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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, August 2, 2006

BUSINESS BRIEFS
Maui bonds given AA- rating

Advertiser Staff and News Services

Fitch Ratings has assigned an AA- rating to $29.2 million of general obligation bonds being issued by Maui County.

The AA- designation assigned yesterday is among the highest awarded by Fitch. The agency also has affirmed the AA- rating on Maui County's $217.6 million in outstanding general obligation bonds. The bonds will be sold next week via negotiation by UBS Investment Bank.

Fitch said the ratings reflect "Maui's solid financial results, healthy economic activity, low debt burden, and conservative management policies."


IN U.S., TOYOTA TOPS FORD IN JULY

DETROIT Amid steep gasoline prices, Toyota Motor Corp. rode its reputation for fuel-efficient cars to a double-digit sales increase in July and outsold Ford in the U.S. for the first month ever. Honda Motor Co. also reported robust sales.

U.S. automakers experienced a moribund July as sales plummeted from a year ago, when heavy discounts spurred a near record month for the auto industry.

For General Motors Corp., Ford Motor Co. and DaimlerChrysler AG's Chrysler Group, the steepest declines were in trucks and sport utility vehicles, the high-margin items on which the three companies are heavily dependent.


CONSUMERS STILL HESITANT TO SPEND

WASHINGTON Consumer spending was sluggish in June as Americans had to divert more cash to filling up their gas tanks and a key inflation gauge rose at the fastest clip in more than a decade.

That raised concerns in financial markets that the Federal Reserve will push interest rates up for an 18th consecutive time because of worries about inflation.

The Commerce Department reported that consumer spending, after adjusting for inflation, posted a weak 0.2 percent rise in June, marking the fourth consecutive month of 0.2 percent or less.