Home heating oil price jumps to average of $3.64

The Governor’s Energy Office says the average price for home heating oil has risen another 3 cents in Maine.

Officials said Tuesday that the weekly survey puts the average price for No. 2 heating oil at $3.64 per gallon. Prices for kerosene and propane also grew 8 cents per gallon.

Heating oil prices varied substantially, with a low of $3.45 recorded in southern Maine and a high of $3.95 in central Maine.

Officials say the average oil, propane and kerosene prices are higher than at any time last year, but still much lower than prices during the 2011-2012 heating season.

Retail sales see solid increase in November

Retail sales jumped by the most in five months in November, giving retailers an unexpected dose of holiday cheer in a slow season, according to government data released Thursday.

Americans purchased more big-ticket items such as vehicles, appliances and furniture, according to the Census Bureau report. Total sales increased 0.7 percent from the previous month, and October’s estimate was revised up to 0.6 percent. November sales were up 4.7 percent from the same time last year. Excluding automobiles, which influence the overall numbers, sales rose 0.4 percent in November, still a solid increase compared with the rest of the year.

Source: JPMorgan to settle probes into Madoff dealings

JPMorgan Chase & Co. may, according to a person familiar with the matter, soon pay about $2 billion to settle investigations into its dealings with Bernard Madoff, the notorious fraudster whose epic Ponzi scheme collapsed five years ago.

The payout would come as the ink was still drying on a landmark $13 billion settlement the New York company struck with state and federal authorities in late November. That settlement – the largest ever paid by a single company to the government – involved shoddy mortgage investments sold by JPMorgan as well as by two troubled banks it acquired during the housing meltdown in 2008.

JPMorgan’s looming Madoff settlement centers on breakdowns in its compliance systems, and how the bank failed to alert U.S. authorities about suspicious activity in Madoff’s accounts at the bank.

McDonald’s testing mobile application in 1,000 stores

McDonald’s is testing a mobile application in 1,000 stores as it tries to lure younger diners at a time when U.S. sales are struggling.

Called the McD, the app sends customers offers they can redeem with their phones at participating stores, Lisa McComb, a company spokeswoman, said in an email. Diners can specify what kind of deals they want to receive. Users can’t order or pay with the McD app.

— From news service reports