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VOL. 127 | NO. 211 | Monday, October 29, 2012

Oil Rises as Massive Storm Aims for East Coast

SANDY SHORE | AP Business Writer

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The price of oil rose slightly Friday as data showed the U.S. economy is muddling along and the East Coast prepares for a potentially damaging storm.

Benchmark oil rose 23 cents to end at $86.28 per barrel Friday.

Forecasters expect a so-called "Frankenstorm" to hit the East Coast beginning early Sunday with heavy rain, winds and perhaps snow lingering into Halloween. It has the potential to force refinery closures and delay delivery of imports.

More than half a dozen refineries could be in the path of the storm. Closures would cut into supplies of energy products such as gasoline and heating oil, which primarily is used in the Northeast to keep businesses and homes warm.

Meanwhile, the government said the U.S. economy grew at an annual rate of 2 percent in the third quarter. That's better than the 1.3 percent growth in the second quarter, but still too weak to significantly boost job creation — or energy demand.

Although oil rose slightly on Thursday and Friday, it fell 4.2 percent for the week. The U.S. remains well-supplied with oil while demand for gasoline is down as large numbers of Americans remain unemployment and so don't drive to work. Oil is down 13 percent since hitting $99 in mid-September.

That's led to lower pump prices. The national average price for gasoline fell 2.4 cents overnight to $3.575 per gallon, according to AAA, Wright Express and the Oil Price Information Service. That's 23 cents less than it was a month ago although still 13 cents more than this time last year.

In London, Brent crude, which is used to price international varieties of oil, rose $1.06 to finish the day at $109.55 per barrel.

In other futures trading in New York:

— Heating oil rose 3.57 cents to end at $3.0978 per gallon.

— Wholesale gasoline rose 2.27 cents to end at $2.6991 per gallon.

— Natural gas fell 3.4 cents to end at $3.40 per 1,000 cubic feet.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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RECORD TOTALS DAY WEEK YEAR
PROPERTY SALES 78 146 11,266
MORTGAGES 96 170 14,073
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 0 0 2,278
BUILDING PERMITS 194 340 24,374
BANKRUPTCIES 58 135 8,567
BUSINESS LICENSES 28 51 3,822
UTILITY CONNECTIONS 102 239 13,696
MARRIAGE LICENSES 14 49 3,080

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