Netflix Inc. took another step in its evolution Monday, rolling out a streaming-only subscription option in the United States. The news sent Netflix shares up, as the plan gives the company a higher-margin service that excludes the costs of mailing discs. For $7.99 a month, subscribers can watch more than 20,000 titles streamed from Netflix to their TVs and computers, without renting any DVDs. The option became available to new and existing members as of Monday. Netflix also announced a series of price increases to its monthly fees. To receive unlimited movies and shows and have one DVD out at a time, for example, the fee rises a dollar to $9.99.

Ireland's woes push oil prices lower

Oil prices retreated Monday as concerns grew about economic stability in Europe after Ireland sought billions of dollars in financial assistance from its neighbors. Benchmark crude for January delivery fell 24 cents to $81.74 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The price has dropped about 5 percent from a week ago. Meanwhile, the national average for a gallon of regular gasoline was $2.876 on Monday, according to the Energy Department's Energy Information Administration. That's almost 2 cents less than a week ago and about 24 cents more than a year ago.

Chinese airline buys Rolls-Royce jet engines

Rolls-Royce Group PLC, the manufacturer of the jet engine that blew apart in midair on a Qantas superjumbo this month, got some good news on Monday with a $1.8 billion order from Air China -- its second major Chinese order in weeks. The London-based company will supply Trent XWB engines for ten of the Chinese carrier's Airbus A350 XWB (extra wide body) aircraft that are on order and Trent 700 engines for ten Airbus A330 aircraft. The order is worth $1.8 billion. The latest deal comes soon after a $1.2 billion order from China Eastern Airlines to supply Trent 700 engines for 16 A330 jets.

Health insurer buys health care company

Health insurer Humana Inc. plans its first broad foray into health care delivery in nearly two decades with its intended purchase of Concentra Inc. in an approximately $790 million cash deal announced Monday. Concentra, a privately held health care company based in Addison, Texas, delivers occupational medicine, urgent care, physical therapy and wellness services from more than 300 medical centers in 42 states. Nearly 3 million Humana medical members live near a Concentra center. Besides its medical center locations, Concentra also serves employer customers by operating more than 240 worksite medical facilities.

Novell Inc. sells itself for $6.10 a share

Novell Inc., which in the 1990s was running 70 percent of the world's computer networks, has agreed to sell itself for $2.2 billion to Attachmate Corp., a business software provider owned by the private equity firms Francisco Partners, Golden Gate Capital and Thoma Bravo. Novell said Monday it has agreed to a price of $6.10 per share, a comedown for a company that once traded at $43.60. It will also sell some of its intellectual property rights to a consortium of technology companies organized by Microsoft Corp. for $450 million. Attachmate's offer beat out a rival bid from one of Novell's biggest shareholders, Elliott Associates LP, which offered $5.75 per share back in March but has agreed instead to receive a stake in the combined company.

Swiss are wary as low taxes draw more firms

Switzerland could face political pressure from the United States and European Union if foreign companies keep taking advantage of the country's low tax rates by moving their headquarters there, Swiss government spokesman Mario Tuor said Monday. His comments came days after U.S. oil field services company Weatherford International Inc. listed on the Zurich stock exchange. Other companies that have shifted their headquarters to Switzerland in recent years include engineering contractor Foster Wheeler, manufacturer Tyco International and oil field services firms Nobel Corp. and Transocean Ltd.

FROM NEWS SERVICES