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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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In brief: Businesses give Avista good marks

Avista Corp. ranked fourth among 19 Western utilities for customer satisfaction among business clients that spend $500 to $50,000 per month on electricity.

The study was conducted by J.D. Power and Associates, a company that specializes in market research and forecasting. The 2009 Electric Utility survey was based on interviews with 15,400 U.S. businesses. The survey included questions about power reliability, price, customer service and corporate citizenship.

In the Western region, top honors went to Portland General Electric. Besides Avista, Salt River Project of Arizona and Pacific Power were also recognized in the Western region.


Ambassadors Group shows quarterly loss

Spokane travel company Ambassadors Group Inc. reported fourth-quarter losses of 35 cents per share and a net loss of $6.5 million.

For the same quarter one year earlier the company had a loss of 39 cents per share and a loss of $7.4 million.

For the year ended Dec. 31, 2008, the company had earnings of 97 cents a share, a 37 percent decrease from $1.55 per share earnings from the full year of 2007.

Net income for 2008 was $18.5 million, compared to $31.0 million for the full 2007 year.


Boeing gets orders for just 18 jetliners

Boeing Co.’s orders for freight and passenger jets plunged in January, hurt by declining air travel amid the global economic slump.

The Chicago-based aerospace company received orders for just 18 jetliners last month, a 72 percent drop from the 65 planes ordered a year earlier, according to figures posted Thursday on the company’s Web site. Jet deliveries rose by one, totaling 35 planes.

Thursday’s report follows a tough 2008, when Boeing’s orders plunged following three years of exceptionally strong growth.

Last week, the company posted a surprise loss for the final three months of 2008 and announced plans to cut 10,000 jobs.


Long-term, fixed mortgage rates rise

Rates on 30-year-fixed mortgages climbed this week after recent economic reports were better than expected, Freddie Mac said Thursday.

Rates have gone up since hitting a record low of 4.96 percent three weeks ago, a decline attributed to the Federal Reserve’s move to buy $500 billion in mortgage-backed securities to spur lending by banks.

The average rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage rose to 5.25 percent this week from 5.1 percent last week. At this time last year, the 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage averaged 5.67 percent.

Staff and wire reports
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