December 30, 2014 |
Sometimes it seems as if America, at 238 years old, is suffering from a sort of midlife crisis that has it questioning its strength and leadership. Questioning is fine; few are pleased with Washington these days. But it was more troubling to hear some critics suggest that President Obama should be more like Russian President Vladimir Putin. Some were apparently impressed by the machismo Putin displayed in invading Ukraine even though it was morally wrong. Much of that sentiment evaporated as casualties mounted in the war Putin incited to keep Ukraine firmly in Russia's orbit rather than the European Union's.
December 23, 2014 |
Ain't it grand that oil prices are dropping? Yes and no. For consumers, yes, the 40 percent drop, down to $55 or so per barrel, amounts to a massive income boost. Each penny drop in gas prices at the pump equals $1.4 billion a year in extra disposable income, according to Bill Dunkelberg, professor of economics at Temple University. The best part, he says, is that American dollars aren't leaving the country like they did in 2008, when $150-per-barrel oil enriched OPEC nations. "Now we're going to start collecting those oil revenues here when prices rebound," he adds.
December 22, 2014 |
Oil prices recently dropped to five-year lows, and consumers are reaping the benefits when they fill up at the gas pump. But they are not seeing the same good deals on airfares, which are at the same levels as when crude was above $100 a barrel. Airlines are not passing on their fuel savings to customers for several reasons. First, demand for air travel remains strong, and planes are full. With an improving economy, people have more disposable income. "What's the incentive to lower fares?"
December 19, 2014
ISSUE | CONGRESS Maiden budget effort a bad sign Once again, our supposed leaders brought us to the brink of a government shutdown as another short-term spending plan was about to expire, the members scrambling to put into place another eleventh-hour agreement so that they could begin their lengthy holiday recess ("Congress passes $1.1 trillion bill," Dec. 14). There was no possibility that a clean spending blueprint would be proposed. Rather, we found shenanigans, an unwillingness to fund the Department of Homeland Security for more than a few months, and special-interest poison pills inserted into the legislation that were unrelated to the matter at hand, but provisions that a sufficient number of Democrats were willing to accept.
December 13, 2014 |
In a swelling tide of tinsel and Bing Crosby, Hanukkah sometimes seems like a mesh bag of gold foil-wrapped afterthought. Yet the very theme of the Festival of Lights is survival, and the panoply of options for Hanukkah activities in the region demonstrates that this holiday refuses to go quietly into the fake snowy night. Here are some ways to keep the lights burning: Lighting ceremonies. Re-creating those flames that wouldn't quit, lighting ceremonies abound on the eve of the holiday on Tuesday - at sundown at Suburban Square, 6 Coulter Ave., Ardmore (information: 610-896-7560, suburbansquare.com)
December 13, 2014 |
Airline stocks soared Thursday after Delta Air Lines said the sharp drop in oil prices would translate into a $1.7 billion savings in fuel costs next year. Delta said at an investor conference in New York that its Trainer refinery in Delaware County would produce a $75 million profit in the current quarter, helping to offset losses on the airline's fuel-hedge contracts. Delta buys some of its fuel in advance, to hedge against higher costs. But when fuel prices dramatically decline, the airline is locked in and takes a hedge loss.
December 12, 2014 |
Airlines are enjoying record profits as oil prices drop and the global economy improves. So far, though, airlines have not passed on their profits to passengers in the form of lower airfares. But that may change. The fall in fuel prices and upturn in the economy could benefit consumers with cheaper travel, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) in Geneva said Wednesday. The trade group for the world's airlines predicted the average fare could drop 5.1 percent in 2015, excluding taxes and surcharges.
November 17, 2014 |
The early October sell-off created buying opportunities in the industrial sector for companies such as United Technologies (UTX), Eaton Corp. (ETN), and General Electric (GE), says Hank Smith at Haverford Trust, chief investment officer overseeing $6 billion in assets. In particular, he holds and has been buying more of UTX and Eaton since those shares fell roughly 20 percent. UTX has fallen to about $101 a share, Eaton to $60, Smith says. The bear market in crude oil also presents opportunity in major integrated oil companies ExxonMobil (XOM)
November 12, 2014 |
Sunoco Logistics Partners L.P., the Philadelphia energy company, said that all recoverable crude oil has been removed after its Mid-Valley Pipeline ruptured and spilled on Oct. 13 in Northwest Louisiana. Sunoco spokesman Jeffrey P. Shields said the company recovered about 4,100 of an estimated 4,500 barrels of spilled oil. Some oil was unrecoverable due to evaporation and dispersion. About 20 workers will remain on site to monitor the area, he said. The spill polluted about four miles of a creek feeding Caddo Lake, and prompted the evacuation of three homes.
October 22, 2014 |
Sunoco Logistics Partners L.P. says it has recovered 2,550 barrels of crude oil that spilled into a Louisiana bayou last week from its Mid-Valley Pipeline. The pipeline remains out of service indefinitely until repairs can be done. The Philadelphia company estimated last week that as much as 4,000 barrels - 168,000 gallons - spilled from a break in the underground pipeline. The Mid-Valley system, which transports crude oil from Texas to Midwestern refineries, terminates near Detroit.