Business news briefs
Pound drops amid
U.K. economy woes
The pound hit a two-and-a-half-year low against the dollar on fears weak manufacturing data could push Britain's central bank to order quantitative easing to rev up the economy. Sterling fell 1.13 percent Friday to be worth $1.49 its first foray below $1.50 since mid-2010.
Crude oil down,
pump prices dip
Crude oil fell 1.5 percent, to its lowest level this year, on worrisome economic developments in the world's largest oil-consuming nations. That should allow drivers to catch their breath after a record rise in gas prices so far this year. The average price for a gallon of gas rose 49 cents from Jan. 1 through Feb. 28, eclipsing the 46 cent jump in the same period last year.
Rite Aid expands
online doctor help
Drugstore chain Rite Aid Corp. said it has expanded an online doctor service for its customers. The company's NowClinic Online Care program is available at 58 locations in four cities, Baltimore, Boston, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. Customers can consult with doctors by video or phone, or through an online chat, about a range of ailments. A 10-minute consultation costs $45.
Beam dips into
The world's top bourbon producer is reaching into moonshining's colorful past to create its own white whiskey. Beam Inc.'s newest spirit is called Jacob's Ghost, in honor of Jacob Beam, founding distiller of its flagship Jim Beam brand. Jacob's Ghost resembles the concoction that flowed from the pioneer's still in the 1790s, or from a moonshiner's still today.
up on paper gain
Warren Buffett's company saw a 49 percent surge in fourth-quarter profit because of a big paper gain on its investments, but the investor called the year subpar as Berkshire's results lagged the S&P 500. The company reported $4.55 billion in net income, or $2,757 per share, up from $3.05 billion in net income, or $1,846 per share, the year before.
Best Buy Q4
Best Buy Co. said its fourth-quarter loss eased as it cut costs to offset nearly flat sales during the key holiday quarter. Its loss totaled $409 million, or $1.21 per share, for the three months ended Feb. 2. That compares with a loss of $1.82 billion, or $5.17 per share, in the same period a year ago.
Facebook to unveil
news feed update
Facebook is updating its News Feed, the main stream of updates from friends, companies and media sources, as it seeks more ways to draw revenue from more than 1 billion users. It will unveil the look on Thursday. News Feed, which includes advertising spots, has become a key part of Facebook's efforts to generate revenue.