South Portland Ricetta’s last day will be Sunday

After more than two decades in operation, Ricetta’s Brick Oven Pizzeria in South Portland is closing.

The Western Avenue location’s last day of operation will be Sunday. The company cited the rising cost of fuel and operating costs and shrinking revenue in the restaurant industry as factors. The company’s Falmouth location remains open.

“We can always open more (locations) when the economy is better, but for now we believe it is better to have one great restaurant than one good one and one mediocre one,” owner Ron Stephan said in a news release.

Ricetta’s opened in South Portland in 1989 and in Falmouth in 2000. A third location, in Kennebunk, opened in 2008 and closed early the next year as the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The company’s bankruptcy case was closed in late 2009.

The company said that consolidation of operations in Falmouth will allow management and owners to focus their attention on one location. Lunch and dinner delivery service will be transferred to Falmouth starting April 1.

An unspecified number of employees from South Portland will be transferred to Falmouth.

Fixed mortgage rates up slightly higher this week

Fixed mortgage rates edged up this week, but even 30-year rates below 5 percent have done little to boost home sales.

Freddie Mac said Thursday the average rate on the 30-year fixed mortgage rose to 4.81 percent from 4.76 percent the previous week. It hit a 40-year low of 4.17 percent in November.

The average rate on the 15-year fixed mortgage increased to 4.04 percent from 3.97 percent. It reached 3.57 percent in November, the lowest level on records dating back to 1991.

Fed chairman will begin holding news conferences

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke will begin holding news conferences four times a year to answer questions about the Federal Reserve’s policy decisions. It represents a significant shift in strategy for the central bank, one that will give it a chance to defend actions that in recent months have faced harsh criticism.

The decision, announced Thursday, comes after the Fed held an unusual videoconference last fall in large part to discuss the need to improve its communications with the public. Bernanke’s first news conference will take place after the Fed’s April 27 meeting.

Oracle Corp. reports sharp increase in net income

Oracle Corp. said its net income rose 78 percent in the most recent quarter. The database software maker was helped by a rise in new software license sales.

Net income for the quarter that ended on Feb. 28 increased to $2.1 billion, or 41 cents per share, from $1.2 billion, or 23 cents per share a year earlier.

Excluding items, Oracle earned 54 cents per share. Analysts surveyed by FactSet forecast earnings of 50 cents per share.

Revenue jumped 37 percent to $8.8 billion from $6.4 billion, more than the $8.7 billion analysts predicted.

BlackBerry maker reports profit rose in last quarter

Research in Motion Ltd., the maker of the BlackBerry, said its profit jumped 31 percent in its latest quarter, but it expects sales to shift toward cheaper models this quarter.

The Waterloo, Ontario-based company says net income was $934 million, or $1.78 per share, in fiscal fourth quarter, which ended Feb. 26. That’s up from $710 million, or $1.27 per share, a year earlier.

Analysts surveyed by FactSet expected earnings of $1.75 per share, on average.