Business news in brief

Barley grain is loaded at a port in Ukraine. Egypt, the world's biggest wheat importer, bought 180,000 metric tons of Ukrainian and Romanian grain Wednesday. Wheat rose for a second day in Chicago on speculation that the lowest prices in more than a year encouraged importers from Egypt to China to lock in supplies.
Barley grain is loaded at a port in Ukraine. Egypt, the world's biggest wheat importer, bought 180,000 metric tons of Ukrainian and Romanian grain Wednesday. Wheat rose for a second day in Chicago on speculation that the lowest prices in more than a year encouraged importers from Egypt to China to lock in supplies. (VINCENT MUNDY / Bloomberg News)
Posted: July 05, 2013

In the Region

Pa. slots revenue fall is a first

Slot machines at Pennsylvania's 11 casinos generated just over $2.4 billion for the fiscal year ended June 30 - a nearly 2 percent decrease from the previous 12 months, according to the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board. It was the first decline since the state authorized casinos in 2006. The state collects a 55 percent tax on slot revenue, and the $1.3 billion in taxes generated for the year represents a decline of nearly 3 percent from the previous period. Analysts say that like other gaming markets, Pennsylvania is experiencing increased competition for casino dollars from states such as Ohio that have expanded or opened casinos. Pennsylvania surpassed Atlantic City as the nation's second-largest gambling market after Las Vegas this year. - Suzette Parmley

A deal on Internet gambling

The Rational Group, parent company of the gambling website PokerStars, which this week lost a court appeal to purchase the Atlantic Club casino, said it reached a deal with Resorts in Atlantic City to offer Internet gambling in New Jersey once the activity is officially launched. Gov. Christie signed an I-gaming measure in late February, and the state has since been putting together regulations while Atlantic City casino operators have sought partners to offer the games. - Suzette Parmley

USA Network launches TV app

NBCUniversal's USA Network, the most-watched channel on cable TV, is making original programs such as Royal Pains and Burn Notice available to subscribers on smartphones and tablets. The shows can be seen online, on Apple Inc.'s iPad, and on other mobile devices using the USA Now app the day after they air on television, Philadelphia-based Comcast Corp.'s NBCUniversal said. The company plans to introduce similar applications for its other entertainment channels. - Bloomberg News

Former CEO's role in deal questioned

Gardner Denver Inc.'s former CEO wrongfully helped KKR & Co. bid for the company in a $3.7 billion deal that undervalues the industrial-equipment maker, investors contend in court filings. Barry Pennypacker, who stepped down as Gardner Denver's CEO last year, violated confidentiality agreements by working as a consultant to KKR, the New York-based private-equity firm offering $76 a share for the Wayne-based company, lawyers for shareholders who sued to oppose the bid said in a Delaware Chancery Court filing in Wilmington. "KKR has complied with all of its agreements with Gardner Denver about Mr. Pennypacker's involvement in the transaction, and plaintiff's allegations to the contrary are completely false," Kristi Huller, a KKR spokeswoman, said. - Bloomberg News


Chrysler to recall 490,000 vehicles

Chrysler Group L.L.C. will recall about 490,000 cars and utility vehicles worldwide because of a problem with active head restraints intended to prevent neck injuries in rear-end collisions. The carmaker said microcontrollers in the head restraint could be faulty and prevent the system from operating properly. Chrysler said it is unaware of accidents or injuries related to the problem. Vehicles affected are the 2011-13 Chrysler Sebring, 200 and Dodge Avenger midsize cars; 2011-13 Jeep Liberty SUVs; and 2011-12 Dodge Nitro SUVs. Chrysler is notifying customers and will replace the component or upgrade software at no cost. - AP

Portugal sparks market turmoil

Portugal pitched European financial markets into turmoil Wednesday as the coalition government came close to collapse in a dispute over austerity measures before stepping back from the brink, reminding investors that the eurozone debt crisis is not over. The two governing parties found common ground late in the day when the junior coalition party, the Popular Party, agreed to hold urgent talks with the senior Social Democratic Party to resolve their differences and save the government. But the spat reignited concerns over whether Europe can find an end to its prolonged financial crisis before more damage is done - a worry that has haunted investors. - AP

Greek official hopeful in talks

Greece's deputy prime minister said he's confident the country will complete tough new negotiations with rescue creditors and avoid a delay in forthcoming loan payouts worth $10.6 billion. Evangelos Venizelos made the remarks late Wednesday after talks with German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle. Talks continued in Athens between the government and representatives of the "troika" of the European Union, European Central Bank, and International Monetary Fund. The troika is seeking faster implementation of Greek commitments to reduce the size of its bloated public sector and deal with mounting public health-care debts. - AP

Boeing beats Airbus on deliveries

Boeing Co. delivered more planes than Airbus during the first half of this year. Boeing has delivered 306 jetliners so far, including 17 787s. Boeing is playing catch-up with those deliveries because of the problems with the 787's battery earlier this year. Boeing is aiming to deliver 60 of those planes this year. Airbus has delivered 295 civilian planes this year. It delivered more of its smaller A320 family of planes than the comparable Boeing jets. Airbus handed over 233 of its A320 family of planes, compared with Boeing's deliveries of 218 of its 737s. Chicago-based Boeing and Europe-based Airbus are the main two makers of large commercial airliners. Sales of most of their planes have been speeding up, although they've been disappointed by slower-than-expected sales of their largest planes. - AP

Mortgage rates ease

Freddie Mac said the average rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage dropped to 4.29 percent this week. That's down from 4.46 percent last week, the highest in two years and a full point more than a month ago. The average on the 15-year mortgage fell to 3.39 percent, down from 3.50 percent last week - the highest since August 2011. - AP