Oil prices decline

SINGAPORE: Oil prices fell in Asian trade Wednesday as investors took profits after sharp overnight gains sparked by cooler US weather conditions, dealers said. At 2:25 pm (0625 GMT), New York’s main contract, light sweet crude for March delivery, was down 26 cents to 54.78 US dollars a barrel from 55.04 dollars in late US deals after gains there of 2.46 dollars. Brent North Sea crude for March was 29 cents lower at 54.81 dollars. — AP

Shell ups its buy offer

LONDON: Shell has been forced to raise its offer and spend GBP3.7bn buying out the 22 per cent stake that it does not own in its Canadian business in a move to bolster production in the aftermath of the US reserves scandal and the forced sale of assets at Sakhalin in Russia. The Anglo-Dutch oil group offered C$40 (GBP17) a share for the remaining stake in its Shell Canada operation last October but found local directors unwilling to back the bid. — THE GUARDIAN

Steve Jobs questioned

NEW YORK: Apple’s boss Steve Jobs has been questioned by US government investigators about the company’s alleged misuse of stock options, which has become the subject of a flurry of litigation. It emerged that Jobs, was interviewed last week by the US Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission. Jobs was granted 7.5m share options in 2001. Apple has since admitted that the options were backdated by two months to make them more valuable — and that the records of company board meetings were falsified. — THE GUARDIAN

Yahoo profit decreases

WASHINGTON: Yahoo Inc’s fourth-quarter profit fell 61 per cent from the same period last year due to delays in its newest Internet advertising software, the company said. Net income fell to $268.7 million. Sales, not including revenues passed on to partner sites, were up 15 per cent at $1.23 billion, the company said Tuesday. The company has struggled to keep up with Google Inc among web search engines. Sales for 2006 were $6.4 billion, and earnings for the year were $751.4 million. — AP

Shalimar’s offer

KATHMANDU: Nepal Shalimar Cement Pvt Ltd has unveiled a new consumer scheme. Under the scheme, a customer will get a scratch coupon on every purchase of 10 bags of Shalimar cement, which will offer family fun trips as well as instant cash prizes, states a press release issued today. The first prize is a trip to Bangkok, the second is to Goa and the third to Pokhara. Instant cash prizes range from Rs 25 to Rs 1,000, adds the release. — HNS

Exports rise

MAKWANPUR: Close to 72 per cent increase has been recorded this year in exports from Makwanpur district, MCCI said. Various goods worth Rs 897.97 million were exported in the first six months of the current fiscal year, whereas it was Rs 520.72 million during the last fiscal. Makwanpur exports ghee, toothpaste, leather, agro-produce, beer, soaps, and flour. Colgate Palmolive Pvt Ltd, which has the largest share in exports from the district. — RSS