As oil prices tumble, price of gas should also drop

This week’s stock market plunge has a silver lining: Gasoline is about to get cheaper.

That’s because the same fears that forced a sell-off on Wall Street also brought down the price of oil.

Gas prices usually fall in late summer as families take fewer road trips. But the recent drop in oil should lower them more. Forecasters say the national average of $3.70 per gallon could fall as much as 35 cents per gallon over the next month. 

Credit cards, loans push borrowing to 4-year high

Americans borrowed more money in June than during any other month in nearly four years, relying on credit cards and loans to help get through a difficult economic stretch.

The Federal Reserve said Friday that consumers increased their borrowing by $15.5 billion in June. That’s the largest one-month gain since August 2007. And it is three times the amount that consumers borrowed in May. 

Wells Fargo & Co. to settle lawsuit for $590 million

Wells Fargo & Co. on Friday said that it has agreed to pay $590 million to settle a class-action lawsuit filed by investors in Wachovia securities.

The settlement would end a suit filed in 2008 in federal court in Manhattan, charging that Wachovia misled investors in its bonds and preferred securities by understating losses associated with risky mortgages. Wells Fargo bought Wachovia that year at the height of the financial crisis.

The San Francisco-based bank said in a regulatory filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that the deal needs court approval before it takes effect. 

Proctor & Gamble looks to tap emerging markets

Procter & Gamble Co. plans to seek out new consumers in emerging markets around the globe while giving shoppers in the U.S. and other developed markets more choices in products and prices as their countries’ economies continue to sputter.

The maker of Gillette shavers, Tide detergent and Pampers diapers reported double-digit net income and revenue increases for its fourth quarter with sales gains in countries led by Brazil, India and China.

But it gave a cautious forecast for the year ahead because of expectations for little growth in the United States and other developed countries. 

Fannie Mae reports higher losses in second quarter

Government-controlled mortgage company Fannie Mae said Friday that its second-quarter loss widened as it continues to seek loan modifications to help reduce defaults amid the ongoing difficulties in the housing and mortgage markets.

Fannie Mae also made $2.3 billion in dividend payments to the U.S. Treasury during the period, which reduces the amount it will be asking taxpayers for to $2.8 billion from $5.1 billion.

Fannie’s rescue has been one of the most expensive government bailouts. The amount of money it has received from the Treasury to stay afloat is set to rise to $104.8 billion when accounting for the latest request. Fannie has paid back $14.7 billion to the Treasury in dividends as of the end of June. 

Italy vows to pass budget- balancing amendment

Italy pledged on Friday to work swiftly for a constitutional amendment requiring the government to balance its budget, as Rome feverishly tried to assure domestic and foreign investors its finances are sound and calm nervous markets in Europe.

Italian politicians took action after the country’s borrowing costs shot higher in the past few weeks.

— From news service reports