Business In Brief - August 7, 2008

Passion8 Bistro plans celebration on Friday

FORT MILL -- Passion8 Bistro at 3415 S.C. 51, off Carowinds Boulevard, will have a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate its grand opening at 4 p.m. Friday.

The restaurant and bar, which has been open for nine months, will host an hourlong cocktail reception on the patio after the ceremony. The theme will be "Solo Rosso," and the attire will be red to go along with a red cuisine and red martinis.

Hours are 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 5 to 10 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays and 5 to 10 p.m. Saturdays. For more information, call Passion8 Bistro at 802-7455 or visit the Web site

Oil prices below $119 after inventory report

NEW YORK -- Oil prices briefly dropped below $118 a barrel Wednesday -- $30 below their record high -- after a jump in U.S. crude and other fuel supplies fed beliefs that high energy prices are eating into demand.

Light, sweet crude for September delivery finished the session down 59 cents at $118.58 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

It was crude's lowest settlement price since May 2.

Freddie Mac swings to second-quarter loss

NEW YORK -- Freddie Mac on Wednesday posted a second-quarter loss that was more than three times larger than Wall Street expected as a huge number of borrowers with good credit fell behind on their exotic and risky mortgages.

Freddie lost $821 million, or $1.63 a share, for the quarter that ended June 30, compared with a profit of $729 million, or 96 cents a share, in the year-ago period. Revenue fell to $1.69 billion from $2.34 billion.

Freddie's financial losses were concentrated in a handful of states -- notably California, Florida, Nevada, and Arizona -- where speculation was rampant, prices skyrocketed, and buyers stretched to the financial limit to afford a home.

CarMax to slow growth after seeing sales drop

RICHMOND, Va. -- Used vehicle retailer CarMax said Wednesday it is reducing staffing levels and will temporarily slow its store growth after seeing a sharp drop in car and truck sales because of high gas prices.

CarMax originally withdrew its fiscal-year sales and earnings guidance in June, after sales dropped beginning Memorial Day weekend. From the Memorial Day weekend through the end of May, CarMax said its same-store sales -- or sales at stores open at least a year -- fell 5 percent.

Those sales continued to fall in June and July, resulting in an average drop of 17 percent for the two months, the company said Wednesday.