April 24, 2010 in Nation/World

In brief: Sterling shares climb in heavy trading


Shares of Sterling Financial Corp. climbed more than 65 percent Friday on trading volume 15 times normal.

The stock, which closed at 87 cents Thursday, finished the Friday trading day at $1.45, and advanced another seven cents in after-hours trading.

The 16.2 million shares traded represent almost one-third of the 52 million Sterling shares outstanding.

Sterling spokeswoman Cara Coon said the company would not comment on the trading activity.

Banking regulators have ordered Sterling to raise $650 million in additional capital to help reinforce a balance sheet shredded by heavy losses in construction and real estate loans.

That effort is progressing, Coon said.

In a separate development, Sterling was ranked first among Northwest banks for customer satisfaction in a survey of 1,903 consumers by J.D. Power and Associates.

Staff report

Nissan’s electric Leaf 20 percent reserved

Los Angeles – Nissan Motor Co. said Friday that buyers have already reserved more than 20 percent of the first year’s production of its Leaf electric vehicle.

About 6,600 U.S. consumers have paid the $99 reservation fee, and 3,700 in Japan have done the same. Nissan said it will make about 50,000 Leaf cars the first year. The automaker has said it wants to have about 40 percent of production reserved by December, when the car goes on sale.

Nissan began taking reservations for the Leaf on Tuesday.

The all-electric hatchback will cost $32,780. But government subsidies will reduce the price. There’s a federal tax credit of $7,500 for electric vehicles, bringing the price to $25,280.

Los Angeles Times

Pact likely to keep suit plant open

Brooklyn, Ohio – Union workers on Friday approved an eleventh-hour agreement to keep open a Hugo Boss men’s suit plant in Ohio where the more than 300 workers drew the support of actor Danny Glover.

In a joint statement, Hugo Boss and the unions Workers United and SEIU said the agreement is designed to help the company’s competitiveness by increasing its flexibility and reducing costs. The statement said the planned Tuesday closing of the factory would be canceled if union members ratified the pact.

Workers United said the agreement should give employees full-time work and includes a “piece work” system that should allow them to earn $10 or more per hour. It also maintains defined benefit pensions, health care benefits, paid holidays and summer and winter vacation periods.

Actor and activist Glover, star of the “Lethal Weapon” movies, asked Hollywood not to wear Hugo Boss suits to this year’s Oscars and gathered twice with the workers to show he was behind them.

Associated Press

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