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Business Briefs

Reported by Star-Bulletin staff & wire

Thursday, November 2, 2000

Hawaii retail sales outpace U.S. average

Hawaii's retail sales last month continued to grow at a rate ahead of the national average, according to monthly data compiled from purchases made by check.

Sales rose 3.5 percent in October from the same month last year, according to Houston-based TeleCheck Services Inc., a check acceptance company.

Nationally, sales were up 2.7 percent during the same period. Tulsa, Okla., and Pittsburgh both recorded the highest increase, 4.5 percent. Portland, Ore., and Seattle fared the worst, showing decreases of 2.9 percent and 2.4 percent, respectively. Consumers may be trying to pace themselves for the upcoming holiday shopping season, according to TeleCheck, which counts only purchases made in stores that have been open longer than a year. TeleCheck is a subsidiary of Atlanta-based First Data Corp.

30-year mortgage rate moves up to 7.73%

WASHINGTON -- Rates on 30-year and 15-year mortgages edged up this week, but still hovered below the 8 percent mark. The average interest rate on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages rose to 7.73 percent for the week, up from 7.68 percent the previous week, according to a survey released today by mortgage firm Freddie Mac.

Fifteen-year mortgages climbed to an average 7.41 percent this week from 7.36 percent last week. On one-year adjustable-rate mortgages, lenders were asking an average initial rate of 7.12 percent, down from 7.22 percent the week before.

In other news . . .

Bullet NEW YORK -- Cendant Corp., which franchises everything from Ramada hotels to the Avis car rental brand, said it agreed to buy timeshare operator Fairfield Communities Inc. for $728.5 million in cash, stock and assumed debt. Cendant will pay $15 a share, or $635 million, for each of Fairfield's shares, a 14 percent premium to the company's closing share price yesterday. Cendant also will assume $93.5 million of debt.

Bullet FRANKFURT, Germany -- The European Central Bank kept its key interest rate unchanged today at 4.75 percent, as signs of an economic slowdown in the United States continued pushing Europe's currency higher against the dollar.

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