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Business in brief: Mining stocks lead local index

The 15 stocks tracked in the Hart Capital Inland Northwest Index appreciated 26.4 percent during the third quarter of 2009, and a composite index rose almost 35 percent, according to a report from the Spokane investment firm.

The composite, which tracks the stocks’ aggregate market value, has almost doubled since March 31, rising from $5 billion to $9.3 billion.

The index is calculated much like the Standard & Poor’s 500, which increased 15 percent during the quarter.

The best-performing stocks for the quarter were Nighthawk Radiology Holdings Inc., up 95.4 percent; Coeur d’Alene Mines Corp., up 66.7 percent; and Hecla Mining Co., up 63.8 percent. Precious metals have reached record or near-record levels.

The worst performers, not surprisingly given the turmoil in the financial sector, were Sterling Financial Corp., down 31.3 percent; Intermountain Community Bancorp, down 23.5 percent, and Idaho Independent Bank Coeur d’Alene, down 2.1 percent.

Bert Caldwell

Sidekick phones lost users’ data

NEW YORK – Owners of Sidekick phones may have lost all the personal information they put on the devices, including contact numbers, because of a failure of servers that remotely stored the data.

The phones are made by a Microsoft Corp. subsidiary and sold by T-Mobile USA, which said many Sidekick owners’ information is “almost certainly” gone. T-Mobile is offering customers $20 to refund the cost of one month of data usage on the phone.

Microsoft spokeswoman Debbie Anderson said Monday that there was still a chance some of the lost user data could be restored from a backup system. Engineers were working at it in the Microsoft data center where the failure occurred, she said.

The phones were troubled by a data outage a week ago. Service was intermittent last week, and then users started reporting that their Sidekicks were wiped of all personal information.

Associated Press

Heater Craft gets funds for training

Heater Craft of Rathdrum has received $41,000 in Workforce Training Funds from the Idaho Department of Labor.

President Don Walde said the money will pay for retraining as many as 15 workers at Heater Craft, which is expanding the line of “transit cases” it makes for the U.S. military.

The welded aluminum cases are used for shipping weapons and electronic gear, he said, adding that Cabela’s is also a major customer.

Walde said Heater Craft employed more than 100 before the economy hit boat and RV sales. The company has between 60 and 70 on the payroll now, he said, but more military work could take that number back to the 100 mark.

Bert Caldwell