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Business Briefs

Reported by Star-Bulletin staff & wire

Thursday, November 9, 2000

Hawaii nut grower sees higher net

Net income for ML Macadamia Orchards LP nearly doubled to $929,000 in the third quarter from $467,000 in the year-earlier period.

Per-share value doubled to 12 cents from 6 cents in 1999, the company said yesterday. ML Macadamia's partnership units, traded on the New York Stock Exchange, fell 6 cents in late trading today to $4.25. The Honolulu-based macadamia grower recorded revenues of $4.4 million on 8.6 million pounds of nuts, up 2.3 percent from $4.3 million on 8 million pounds last year.

For the first nine months of 2000, the estimated nut price was 53 cents, a 15 percent decline from about 62 cents received during the full year of 1999, the company said. ML Macadamia has 4,169 acres of orchards on the Big Island.

Mortgage rates climb to 7.79 %

WASHINGTON -- Mortgage rates edged up this week but still hovered below the 8 percent mark. The average interest rate on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages climbed to 7.79 percent this week, up from 7.73 percent last week, according to a survey released today by Freddie Mac, the mortgage company. A year ago, the rate on 30-year mortgages stood at 7.67 percent. In mid-May, rates on 30-year mortgages hit a five-year high of 8.64 percent.

Fifteen-year mortgages rose to an average 7.44 percent this week from 7.41 percent last week. One-year adjustable-rate mortgages averaged initial rate of 7.23 percent, up from 7.12 percent the week before.

The rates do not include add-on fees known as points, which averaged 1 percent of the loan amount for all three types of mortgages.

In other news . . .

MINNEAPOLIS -- Best Buy Co. said fiscal second-half profit will be less than forecast because of a slowing economy and price cuts to compete with rivals. The shares plunged as much as 37 percent. Shares of the chain of electronic stores fell $20.31 to $32.06 in late trading. Profit in the third quarter ending Nov. 25 will fall to about 27 cents a share from 37 cents a year earlier. Analysts' average estimate was 44 cents.

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