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Business Briefs

Reported by Star-Bulletin staff & wire

Monday, March 6, 2000

Aquasearch stock falls despite ruling

Shares of Aquasearch Inc., which had been surging recently, fell 94 cents, or about 42 percent, to close at $1.31 today, despite announcing winning another round in court against its Kona neighbor and rival Cyanotech Corp. Aquasearch said U.S. Judge Alan C. Kay in Hawaii denied Cyanotech's motion for reconsideration of his Dec. 30 decision that Cyanotech stole Aquasearch trade secrets and infringed its copyrights. Aquasearch and Cyanotech both produce food and medical supplements from microalgae grown in pond complexes on the Kona Coast.

Going into today, Aquasearch's stock had been up nearly 600 percent in 2000 and the company said Friday that the rise was partly due to recognition of its December court win over Cyanotech. With today's drop, the stock still is up 255 percent so far this year.

Building contracts down in Hawaii

Contracts written in January for future construction work in Hawaii were down 2 percent in value compared with those written in January 1999, according to the F.W. Dodge division of the McGraw-Hill Companies Inc., which monitors the industry nationwide. The January 2000 volume was $95 million, down from $97 million in the year-earlier month. January residential contracts were up 24 percent at $40.2 million, from a year-earlier $32.5 million. That rise was countered by a 10 percent decrease in contracts for commercial buildings, to $30.9 million from a year-earlier $34.3 million, and a 21 percent decline in contracts for nonbuilding work such as highways and bridges, to $23.9 million from $30.2 million.

In other news . . .

Bullet WASHINGTON -- The Energy Department today predicted sharply higher gasoline prices this summer even if the world's oil producers agree later this month to increase production. The forecast by the Energy Information Administration said gasoline prices, nudging near $1.50 a gallon on average nationwide, easily could jump another 20 cents a gallon by May and June. (Hawaii pump prices now often top $1.60 a gallon.

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