Gas prices up $1 a gallon from pandemic low
The average cost of a gallon of gasoline in California rose to $3.64 in the past week, pushing the price $1 above the pandemic era's low.
As of March 8, the U.S. Energy Information Administration's benchmark for regular gas was up 8 cents in a week to the highest price since Dec. 2, 2019, or 66 weeks. This jump marks a 38% increase from the cycle's bottom at $2.64 last May.
Pump prices have increased for 12 consecutive weeks mainly because the fuel's key ingredient, crude oil, has soared in price. West Texas Intermediate, a U.S. benchmark for crude oil, is up 36% this year to $66 a barrel as of last week.
It's quite a change from when gasoline prices tumbled 21% in two months last spring as pandemic "stay at home" restrictions cut travel and fuel demand. Since then, a reopening economy plus production cuts worldwide have boosted gasoline prices.
Pricier fuel is not only a California trend. Nationally, regular gasoline averaged $2.96 a gallon last week - up 6 cents in a week and up 94 cents or 47% since last May's $2.02 low.
- By Jonathan Lansner
Nasdaq leaps 3.7% in biggest jump in a year
Technology companies powered stocks higher on Wall Street Tuesday, driving the Nasdaq to its biggest gain in four months and more than making up for a sharp skid a day earlier.
The Nasdaq surged 3.7%, led by gains in Big Tech companies such as Apple, Amazon and Facebook. Despite its big day, the index remains 7.2% below its all-time high set Feb. 12. On Monday, it closed 10% below its peak, what is known as a "correction" on Wall Street.
The tech stocks rally, which helped lift the S&P 500 1.4%, followed a decline in bond yields, which have been increasing rapidly in recent weeks, driving up long-term interest rates. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note dropped to 1.54% after trading above 1.60% a day earlier.
The S&P 500 rose 54.09 points to 3,875.44. Communication companies and those that rely on consumer spending also helped lift the benchmark index, while financial, energy and industrial stocks lagged the broader market.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average, which is weighted less toward tech than the other two indexes, rose 30.30 points, or 0.1%, to 31,832.74. The Nasdaq gained 464.66 points to 13,073.82.
The Russell 2000 index of small company stocks added 42.07 points, or 1.9%, to 2,245.06. The index is blowing away the rest of the major indexes this year, with a gain of 13.7%. The S&P 500 is up 3.2%, while the Nasdaq is up 1.4%.
Apple on Tuesday rose 4.1%, Nvidia climbed 8% and Tesla jumped 19.6% for the biggest gain in the S&P 500.
Meanwhile, GameStop jumped another 26.9%, giving the stock a gain of more than fivefold over the past two weeks. It's now at $246.90, still down from its closing high of $347.51 on Jan. 27.
BuzzFeed lays off 47 after HuffPost purchase
When BuzzFeed announced last year that it would buy HuffPost, it was expected cost-cutting would follow the completion of the deal. On Tuesday, less than a month after the acquisition went through, BuzzFeed laid off 47 workers at HuffPost.
At a virtual company meeting, BuzzFeed's chief executive, Jonah Peretti, said the layoffs were meant to stem losses at HuffPost. HuffPost, which was previously owned by Verizon Media, lost more than $20 million last year and was on track to lose the same amount this year, Peretti told the staff according to an account of the meeting provided by BuzzFeed.
Employees were given a password to enter the meeting "spr!ngisH3r3," a variation on the phrase "spring is here." The staff members were then informed that if they did not receive an email by 1 p.m., their jobs were safe.
The HuffPost Union, which is affiliated with the Writers Guild of America East, said in a statement that the layoffs had affected 33 of its members, nearly a third of the local union.
Compiled from staff, Associated Press and New York Times reports.