Money Minute: BlackBerry Calls Off Sale; Gas Prices Motor Down

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Beleaguered smartphone maker BlackBerry pulls itself off of the auction block at the 11th hour. That and more top money stories you need to know Monday.

BlackBerry Conference
John Raoux/AP
With final bids set to be received Monday, BlackBerry (BBRY) abandoned plans to sell itself, sending its shares sharply lower. Instead, the company will raise money by selling a billion dollars of debt to Canadian insurance company Fairfax Holdings, which is already its largest shareholder. BlackBerry also ousted its chief executive, Thorsten Heins.

Not that long ago, $3 a gallon gasoline seemed like a distant memory for American drivers. But prices are falling back near that consumer-friendly level in a growing number of states. AAA says the national average price for a gallon of regular is now $3.25. That's down from $3.72 a gallon back in March. With domestic production of crude oil on the rise, the supply of crude has jumped by 8 percent since mid-September. Also helping to drive down prices at the pump: the seasonal switch to winter blend gasoline from the more costly summer blend.

Investors are increasingly bullish about the stock market. According to the research firm TrimTabs, investors have poured $54 billion in stock mutual funds and ETFs last months -- the third highest monthly total ever. But that optimism raises some red flags. TrimTabs chief says it could signal that a short-term pullback is on the horizon. At the same time, investor have pulled money out of bond funds for five straight months.

The major averages were little changed last week, but the Dow Jones industrial average (^DJI) and Standard & Poor's 500 index (^GPSC) did manage their fourth straight weekly gains. The Nasdaq composite index (^IXIC) declined by 0.5%.

Merck (MRK) has an experimental drug in the pipeline that could be more effective than its current vaccine Gardasil in preventing the sexually transmitted HPV virus. The company could seek FDA approval this year, and possibly bring it to market in 2014. Analysts say it could be a billion dollar seller.

And eBay (EBAY) is looking at ways to allow its users to collect reward points they collect from retailers into a PayPal wallet.

-Produced by Drew Trachtenberg.


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