In the Region

Pretax expense cuts Advanta's 3d-quarter results

Advanta Corp., the Spring House provider of credit cards, cut previously reported third-quarter results because of a $4.2 million pretax expense tied to Visa USA's settlement of a lawsuit by American Express Co. The originally reported profit of $22.1 million, or 50 cents a share, was reduced to $19.5 million, or 44 cents a share, said a regulatory filing yesterday.

- Bloomberg News

10 RAIT Financial Trust executives forfeit awards

Ten executives at RAIT Financial Trust forfeited equity incentive awards worth $11.82 million when they were granted in January, the company said in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing. Since January, shares in the Philadelphia real estate investment trust have lost 70 percent of their value because of RAIT's exposure to home builders and residential real estate lenders. Betsy Z. Cohen, chairwoman of RAIT, said in the filing that "the action of our senior executives reflects their commitment to aligning their long-term incentive compensation with our shareholders' interests." The awards, in the form of phantom stock units, had four- or five-year vesting periods beginning in January 2008. RAIT's shares closed up 47 cents, or 4.35 percent, yesterday at $11.28.

- Harold Brubaker

Cephalon: Cancer drug Treanda did well in study

Cephalon Inc., Frazer, said its experimental cancer drug Treanda was significantly more effective than a common chemotherapy drug in helping patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia achieve remission, based on a late-stage patient study. The remission rate among 305 patients in the study taking Treanda, also known as bendamustine, was 68 percent, compared with 39 percent among patients who received chlorambucil. Cephalon shares rose 48 cents yesterday to close at $77.02.

- Linda Loyd

Wyeth and Johnson & Johnson drop drug-use suits

Wyeth and Johnson & Johnson's Cordis Corp. unit dropped lawsuits over a contract for a drug used with stents that prop open coronary arteries. Wyeth and Johnson & Johnson both have operations in the Philadelphia area. Wyeth sued Cordis a year ago, contending it breached a contract for rapamycin, a Wyeth drug used to coat Johnson & Johnson's Cypher stent. Cordis responded with its own suit, asking a judge to force Wyeth to maintain a contract to supply the medicine.

- Bloomberg News

Agency asked to look into sleeping-guard case

Lawyers representing a former nuclear-plant security guard want federal regulators to investigate how the plant's owner responded to his complaints about colleagues who slept on the job. Exelon Corp., the parent of Peco Energy, retaliated against Kerry Beal for videotaping Peach Bottom Atomic Power Station workers napping in a break room, Beal's attorneys said in a letter to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The company suspended his plant access in September and refused to hire him in October after it assumed responsibility for plant security, attorneys Lynne Bernabei and David M. Wachtel said in the letter dated Friday. NRC spokeswoman Diane Screnci had no immediate comment on the letter. Exelon officials have said their decision not to hire Beal was unrelated to his whistle-blowing. A Peach Bottom spokeswoman said Beal eventually regained access to the plant, but could not specify when.

- AP

Universal Health Services expands buyback

Universal Health Services Inc. authorized an additional repurchase of 5 million shares of stock to supplement the 1 million remaining under previously announced authorizations. The King of Prussia company has about 53.7 million shares outstanding. It runs ambulatory clinics as well as acute-care and behavioral-health hospitals nationwide. Shares closed up 95 cents yesterday at $53.80.

- Jane M. Von Bergen

PNC Financial Services buys Coates Analytics

PNC Financial Services Group said it bought Coates Analytics Group, Chadds Ford, to help expand the offerings of its Wilmington subsidiary PFPC Worldwide Inc. The price was not disclosed. Coates was founded in 2003 and employs nine. Coates' Web-based products are designed to help asset managers connect with financial advisers, brokers, and mutual fund companies.

- Harold Brubaker

Elsewhere

Boeing's board approves 14% increase in dividend

Boeing Co. said its board raised the quarterly dividend 14 percent, the fifth increase in the last five years. The dividend will increase to 40 cents from 35 cents and is payable March 7 to shareholders of record on Feb. 8, Boeing said in a statement.

- Bloomberg News

Grubb & Ellis merges with NNN Realty Advisors

Grubb & Ellis Co. said it completed a merger with NNN Realty Advisors Inc., Santa Ana, Calif. Combined, the two firms will create a real-estate-services and investment-management firm that will be better positioned to more effectively compete in an increasingly global commercial real estate industry, said Grubb & Ellis' new president and chief executive officer, Scott D. Peters. Grubb & Ellis, Chicago, has an office in Philadelphia. The combined company will retain the Grubb & Ellis name (and New York Stock Exchange ticker) but its headquarters will now be in Santa Ana.

- Suzette Parmley

High court lets stand ruling on Calif. utility refunds

The U.S. Supreme Court refused to consider an effort by a PG&E Corp. unit to force government-owned utilities to pay hundreds of millions of dollars in refunds for overcharges during the 2000-01 California energy crisis. The justices, without comment, refused to question a lower-court ruling that said federal energy regulators could not order refunds from Bonneville Power Administration, the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power, and other government utilities.

- Bloomberg News

CompUSA going out of business after 23 years

CompUSA Inc., the computer retailer that Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim has owned since 2000, will shut its doors after 23 years, succumbing to competition from Best Buy Co. Inc. and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. Restructuring firm Gordon Bros. Group L.L.C. bought the chain for an undisclosed sum, and it will sell or close its 103 stores after the holidays, CompUSA said.

- Bloomberg News

Rates are mixed on short-term Treasury bills

Interest rates on short-term Treasury bills were mixed in yesterday's auction. The Treasury Department auctioned $21 billion in three-month bills at a discount rate of 3 percent, down from 3.030 percent last week. An additional $20 billion in six-month bills was auctioned at a discount rate of 3.19 percent, the same as last week. The discount rates reflect that the bills sell for less than face value. For a $10,000 bill, the three-month price was $9,924.17, while a six-month bill sold for $9,838.73.

- AP

Yield falls for 1-year T-bills, tied to some ARMs

The average yield for one-year Treasury bills, a popular index for making changes in adjustable-rate mortgages, fell to 3.17 percent last week from 3.25 percent the previous week, the Federal Reserve said.

- AP