Money in a Minute: Headlines for Feb. 17, 2011

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In today's roundup: Gas prices are up, wholesale prices are up, housing starts are up – but Borders is down and possibly out, and the same can be said for the human stars of Jeopardy.

GAS: Middle East effect helps push gasoline cost to 28-month high

U.S. oil and gas supplies are growing, while demand for gasoline is is down 3 percent. So why are prices at record highs? “Traders are worried that spreading unrest in the Middle East will disrupt oil production and shipments,” USA Today says. The average price of a gallon is $3.13 – $1.20 more than two years ago.

INFLATION: Wholesale prices rise for 7th straight month

No good economic recovery goes unpunished. “The core Producer Price Index, rose 0.5 percent last month, the largest monthly increase since October 2008,” The Huffington Post reports. “Drug prices rose 1.4 percent, the most in almost three years.”

RETAIL: Borders files for Ch. 11 bankruptcy protection

Blame the iPad and Kindle, or blame the economy, but Borders bookstores are broke. “The 40-year-old company plans to close about 200 of its 642 stores over the next few weeks,” the Associated Press reports. “Borders had $1.28 billion in assets and $1.29 billion in debts.” Want to see it your local Borders is going bye-bye? Check out CNN’s map.

HOMES: Housing start hit a four-month high in January

Builders are building again – but not houses. “Housing starts surged in January to their highest rate in four months as builders began work on new apartment buildings and other multifamily units,” MSNBC says. “The increase was far above expectations.”

TECH: IBM Computer Wins at Jeopardy, Heads to Med School

Time.com: “After conquering humans Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter and winning a total of $77,973 over three days and two full games, IBM’s know-it-all new supercomputer is going to med school.”

Stacy Johnson

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