Business & Finance

On worries about demand outpacing supply, futures prices for crude oil pushed past the $60-a-barrel threshhold in heavy trading, and analysts said they expected them to rise higher still. On the New York Mercantile Exchange, the per-barrel price for August deliveries closed at $59.84 Friday, the highest since trading in futures began there in 1983. Soon after trading began Monday morning, it rose to an intraday record of $60.46. Meanwhile, the widely watched Lundberg survey, which tracks gasoline prices across the US, reported the average at the pump of all three grades was $2.24 a gallon as of last Friday - up 8 cents in the past two weeks and 40 percent higher than a year ago.

Bankrupt Adelphia Communications filed plans to pay off creditors to the tune of $9.5 billion so it can complete the sale of its assets to Time Warner and Comcast Corp. by year's end. The filing offers payment in full to holders of secured claims. Claimants with unsecured debt - which reports put at more than $5 billion - would receive an unspecified number of shares in Time Warner. The family of Adelphia founder John Rigas - who, along with his son, Timothy, drew a lengthy prison sentence last week for looting the company - would receive nothing. Two months ago, Adelphia agreed to pay $715 million to compensate investors who lost money because of the fraud.

Toyota Motors confirmed reports that it will build a seventh assembly plant in North America. But it said the site will not be identified until later this week. Last month, Japan's Nihon Keizai business journal reported that Canada had been selected because of lower labor and benefit costs than apply in the US, and the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. and The Wall Street Journal both named Woodstock, Ontario, as the choice. Toyota already operates a plant in nearby Cambridge, Ontario.

A bidding war appeared to be shaping up for the Dutch merchant bank NIB Capital among two sets of American equity funds and Fortis, the Belgian-Dutch financial services giant. The offers by the hedge fund Cerberus and the partnership of Lehman Brothers Holdings and GE Capital were not reported, but Fortis offered $1.9 billion. Analysts told the AFX financial news service that NIB is worth about $2.5 billion.

A $1 billion buy-back of its own stock was announced by Cardinal Health Inc., a leading distributor of drugs and medical devices. The company is based in Dublin, Ohio.

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