Gas prices falling in Maine, with trend likely to continue

A price-monitoring website says the average retail gasoline price in Maine has fallen 4.6 cents per gallon in the past week to $3.68. said prices on Sunday were 98.4 cents per gallon higher than they were on the same day a year ago, and a tenth of a cent per gallon lower than a month ago.

The national average has fallen 4.2 cents per gallon in the past week to $3.61 per gallon.

Price analyst Patrick DeHaan said that wholesale prices continue to be volatile, but he expects October to see markets slowly quiet down, with retail gasoline prices falling to $3.35-$3.55 on average by Thanksgiving.

Apple stock hits record high, puts company back on top

Apple Inc. stock reached its highest level ever Monday, hitting $413.23 in intraday trading even as the broader market declined.

That price was 3.2 percent higher than Friday’s close and brought the company’s market capitalization to $383 billion, albeit briefly.

The stock slipped to close at $411.63 and was trading after hours at $411.58, still up about 2.8 percent, while the Dow Jones industrial average closed down 0.9 percent.

Apple is again the most valuable company in America, putting Exxon Mobil, whose capitalization Monday was about $358 billion, at No. 2.

The record-setting trade for 100 shares occurred at 3:39 p.m. Eastern time, according to FactSet.

Apple shares have risen steadily recently, despite CEO Steve Jobs’ resignation Aug. 24.

JPMorgan analyst Mark Mosko-witz issued a research note Monday speculating that Apple would release new iPhones this fall — an iPhone 5 that is lighter and slimmer and would work around the world, and a slightly improved iPhone 4 that could target the exploding Chinese market.

Renewed worries on Greece put stock market in tailspin

U.S. stocks retreated Monday, after the longest rally since July for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index, amid concern Greece won’t qualify for more aid needed to avoid a debt default.

Stocks pared losses in the final hour of trading as Greece said discussions with European officials about the country’s bailout were productive.

Even after a late-day rally cut its losses by nearly half, the Dow Jones industrial average closed down 108.08, or 0.9 percent, at 11,401.01. The drop ended five days of gains for stocks and marked the return of the back-and-forth trading that has accompanied the uncertainty about Europe’s debt crisis.

The Nasdaq composite fell 9.48, or 0.4 percent, to 2,612.83. The S&P 500 fell 11.92, or 1 percent, to 1,204.09.

Outlook for home builders sinks further in September

The U.S. home builders’ outlook worsened in September, as foreclosures and anxious buyers hurt construction and sales activity.

The National Association of Home Builders said Monday that its index of builder sentiment in September fell to 14 from 15. The index has been below 20 for all but one month during the past two years.

Any reading below 50 indicates negative sentiment about the housing market. It hasn’t reached 50 since April 2006, the peak of the housing boom.

A separate gauge of current single-family home sales fell 2 points, to 17.