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5 Big Stories: The Week in Business

A look back at the week's top business stories

By Jeff Harrington, Times Deputy Business Editor
Published January 6, 2008


1. Oil breaks the $100-a-barrel barrier

Increased demand from China and India, and violence in oil- producing hot spots push the price of oil higher.

What it means:Gas prices nationwide could approach $3.40 by spring, but oil spikes alone may not be enough to push the economy into a recession.

2. Unemployment jumps to a two-year high

The national unemployment rate jumped from 4.7 percent in November to a worse-than-expected 5 percent in December.

What it means:Fanning fears of a recession, the housing slump broadened as manufacturers, construction companies and financial services cut jobs in December.

3. Toyota overtakes Ford

Toyota passes Ford as the second-biggest auto seller in the country in 2007.

What it means:Customers turning away from large sedans and SUVs sparked the worst year for the auto industry in a decade, but Toyota continued to build share on popular brands, such as the Tundra pickup.

4. Odyssey Marine ends year on a high

The Tampa treasure hunters end 2007 enjoying a stock price that had more than doubled.

What it means:Odyssey was the exception to the rule; among Tampa Bay stocks, losers outnumbered winners by three-to-one last year.

5. Trial puts Buffett under scrutiny

Five insurance executives who formerly worked for Warren Buffett-controlled companies face a criminal trial for fraud.

What it means:Buffett has not been charged with wrongdoing, but guilt by association could taint the legacy of the consummate billionaire investor.

[Last modified January 4, 2008, 20:59:36]

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