Maine gas prices shoot up nearly 8 cents in past week

The cost of a gallon of gas in Maine has shot up nearly 8 cents in the past week.

Price-monitoring website reported Monday that the average retail cost of a gallon of gas soared to $3.78.

While gas prices are rising nationally, the average cost rose faster in Maine and is now 11 cents higher than the national average.

Prices are now more than 7 cents per gallon higher than the same day one year ago and 28 cents per gallon higher than a month ago.

A company analyst blamed higher prices on problems at oil refineries. The good news is that the summer driving season is almost over and cheaper winter blends will soon hit the market.


Pfizer wins rights to sell blockbuster heartburn drug

Drugmakers AstraZeneca and Pfizer have a deal giving Pfizer future rights to sell a nonprescription version of AstraZeneca’s blockbuster heartburn drug, Nexium.

New York-based Pfizer must first win approval from the Food and Drug Administration and regulators in other countries to sell nonprescription Nexium. The drug, which reduces excess stomach acid to treat ulcers and acid reflux disease, is known chemically as esomeprazole.

Pfizer said that if it wins approval, it could launch over-the-counter Nexium in the United States in 2014. The drug’s patent is due to expire here that spring. Pfizer plans to begin selling the product in other countries after that.

Pfizer will pay London-based AstraZeneca $250 million upfront and royalty and other payments based on product sales. Both companies adjusted their 2012 financial forecasts due to the deal.


Groupon earnings report underwhelms analysts

Online deals website Groupon Inc. said Monday that its second-quarter earnings beat Wall Street’s profit estimates, but it underwhelmed analysts with sales growth hurt by unfavorable currency movements.

Net income in the three months to June 30 came to $28.4 million, or 4 cents per share. The earnings reversed a net loss of $107.4 million a year ago.

Excluding the cost of paying executives with stock and a gain on reorganizing a Chinese joint venture, adjusted earnings came to 4 cents per share, beating the 3 cents expected by analysts polled by FactSet.

Revenue rose 45 percent to $568.3 million, which was below the $574.8 million expected by analysts. Chicago-based Groupon says its revenue was $32.4 million lower because of a weaker euro and U.K. pound. That means that sales made in Europe were converted back into fewer U.S. dollars.

Shares dropped $1.06, or 14 percent, to $6.49 in after-hours trading following the earnings release. That’s down 68 percent from its initial public offering price of $20 per share in November.

Groupon improved profitability by reducing the cost of acquiring customers by 43 percent, while increasing the number of active customers by 65 percent from a year ago to 38 million.