Originally created 10/09/01

Business briefs



OPEC keeps watch on market reaction

GENEVA - OPEC Secretary General Ali Rodriguez said the organization is not considering production cuts "for now."

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries is waiting to see how the oil market reacts to U.S.-led attacks against Taliban rulers in Afghanistan, Mr. Rodriguez said.

A group of crudes that OPEC monitors fell $1.52 last week, closing at $19.96 a barrel Friday, the most recent data available. OPEC has a price band system that requires the group to reduce production by at least 500,000 barrels a day if the OPEC basket stays below $22 a barrel for 10 consecutive days.

The mechanism would have been triggered Friday, but the organization ignored it.

Gasoline prices fall 10 cents in two weeks

CAMARILLO, Calif. - Gasoline prices fell a record 10.81 cents in the past two weeks, but Sunday's bombing of Afghanistan could send prices higher, according to the new Lundberg survey.

"Prices certainly could shoot up if there is any implication for oil supply out of the Middle East," analyst Trilby Lundberg said.

The average price of gasoline Friday, including all grades and taxes, was $1.43 a gallon, down 10.81 cents since Sept. 21, according to the Lundberg Survey of nearly 8,000 stations nationwide.

The national, weighted average price of self-serve regular, the largest selling grade of gasoline, fell 10.83 cents to $1.40.

United Airlines limits number of carry-ons

CHICAGO - United Airlines, the nation's second-biggest airline, is cutting down on the number of carry-on items passengers can take on planes.

Starting Monday, the airline restricted carry-on items to one bag per person. Passengers also can carry aboard one personal item, such as a briefcase or pocketbook.

United spokesman Joe Hopkins would not say why the airline is limiting the number of carry-on items passengers can have, or if it had anything to do with Sunday's opening airstrikes by the United States and Great Britain in Afghanistan.

Beasley lets lapse WGAC talent's contract

Beasley Broadcast Group Inc. on Monday declined to renew the contract of longtime AM station WGAC (580) on-air personality Matt Stovall. Beasley Market Manager Kent Dunn said the decision was strictly a financial one.

"We're just looking for ways to be more cost-effective," said Mr. Dunn, adding that Mr. Stovall's duties will be performed by other station staff. "He's a great guy and a wonderful talent."

Mr. Stovall, who has held numerous positions at the news and talk radio station, had most recently worked the station's morning show and was its afternoon news anchorman.

Coke hopes wizard gives ads magic touch

ATLANTA - Coca-Cola is banking heavily on some Harry Potter magic to make its soft drinks disappear from the shelves this fall.

The company unveiled Monday a massive advertising campaign and children's reading initiative linked to the Nov. 16 release of the film Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, based on the first in a series of hugely popular J.K. Rowling stories about the boy wizard.

The $150 million international blitz will kick off Monday and include a series of television and radio spots, point-of-purchase displays, product marking and giveaways with prizes ranging from bottles of Coke to family trips to a Hogwarts-like castle in London.