Ups and downs

(Ups) to Charter One Financial Inc. In an otherwise soft economy, the Cleveland-based bank has been tearing up the acquisition and expansion trail. It recently snapped up Chicago’s Alliance Bancorp and moved much of its banking services online. Could this be groundwork to make the bank a player in a potential National City or KeyCorp M&A?

(Downs) to the auto and manufacturing industries. No matter what happens with the rest of the economy, a litany of layoffs and plant closings reveal that these two sectors are in serious trouble. Let’s just hope they don’t pull the rest of the economy into a sustained tailspin.

(Ups) to Cleveland Browns’ management. Butch Davis, a no-nonsense guy with a history of breathing new life into struggling franchises, is a perfect match for the underachieving Browns. He should have an immediate impact on the wins column.

(Downs) to Hank Kassigheit. The Cleveland Lumberjacks hockey club owner should have weighed his pocketbook a little more carefully before buying the team last October and assuring the IHL that he had enough cash flow to make it through the 2000-2001 season. Poor ticket sales — a problem before he bought the club — isn’t a good reason for the mess he’s in.

(Downs) to energy suppliers, who are reporting record earnings in the midst of a nationwide energy crisis and skyrocketing natural gas and oil prices. We’re for free trade and deregulation as much as the next business owner, but something smells rotten about the current state of affairs.