IN BRIEF

Cox phone service begins in Boulder City

Cox Communications has launched its landline telephone service in Boulder City.

The cable company made the announcement Thursday at the annual membership dinner and officer installation of the Boulder City Chamber of Commerce inside the Hacienda.

Cox Las Vegas began offering its Cox digital telephone service in the Las Vegas Valley in November 2005. It’s now the seventh-largest telephone company in the United States, as well as the country’s biggest cable phone company.

Cox Las Vegas has also initiated commercial and corporate phone services in Boulder City through its Cox Business subsidiary. The utility says its phone packages can save consumers up to $120 a year compared with other phone companies’ offerings.

NEW YORK

Gasoline prices higher for 51st straight day

Retail gasoline prices climbed higher for the 51st straight day, and oil prices wavered with some signs of improvement in the economy as a whole.

“Four-week gasoline demand was up 1.14 percent, confirming last week’s foray into positive territory and showing the first genuine sign that the economy is really improving,” Cameron Hanover analysts said in a report.

“Even with millions not going to work, Americans are using more gas again,” the analysts said.

Pump prices added 0.6 cents overnight to a new national average of $2.685 a gallon, according to auto club AAA, Wright Express and Oil Price Information Service. A gallon of gasoline is 37.1 cents higher than last month, though it is $1.39 cheaper than the same period last year.

Benchmark crude for July delivery rose 34 cents to settle at $71.37 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

BIRMINGHAM, Ala.

Judge orders Scrushy to pay shareholders

A state judge on Thursday ordered former HealthSouth CEO Richard Scrushy to pay nearly $2.9 billion to shareholders who sued over a massive accounting fraud that nearly sent the rehabilitation chain into bankruptcy.

Circuit Judge Allwin E. Horn, who heard the case without a jury, ruled in favor of HealthSouth shareholders who filed a lawsuit claiming Scrushy was involved in years of overstating the company’s earnings and assets to make it appear the company was meeting Wall Street forecasts.

Horn wrote in his ruling that Scrushy “knew of and participated in” the faked reports filed with regulators from 1996 to 2002.

He said the HealthSouth founder also “consciously and willfully” violated his financial responsibilities as CEO.

HOUSTON

Oil industry pumps up lobbying campaign

Oil and gas companies have accelerated their spending on lobbying faster than any other industry, training their gusher of profits on Washington to fight new taxes on drilling and slow efforts to move the nation off fossil fuels.

The industry spent $44.5 million lobbying Congress and federal agencies in the first three months of this year, on pace to shatter last year’s record. Only the drug industry spent more.

Last year’s total of $129 million was up 73 percent from two years earlier. That’s a faster clip than any other major industry, according to data from the Center for Responsive Politics.

NEW YORK

Yields on Treasurys post gains again

Fresh evidence of an improving economy pushed long-term Treasury yields higher on Thursday — a troubling sign for homeowners and those interested in buying a home.

Yields on long-term Treasurys are closely tied to interest rates on mortgages and other consumer loans. Borrowing costs have already been on the rise, but climbing yields could push them even higher, potentially putting a crimp on an economic recovery.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury note jumped to 3.83 percent from 3.64 percent late Wednesday as its price fell 0.90 points to 94.34. Last week, the 10-year yield had soared to an 8-month high of 4.01 percent.

The yield on the 30-year bond rose to 4.62 percent from 4.46 percent late Wednesday as its price fell 1 point to 94.53.

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