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Business news briefs — March 18

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GASOLINE

Akron’s fuel prices lower

The cost for a gallon of regular gasoline shot up a couple of days in the Akron area.

But the average price per gallon remains below levels a year ago in the Akron area as well as for the rest of Ohio and the nation at large.

The average price for a gallon of regular in the Akron metro area was $3.58 on Tuesday, down from $3.60 on Monday and up from $3.42 a month ago, according to AAA’s Daily Fuel Gauge Report website. The cost per gallon a year ago was $3.65.

The average Ohio price per gallon of regular on Tuesday was $3.63, up from $3.41 a month ago and down from $3.67 a year ago.

The national average was $3.52 a gallon, up from $3.35 a month ago and down from $3.69 a year ago.

Akron-area gasoline prices were falling on Tuesday, according to gasbuddy.com, an online site that relies on people to report prices at service stations. Prices on Tuesday ranged from lows of $3.29 a gallon in the Hartville area to highs of $3.75 to $3.79 in the Akron area.

LOCAL BUSINESS

FirstEnergy posts dividend

FirstEnergy Corp. [NYSE: FE] declared an unchanged quarterly dividend of 36 cents a share, payable June 1 to shareholders of record as of May 7.

In January, the Akron-headquartered utility’s board of directors slashed the company’s quarterly dividend, payable March 1, to 36 cents a share. That’s down from the 55 cents a share the company had paid since 2008.

FirstEnergy Chief Executive Officer Anthony Alexander said in a news release in January that the new rate will provide “additional financial flexibility to pursue regulated growth opportunities over the next several years.” Alexander said in a conference call with investors that “the company has suffered from a multiyear economic downturn.”

TECHNOLOGY

Android adds watches

Google Inc. is bringing its Android software to smartwatches, working with manufacturers and chipmakers to further its push into connected devices.

The company introduced “Android Wear,” a project to extend the Android operating system to wearable gadgets including watches.

Cheaper iPhone on sale

Apple Inc. is selling a new, cheaper version of the iPhone 5c with less memory in the U.K., France, Germany, Australia and China.

The latest iPhone 5c has 8 gigabytes and is priced at $712 without a contract,

RETAIL

Walmart to expand games

Walmart plans to expand its video game trade-in program to its stores, offering store credit for thousands of video games.

The world’s largest retailer plans to let video game owners trade in used video games online and in Walmart stores for store credit but not cash.

RESTAURANTS

Mobile pay at Burger King

Burger King Worldwide Inc., the second-biggest U.S. burger chain by store count, is introducing an application that will allow customers to pay for Whoppers with their smartphones as it races rivals to woo younger diners.

The program will be introduced next month and should be in all of Burger King’s more than 7,000 U.S. locations in “a few months.”

WALL STREET

Dow Jones rises 89 points

Stocks rose Tuesday after some encouraging news on housing and on hopes that the conflict between Russia and the West wouldn’t escalate further after Russia’s President Vladimir Putin said the country won’t take over other areas of Ukraine.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 88.97 points, or 0.6 percent, to 16,336.19.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 index fell 13.42 points, or 0.7 percent, to 1,872.25.

The Nasdaq composite gained 53.36 points, or 1.3 percent, to 4,333.31.

For the year, the Dow is down 240.47 points, or 1.5 percent. The S&P 500 is up 23.89 points, or 1.3 percent. The Nasdaq is up 156.72 points, or 3.8 percent.

Compiled from staff and wire reports.


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