 0.2 percent in September
WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. consumers cut spending in September for the first time in eight months, as incomes grew at the slowest pace this year. The figures underscore nagging economic soft spots that are expected to ease in the coming months.
Consumer spending slipped 0.2 percent in September, the Commerce Department reported Friday. Income edged up 0.2 percent.
Shoppers appeared to take a breather after a big spending spree in August, which lifted consumer spending 0.5 percent. Economists say September's downturn shouldn't last, especially amid a strengthening job market and a growing economy.
Spending, which accounts for 70 percent of economic activity, has fallen only three times since the recession ended in 2009.
Bank of Japan redoubles efforts to revive economy
TOKYO (AP) — Japan's central bank surprised the financial world and pleased investors Friday by intensifying its purchases of government bonds and other assets to try to revive a chronically anemic economy.
The Bank of Japan's move to pump trillions more yen into the financial system is intended to stimulate spending in the world's third-largest economy. It's an acknowledgement that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's government has so far failed in its broad efforts to revive growth, especially after a sales tax hike took effect in April. The latest data show consumer spending falling, unemployment rising and excessively low inflation dipping further.
By injecting more money into the economy, the government hopes to raise expectations of higher inflation and thereby encourage people to spend and fuel growth.
Lawsuit: Surgical gowns let diseases pass through
LOS ANGELES (AP) — A $500 million lawsuit against Kimberly-Clark Corp. alleges the company falsely claimed its surgical gowns protected against Ebola and other infectious diseases.
The suit, filed Wednesday in federal court, alleges that the multinational company knew for at least a year that its Microcool Breathable High Performance Surgical Gown had failed industry tests of impermeability to blood and microbes, but it continued to claim the product provided the highest level of protection against diseases including Ebola.
Many of the gowns tested had "catastrophic" failures, according to the lawsuit, which called Kimberly-Clark's actions "utterly reprehensible."
Avenatti said the Texas hospital where two nurses contracted Ebola once stocked the gowns but he didn't know whether those workers or an infected nursing assistant in Spain had worn them.
Pirate Bay founder jailed for hacking Danish data
COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — A Danish court on Friday sentenced the Swedish founder of file-sharing site The Pirate Bay to 3 1/2 years in prison after he was found guilty of hacking into a private company handling sensitive information for Danish authorities.
Gottfrid Svartholm Warg and a 21-year-old Dane were found guilty a day earlier of breaking into the servers of the Danish branch of CSC in 2012 and accessing more than 91,000 social security numbers, driver's license numbers and police records of sought-after people in Europe.
Svartholm Warg, who is known by his Internet alias "Anakata," didn't dispute his computer had been used in the hacking. However, the Copenhagen court rejected his claims that it must have been used by someone else who accessed it remotely. He immediately appealed Friday's sentence.
By The Associated Press=
The Dow Jones Industrial average advanced 195.10 points, or 1.1 percent, to 17,390.52. The S&P 500 rose 23.40 points, or 1.2 percent, to 2,018.05. The Nasdaq composite gained 64.60 points, or 1.4 percent, to 4,630.74.
U.S. benchmark crude oil fell 58 cents to $80.54 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price oil in international markets, dipped 38 cents to $85.86 in London. Wholesale gasoline fell 2.6 cents to close at $2.169 a gallon. Heating oil fell was flat at $2.515 a gallon. Natural gas rose 4.6 cents to close at $3.873 per 1,000 cubic feet.