US Gas Prices at Cheapest Level in 4 Years

Morning Money Memo…

Gasoline prices continue to plummet across the United States, with the average price hovering around $3.04 nationwide, down $.18 in the past 2 weeks. Gas prices are now at their lowest level in four years, sparked chiefly by the rapid decline in crude oil prices, which continue to sink to new lows.

"It is safe to say that further gasoline price declines will depend on the direction of underlying crude prices," says Antoine Halff, head of the Oil Industry and Markets Division at the International Energy Agency. "Recent crude price declines have been both supply- and demand-driven, with the rise in the U.S. dollar playing a supporting role."

West Texas Intermediate crude has now fallen below $81 per barrel.

Good news has not brought great news for the European economy. Markets across the continent were down this morning, despite the ECB's announcement that most of the 150 banks tested passed the authority's yearlong stress test, a result that briefly brought a positive wave to markets.

Asian markets were mixed this morning, while Dow futures are down slightly, after the triple-digit close to end the week Friday.

Steve Ballmer could cash in big on the Clippers. The Microsoft billionaire and former CEO is set to gain $1 billion in tax benefits following his purchase of the Los Angeles Clippers earlier this year, The Financial Times reported.

Ballmer bought the franchise from embattled former owner Donald Sterling, via the Sterling Family Trust, for a record $2 billion price tag. In addition to various benefits of the purchase, Ballmer also stands to gain from the NBA's latest TV deal with Walt Disney and Time Warner.

Fear was indeed a factor at this weekend's box office, as horror film "Ouija" terrified moviegoers to the tune of $20 million in its debut weekend. The micro-budget film far out-earned its $5 million budget, and held off larger productions such as Keanu Reeves's in "John Wick", which brought in just over $14 million. Second-week World War II epic "Fury" rounded out the box office leaders, earning $13 million over the weekend, bringing its two-week domestic gross to $46 million.