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Hampton Roads, nation and world [Virginian - Pilot]
[December 18, 2012]

Hampton Roads, nation and world [Virginian - Pilot]

(Virginian - Pilot Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Gas prices lowest since early last year Gas prices in Hampton Roads have hit their lowest levels since February 2011, AAA reported. The local average Monday for a gallon of regular gasoline stood at $3.061, down from $3.141 a week earlier and $3.114 a year ago, AAA said in its Daily Fuel Gauge Report.

The last time prices were lower in Hampton Roads was Feb. 23, 2011, when regular averaged $3.041 a gallon, AAA said. Average prices were last below $3 a gallon in the area on Feb. 17, 2011. Some local stations had edged below that level Monday. Falling prices were seen nationally as well over the past week. AAA said that the nationwide average for regular stood at $3.248 on Monday, down from $3.34 a week earlier but still up slightly from $3.237 a year ago.

- Dave Mayfield, The PilotSprint raises bid, gets OK to buy clearwire Sprint, the country's third-largest cellphone company, said Monday that it will buy out the portion of wireless network operator Clearwire that it doesn't already own after raising its offer price to $2.2 billion.

The deal would give Sprint control of an affiliate that it depends upon to provide high-speed "Sprint 4G" data services on some of its phones. It would increase Sprint's access to the airwaves, meaning it could boost data speeds in coming years. However, cell towers using Clearwire spectrum have poor range, making it difficult to provide broad coverage.

Sprint Nextel Corp. said it will pay $2.97 per share for the nearly 50 percent stake in Clearwire stock it doesn't already own. A board committee that excluded Sprint appointees approved the offer.

Foreign holdings of U.S. debt hit record Foreign ownership of U.S. Treasury securities rose to a record level in October, a sign that overseas investors remain confident in U.S. debt. Total foreign holdings of U.S. Treasurys rose to $5.48 trillion, the Treasury Department said Monday. That was up 0.1 percent from September.

China, the largest holder of U.S. government debt, increased its holdings slightly to $1.16 trillion. Japan, the second-largest holder, boosted its holdings to $1.13 trillion. Brazil, the country with the third-largest holdings, increased its total to $255.2 billion. The new figures show that investors are still seeking the perceived safety of U.S. Treasurys, even as lawmakers and President Barack Obama remain at odds over whether to raise the U.S. borrowing limit.

Morgan Stanley fined $5M over Facebook IPO BOSTON | Morgan Stanley, the lead underwriter for Facebook's troubled public stock offering, has agreed to pay $5 million to Massachusetts' securities regulators after they accused it of disclosing a revenue shortfall only to certain analysts.

According to state regulators, a Morgan Stanley banker organized phone calls between Facebook's treasurer and the analysts of major underwriters to relay revenue figures that weren't included in revised documents Facebook Inc. filed with U.S. securities authorities May 9, about a week before the initial public offering of stock. The numbers were lower than what many analysts had expected and caused them to revise their annual revenue estimates down about 3 percent below the $5 billion Facebook had earlier forecast for 2012.

AIG to sell AIA group stake for up to $6.52B NEW YORK | AIG might raise as much as $6.52 billion from the sale of its remaining stake in Asian life insurer AIA Group.

The company plans to use net proceeds from the sale for general corporate purposes.

American International Group Inc., which is based in New York, nearly collapsed in 2008. It received $182 billion from the U.S. government - the biggest of the Wall Street bailout packages. In 2010, the insurance giant spun off AIA in Hong Kong's biggest initial public offering to raise $20 billion, which was used to pay bailout debt. Last week the Treasury Department announced that it sold all of its remaining shares of AIG. The Treasury said that the government has received $22.7 billion more than the $182 billion bailout.

- From Pilot and wire reports (c) 2012 ProQuest Information and Learning Company; All Rights Reserved.

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