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Archive for December, 2010

Thursday stocks down, but December’s a winner

Thursday, December 30th, 2010

Dow now off 39 points, at 11,568.

NEW YORK (AP) — Investors are brushing aside some positive economic news on lingering concerns over the housing market.
But while U.S. markets were in negative territory Thursday, stocks are likely to end the year on an upbeat note: The S&P 500 index is up 12 percent and the Dow is up 11 percent in a year marked by big corporate profits. The Dow is back to levels last seen in August 2008, prior to the heat of the financial crisis, while the S&P might just eke out the best December in 20 years, if it manages to go back to positive territory.
At midday, the Dow Jones industrial average was off 23.73 points, or 0.2 percent, to 11,561.70. The S&P 500 edged down 2.64, or 0.2 percent, to 1,257.14, while the technology-focused Nasdaq composite index fell 3.98, or 0.2 percent, to 2,662.95.
The week has been thinly traded, and Thursday is effectively being considered the last trading day of note because of the spate of economic data and also because even fewer traders are expected to show up on Friday, the last day of the year.


Tuesday stocks flat after disappointing economic reports

Tuesday, December 28th, 2010

Dow at 11,574, a rise of 19 points so far today.

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks ping-ponged between slight gains and losses Tuesday after disappointing reports on consumer confidence and home prices.
The Conference Board announced that consumer’s confidence in the economy slid to a level of 52.5 in December, down from 54.3 in November. Economists were expecting the index to rise to 55.8. A reading on the index above 90 indicates a healthy economy.
Fears that the housing market could continue to fall are contributing to wariness about the economy. Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller said Tuesday that home prices fell 1.3 percent in October from a month earlier.
Home prices slid across the country. Prices were down 2.9 percent in Atlanta, 2 percent in Chicago, and 1.9 percent in San Francisco.
In midday trading, the Dow Jones industrial average gained 8.6 points, or less than 0.1 percent, to 11,563. The Standard and Poor’s 500-stock index fell 0.2, or less than 0.1 percent, to 1,257. The technology-focused Nasdaq composite index lost 6, or 0.2 percent, to 2,660.
Energy and materials companies were the only ones to post gains among the 10 industry groups that make up the S&P 500.
Chevron Corp. rose 1 percent to lead the 30 stocks that make up the Dow index. Caterpillar Inc. had the largest fall, losing 0.6 percent.
In corporate news, General Motors Co. gained 2.3 percent to $35.40 after a handful of analysts initiated coverage of the company and gave it favorable ratings.
Home builder Beazer Homes USA Inc. fell 3.5 percent to $5.42 on the news that home prices fell in October.
Trading volumes on Wall Street are expected to be light throughout the week. Many investors have already closed their books for the year and are on vacation until January.


Port of Bremerton receives congratulatory letter

Tuesday, December 28th, 2010

The Port of Bremerton has received high praise from the Washington Department of Transportation following an extensive audit looking at the spending of $2.5 million in federal stimulus money to build the first phase of a road going into the largely undeveloped South Kitsap Industrial Area.

“The port’s oversight of the consultant documentation provided for the review met all the federal requirements. In fact, it was the opinion of the National Review Team that the records provided were the best they had seen in the over 40 states reviewed, including state DOTs, as well as locally administered projects,” the letter read.

— Rachel Pritchett, reporter


Former Kitsap County Commissioner Ray Aardal has died

Monday, December 27th, 2010

Call me now at (360) 475-3783

Rachel Pritchett, reporter


Monday stocks slide after China raises rates

Monday, December 27th, 2010

Dow at 11,555, down 18 points so far today.

NEW YORK (AP) — Stock indexes fell in midday trading Monday after China moved to raise interest rates to combat spiking inflation.
A blizzard in the Northeast is making this a quiet day on Wall Street by disrupting commutes for many people who in the financial industry. Trading is expected to be light throughout the week as the New Year’s holiday approaches.
A year-end rally based on improving economic reports and the extension of tax cuts for another two years has pushed stock indexes to two-year highs.
In midday trading, the Dow Jones industrial average fell 34 points, or 0.3 percent, to 11,540. The Standard and Poors 500-stock index fell 2, or 0.2 percent, to 1,255. The Nasdaq composite index fell 14, or 0.5 percent, to 2,653.
China’s move over the weekend is the second time in three months that the country has taken steps to slow the pace of its economic expansion. Inflation jumped to its highest levels in two years in November. Any slowdown in China can affect stocks worldwide. Bank of America Corp. estimates that emerging markets like China account for 80 percent of the world’s economic growth.
Shares were down sharply overseas. The Euro Stoxx 50, which tracks blue chip companies in countries that use the euro, fell 1.2 percent. Asian stock markets closed down less than 1 percent.


Kitsap gas prices 38 cents higher than a year ago

Monday, December 27th, 2010

Auto Club AAA says the average price for a gallon of unleaded today, Monday, in Kitsap County is $3.16. That’s 6 cents higher than a month ago and a whopping 38 cents higher than this day last year.

Rachel Pritchett, reporter


Kitsap business briefs

Monday, December 27th, 2010

Rogerson to Retire
From Kitsap Credit
Union in March
BREMERTON
Ron Rogerson, Kitsap Credit Union senior vice president and chief marketing officer, will retire March 1.
Before joining the credit union, Rogerson worked for KBRO-AM and FM radio, including a stint as station manager, and was the play-by-play voice of local high school sports for more than 10 years. He also has been a local business owner and held key positions at two other area financial institutions.
Rogerson has been a member of the Silverdale Rotary for more than
20 years, is a former Olympic College trustee, is a past president of the Kitsap Mental Health Foundation Board of directors and the Kitsap-Bremerton Athletic Roundtable.
“My over 14-year tenure at Kitsap Credit Union has been the most gratifying, rewarding, exciting and fun experience of my over forty year professional career,” Rogerson said. “ Oh, what a fantastic ride it has been!”
Business Calendar

Jan. 8
What: Washington Community Alliance for Self-Help will hold an orientation Jan. 8 for an eight-week winter business development training class that begins Jan. 11 in Bremerton. The training is free to low-income households, and the only charge is $40 for the course workbook. Topics for the business training include learning how to start your business, from licenses, taxes, insurances to managing time. Class sessions also cover developing the business concept, sales and marketing, calculating the break-even point, learning cash flow techniques, developing pricing, preparing financial statements, designing sales and marketing plans.
When: 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Where: The Communitas Building, 920 Park Ave. in Bremerton.
Pre-registration & Info: E-mail to stuart@washingtoncash.org or call (206) 914-4824 or (360) 698-4088.

Jan. 12
What: Greater Poulsbo Chamber of Commerce will meet Jan. 12 for its monthly luncheon with Poulsbo Mayor Becky Erickson discussing Poulsbo in general.
When: 11:30 a.m. networking; noon luncheon.
Where: Kiana Lodge, 14976 Sandy Hook Road in Suquamish.

Jan. 13
What: Jay Manning, a South Kitsap native and chief of staff to Gov. Chris Gregoire, will speak at the Jan. 13 membership luncheon of the Port Orchard Chamber of Commerce. He will update members on the state budget.
When: 11:30 a.m.
Where: McCormick Woods Banquet Room in Port Orchard.
Cost: $20 prepaid for members or $22 at the door; $22 for non-members.
Reservations: Required by Jan. 11 online at www.portorchard.com or by calling (360) 876-3505.
Kitsap Sun staff


Monday stocks head out on Christmas vacation ….

Monday, December 20th, 2010

Light volume as the Dow closes at 11,479, down 13 points.

NEW YORK (AP) — Low trading volumes and a lack of economic reports kept stocks confined to a narrow range Monday. Indexes finished mixed and bond yields were barely changed.
American Express Co. had the largest move of the 30 stocks that make up the Dow Jones industrial average. The card issuer fell 3.4 percent to $42.50 after Stifel Nicolaus downgraded the company. New rules proposed by the Federal Reserve could limit fees the company charges merchants.
Aloca Inc. led the Dow index with a 1.4 percent gain to $14.77.
The Dow fell 13.78, or 0.1 percent, to 11,478.13. The Standard and Poor’s 500-stock index rose 3.17, or 0.3 percent, to 1,247.08. The Nasdaq composite index gained 6.59, or 0.3 percent, to finish at 2,649.56.
The yield on the 10-year Treasury bond rose slightly to 3.34 from 3.33 percent late Friday.
Stocks have been rising strongly in December. The Dow has gained 4.3 percent so far this month and the S&P has hit seven new annual highs since Dec. 8.
Investors have been encouraged by improving economic data on retail sales, consumer confidence and factory production, as well as policy changes that will benefit stockholders. President Barack Obama signed a bill last week that will keep Bush-era income tax cuts in place for another two years. The law will also extend favorable tax rates on capital gains and dividends.
“The markets … made quite a run,” said Stephen Carl, principal and head of equity trading at The Williams Capital Group. But the tax cuts “can only go so far,” Carl said, and are unlikely to continue sending stocks higher.
In corporate news, Boeing Inc. fell 2.7 percent to $63.27 even as the company said it was increasing the production rate for its 777 aircraft again in response to strong demand. Last week, the aerospace giant said that customers canceled orders for three 777s and one of its 787s.
Medtronic Inc. rose 0.6 percent to $37.62 after the world’s largest medical device manufacturer said its chairman and CEO will step down in April after leading the company for three years.
Later in the week, investors will get reports from shoe maker Nike Inc., used car dealership chain CarMax Inc. and pharmacy operator Walgreen Co.
Markets will be closed on Friday in observance of Christmas.
The dollar gained 0.3 percent against an index of six heavily-traded currencies. Commodity prices rose 1.1 percent.
Rising and falling shares were even on the New York Stock Exchange. Trading volume came to 830 million shares.


Wednesday stocks fall as euro worries fester

Wednesday, December 15th, 2010

Dow closes at 11,457, minus 19 points

NEW YORK (AP) — Early gains in the stock market evaporated Wednesday after worries about Europe’s debt crisis overshadowed signs of growth in the U.S. Bond prices fell, sending long-term interest rates higher again.
The euro fell 1.2 percent against the dollar after Moody’s said that it may lower Spain’s credit rating. The stronger dollar hurts U.S. companies that do a lot of business overseas. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index, the broadest measure of large U.S. companies, fell 0.5 percent.
Stock prices started the day higher after reports showed that U.S. manufacturing industry is growing and inflation remains under control. The Federal Reserve said U.S. factory output rose for the fifth straight month in November. A separate report showed that consumer prices stayed flat last month.
In the late afternoon, the Senate overwhelmingly passed a $858 billion package that will extend tax cuts passed during the Bush administration for another two years. The measure now goes to the House, where it is expected to pass despite complaints by Democrats over what they see as overly generous estate tax rates for the rich.


State hospital association reacts to governor’s budget

Wednesday, December 15th, 2010

Readers,

This today from the Washington State Hospital Association. Your feeling? Rachel Pritchett

“Today, Governor Gregoire proposed a budget that will shred Washington State’s health care safety net. Her budget will force more than 110,000 people off health insurance on March 1, 2011. These are poor children, people with disabilities, and low-income workers. They have no other options for health insurance, will remain uninsured, and will flood Washington State’s already overcrowded community emergency rooms. Her budget will also eliminate critical health care benefits that low-income and disabled people need to maintain their health.

“The Governor clearly hopes that non-profits and community based organizations, including hospitals, will be able to pick up the pieces. Let us be very clear: hospitals are not able to absorb the impact of these cuts. If enacted, these cuts will be felt for years to come and will create enormous instability in our state’s health care system.”