Stocks decline as buyout buzz fades

NEW YORK -- Stocks slumped to a weak finish Monday as lingering worries about the economy overcame optimism from a fresh round of corporate dealmaking.

Stocks had an early lift after Hewlett-Packard Co. bid 33 percent more than rival Dell Inc. for a data-storage provider, but the gains faded quickly.

Despite the positive deal news, a number of worries about the economy are keeping a lid on the market, especially reluctance among companies to create jobs. Stocks had a two-day sell-off late last week after first-time claims for unemployment benefits jumped to their highest level since November.

AIG repays $4B of its bailout money

NEW YORK -- In its single-biggest repayment of bailout loans so far, American International Group Inc. said Monday it is paying back nearly $4 billion in taxpayer aid with proceeds from a recent debt sale.

The insurer's aircraft leasing business completed the sale of $4.4 billion in debt. AIG will use more than $3.9 billion of the proceeds to repay the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, trimming the balance on its credit line with the Fed to about $15 billion. Adding interest, the total is about $21 billion.

Slide in gas prices expected to go on

WASHINGTON -- Two surveys released Monday showed gasoline prices dropped in the past week but remained higher than a year ago.

The average retail price for a gallon of unleaded regular was $2.708 a gallon Monday, according to AAA, Wright Express and Oil Price Information Service. It has dropped about 4.2 cents in the past week but is around 8.1 cents more than a year ago. That survey said the average price for unleaded in Charleston and North Charleston was $2.582, down almost 3 cents in the past week.

The U.S. average was $2.704 a gallon in the Energy Department's weekly update. California drivers paid the most for gas, with a state average of $3.14 a gallon.

With the summer driving season about to end, experts predict prices will drop anywhere from a dime to a quarter a gallon in the weeks ahead.

Inside trading case yields a guilty plea

NEW YORK -- A man accused of selling secrets about finances at Walt Disney Co. has pleaded guilty in federal court in New York. Yonni Sebbag, a citizen of Morocco, and his girlfriend, former Disney employee Bonnie Hoxie, were arrested in California in May in the insider trading case.

Prosecutors said Hoxie obtained information on Disney's earnings before they were made public and fed them to Sebbag. He's accused of trying to sell the tips to at least 33 financial investment companies. The charges carry a potential penalty of up to 25 years in prison.

Vehicle maker gets $64M in new work

Ladson-based Force Protection Inc. said Monday that it received more work valued at $64.1 million under an existing military contract.

The company said it will provide improved seating kits for 1,946 of its blast-resistant Cougar vehicles already operating in Afghanistan, Kuwait and the United States. Most of the work will be performed in Afghanistan and will be completed by February, the company said.