November 8, 2008 in Business

Hecla buys out Independence Lead Mines

 

Hecla Mining Co. bought the assets of Independence Lead Mines on Thursday in a stock transaction valued at $14.2 million.

Independence owned a partial interest in a silver deposit at Hecla’s Lucky Friday Mine in Mullan, Idaho. Officials said the purchase guarantees Hecla will receive all future profits from the Lucky Friday Mine. It also resolved a royalty dispute between the two companies.

Hecla issued 6.9 million shares of common stock to Independence, who will distribute the stock to its shareholders.

OMAHA, Neb.

Buffett’s firm suffers big earnings drop

Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. on Friday reported a 77 percent drop in third-quarter earnings, hurt by declining insurance profits and a $1.05 billion investment loss.

Net income fell to $1.06 billion, or $682 per Class A share, in the quarter ending Sept. 30. That’s down sharply from year-ago profit of $4.55 billion, or $2,942 per share, which included a $2 billion gain aided by the sale of PetroChina stock.

Berkshire began the year with an unrealized $1.67 billion loss on its futures, options and other derivative contracts.

WASHINGTON

Consumer borrowing up in September

Consumers boosted their borrowing in September, defying expectations for a cutback.

The Federal Reserve’s Friday report says consumer credit increased at a 3.2 percent annual pace in September, from a 2.9 percent rate of decline in August and the biggest increase since July.

Economists expected consumers trimmed their borrowing at a 0.5 percent pace in September.

Consumer debt rose by $6.9 billion in September from the previous month to a total of $2.59 trillion.

Mortgage rates down as economy weakens

Mortgage rates dropped this week, providing a dose of welcome news to prospective home buyers.

Freddie Mac, the mortgage giant, reported Thursday that rates on 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages averaged 6.20 percent for the week ending Nov. 6. That was down sharply from 6.46 percent last week.

The retreat in rates comes as the economy is getting weaker.

Thirty-year mortgage rates hit a high for the year of 6.63 percent in late July, and then dropped to a seven-month low of 5.78 percent for the week ending Sept. 18.

From staff and wire reports

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