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‘Off the Map’ beats show it replaced

"Off the Map" lagged in the ratings Wednesday night, but the Hawaii-based drama about doctors in the jungle apparently is more attractive than the show that ran in the same time slot last year, "Ugly Betty," according to Nielsen ratings released by ABC.

The freshman drama finished third in the ratings with 4.2 million total viewers. But that represented a 27 percent increase in viewers when compared with ratings for "Ugly Betty" at this time last year, ABC said. "Off the Map" has consistently outshone "Ugly Betty" in weekly ratings.

The CBS drama "Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior" won the hour with 10.3 million viewers. NBC’s "Law & Order: SVU" was a distant second with 5.3 million viewers for a repeat episode.

Among adults 18-49 this week, "Off the Map" attracted 1.3 percent of the total TV viewing audience and 4 percent of those who were watching TV at the time, ABC said.

Global events boost precious metals

SINGAPORE » Gold advanced for a third day as unrest in the Middle East and Japan’s nuclear crisis boosted demand for the metal as a store of value. Silver, palladium and platinum also climbed.

Immediate-delivery bullion gained 0.6 percent to $1,412.66 an ounce at 11:30 a.m. in Singapore, leaving the metal little changed this week. The April-delivery contract for bullion futures in New York climbed 0.6 percent to $1,412.80 an ounce.

"Investors are transfixed by the developments in Japan and the Middle East," said Bae Jung Seok, a Seoul-based trader with Eugene Investment & Securities Co. "Precious metals are showing some resilience, drawing support from firming equities."

Home prices up despite China’s effort

BEIJING » China’s home prices rose in all but two of 70 cities monitored by the government in February, defying government efforts to keep housing affordable.

Prices rose faster in smaller cities than in the major ones from a year ago, even as the government raised minimum down payments for second homes and raised interest rates. New home prices in the capital Beijing rose 6.8 percent last month from a year earlier, while they climbed 2.3 percent in Shanghai, the statistics bureau said yesterday on its website. Only nine cities out of 70 declined in February from the previous month.

Premier Wen Jiabao said March 5 that China will "resolutely" press ahead with controls on the property market to curb speculation, reiterating a pledge to keep housing affordable after imposing new measures in January.

Nike profit falls short of estimates

Nike Inc., the world’s largest sporting goods company, reported third-quarter profit that missed analysts’ estimates amid higher costs. The shares declined.

Net income rose 5.2 percent to $523 million, or $1.08 a share, in the quarter ended Feb. 28, from $497 million, or $1.01, a year earlier, the Beaverton, Ore.-based company said in a statement. Analysts projected $1.12 a share, the average of 12 estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

Nike shares fell as much as 6 percent to $80.18 in extended trading after gaining 59 cents to $85.41 in regular New York Stock Exchange composite trading.

Nike, led by Chief Executive Officer Mark Parker, is grappling with higher costs for cotton, labor and transportation, which the company projected might reduce profit margins this year. Orders for the Nike brand from March to July increased 9 percent for a total of $7.9 billion, excluding currency fluctuations. That missed the average estimate of four analysts for a gain of 9.8 percent.

Total revenue rose 7 percent to $5.08 billion. Analysts projected $5.2 billion, the average of 11 estimates.

ON THE MOVE

The Hawaii Health Systems Corp. has named Dr. Bruce Anderson as the state community hospital system’s president and chief executive officer. His experience includes being director of health and science programs at Hawaii Pacific University, Oceanic Institute president, environmental health program director at the John A. Burns School of Medicine and former director of the state Department of Health.

American Savings Bank has announced that it will join the coordinated statewide “Aloha for Japan” relief effort to benefit victims of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami and has contributed $50,000 to the fund. ASB has also pledged to match up to $25,000 in employee contributions that are made through April 15. The public is invited to contribute to the fund at any of ASB’s 57 branches across Hawaii.

The Queen’s Medical Center has announced that Bethuel “Bong” Cura­meng has been named 2010 Employee of the Year. He has been the intake coordinator for the progressive care unit on Pau­ahi 5 since 2003.

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