Business briefs

Published: Saturday, January 8, 2005 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, January 7, 2005 at 10:58 p.m.

Late fees will continue at area Blockbusters

  • The Gainesville Blockbuster franchise has chosen to continue its own no-late-fee rental plans rather than adopt Blockbuster Inc.'s new policy abolishing late fees.
    "We currently have our own unlimited rental, with no due date and no late fee," said Greg Dacks, area director for the franchise that owns the three Blockbuster locations in Gainesville. "We think it is a better deal, and our customers really like it, so we are keeping it for now."
    The franchise offers subscription plans for two rentals or three rentals per visit, at monthly rates of $24.99 and $29.99, respectively. The plans allow for unlimited exchange, Dacks said, adding that the subscription may be canceled at any time.
    Dacks said the franchise owner may decide later to adopt the parent company's new policy.
    Blockbuster Inc.'s company-operated stores and participating franchises began the no-late-fee policy on New Year's Day. Franchised outlets are not required to adopt the policy.
    - Doris Chandler

    Stocks fall amid investor uncertainty

  • NEW YORK - Uncertain investors pushed stocks lower in a meandering session Friday as a key government jobs report failed to answer Wall Street's lingering questions about the economy and interest rates. The major indexes ended the first week of 2005 with a loss.
    Investors were unsure how to read the latest Labor Department job creation report, which showed 157,000 jobs created in December - less than the 175,000 expected, but still high enough to show continued growth in the labor market and hopefully stave off inflation and higher interest rates from the Federal Reserve.
    The Dow Jones industrial average fell 18.92, or 0.18 percent, to 10,603.96.
    Broader stock indicators saw modest losses. The Standard & Poor's 500 index was down 1.70, or 0.14 percent, at 1,186.19, and the Nasdaq composite index dropped 1.39, or 0.07 percent, to 2,088.61.
    - Doris Chandler

    Crude futures down in New York, up in London

  • LONDON - Crude futures fell slightly and remained above $45 a barrel Friday after a $2 surge in prices the day before that forced investors anticipating a falling market to cover their bets.
    Light sweet crude for February delivery dropped 13 cents to $45.43 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Prices for heating oil were down less than a penny at $1.2733 per gallon.
    Nymex gasoline futures slipped less than a cent to $1.2142 per gallon on Nymex, where natural gas futures settled at $6.001 per 1,000 cubic feet after falling 4.8 cents.
    In London, the Brent crude for February delivery rose 33 cents to $43.18 on the International Petroleum Exchange.
    - The Associated Press

    Coca-Cola introducing regular Coke with lime

  • ATLANTA - The Coca-Cola Co. is introducing another Coke with a twist: regular cola with lime.
    Meanwhile, its chief rival, PepsiCo Inc., is continuing to push new varieties of their flagship brands.
    Atlanta-based Coke said Friday it will roll out Coca-Cola with Lime in the United States in the first quarter. The launch follows the roll out a year ago of Diet Coke with Lime.
    ''I think it's an interesting product, but I don't think it will be a blockbuster,'' said John Sicher, editor of Beverage Digest.
    - The Associated Press
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