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Business Briefs

Hoku in, Central Pacific out of index

Hoku Corp. is being added to the Russell 3000 stock index, while Central Pacific Financial Corp. is being taken off as part of the annual reconstitution of the index.

The changes take effect Friday after the market closes.

Hoku, a Honolulu-based clean energy company, is one of 47 technology companies being added to the index, according to Russell Investments, which publishes a number of stock indexes. Hoku shares closed up 8 cents at $3.48 yesterday on the Nasdaq exchange.

CPF, the parent of Central Pacific Bank, has struggled financially in recent years due to exposure to California homebuilders hit hard by the subprime lending meltdown. Shares of CPF fell 7 cents to close at $2.01 yesterday. CPF shares were trading as high as $5 a year ago. Its market capitalization currently stands at $61 million.

Russell indexes are widely used by investment managers and institutional investors for index funds and as benchmarks for both passive and active investment strategies.

 

Pacific Beach Hotel boosts exposure

Honolulu-based Pacific Beach Hotel has joined the WORLDHOTELS marketing network.

HTH Corp., the owner and manager of Pacific Beach Hotel, will gain broader exposure when it becomes part of WORLDHOTELS’ global distribution system. WORLDHOTELS boasts a portfolio of 450 affiliate properties in 250 destinations and 65 countries worldwide.

 

Japan raises growth forecast to 2.6%

TOKYO » Japan’s economy, the world’s second largest, will expand at a faster pace in the current fiscal year than previously forecast as robust exports to Asia and improving corporate earnings are underpinning a broadening recovery.

The Cabinet Office said today that Japan’s gross domestic product will rise 2.6 percent in the year to March 2011, faster than an earlier estimate of 1.4 percent. GDP represents the total value of a nation’s goods and services.

"The upward projection was due to brisk growth in exports, especially to Asia. The forecast was also upbeat thanks to a recovery in capital spending and improving corporate earnings," said Takashi Hanagaki, an official from the Cabinet Office.

Japan’s economy has emerged from last year’s recession — the worst since World War II — thanks to a recovery in exports, which alone account for 10 percent of Japanese gross domestic product.

 

Electronic reader market heats up

NEW YORK » A price war is heating up in the electronic reader market, as Amazon cut the price of its Kindle e-reader below $200 yesterday just after Barnes & Noble did the same with its competing Nook device.

The rapid-fire moves are fanning flames in the still-small but rapidly growing market that the book industry sees as a major part of its future.

Online retailer Amazon.com Inc. slashed the price of the Kindle by $70 to $189, just a few hours after bookseller Barnes & Noble Inc. reduced the price of the Nook by $60 to $199 and said it also would start selling a new Nook with Wi-Fi access for $149.

 

ON THE MOVE

Hawaii Medical Service Association has elected the following to its community board of directors for a three-year term:

» Claire Asam is a trustee of the Queen Liliuokalani Trust and was appointed by the state Probate Court.

» Kathryn Matayoshi is interim superintendent of the Hawaii State Department of Education.

» Robert Harrison is president and chief operating officer of First Hawaiian Bank since 2009.

Hospice Hawaii’s Sonja Miranda-Ome received her licensed clinical social worker license. She is a patient care coordinator and one of two workers at Hospice Hawaii with their LCSW.

Doug Davis Realty has named Geraldine Supapo its top sales agent for the first quarter and Benjamin Gilholm as its top producing agent.

Fast Co. has awarded Byron Washom for being one of the "100 Most Creative People in Business 2010." Washom is director of strategic energy initiatives for UC San Diego.

The "2009 Norman E. Miller Route Sales Manager of the Year" award went to Philip Diza of Interstate Battery System of Hawaii. Interstate’s Route Sales Manager of the Year program recognizes outstanding route managers.

 

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