Business Digest: Austin-area gas prices edge down this week


FUEL

Austin gas prices edge down this week

Austin-area gas prices dropped by 1 cent this week, according to auto club AAA Texas.

The average local price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline fell from $1.92 to $1.91, AAA Texas said.

The average price per gallon in the metro area has dropped 11 cents in the past FIVE weeks, according to AAA Texas data.

For Texas as a whole, the average price per gallon rose 2 cents this week to $1.93, according to AAA Texas. Nationally, the average price per gallon also rose 2 cents to $2.15.

ACQUISITIONS

Austin’s Accent Food Services sold in deal

Austin-based Accent Food Services, which distributes food, snacks and break room refreshment services, has been sold to a Boston-based private equity firm in an undisclosed deal.

Private equity firm Silver Oak Services Partners LLC sold its interest in the local company to Audax Private Equity.

Silver Oak made its original investment in Accent Foods in 2008. During its time in ownership, Accent completed 16 acquisition and invested heavily in technology to boost its services.

MEDIA

Breitbart urges Kellogg’s boycott over pulled ads

LOS ANGELES — News and opinion website Breitbart.com is encouraging a boycott of Kellogg’s products after the cereal maker said it would no longer advertise on the site, which was formerly run by President-elect Donald Trump aide Steve Bannon.

The Kellogg Company cited company “values” in explaining its decision; a spokeswoman said Thursday it has “nothing to do with politics.”

Breitbart.com has been accused of featuring racist, sexist and anti-Semitic content.

Breitbart.com said Kellogg’s decision amounted to “economic censorship of mainstream conservative political discourse” and “as un-American as it gets.” It launched a #DumpKelloggs petition Wednesday calling for a boycott of Kellogg’s.

Breitbart.com said Kellogg’s decision represents “an escalation in the war by leftist companies like Target and Allstate against conservative customers” and their values.

Target and Allstate also have reportedly pulled ads from the site.

MORTGAGE INDUSTRY

30-year loan rate rises to 4.08%

WASHINGTON — Long-term U.S. mortgage rates rose for a fifth consecutive week, reaching their highest levels this year.

Mortgage giant Freddie Mac said Thursday the average rate on a 30-year fixed rate loan rose to 4.08 percent from 4.03 percent the previous week. The benchmark rate topped its 3.93 percent level of a year ago.

The rate on 15-year home loans rose to 3.34 percent from 3.25 percent. Higher mortgage rates, along with rising house prices, could eventually reduce demand for housing.

To calculate average mortgage rates, Freddie Mac surveys lenders across the country between Monday and Wednesday each week.

ECONOMY

U.S. construction spending up 0.5 percent

WASHINGTON — U.S. builders boosted spending on construction projects by a modest amount in October, helped by big gains in spending on home construction and the biggest increase in government projects in 10 months.

Construction spending rose 0.5 percent in October following no change in September, the Commerce Department reported Thursday.

Home construction increased 1.6 percent, helping offset a 2.1 percent drop in spending on nonresidential projects. Outlays for construction of offices, hotels and shopping centers all declined. Spending on government projects jumped 2.8 percent, the biggest increase since last December, as federal and state and local spending all rose.

Financial markets have rallied since the election of Donald Trump, reflecting in part enthusiasm over his plans to increase spending on projects to repair and replace the country’s aging infrastructure.

Despite the advance in government projects, spending in the category is still down 0.6 percent from a year ago.


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