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Biggs’ investment cut

Concern governments around the world are curtailing stimulus measures too soon spurred Barton Biggs to sell about half of his stock investments last week. Biggs, 77, whose Traxis Partners LLC gained 38 percent in 2009 when he bought equities after the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index fell to a 12-year low, sold most of his U.S. technology holdings, he told Bloomberg Television. Biggs manages $1.4 billion.

Greece aims to issue bonds by 2011

ATHENS, Greece » Debt-hobbled Greece might see a slightly milder-than-expected recession this year and aims to issue bonds again on international markets in 2011, the finance minister said yesterday.

George Papaconstantinou said efforts to slash the gaping budget deficit from 13.6 percent of gross domestic product in 2009 to 8.1 percent in 2010 remain on track.

"We believe we will attain and perhaps exceed the target of 8.1 percent at the end of 2010," Papaconstantinou said. Greece is committed to bringing the deficit to less than 3 percent of annual output in 2014.

Papaconstantinou said a below-target increase in revenues should be offset in part by sales and tobacco tax increases, as well as property tax payments.

He said initial forecasts of the recession-bound economy shrinking by 4 percent of GDP this year now appear "excessively pessimistic."

Mercedes logs best June sales ever

BERLIN » Sales of Mercedes-Benz cars were up 13.2 percent in the year to June as strong demand for the premium brand in China and the United States helped drive growth, parent company Daimler AG said yesterday.

Mercedes-Benz sold 113,300 cars worldwide last month, making it the best June performance in its history, Daimler said.

The premium brand’s sales in China were up 177 percent last month to 13,700 cars, U.S. sales were up 20.5 percent to 18,300 and sales in Japan gained 26.5 percent compared with June 2009 to reach 3,400.

Sales in Western Europe were down 3.6 percent, but growth was strong in Brazil, Russia and India. Daimler reported sales increases of more than 70 percent in all three of the emerging markets.

"We are also in an excellent position to do well in the months ahead and plan to continue Mercedes-Benz’s success with a significant increase in the third quarter," said Mercedes-Benz Cars executive Joachim Schmidt.

NFL card shift has customers in rush

NEW YORK » The National Football League’s decision to move its branded credit card business from Bank of America to British banker Barclays is forcing customers of the Charlotte, N.C., bank to scramble to spend reward points before they expire next month.

On message boards, in between talk about upcoming training camps, fans are discussing how they’ll spend their points in Bank of America’s "NFL Extra Points" program. They have until the end of August, just before Barclays’ new program begins in September.

Fans can get a one-hour appearance from the Denver Broncos mascot Miles for 40,000 points, Pittsburgh Steelers head rest covers for 3,250 points or replica team jerseys for 10,400 points. Fans also can buy "experiences" such as visiting the playing field before the game. A point typically equals $1 spent on the card.

A giant countdown clock is ticking away the time on the program’s site, www.nflextrapoints.com—56 days as of today.

Bank of America Corp. won’t say why it and the NFL failed to reach agreement on an extension of a contract it has held since 1995. It is still the official bank of Major League Baseball and for four NFL teams—the Washington Redskins, New England Patriots, Carolina Panthers and Dallas Cowboys—which let it issue debit cards with their logos but not credit cards. The NFL, which announced the deal with Barclays last month, declined further comment.

On the move

Central Pacific Bank has promoted the following to vice presidents:

» Francine Komine from assistant vice president and commercial branch manager of McCully Branch.

» Winifred Lee from assistant vice president and file management review manager.

» Lance Ming from product manager.

» Kenneth Saiki from assistant vice president and marketing program manager.

» Jeanette Silberstein from assistant vice president and assistant loan operations manager.

» Jerome Tsuda from senior cash management officer.

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Hawaii Human Resources has promoted Christy Johnson to director of human resources as well as the manager of all internal and client human resources administration. She was previously staff of the client relations department.

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Successful Meetings magazine has awarded Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau with the 2010 Pinnacle Award. The award honors the nation’s top destination support organizations and is determined by voting from meeting planners who represent associations, corporations and trade groups nationwide.

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Caliber Funding has hired the following for their Oahu office:

» Marshall Wells as mortgage consultant. He was previously owner of Aloha Mortgage & Finance.

» Daniele Leong as a loan consultant. She was previously vice president and commercial account manager for Old Republic & Escrow, notary public for the state of Hawaii.

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