Barnes & Noble profit drops with investment in e-books

Barnes & Noble Inc.’s fiscal fourth-quarter loss widened as it invested in electronic book technology, the bookseller said Monday.

The New York company also forecast first-quarter and full-year earnings below expectations as it plots aggressive moves into the small but fast-growing e-book market.

The loss for the three months ended May totaled $32 million, or 58 cents per share, compared with a loss of $2.7 million, or 5 cents per share, last year.

Revenue rose 19 percent to $1.32 billion from $1.1 billion last year. Analysts expected revenue of $1.28 billion.

Revenue in stores open at least one year fell 3.1 percent, in line with company guidance of a 2 percent to 4 percent drop. Revenue at stores open at least a year is a key indicator of a retailer’s performance because it excludes growth at stores that open or close during the year.


Yield on 10-year T-note falls to lowest since April 2009

Interest rates fell to new lows for the year Monday in the bond market after concerns grew that a global rebound is stalling.

The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note maturing in May 2020 fell to 3.03 percent from 3.11 percent Friday. That was the lowest yield since April 2009. Its price rose 78.125 cents per $100 in face value to $104.031.

The drop in rates is welcome news for borrowers because the 10-year yield is tied to interest rates on mortgages and other consumer loans.

The increased demand for safety holdings came after the government said that consumers put more money away than they spent last month.


Noble to buy Frontier Drilling; strikes new deals with Shell

Offshore drilling services company Noble Corp. is bulking up its operations while signaling that business as usual won’t return to the Gulf of Mexico for some time.

The Swiss company said Monday it will buy privately held Frontier Drilling for $2.16 billion in cash and also struck $4 billion worth of new contracts with Royal Dutch Shell.

Noble is also giving Shell the right to suspend any contracts the two have for rigs operating in the Gulf because of the proposed U.S. moratorium on drilling in deep water.

The agreements with Shell cover two ultra deep-water projects and are subject to closing the deal with Frontier.

Shell will pay reduced fees for leasing Noble’s rigs in the Gulf. The Obama administration in May ordered a six-month halt on exploratory drilling in water more than 500 feet deep. The ban is being disputed in the courts. Noble was stung earlier this month when Anadarko Petroleum said it planned to excuse itself from drilling contracts because of the moratorium.

Noble spokesman John Breed said the Shell deal is aimed at keeping oil companies from trying to abandon agreements altogether in the Gulf.


National average gas price increases to $2.75 per gallon

Gasoline prices continued to rise Monday as vacationers in RVs and campers join commuters on the roads during the peak summer driving season.

Pump prices likely will increase in the next couple of weeks but fall short of $3 per gallon in most states. Analysts note that demand remains lackluster while supplies are ample, and consumers worried about the economy may keep traveling to a minimum.

The national average for retail gasoline prices rose 0.1 cents to $2.75 a gallon Monday, according to Wright Express and Oil Price Information Service. That’s an increase of 11.3 cents from a year ago.

The government’s Energy Information Administration said California drivers paid the highest price Monday, an average of $3.12 per gallon. Regionally, prices were lowest along the Gulf Coast, averaging about $2.61 per gallon.