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Business briefs

For Wednesday, October 31, 2012

By Star-Advertiser Staff and News Services


Wall Street back in business after Hurricane Sandy shutdown

NEW YORK >> The New York Stock Exchange will open today — because it had to open.

In a bit of welcome news for fund managers, investors and even the economy, the company that operates the iconic exchange at 11 Wall St. announced it would not extend its trading shutdown to a third day.

Wall Street experts had feared that another delay because of Hurricane Sandy would have meant a dangerous backup of customer orders to buy and sell stock. It also could have dealt a blow to the image of U.S. markets, already damaged by investor distrust, sudden market swings and a series of trading glitches.

The New York Stock Exchange said its building and trading floor are fully operational and that normal trading will resume today at the usual starting time of 9:30 a.m. EDT. Since power is out in much of downtown Manhattan, the company said it will run the exchange using its own backup generators, a first. The closing on Tuesday marked the first time since 1888 that the NYSE halted trading for two consecutive days because of weather. News reports that the exchange floor had flooded were false.

State aquaculture farming output hits record

Hawaii's aquaculture industry achieved record production value in 2011 due to soaring sales by algae farms, according to the latest annual report on the sector by the National Agricultural Statistics Service.

The value of aquaculture farming statewide jumped to a record $40 million last year, a 33 percent gain from $30 million the year before.

The industry had suffered two consecutive years of declining value since the prior record of $35 million in 2008. Those declines were brought on primarily by diminishing production from offshore fish farms, the report shows.

Annual algae farm sales had been between $16 million and $17 million from 2008 to 2010 but then jumped to $25 million last year.

Center for Architecture to open downtown

The American Institute of Architects, Hono­lulu Chapter, will open Hawaii's first Center for Architecture on Friday on the ground floor of the Oceanit Building at 828 Fort Street Mall. The center will be open to the public during business hours and be used for after-hours events staged by AIA Hono­lulu. The first such event will be from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Dec. 5. The planned panel discussion will focus on Hono­lulu's best buildings, which also is the theme of the center's first public display.

Pace of U.S. home-price gains picking up

WASHINGTON » Home prices rose in August in nearly all U.S. cities, and many of the markets hit hardest during the crisis are starting to show sustained gains. The increases are the latest evidence of a steady housing recovery.

The Standard & Poor's/Case Shiller index reported Tuesday that national home prices increased 2 percent in August compared with the same month a year ago. That's the third straight increase and a faster pace than in July.

The report also said that prices rose in August from July in 19 of the 20 cities tracked by the index. Prices had risen in all 20 cities in the previous three months. (Hono­lulu is not tracked in the index.)

Ford earns $1.63B despite woes in Europe

DEARBORN, Mich. » Europe may have lost its appetite for new cars, but buyers in America and China propelled Ford to a better-than-expected profit in the third quarter.

Ford Motor Co. earned $1.63 billion, down only slightly from a year earlier, despite lower worldwide sales and bigger European losses. It was the company's best performance ever in the third quarter.

Ford said Tuesday its per-share net income was unchanged at 41 cents. Excluding one-time items, like severance payouts, Ford earned 40 cents a share, beating Wall Street's forecast of 30 cents, according to FactSet.

Fiat to debut 17 new cars in Europe by 2016

ROME » While European competitors close factories and get government bailouts, Italian carmaker Fiat is banking on its underexposed luxury brands to put idled Italian car plants to work and stem losses in its European operations.

Fiat CEO Sergio Mar­chi­onne announced an ambitious four-year plan Tuesday to ramp up production of Alfa Romeo and Mase­rati brands in Italy, where Fiat will launch 17 new models to be built in Fiat's five Italian plants from 2013 to 2016. Fiat, which owns U.S. carmaker Chrysler, also will unveil a new smaller Jeep for production in Italy aimed primarily at Europe, and focus the Fiat brand on the 500 and Panda compact car ranges.

UBS slashes business in turnaround bid

GENEVA, Switzerland » Scarred by scandals and losses, Swiss bank UBS unveiled Tuesday a plan to overhaul its global operations that will see it cut thousands of jobs as it drops risky trading activities and restructures its investment banking unit.

Switzerland's biggest bank has for years been trying to reshape its business and clean up its image as it tries to recover from a damaging U.S. tax evasion dispute, a scandal over unauthorized trades and a slew of bad investments.

UBS AG will cut 10,000 jobs, on top of 3,500 shed last year, as it drops out of trading in fixed income — which includes bonds and currencies — and rejiggers its investment banking.

On the Move

The Polynesian Cultural Center has promoted Larie K.L. Manutai to sales manager of groups, events and MCI, Waikiki. Her experience includes serving as a children’s services division manager for Volunteer Legal Services Hawaii and a legal research assistant for the Law Office of Dana Ishibashi.


Coldwell Banker Pacific Properties has announced that Jammie Wong has joined the firm’s Leeward office. She was previously a service coordinator in the service industry and has a strong administrative background.


Barron L. Guss has been elected to the board of directors of the National Association of Professional Employer Organizations. Guss is president and chief executive officer of Hawaii-based ALTRES Global Business Services.

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