Business Briefs

Reported by Star-Bulletin staff & wire

Thursday, August 5, 1999

Maui sugar factory under renovation

Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Co. has started $8.6 million worth of upgrades at its Puunene factory on Maui.

The work, scheduled to be completed by next summer, will increase the factory's efficiency and boost production capacity.

30-year mortgages increase to 7.89%

McLEAN, Va. -- The benchmark U.S. home mortgage rate this week rose to the highest level in more than two years, according to a weekly Freddie Mac survey. The average rate on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage advanced to 7.89 percent from 7.70 percent. Freddie Mac also said the average on an adjustable mortgage rose to 6.09 percent from 5.99 percent, and 15-year mortgage rates rose to 7.45 percent from 7.29 percent.

AOL shares decline on Microsoft news

DULLES, Va. -- Shares of America Online Inc. fell sharply today on concern that Microsoft Corp., the world's largest software maker, may develop a low-priced or free Internet access service that could cut into revenue.

In late trading, AOL shares dropped $4.56 to $82.87 in heavy trading of about 56 million shares, making it the most actively traded stock in U.S. markets. The shares earlier touched $76.

Microsoft is laying out plans for a low-priced or possibly free Internet access service to challenge America Online, the Wall Street Journal reported.

American Air alters frequent-flier rules

FORT WORTH, Texas -- AMR Corp., parent of American Airlines, said frequent-flier miles will no longer expire if customers at the world's No. 2 carrier take part in the program once every three years.

Members must fly on American or its frequent-flier partners or use other services of the AAdvantage mileage program.

The move could prompt UAL Corp.'s United Airlines, which takes miles away from customers if they aren't used in a certain period, to also make the change.

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