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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, February 17, 2010

BUSINESS BRIEFS
Toyota recall documents sought

Advertiser Staff and News Services

WASHINGTON The government yesterday ordered Toyota to turn over documents related to its massive recalls, pressing to see how long the automaker knew of safety defects before taking action. Toyota, concerned about unsold cars, said it would temporarily idle some production in three states.

The Transportation Department is demanding that Toyota reveal when and how it learned of problems with sticking accelerators and with floor mats trapping gas pedals, and the company must respond within 30 to 60 days or face fines. Those defects and problems with brakes on new Prius hybrids have now led to the recall of 8.5 million vehicles.

RISE IN MORTGAGE DELINQUENCIES SEEN

NEW YORK The percentage of homeowners late with mortgage payments hit another record during the last three months of 2009, and the pace at which they fell behind took a turn for the worse, a new report says.

For the fourth quarter, 6.89 percent of mortgage payments were 60 or more days past due, said credit reporting agency Trans-Union. That's up from 4.58 percent in the final three months of 2008. The previous record delinquency rate was 6.25 percent in the third quarter of 2009.

The latest report marked the 12th consecutive quarter that delinquency rates have risen from the previous year. More worrisome was that the quarter-to-quarter trend swung higher after declining in each of the previous three quarters.

WHOLE FOODS PROFIT UP IN FIRST QUARTER

AUSTIN, Texas Whole Foods Market Inc. said yesterday that stronger sales helped send its first-quarter profit soaring, prompting the natural and organic grocer to raise its outlook for the year.

Whole Foods, based in Austin, Texas, said it earned $49.7 million, or 32 cents per share, for the quarter. That's up from $27.8 million, or 20 cents per share, earned in the same quarter last year.

Sales for the company grew 7 percent to $2.64 billion as Whole Foods used better prices to draw more shoppers.

The results beat Wall Street's expectations of 26 cents per share on revenue of $2.6 billion, according to a poll by Thomson Reuters.