Business news in brief

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras before their meeting in Athens. Her first visit since Greece's debt crisis erupted three years ago attracted 50,000 demonstrators. "I hope and wish that Greece remains a member of the eurozone," she said. "As partners, we are working hard to achieve that." THANASSIS STAVRAKIS / AP, Pool
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras before their meeting in Athens. Her first visit since Greece's debt crisis erupted three years ago attracted 50,000 demonstrators. "I hope and wish that Greece remains a member of the eurozone," she said. "As partners, we are working hard to achieve that." THANASSIS STAVRAKIS / AP, Pool
Posted: October 10, 2012

IN THE REGION

Walmart testing same-day delivery

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is testing a same-day delivery service in select markets, including Philadelphia, for customers who buy popular items online during the holiday shopping season. The Bentonville, Ark.-based discounter is trying to cater to Web-savvy shoppers who are demanding more convenience. Walmart's tests started this month in Philadelphia and northern Virginia. The program rolled out to Minneapolis on Tuesday. Walmart plans to test the service in San Francisco and San Jose, Calif., later this month or in early November. About 5,000 general merchandise items, including flat-panel TVs, toys and Apple iPads, will be available for same-day shipping. The delivery charge is $10 for an unlimited number of items, with no minimum purchase. - AP

Destination results beat Wall Street

Destination Maternity Corp. said in an earnings preview that fiscal fourth-quarter revenue dipped slightly, but the results still managed to beat Wall Street's expectations. The Philadelphia-based maternity clothing company, with 2,008 stores, anticipates that earnings for the quarter that ended Sept. 30 will beat its previous projection. Shares surged 5.6 percent, to $19.35. Destination Maternity said that its quarterly revenue fell less than 1 percent to $128.5 million. The company had predicted revenue in a range of $125.5 million to $130 million. Analysts polled by FactSet forecast $128.4 million. The retailer expects its quarterly earnings - to be reported Nov. 20 - will top its prior outlook of 17 cents to 28 cents a share. For the fourth quarter, revenue at stores open at least a year climbed 2.7 percent. - AP

ELSEWHERE

Wells Fargo sued over loan defaults

The federal government sued Wells Fargo & Co., blaming the nation's largest originator of home mortgages for thousands of loan defaults over the last decade. Wells Fargo is the second-largest bank in the Philadelphia region, by deposits. A civil mortgage fraud lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan seeks to recover hundreds of millions of dollars that the Federal Housing Administration, which insured the loans, had to pay out after borrowers defaulted. The lawsuit accuses San Francisco-based Wells of falsely certifying that its loans met the standards necessary to be eligible for government insurance. The bank denied the allegations and is promising a vigorous defense. - AP

U.S. says thousands conned

Federal investigators have charged 530 people with defrauding more than 73,000 desperate homeowners around the country who fell behind on mortgage payments, leaving them vulnerable to con artists offering to help them avoid foreclosure. Attorney General Eric Holder and Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan estimated that the homeowners lost more than $1 billion in the fraud schemes. According to court records in the 285 criminal cases brought in the year-long investigation, struggling homeowners would pay substantial fees with promises that so-called investors would purchase victims' mortgages. Other homeowners paid hefty fees in exchange for what turned out to be false promises that more favorable mortgage terms would be negotiated on their behalf. - AP

Stanley, Spectrum in $1.4B deal

Tool maker Stanley Black & Decker Inc. is selling its hardware and home-

improvement business to Spectrum Brands Holdings Inc. for $1.4 billion in cash. The hardware and home-improvement unit makes lock sets, hardware and faucets for residential use and includes brands such as Baldwin and Kwikset. Spectrum Brands, based in Madison, Wis., said that the acquisition will broaden its product offerings which include the Remington and Toastmaster brands. - AP

Uncertainty hurting business travel

U.S. companies are continuing to cut back on employee travel plans amid uncertainty surrounding the health of the economy. Americans are expected to take 438.1 million business trips this year, down 2 percent from last year, the Global Business Travel Association said. Overall business travel spending is expected to be up 2.6 percent, but that's only because trips are more expensive. "Corporations are in a wait-and-see mode and holding back on investment decisions that would help boost the economy," said Michael W. McCormick, the trade group's executive director and chief operating officer. - AP

Court asked to rehear cigarette case

The U.S. government is asking a federal appeals court to rehear a challenge to a requirement that tobacco companies put large graphic health warnings on cigarette packages. A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington in August affirmed a lower court ruling blocking the Food and Drug Administration requirement. The Justice Department filed a petition Tuesday asking for the full court to rehear the case. The court rarely grants such appeals. - AP

IMF warns EU banks on crisis

The International Monetary Fund said European banks may need to sell as much as $4.5 trillion in assets through 2013 if policy makers fall short of pledges to stem the fiscal crisis, up 18 percent from its April estimate. Failure to implement fiscal tightening or set up a single supervisory system in the timing agreed could force 58 European Union banks from UniCredit SpA to Deutsche Bank AG to shrink assets, the IMF said. That would hurt credit and crimp growth by 4 percentage points next year in Greece, Cyprus, Ireland, Italy, Portugal and Spain, Europe's periphery. - Bloomberg News

Capital One targeted by cyber attacks

Capital One Financial Corp. said it was the latest target in a new round of coordinated cyber attacks aimed at disrupting the websites of major U.S. banks, and SunTrust Banks Inc. and Regions Financial Corp. said they expect to be next. Customer and account information was not believed to be at risk, a Capital One spokeswoman said. The computer assaults are a continuation of a campaign that began last month, using commercial servers to overload bank websites with Internet traffic. A group calling itself Izz ad-Din al-Quassam Cyber Fighters has claimed responsibility for the attacks in statements posted to the website pastebin.com, saying they're in response to a video uploaded to Google Inc.'s YouTube, ridiculing the Prophet Muhammad and offending some Muslims. - Bloomberg News

Part-timers test health-care law

The owner of Olive Garden and Red Lobster restaurants is putting more workers on part-time status in a test aimed at limiting costs from President Obama's health care law. Darden Restaurants Inc. declined to give details but said the test is only in four markets across the country. The move entails boosting the number of workers on part-time status, meaning that they work less than 30 hours a week. Under the new health-care law, companies with 50 or more full-time workers could be hit with fines if they do not provide basic coverage for full-timers and their dependents. - AP

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