Dow now at 12,595, up 155 points today.
NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks jumped to their highest levels in nearly
three years Tuesday thanks to signs that earnings are rising for
U.S. companies and consumers are feeling more confident about the
economy. The Russell 2000, the benchmark index of small companies,
neared a record high.
The new highs continue a historic recovery in the stock market.
Stock indexes have more than doubled since hitting a 12-year low in
March, 2009. The fastest bull market since the 1950s has now erased
most of the losses stemming from the financial crisis.
Investors who bought at the top of the market in 2007 have now lost
4.2 percent, including reinvested dividends. Analysts predict
stocks will continue to rise if unemployment keeps falling and
global demand leads to more profit growth.
BREMERTON — Bremerton Ambulance workers, voting for a second
time, have turned down the prospect of union representation.
The vote was around 23 to 15, according to Kim Doyle, Bremerton
Ambulance executive director.
The vote was Thursday, and followed a hotly contested election on
March 1 in which union representatives alleged the company unduly
swayed the outcome by preventing four workers in its outlying
stations to come to the main office in Bremerton to vote.
Doyle said that was not true.
The initial vote failed by three, 19 to 16.
The International Association of EMTs and Paramedics filed an
objection with the National Labor Relations Board, and a second
vote was held.
Bremerton Ambulance employs about 50 workers including emergency
medical technicians, paramedics, dispatchers, nurses, shift
supervisors and training officers.
The workers had a union in the past, but have been without one in
Layoffs at the end of the year and the fear they could be next
appeared to be part of what fueled consideration of a union.
— Rachel Pritchett
He’s to become general manager of the Tulalip Resort Casino. See
my story soon at kitsapsun.com.
Dow starts out today at 12,453, minus 52 points.
NEW YORK (AP) — Mixed corporate earnings reports sent stock
indexes wobbling Monday.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 37 points, or 0.3 percent, to
12,468 in midday trading. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index lost
3, or 0.2 percent, to 1,334. The Nasdaq composite edged up less
than 0.1 percent to 2,821.
Stocks fell broadly. Technology companies were the only one of the
10 company groups that make up the S&P index to edge higher.
Traders said rising commodity costs were making investors
“It’s becoming harder to become overly exuberant over
backwards-looking earnings when it’s clear that consumers’
pocketbooks are getting squeezed over higher gasoline costs,” said
Paul Zemsky, a market strategist at ING Investment Management.
“Given that we’re near the … highs for the year, we’re certainly
not adding to our (stock) positions until we get a sense of what
these oil prices mean to the consumer.”
Johnson Controls Inc. fell more than 3 percent after the auto parts
supplier said it expects revenue to drop by $500 million in the
third quarter due to the earthquake in Japan.
By Rachel Pritchett
PORT ORCHARD — At times, the Friday-morning foreclosure auctions
outside the Kitsap County Administration Building can take your
That happened to me April 15, when one of the largest foreclosures
properties of the year, the aborted Blossom Hill development on
Bainbridge Island, went back to the bank on a couple of mortgages
totaling $27 million that went bad.
This past Friday, I watched a waterfront home on Bainbridge Island
auctioned off to an investor for $226,000, less than half its
Foreclosure deals so common these days can yield a lot of money for
investors. But there’s also risk, and unforeseen expenses can turn
things south quickly for novices who don’t know what they’re
About six bidders stood ready to sweep in as three dozen others
watched with interest. That’s unusual — lots of foreclosed home
simply revert to the banks. No one shows.
But Crystal Springs Drive on southwest Bainbridge Island has a
stunning view of passing ferries and boaters. It’s in a historic
community focused on the Point White Dock, a popular place for
anglers and swimmers.
The minimum bid on the house was $93,484.
Bidding started with several people upping each other in painfully
small increments of $100. Then it narrowed down to a couple of
bidders, but it wasn’t over for a good half hour.
I spoke with Steven Hughes of Hughes Construction of Bainbridge
Island. He claimed the homeowner owed him $105,000 for a renovation
he did a few years back. He wanted his money.
The problem with the Crystal Springs Drive house, at least
according to Hughes, is that it sits at the bottom of a steep bank.
He claims the house has foundation cracks.
“It’s a gorgeous view, but when you have a bank behind the house
like that, it’s scary,” he said.
With foreclosure sales, it’s no sure thing the deal that’s hoped
for will be the deal delivered. Foreclosure buyers need steel
stomachs and live with the prospect there may be unknown expenses.
Maybe or maybe not the steep bank will be a problem. In lots of
cases, foreclosed homes are trashed by residents forced to move,
and auction buyers can’t always get inside to get a look before
they lay down thousands. Sometimes the property has sat empty for
One thing is for sure. Someone walked away with a waterfront home
on Bainbridge for less than half of its assessed value.
The auctions start at 10 a.m. Maybe I’ll see you there.
This announcement today from the Washington Office of Employment
OLYMPIA – Washington’s recession-ravaged job market is on the
road to recovery, according to the Employment Security Department’s
fall 2010 job-vacancy survey released today.
Job openings were up 31 percent last fall compared to a year
earlier, growing to an estimated 41,889 vacant positions.
Employment Security conducts the job-vacancy survey twice a year,
in the spring and fall. Estimated openings increased by 8 percent
between the spring 2010 and fall 2010 surveys.
“The increase in job openings is a sign that employers are gaining
confidence, and that’s good for our economic recovery,” said
Employment Security Commissioner Paul Trause.
Two Washington employers agreed that the economic tide is
“We’re starting to pick back up again. We’re noticing growth among
some of our customers, and they’re demanding more services from
us,” said John Wright, president of Zip Truck Lines, Inc. (Moses
Lake) and American Container Transport, Inc. (Ellensburg).
Jill Hansell, managing partner of Seattle-based staffing firm
Hansell Tierney, said, “Since January, we’re definitely seeing an
increase in companies that need people. Our clients are feeling
more optimistic, and I feel we’re definitely taking a positive
step. But it’s still cautious.”
Zip Truck Lines reported three vacancies last fall, and Hansell
Tierney reported eight vacancies.
Openings are still fewer than half of what they were before the
start of the recession. Vacancies hit an all-time high in fall
2006, with nearly 91,000 open positions. That number dropped
rapidly the ensuing three years, hitting a low point of 32,037
vacancies in fall 2009.
Highlights from Employment Security’s Fall 2010 Job-Vacancy
· Most of the growth in job openings was at smaller firms. Between
fall 2009 and 2010, vacancies increased 6,800 at firms with nine or
fewer employees. Firms with 10 or more employees added about 3,000
· Registered nurses, which had the most openings in the past
two surveys, fell to fourth place behind retail salespeople,
teacher’s assistants and cashiers.
· Nearly 14 percent of vacancies were newly created positions,
compared to just 4 percent in the fall 2009 survey.
· 51 percent of open jobs required a high school diploma or
had no educational requirement.
· 95 percent of open jobs requiring a bachelor’s degree also
required previous work experience.
· King County had 46 percent of the open positions, but just
31 percent of the state’s unemployed.
Mr. Strakeljahn is store director of the Fred Meyer in Port
Orchard. The Seabeck resident will run for the seat now held by
Bill Mahan. I visited with the candidate this morning at the
Seabeck Store. See my story soon.
Rachel Pritchett, 475-3783
That’s the biggest-ever gift for Hospice of Kitsap County. An
announcement was made Friday that the facility’s in-care unit will
be renamed the Fred Lowthain Hospice Care Center. The award was
given by his wife, Sheila.
The unfinished Blossom Hill housing and commercial development
at Lynwood Center on Bainbridge Island went back to the bank for
$10 million this morning. Developer Bill Nelson told me he’s not
giving up, and hopes to complete the four buildings along Lynwood
My story to come.
Yesterday’s real-estate agent is now a broker. And yesterday’s
broker is now a managing broker. And the managing brokers have left
the market. That came out of a conversation I had with Thor Holm,
broker at John L. Scott of Port Orchard today.
All that upward movement is because there are so fewer
professional sellers out there today. According to the Kitsap
County Association of Realtors, there were 1,060 professional
sellers at the height of the market. Only 601 are left.