Aug. 27- Summary of business headlines: Isaac shuts down Gulf oil but prices fall; Wall Street tip-toes ahead of Bernanke speech; Apple, Microsoft, Nokia, Research in Motion gain on Samsung court defeat; Best Buy opens books to founder.
The Gulf Coast is evacuating as Tropical Storm Isaac moves along the same path as Hurricane Katrina seven years ago. Offshore oil and gas operations have been evacuated and refineries shutdown. The shutdowns follow a three-day fire engulfing two fuel storage tanks in Venezuela - the combination sending gasoline prices higher but crude oil prices are down on concerns demand will fall and the U.S. Strategic Reserve opened. Meanwhile, Wall Street was waiting for something else, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke's speech at the end of the week. The Dow lost 33 points, with the rest of the market barely budging either way. Apple investors cheered Friday's court ruling by sending the stock to a record high. The iPhone maker was a big winner in a patent lawsuit and countersuit with Samsung. But Apple is not the only winner. Nokia gained 7.7 percent in European trade, BlackBerry maker Research in Motion gained almost 2 percent in Canada.. And although Microsoft shares rose only slightly, it could be the biggest beneficiary if the courts slow down Samsung's rapid growth, says Reuters columnist John Abell. SOUNDBITE: JOHN ABELL, REUTERS COLUMNIST (ENGLISH) SAYING: "What Microsoft is doing now is coming up with something entirely new and inventive. They are redefining the home screen and doing lots of other things, which will be different enough from the iPhone for people like me to say: well look this is a good stand at trying to be different and better and not just trying to be a better copy cat." Shares of Microsoft were up less than a half of one percent. In other corporate stories: Best Buy is opening up its books to founder Richard Schulze, one week after naming a new CEO. Schulze has offered to take the company private for about $8.8 billion. Elsewhere, European stocks headed higher but markets in London were shut for a holiday. Conway Gittens, Reuters