Oil whipsaws, ends down 10 cents at $124.12

Oil futures ended a whipsaw session slightly lower Thursday as the expiration of options played havoc with prices, driving crude near record high levels at times and down by more than $3 a barrel at others. Retail gas prices, meanwhile, advanced past $3.77 a gallon. Oil prices can fluctuate widely on days when options expire, analysts said. Light, sweet crude for June delivery fell 10 cents to settle at $124.12 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange after rising as high as $126.64 earlier in the session, and falling as low as $120.75 later in the day.

Fed sells $7.2 billion in Treasury securities

The Federal Reserve has auctioned $7.2 billion in safe Treasury securities to big investment firms, part of an ongoing effort to ease credit stresses. The auction -- the eighth of its kind -- was held Thursday and drew bids less than the $25 billion being made available. That could be viewed as a sign of some improvements in credit conditions.

CBS to pay 45% premium for CNet Networks

CBS Corp. is acquiring a big online reach with its acquisition of CNet Networks Inc. but it also is getting a company that's faced heavy criticism from investors. Those concerns, as well as the $1.8 billion price, helped send CBS's shares down after the deal was announced Thursday. CNet was an early player in the dot-com boom and survived the subsequent crash with a steady focus on technology news, reviews and entertainment. But its stock has slumped over the last two years. The $11.50 per-share price CBS is paying represents a premium of 45 percent over CNet's stock price the day before.

Weak economy lowers industrial production

Industrial output decreased in April as factories making everything from autos to heavy machinery felt the adverse effects of the weak economy. Analysts held out hope that production will revive in the second half of the year, helped by the government's economic stimulus checks. Industrial production dropped 0.7 percent last month, the Federal Reserve reported Thursday, more than double the decline that economists had expected.

United's error erases domestic fuel surcharge

Passengers booking domestic flights on United Airlines got a one-day reprieve from paying the carrier's fast-rising fuel surcharge thanks to what United says was an error. The mistake saved customers as much as $130 per round-trip on United's domestic flights -- the maximum the airline has for its fuel surcharge. The mistake was to be rectified Thursday night, the airline said.

Fed chief says banks must manage risk better

Commercial banks and other financial institutions need to beef up their ability to detect and protect themselves against risks like the credit and mortgage debacles, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said Thursday. "Improvements in banks' risk management will provide a more-stable financial system by making firms more resilient to shocks," he said in a speech to a Federal Reserve banking conference in Chicago.

Bush won't cite China over currency policy

The Bush administration has declined to cite China for manipulating its currency to gain unfair trade advantages against the United States. The finding announced Thursday came despite pressure in Congress for penalties because of America's growing trade deficit with China, which last year hit a new high of $256.3 billion. In a report, the administration said China needed to address the "substantial undervaluation" of its currency compared with the dollar.