March 1 (Reuters) - The following were the top stories in the New York Times business pages on Thursday. Reuters has not verified these stories and does not vouch for their accuracy.
* With no clear end to tensions with Iran and Syria and rising demand from countries like China, gas prices are already at record highs for the winter months -- averaging $4.32 in California and $3.73 a gallon nationally on Wednesday, according to AAA’s Daily Fuel Gauge Report. As summer approaches, demand for gasoline rises, typically pushing prices up around 20 cents a gallon.
* The Federal Reserve chairman, Ben Bernanke, said on Wednesday that the central bank retained its modest expectations for the American economy this year, despite some recent signs of stronger growth.
* In their new operating systems, Windows 8 and Mountain Lion, Microsoft and Apple are heading up the effort to make computers more like mobile devices.
* It is apparently going to take more than shrinking bank profits to put a big dent in Wall Street bonuses. The total payout to security industry workers in New York is forecast to drop only 14 percent during this bonus season, according to a report issued on Wednesday by the state comptroller, Thomas DiNapoli. By comparison, profits last year plunged 51 percent.
* Facebook’s hundreds of millions of users could soon be faced with a lot more advertising -- in their newsfeed, on their mobile devices and even when they log off. On Wednesday, the company announced a new suite of advertising products intended to insert more ads into Facebook’s traditionally clean interface and to take more advantage of mobile ads, where the company has struggled. The announcement was made at its first marketing conference, held at the American Museum of Natural History in Manhattan.