Business Briefs: Ex-eBay chief Whitman named to take over HP

Meg Whitman

Paul Sakuma

SAN FRANCISCO -- Hewlett-Packard on Thursday named Meg Whitman, the former eBay chief executive officer, as its new CEO, pushing aside Leo Apotheker after just 11 months.

Whitman got the top spot because there are few available people with the experience to run complex technology businesses, a person familiar with the matter told the Associated Press.

Since joining HP in November, Apotheker's strategic decisions had been drastic, and did little to inspire confidence. HP's stock fell nearly 50 percent during his time at the helm.

Ports program seeks to replace polluting trucks

A program similar to Cash for Clunkers was announced by the State Ports Authority on Thursday in an effort to get some of the oldest, most polluting diesel trucks serving the Port of Charleston off the road.

Under the program, drivers of trucks built before 1994 can get $5,000 if they junk their old ride and buy a 2004 or newer model. To qualify, drivers have to be frequent users of the port, averaging one visit a week during the previous year.

Authority spokesman Byron Miller said about 10 percent of the port's frequent users, about 260 trucks, qualify for the incentive.

The project is being funded by the authority with an Environmental Protection Agency grant administered through the state Department of Health and Environmental Control. Officials hope to get 100 trucks replaced during the first phase of the voluntary program.

Saks returns to region with Off 5th store at Tanger

Saks Fifth Avenue returned to the Charleston area Thursday with its new Off 5th store at Tanger Outlet Center in North Charleston. The shop is in a new wing near the North Charleston Fire Museum.

The chain closed its peninsula department store on King Street in mid-2010.

Mortgages near record low for 3rd consecutive week

WASHINGTON -- Fixed mortgage rates hovered at record lows for a third straight week, Freddie Mac said Thursday, and they are likely to fall further now that the Federal Reserve said it would shuffle its holdings to drive down long-term interest rates.

The average rate on the 30-year fixed mortgage was unchanged at 4.09 percent this week. That's the lowest rate seen since 1951. The average rate on the 15-year mortgage ticked down to 3.29 percent. Economists say that's the lowest rate ever.

Long John Silver's and A&W chains to be sold

LOUISVILLE, Ky.-- The operator of the Taco Bell, KFC and Pizza Hut chains said Thursday that it has found buyers for its Long John Silver's and A&W Restaurant units.

Yum Brands said Long John Silver's is being bought by LJS Partners, led by franchisees and other investors. A&W is being bought by A Great American Brand, which is led by a major franchisee.

Target's effort to hype Missoni line backfires

NEW YORK -- Target drummed up so much hype around its exclusive, limited-time line by upscale Italian designer Missoni that its website crashed and was down most of the day Sept. 13 when the collection was launched, angering customers.

More than a week later, some shoppers who bought the Missoni for Target line are posting on social media websites that they won't shop at Target again because their online orders are being delayed -- or worse, canceled.