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Monday, February 17, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Business

Speculative report fuels Avista trading

From Staff And Wire Reports

Avista Corp. closed its second day of heavy market trading Wednesday, amid a speculative report from an online financial newsletter that the Spokane-based utility could be courting buyers.

The reported that Avista was “quietly talking to potential buyers” and named Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Energy as “showing some interest.” The report did not name the source of the information.

“Our policy is not to comment on market rumor or speculation,” Dana Anderson, Avista’s director of external communications, said Wednesday afternoon. U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission regulations limit what public companies can say about market activity, she said.

The Deal’s senior writer, Amanda Levin, has written several pieces over the past few months with her take on potential mergers and acquisitions in the utility industry. Avista’s relatively small size and its “attractive” hydropower resources make it a target for acquisition, she wrote in her recent piece.

Avista’s stock price rose 6 percent to $34.85 per share on Tuesday, before closing at $33.52 per share on Wednesday.

More than 1 million shares changed hands on both Tuesday and Wednesday, which is more than three times the normal trading activity.

Avista, formerly known as Washington Water Power, recently celebrated its 125th anniversary in Spokane.

Washington jobless rate up in September

OLYMPIA – Washington state’s unemployment rate rose slightly to 5.7 percent last month, state officials said Wednesday.

Numbers released by the state’s Employment Security Department show that the September jobless rate was up from August’s 5.6 percent rate, and that businesses saw a loss of about 600 jobs from August to September.

Industries that saw the biggest gains include construction, up 2,900 jobs; retail trade, which gained 2,000; and government, up 2,000. Hospitality and leisure had the biggest loss last month, down 4,800 jobs, with 1,900 of those losses in food services and drinking places. Education and health services lost 3,500 jobs, and the transportation, warehousing and utilities category was down 1,000.

The national unemployment rate was 5.9 percent.

Although job growth has moderated since the start of the summer, the state is still on pace to deliver the best overall job growth since 2005, said Paul Turek, an economist with the Employment Security Department.

More than 198,000 people were unemployed and looking for work in the state last month, and 57,621 of them received unemployment benefits.

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