Business news in brief

An investor gazing at a price display in a Shanghai securities firm's trading hall. The Shanghai Composite Index plummeted 3 percent to 2,325.95 - the index's biggest loss in almost 15 months, on a day that stock markets worldwide tumbled.
An investor gazing at a price display in a Shanghai securities firm's trading hall. The Shanghai Composite Index plummeted 3 percent to 2,325.95 - the index's biggest loss in almost 15 months, on a day that stock markets worldwide tumbled. (DING DING / Xinhua)
Posted: February 22, 2013

In the Region

ICG profit down; shares rise

ICG Group Inc., a Radnor firm that buys and builds Internet software companies, said earnings for the quarter ended Dec. 31 declined to $14.7 million, or 40 cents a share, from $17.9 million, or 49 cents a share, a year earlier. Revenue was $43.6 million, compared with $34.4 million in the year-ago period. The company said full-year revenue exceeded guidance, rising 24.8 percent, compared to 2011, to $166.6 million. A flurry of deals this year - including sales of Investor Force and Channel Intelligence that netted $80.1 million - should bolster performance, ICG said, and it expects 2013 revenue to rise as much as 32 percent, to a range of $210 million to $220 million. While broader markets fell, ICG shares rose 3.8 percent, to $12.51. - Reid Kanaley

Philly Fed: Manufacturing down

Manufacturing in the Philadelphia region unexpectedly contracted in February for a second month. The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia's general economic index dropped to minus 12.5, the lowest reading since June, from minus 5.8 in January. Readings lower than zero signal contraction in the area covering eastern Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey, and Delaware. The median forecast of 58 economists surveyed by Bloomberg projected an increase to 1. The reading follows New York Fed data released last week that showed factory activity rebounded after six months of contraction, raising prospects that factories could contribute to expansion this year. - Bloomberg News

ResCap sues creditors

Residential Capital L.L.C. sued AIG Asset Management L.L.C., Allstate Insurance Co., and other mortgage-bond buyers to prevent them from collecting money ahead of other creditors in the company's bankruptcy. Based in New York, ResCap has major operations in Fort Washington and four other locations. Mortgage investors who lost money on securities they bought from ResCap shouldn't be given priority over unsecured creditors, ResCap said in a complaint filed Feb. 19 in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Manhattan. The lawsuit is a response to an attempt by affiliates of AIG, Allstate, Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co., and Prudential Insurance Co. of America to get paid before unsecured creditors, ResCap said. Should the insurers succeed, they may end up collecting twice for almost identical claims at the expense of unsecured creditors, ResCap said. - Bloomberg News

Carpenter prices $300M in notes

Specialty metals maker Carpenter Technology Corp., of Wyomissing, said it priced $300 million in 4.45 percent senior notes due in 2023. The company will use the proceeds to repay $100 million in 6.625 percent notes due in May, and for general corporate purposes. - Reid Kanaley

Dorman shares fall on earnings drop

Shares of Dorman Products Inc., of Colmar, Montgomery County, which distributes auto parts, tumbled 10.5 percent, to $33.34, after the company reported a drop in fourth-quarter net income. For the quarter ended Dec. 29, Dorman earned $15.3 million, or 42 cents a share, down from $16.6 million, or 46 cents a share, the year before. The results were adjusted to reflect a 2-for-1 stock split in June. Revenue edged down less than 1 percent to $135 million. Dorman attributed the flat revenue to the inclusion of an extra week of sales in the prior-year period and a planned onetime $5.1 million reduction in orders to remove inventory from a large customer's supply chain. Excluding those items, the company said sales rose about 7 percent. - AP

PREIT raises dividend 12.5 percent

Shopping mall operator Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust, of Philadelphia, said it raised its quarterly dividend 2 cents to 18 cents a share - a 12.5 percent increase. The dividend is payable March 15 to common shareholders of record March 4. Prior to the announcement, PREIT shares fell 40 cents, or about 2.2 percent, to close at $18.21. - Inquirer staff

Aramark to repurchase notes

Aramark, the Philadelphia food service company, said it began a tender offer to buy back nearly $2.4 billion in notes. The company said its offer, which commences March 6 and ends March 20, is for 8.625 percent and 9.375 percent senior notes due in 2016; 8.5 percent senior notes due in 2015; and senior floating rate notes due in 2015. - Inquirer staff

Elsewhere

United won't fly 787 until June

United Airlines said it will plan its schedule through June 5 assuming that the grounded 787 is not ready to fly before then. United Continental Holdings Inc. has postponed its planned new 787 flights between Denver and Tokyo until the 787 is flying again. Those flights were supposed to start March 31. Boeing Co. is widely expected to present possible interim fixes to the FAA on Friday, which is likely to scrutinize the fixes closely. It could still be some time before the 787 is flying again . - AP

Sales of pre-owned homes rise

Sales of previously owned U.S. homes increased in January, showing more momentum for the industry coming off its best year since 2007. Purchases of existing houses, tabulated when a contract closes, increased 0.4 percent to a 4.92 million annual rate, figures from the National Association of Realtors showed. The median forecast of 79 economists surveyed by Bloomberg called for a 4.9 million pace. The number of available properties slumped to the lowest level since 1999. - Bloomberg News

30-year mortgage rate up

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said the average rate on the 30-year loan increased to 3.56 percent from 3.53 percent last week. That's still near the 3.31 percent reached in November, which was the lowest on record dating to 1971. The average rate on the 15-year fixed mortgage stayed at 2.77 percent for a third straight week. The record low is 2.63 percent. - AP

Leading indicators up - a bit

A measure of the U.S. economy's future direction edged up 0.2 percent in January, suggesting slow growth in the coming months. The Conference Board said its index of leading indicators rose to 94.1 last month after a rise of 0.5 percent in December. The gauge is designed to anticipate economic conditions three to six months out. Rising stock prices, falling applications for unemployment benefits, and a gain in housing permits drove the index higher. - AP

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