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A&B sees Matson loss due to fuel

The steep rise in fuel prices is wiping out any significant first-quarter profit for Alexander & Baldwin Inc.

The Honolulu-based company warned that soaring fuel prices are expected to create an operating loss for its ocean transportation subsidiary Matson Navigation Co. and near break-even financial results for A&B in the January-March period. A&B said it expects to recoup a large percentage of the higher fuel expenses through surcharges to customers later this year, but the impact of the rapid pace of rising costs so far this year could not be mitigated before the end of the first quarter.

Citigroup to reverse-split stock

Just two years ago Citi­group stood on the brink of collapse. Its stock price was measured in cents, not dollars. But yesterday the bank announced that it would reinstate a dividend and engineer a reverse split to lift its stock out of the single digits.

While these moves are another step in the long turnaround of Citi­group, once the nation’s largest bank, they also underscore how far it still has to go.

Both actions are largely symbolic. The quarterly dividend will be just a penny a share, down from 54 cents before the financial crisis. And the reverse stock split — giving investors one new share to replace 10 — will raise the trading price from $4.43 to a more respectable $44 a share but not increase the stock’s actual value, of course.

Citigroup’s market capitalization will remain at $129 billion, compared with a high of more than $275 billion before the financial crisis.

Home sales fall 9.6 percent in February

WASHINGTON >> Fewer Americans bought previously occupied homes in February and those who did purchased them at steep discounts. The weak sales and rise in foreclosures pushed home prices down to their lowest level in nearly 9 years.

The National Association of Realtors said yesterday that sales of previously occupied homes fell last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.88 million. That’s down 9.6 percent from 5.4 million in January. The pace is far below the 6 million homes a year that economists say represents a healthy market.

Nearly 40 percent of the sales last month were either foreclosures or short sales, when the seller accepts less than they owe on the mortgage.

The median sales price fell 5.2 percent to $156,100, the lowest level since April 2002.down from a previous forecast of 62 cents per share.

Schwab buys OptionsXpress for $1B

SAN FRANCISCO >> Charles Schwab said yesterday it is buying online brokerage serv­ices provider OptionsXpress for $1 billion in a move to capitalize on the profitable business of options trading.

The deal helps Schwab bolster its options trading business, which is becoming increasingly popular with online traders. The company said its options trading clients “tend to be among the larger, more active and longer-standing” of their clients. OptionsXpress adds to that client base, and Schwab will be able to offer them additional investing, brokerage and banking serv­ices.

ON THE MOVE

The Office of Hawaiian Affairs has named Richard Pezzulo as chief operating officer from chief financial officer. He has more than 20 years of operations and fiscal management experience with strengths in general and proj­ect management.

The Kauai Island Utility Cooperative board of directors has named David Bissell as the new president and chief executive officer. He was previously acting president and chief executive officer as of June and has more than 20 years of financial and electric utility management experience.

Hawaii Real Estate Online has announced the following:

>> Christine Bondroff as an additional broker-in-charge. She is president of Bondroff Realty International.

>> Maribel Reyes as Realtor associate, She was previously working for Coldwell Banker Pacific Properties and has seven years’ experience with a Graduate Realtor Institute designation.

HFM Foodservice has promoted Sherie Taka­shima to director of procurement from product manager. She joined the company as a buyer in 2008.

 

 

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