Business briefs


POSTED: Friday, March 20, 2009


Queen's taps Yamanaka as its spokesperson

Cedric Yamanaka has been named director of corporate communications for Queen's Health Systems.

Yamanaka, formerly the vice president and manager of corporate communications for Central Pacific Bank, will be responsible for the development and management of the systemswide communications/community relations program at Queen's.

Prior to his position at Central Pacific, Yamanaka also served as press secretary to the governor and as a news reporter for KITV-4.


Mortgage rates sink to record low

WASHINGTON » Rates on 30-year mortgages plunged to a record low yesterday after the Federal Reserve launched a new effort to prop up the flailing housing market.

The national average rate on 30-year, fixed mortgages was 4.94 percent, according to financial publisher HSH Associates, down nearly a quarter point from a day earlier. That's the lowest on HSH's records, which date back to 1979.

Earlier yesterday, mortgage finance giant Freddie Mac said average rates on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages dropped this week to 4.98 percent, down from 5.03 percent last week. It was the lowest since the week of Jan. 15, when it was at 4.96 percent, the lowest point in the history of Freddie Mac's survey, which goes back to 1971.

The average rate on a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage dropped to 4.61 percent, down from 4.64 percent last week, Freddie Mac said. Rates on one-year, adjustable-rate mortgages rose to 4.91 percent, from 4.8 percent last week.

FedEx, UPS expect the worst

NEW YORK » Despite gaining new customers from the shrinking U.S. presence of DHL and lower fuel prices, the world's two largest package delivery companies are battening down the hatches as they prepare for weak global economic conditions to get even worse.

FedEx Corp. said yesterday it will cut more jobs and trim wages again, after reporting its fiscal third-quarter profit tumbled 75 percent on sliding revenue.

Atlanta-based UPS, the world biggest package shipper, said in February that it made a profit in the fourth quarter, compared to a year-ago loss, when it was weighed down by a big one-time charge. But quarterly sales fell 5.2 percent. The company suspended its 401(k) match, announced plans to cut an unspecified number of jobs and froze management salaries.

Cisco to buy maker of Flip Video

NEW YORK » Cisco Systems Inc. said yesterday it plans to buy Pure Digital, the company behind the popular Flip Video camcorder, for about $590 million in stock.

The deal is part of Cisco's aggressive expansion beyond its core business of making computer networking gear. On Monday, the San Jose, Calif.-based company said it would start selling servers, to compete for a broader share of the money that big organizations spend on the “;data centers”; that run their computing operations. Like several other technology companies, Cisco has a large cash hoard - $29.5 billion - and is well set to expand during the recession.

Struggling to survive

Blockbuster Inc. suffered a fourth-quarter loss of $360 million, but the video rental chain has reached tentative agreements with JP Morgan Chase Bank and two other lenders. Blockbuster executives say they believe the company is better shape now that it has arranged to extend their credit line through 2010 with a lower borrowing limit of $250 million.