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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, January 26, 2010

BUSINESS BRIEFS
Existing-home sales for 2009 grew, even with December's 16.7% tumble

Advertiser Staff and News Services

Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

Sales of previously occupied homes took the largest monthly drop in more than 40 years last month.

BEN MARGOT | Associated Press

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WASHINGTON Sales of previously occupied homes rose in 2009 for the first time in four years, despite a December slump that was due to a tax credit that had caused many buyers to complete sales earlier.

December's sales fell 16.7 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.45 million, from an unchanged pace of 6.54 million in November, the National Association of Realtors said yesterday. Sales had been expected to fall by about 10 percent, according to economists surveyed by Thomson Reuters.

Prices plunged more than 12 percent last year the sharpest fall since the Great Depression.

IPHONE HELPS BOOST APPLE PROFITS 50%

NEW YORK Apple Inc. rocketed to its most profitable quarter ever over the holidays, as huge sales of the iPhone and a new way the company accounts for the device led to a nearly 50 percent jump in net income.

The company offered no clues about what it plans to unveil tomorrow in San Francisco, although CEO Steve Jobs indicated that investors should expect a significant event.

Apple also got a boost because now it puts iPhone revenue and profit on its books when the gadget is sold, rather than deferring those results over the presumed life of the device.

GM STICKING WITH WHITACRE AS CEO

DETROIT Ed Whitacre Jr. is dropping the interim from his CEO title at General Motors Co. and he reaffirmed yesterday the automaker would repay in full its loans from the U.S. and Canadian governments by June.

Whitacre said GM's board asked him to become permanent CEO last week, ending a seven-week search for a new top executive.

Whitacre also said GM will repay its $8.1 billion in loans from the U.S. and Canadian governments all at once and could pay them even earlier than June.

The U.S. government provided GM with $52 billion in assistance including about $6.7 billion in loans that the automaker used to survive and emerge from bankruptcy protection last year.

FORD TO ANNOUNCE 1,200 NEW JOBS

DETROIT A person briefed on the matter says Ford Motor Co. will add 1,200 jobs at its Chicago assembly plant to build the new Ford Explorer starting this year.

The company and Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn are scheduled to make the announcement today at the factory.

Quinn told reporters in Chicago yesterday that an unspecified company would be announcing 1,200 new jobs in Illinois.

The person briefed on the announcement says some of the workers will be from Ford's pool of employees laid off at other factories.