Business Briefs

Reported by Star-Bulletin staff & wire

Thursday, January 7, 1999

Putting iMac into auto drive

By Dean Sensui, Star-Bulletin
Attendees of the MacWorld Expo in San Francisco
today are drawn to the MindVision Software booth by
this late-model Volkswagen Beetle that was custom-painted
to look like the popular iMac. It took five persons working
16 hours a day over 17 days to transform a plain, white
Beetle into this eye-catching car.


Isle bank transfers work to mainland

First Hawaiian Bank and Bank of the West, the two main subsidiaries of BancWest Corp., said they are transferring the back-office processing work for their retail brokerage programs to a New Jersey company.

The change will eliminate five local positions for First Hawaiian, but the bank hopes to find the affected workers jobs elsewhere in the company so no layoffs result, said spokes-man Gerry Keir.

Beginning April 1, the back-office work will be handled by BISYS Brokerage Services, part of Little Falls, N.J.-based BISYS Group Inc.

30-year mortgages drop to 6.79%

WASHINGTON -- The average interest rate on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 6.79 percent this week, down from 6.83 percent last week, according to Freddie Mac, the mortgage company.

It was the 30th consecutive week that the average remained below 7 percent. It reached a 31-year low of 6.49 percent in early October. Its peak for 1998 was 7.22 percent in late April. Economists expect it to remain low this year.

Fifteen-year mortgages, a popular option for refinancing, averaged 6.43 percent this week, down from 6.48 percent, today's Freddie Mac report said.

One-year adjustable-rate mortgages averaged an initial rate of 5.61 percent, down from 5.63 percent.

In other news . . .

CHICAGO -- J.C. Penney Co. said today its profits will fall short of expectations because of slower sales and higher-than-planned markdowns during the holiday shopping season.

The Plano, Texas-based retailer, which operates about 1,200 JC Penney department stores, said it expected earnings for its fiscal fourth quarter, which ends Jan. 30, to come in between 70 and 80 cents per share, down from $1.36 per share a year ago and below analysts' mean estimate of $1.06, reported by First Call Corp. which tracks such forecasts.

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