Gas Prices Drop, But So Does the Stock Market

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Huzzah! Gas prices are dropping. If I had a car, I’d be even happier. Gas prices! Can someone do something about the Metrocard price now?

Gas prices are falling at the fastest rate in years, going down 12 cents in the past week. The national average is now about $3.65 a gallon with AAA expecting prices to go down to possibly $3.25 per gallon by Thanksgiving. Gas prices typically fall this time of year as demand drops; summer travel pushes the need for gas up. “[S]upply shortages and refinery woes on the West Coast and Midwest” actually kept gas prices high from the summer and through autumn, says USA Today.

Also falling are stock prices, which were driven down by earnings reports from major companies that indicate economic problem here and abroad. The Dow Jones was down 245 points, the S&P 500 down 24 points, and the Nasdaq was down 39 points this morning following news from a number of companies that are considered “bellwethers” for the economy. 3M, which makes everything from tape to construction products to items used for medical care said “current economic realities” were giving them pause. Dupont is cutting jobs. And Xerox stock is down 19 percent for the year.

Yesterday, Caterpillar lowered it profits projections for the year and predicted unchanged demand in its earnings report, though the company is moving forward with plans to build new plants. “As we’ve moved through the year, we’ve seen continued economic weakening and uncertainty,” said the company chairman and CEO Doug Oberhelman in this Wall Street Journal article. The company has already shut down plants and laid off workers. Caterpillar is so important because, as a construction and machines company, its sales reflect the health of a number of industries including mining and building.

The AP reports that the recession in Europe is playing a big role in the bad news, which is exactly why the region should’ve been a topic of discussion during last night’s debate. Also, companies are playing it cautious over fears about an increase in taxes due to the new healthcare law and the Great Recession.

Still… gas prices.


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