Maine gasoline prices rise 7.6 cents to average $3.09

According to a price-watching website, average retail gasoline prices in Maine have risen 7.6 cents per gallon in the past week to an average of $3.09.

MaineGasPrices.com reported that Sunday’s average price in Maine compares with the national average, which has increased 8.4 cents per gallon in the last week to $2.94.

Sunday prices were 37.4 cents per gallon higher than the same day one year ago and 18.6 cents per gallon higher than a month ago.

Dow ends 20 points down after Bernanke’s comments

Stocks spent most of Monday in a funk brought on by cautious comments about the economy from Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke.

The Dow Jones industrial average ended down 20 points, breaking a three-day winning streak. Stock indexes traded in a tight range all day and volume was light.

Stocks began the day on a sour note after Bernanke said the economic recovery is still struggling to become “self-sustaining” without government help.

In an interview with CBS’ “60 Minutes” that aired Sunday, Bernanke argued that Congress shouldn’t cut spending or boost taxes given how fragile the economy remains. He also said it could take four or five more years for unemployment, now at 9.8 percent, to fall to a historically normal 5 percent or 6 percent.

Stocks recovered somewhat in the afternoon after President Obama said he would cede ground to help lawmakers reach agreement on the tax cuts and unemployment benefits.

Eurozone’s $1 trillion fund ample for crisis, official says

Top European officials insisted Monday that they have enough financial firepower right now to deal with Europe’s government debt crisis – but did not rule out increasing Europe’s bailout fund in the future.

Jean-Claude Juncker, who chaired a meeting in Brussels of the eurozone’s 16 finance ministers, said that there was no immediate need to increase the $1 trillion financial backstop despite concerns that it isn’t enough. The fund is for eurozone governments in danger of running out of money.

The big fear in the markets is that Portugal and Spain will join Greece and Ireland in needing a financial lifeline.

 U.S. expects profit from sale of remaining Citigroup stock

The U.S. government said Monday that it will sell its remaining shares of Citigroup common stock and expects to turn a profit on its $45 billion bailout of the giant bank.

The Treasury Department said that it will sell about 2.4 billion shares of Citigroup Inc. common stock. The sale would begin immediately and would end when the government determined that it had received an acceptable price for the shares.

Citigroup received $45 billion in taxpayer support in one of the largest bank rescues by the government.

Of the $45 billion in taxpayer support provided to Citigroup, $25 billion was converted to a government ownership stake that the Treasury has been selling off since last spring. The bank repaid the other $20 billion in December 2009.