Forbes ranks WEX Inc. 20th of 100 Best Small Companies

WEX Inc., the credit-card processing company formerly known as Wright Express, has been recognized by Forbes magazine as one of America’s 100 Best Small Companies for the fifth consecutive year.

WEX ranked No. 20 on the 2012 list, up from No. 30 in 2011.

“This achievement reflects the dedication of our associates to our core company values — integrity, innovation and execution. It also reflects our strong commitment to investing in the development of valuable and innovative products and to delivering an exceptional customer experience to drive further success,” said Michael Dubyak, chairman, president and CEO.

Forbes’ rankings of small businesses began in 1996 and reflect factors such as sales and earnings growth, as well as return on equity, in growing, publicly held companies.

WEX, which employs more than 1,200 people, has acquired companies such as the Fleet One fuel-card company and CorporatePay, a London-based provider of corporate prepaid cards for the travel industry.

The company has been evaluating options for its office space, but aims to keep its headquarters in Maine.


Price of heating oil in Maine rises 2 cents to average $3.71

Maine’s average price of home heating oil is up 2 cents from last week to $3.71 a gallon.

The results of a weekly survey released Tuesday show northern Maine had the highest average price while the lowest average price was found in the western part of the state.

The average price of propane went up just a penny a gallon to $2.72. Kerosene also went up a cent from last week to $4.14 a gallon.


Rally in retail stocks pushes Dow and S&P slightly higher

Stocks edged higher on Wall Street after a rally in retail stocks offset concerns about flaring tensions in Washington over increasing the country’s borrowing limit.

The Dow Jones industrial average ended the day up 27.57 points at 13,534.89. The Dow had been down as much as 62 points in early trading.

The Standard and Poor’s 500 rose 1.66 points to 1,472.34, a five-year high. The Nasdaq composite index, dragged down by a fall in Apple, fell 6.72 points to 3,110.78.

Retail stocks moved higher throughout the day, boosted by a report that showed retail sales increased in December, helping the major indexes reverse early losses.


GM expects its pretax profits to rise 2 percent in 3-4 years

General Motors expects only a modest increase in pretax profits this year as it rolls out multiple new cars and trucks worldwide.

The company also thinks global auto sales will grow modestly this year, driven by the U.S. and China, while European car sales fall.

The company told analysts at a Deutsche Bank industry conference in Detroit Tuesday that its pretax profit margin in North America should rise from 8 percent to 10 percent in the next three or four years. Profit margin is a measure of how much the company earned after costs of doing business.

GM’s shares fell 24 cents to $30.36 in after-hours trading.