Business Briefs

Reported by Star-Bulletin staff & wire

Monday, May 31, 1999

Polynesian Air plans to add isle flights

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa -- Polynesian Airlines is planning to boost its presence in major tourism centers around the Pacific by introducing a leased Boeing 737-800 that will extend its direct flights to Hawaii and Australia. The Samoan government-owned airline would add the 154-passenger plane alongside its current 126-seat Boeing 737, it said in a statement from Apia. Polynesian last year signed a cooperation deal with Hawaiian Airlines. It was not clear how that relationship might be affected by its plans to reinstate its own services between Apia and Honolulu.

Nikkei, dollar rise in light trading

TOKYO -- Japanese stocks rose today amid lackluster trading ahead of holidays in key overseas markets. The dollar climbed against the yen.

The benchmark 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average gained 138.97 points, or 0.87 percent, to close at 16,111.65. The dollar bought 121.36 yen in late afternoon trading, up 0.84 yen from late Friday in Tokyo but below its late New York level of 121.43 yen on Friday.

More Cathay flights axed amid strike

HONG KONG -- Cathay Pacific Airways canceled more flights today as pilots called in sick to protest a proposed pay cut. Neither side appeared willing to reopen negotiations. Since pulling out of talks with the pilots last week, Cathay has canceled a total of 103 flights, including 33 today, affecting more than 10,000 travelers.

The four-day disruption has hurt Hong Kong's tourism industry.

All Nippon Airways to cut staff 10%

TOKYO -- Japan's All Nippon Airways Co. will cut 10 percent of its staff and establish a new discount airline as part of a broad reform strategy. Japan's second largest airline said it would cut its 28,000-person global work force by 10 percent by March 2003. Most of the cuts will be made at the ANA parent company.


Of Mutual Concern

News for mutual fund investors

Nuveen raises $1 billion on closed-end offerings

CHICAGO -- John Nuveen Co., a leading manager of municipal bond funds, raised about $1 billion for three closed-end investment funds, the company's first new offerings since 1993. Chicago-based Nuveen said it's opened a national municipal bond fund to invest in investment-grade securities and two others to invest in muni bonds sold in New York and California.

Shares of the three closed-end funds -- Nuveen Dividend Advantage Municipal, Nuveen New York Municipal Advantage and Nuveen California Municipal Advantage -- began trading last week on the New York Stock Exchange. Closed-end funds, like the Nuveen funds, have a fixed number of shares that trade on an exchange where their price fluctuates according to investor demand.

Author's mutual fund aims to cash in on trends

HOUSTON -- Aim Management Group Inc., a unit of London-based fund manager Amvescap Plc, is introducing a mutual fund based on the investment philosophy of author Harry Dent.

The new fund, Aim Dent Demographic Trends, will invest most of its assets in shares of U.S. companies that benefit from demographic, economic and lifestyle trends as outlined in Dent's books, "The Great Boom Ahead" and "The Roaring 2000s." Dent, who runs H.S. Dent Advisors Inc., a financial advisory firm in Oakland, Calif., thinks the driving force behind the stock market is the "baby boom" generation and their predictable spending habits. Dent, 46, will be involved in running the fund with Aim's chief equity officer, Edgar Larsen, and fund managers Lanny Sachnowitz and Derek Webb. The Aim fund is scheduled to open on June 7.

ETrade hopes to launch technology index fund

PALO ALTO, Calif. -- ETrade Group Inc. has requested permission from Securities and Exchange Commission to launch a technology index stock fund. The online-investing-services company said the fund will track the performance of Goldman Sachs Group Inc.'s technology index, which includes 169 stocks. The fund will be managed by ETrade Asset Management and distributed by ETrade Securities Inc. ETrade, based in Palo Alto, Calif., had 1998 revenues of $245.3 million.

Gabelli shareholders agree to Equity spinoff

RYE, N.Y. -- Gabelli Equity Trust Inc.'s shareholders approved a plan to take about $75 million, or about 5 percent of the fund's assets, to create a new fund to invest in utilities stocks. Shares of Gabelli Utility Fund, which will trade on the New York Stock Exchange, will be distributed to holders of Gabelli Equity Trust in late June, the company said. Terms of the spinoff weren't disclosed. In 1994 Gabelli Equity Trust also spun off assets to create Gabelli Global Multimedia Trust Inc. Rye, N.Y.-based Gabelli Asset Management Inc. hired Timothy O'Brien, 44, from Eaton Vance Corp. to co-manage the new utilities fund with Mario Gabelli, the firm's chairman and the manager of Gabelli Equity Trust.

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