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Business briefs

For Friday, December 21, 2012

By Star-Advertiser Staff and News Services


Mortgage rates rise; still near record lows

WASHINGTON >> Average rates on U.S. fixed mortgages rose this week but remained near record lows.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday that the average rate on a 30-year loan increased to 3.37 percent from 3.32 percent last week. That’s just above the 3.31 percent rate of a month ago, the lowest on records dating to 1971.

The average on the 15-year fixed mortgage dipped to 2.65 percent from 2.66 percent last week. The record low is 2.63 percent.

The average doesn’t include extra fees, known as points, which most borrowers must pay to get the lowest rates. One point equals 1 percent of the loan amount. The average fee for 30-year loans was 0.7 point, unchanged from last week. The fee for 15-year loans ticked up to 0.7 point from 0.6 point.

Star-Advertiser hires VP of circulation

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser announced today that it has hired David G. Williams as vice president of circulation. He will assume his new post Jan. 14.

Williams, a native of Reno, Nev., has more than 33 years of experience in the newspaper industry. His most recent position was as director of alternative publications and revenue analysis for Gannett Co. at its corporate headquarters.

"We are proud to have someone with David's impressive background and experience to lead our circulation team," said Dennis Francis, Star-Advertiser president and publisher. "David has been successfully dealing with the challenges of newspaper circulation during some of the toughest times for the newspaper industry."

Williams began his career at the Reno Gazette-Journal, where he worked his way up to circulation manager. He worked at a number of newspapers, including The Stockton Record (California) and Statesman-Journal (Oregon) before becoming vice president of circulation for the Los Angeles Newspaper Group in 2009. For three years he oversaw circulation for the Los Angeles Daily News and several other daily newspapers, magazines and custom publications in the group.

Williams has been recognized for his circulation excellence with a Gannett President Ring in 2000 and 2004, as well as numerous awards from the Newspaper Association of America and other industry organizations.

"I'm excited about coming to Hawaii and working for the Honolulu Star-Advertiser," Williams said. "It's a great opportunity to work at a newspaper that has beaten the odds during very trying times for daily newspapers. Dennis Francis knows newspapers and I have every confidence that circulation of the Star-Advertiser and other weekly newspapers and magazines under the Oahu Publications banner will continue to increase throughout the new year and for years to come."

Williams graduated from the University of Nevada, Reno, and enjoys snow skiing, running, biking and motorcycling.

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser is the flagship publication of Oahu Publications Inc., whose portfolio includes, MidWeek, the Hawaii Army Weekly, Hawaii Marine, Ho‘okele Weekly, HILuxury, and a growing roster of community periodicals and in-room resort magazines.

Stock exchange sold in $8 billion deal

NEW YORK » The Big Board just isn't so big anymore.

In a deal that highlights the dwindling stature of what was once a centerpiece of capitalism, the New York Stock Exchange is being sold to a little-known rival for $8 billion — $3 billion less than it would have fetched in a proposed takeover just last year.

The buyer is Intercontinental Exchange, a 12-year-old exchange headquartered in Atlanta that deals in investing contracts known as futures.

Intercontinental Exchange, known as ICE, said Thursday that little would change for the trading floor at the corner of Wall and Broad streets, in Manhattan's financial district.

Mint aims to cut cost of making coins

PHILADELPHIA » When it comes to making coins, the Mint isn't getting its 2 cents' worth. In some cases it doesn't even get half of that.

A penny costs more than 2 cents, and a nickel costs more than 11 cents to make and distribute. The quandary is how to make coins more cheaply without sparing our change's quality and durability, or altering its size and appearance.

A 400-page report presented last week to Congress outlines nearly two years of trials conducted at the Mint in Philadelphia, where a variety of metal recipes were put through their paces in the massive facility's high-speed coin-making machinery.

Evaluations of 29 different alloys concluded that none met the ideal list of attributes. The Treasury Department concluded that additional study was needed before it could endorse any changes.

BlackBerry maker loses 1 million users

TORONTO » BlackBerry maker Research In Motion, which is already struggling with plunging sales, said Thursday it lost subscribers for the first time in the latest quarter, as the global number of BlackBerry users dipped to 79 million.

But the Canadian company added to its cash position as it prepares to launch new smartphones on Jan. 30 that are deemed critical to the company's survival.

Three months ago RIM had 80 million subscribers.

On the Move

City Mill Co. has announced the appointment of the following employees as of Jan. 1:
>> Geri Perez to merchant for the plumbing, hardware and automotive departments. She started at City Mill in 1999 as a sales associate at the Pearl City branch store and was promoted to receiving data processor.
>> Michelle Suzuki to merchant and will oversee organization/storage and patio/outdoor living. She has more than 20 years of retail experience.


RevoluSun has hired Elana Kopelevich as marketing manager. She has seven years of marketing experience, including serving as communications and intranet analyst at HawkTree International and U.S. marketing coordinator for Strad Energy Services and administrative and marketing manager for ReR USA.

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