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Morning Market Roundup: Oil Down, Strikes Close Mines in SA, Radioshack Not Doing Well


Here’s what’s important in the business world this morning:

South Africa: Disruptions to South Africa's key mining sector increased as AngloGold Ashanti said Wednesday that strikers have halted all its operations in the country, which provide 32 percent of the multinational's gold production.

Strikes demanding higher salaries began at a Lonmin Platinum mine Aug. 10 and have spread to several others in the mining sector vital to Africa's largest economy. Anglo American Platinum workers have been striking for weeks. The labor unrest moved Monday to the transport sector with a major union saying 20,000 road freight employees are demanding a 12 percent pay rise.

AngloGold Ashanti spokesman Alan Fine said strikers prevented Tuesday's night shift from starting at the company's West Wits and Vaal River operations. They joined co-workers who downed tools at AngloGold's Kopanang mine on Sept. 20.

Fine said strikers, who are among 36,000 workers at the three sites, have not yet made demands.

Hundreds of Anglo American Platinum Mine workers gathered at the Bleskop stadium near Rustenburg on Wednesday to discuss the new terms they've given Amplats. Workers yesterday met with mine management and said they now demand a monthly take home pay of 12,500 rand ($1,560). Strike leader Gaddafi Mdoda said that the company will have seven days to respond, and the strikes will continue.

U.S. Futures: U.S. stock futures slid Wednesday as the European economic crisis devolved into social unrest in the most vulnerable countries, such as Greece and Spain.

Dow Jones industrial futures fell 19 points to 13,386. The broader S&P futures gave up 2.7 points to 1,434.50. Nasdaq futures slid 7.5 points to 2,795.75.

Germany's DAX fell 1.4 percent lower to 7,322 while the CAC-40 in France dipped 1.9 percent to 3,447. The FTSE 100 index of leading British shares fell 1 percent to 5,803.

RadioShack CEO: RadioShack CEO James Gooch has agreed to step down immediately and is leaving its board of directors, the struggling consumer electronics company said Wednesday.

Chief Financial Officer Dorvin Lively will serve as its interim CEO while it looks for a permanent replacement, the company said.

RadioShack Corp. said that it is in the process of hiring an executive search firm to help find a new CEO and that it may consider both internal and external candidates. Gooch became its CEO in May 2011 as part of the company's succession plan. Gooch, who joined RadioShack in 2006 as its CFO, took over as CEO when Julian Day retired.

In July, RadioShack posted an unexpected second-quarter loss and suspended its dividend. The chain's troubles are partly due to wider problems in the brick-and-mortar electronics industry and add fuel to the notion that selling consumer electronics in brick-and-mortar stores is becoming less and less viable.

Oil: The price of oil fell below $91 a barrel Wednesday, tracking stock markets which dropped on renewed pessimism about the outlook for economic growth.

Benchmark crude was down 59 cents to $90.78 a barrel by midmorning London time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract dropped 56 cents to settle at $91.37 a barrel Tuesday in New York.

Brent crude was down $1.06 cents at $109.39 a barrel on the ICE futures exchange in London. In other energy futures trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange heating oil was down 2 cents at $3.09 a gallon, wholesale gasoline gained 3 cents to $2.82 a gallon while natural gas gained 2 cents to $3.12 per 1,000 cubic feet.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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