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Business Briefs

Reported by Star-Bulletin staff & wire

Thursday, November 25, 1999

Trans Hawaiian wins Big Isle bus contract

Trans Hawaiian Transportation Inc. has been awarded the contract to provide drivers for the public bus system on the Big Island. Seventeen drivers will cover nine major routes, according to Trans Hawaiian, a subsidiary of International Management Services Inc. The firm was awarded the contract over five other bidders. It takes effect Dec. 16 and runs for one year, with a renewal option.

Mortgage rates climb to 7.75%

WASHINGTON -- The average interest rate on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages climbed to 7.75 percent this week, from 7.69 percent last week, according to a weekly survey by Freddie Mac, the mortgage company. Mortgages rates have been on an upward climb this year. The average rates on a 30-year mortgage have hit a low of 6.74 percent set at the end of January and a high of 8.15 percent set in mid August.

Fifteen-year mortgages averaged 7.36 percent this week, up from the average of 7.31 percent last week. One-year adjustable-rate mortgages averaged an initial rate of 6.45 percent this week, also up from 6.35 percent last week, Freddie Mac said yesterday.

Nikkei rally ends; dollar weakens

TOKYO -- A five-day rally in Japanese stocks was snapped today after profit-taking erased gains produced by Cabinet approval for an extra budget to boost the economy. The dollar slipped slightly against the yen. The 225-issue Nikkei shed 174.43 points, or 0.92 percent, closing the day's trading at 18,721.78 points. Yesterday, the average closed up 74.09 points. Volume was 663.21 million shares, down from yesterday's turnover of 731.32 million shares. The dollar bought 104.39 yen, down from 104.58 late yesterday.

Global chip sales increase again

TOKYO -- Worldwide sales of equipment used to make computer chips almost doubled in September, the third straight gain after 15 months of decline, further evidence of a recovery in the global chip market, an industry group said.

Chip equipment sales soared 90 percent in September from the same month a year earlier to $2.90 billion, the Semiconductor Equipment Association of Japan said. Demand is rising again as large chipmakers expand production.





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