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Business news in brief

Drugstore operator Walgreen Co. said profit had fallen 10 percent in its fiscal first quarter because of costs of opening more than 200 new stores. The Deerfield, Ill., company saidit planned to slow the opening of new stores to save $500 million amid the U.S. recession.
Drugstore operator Walgreen Co. said profit had fallen 10 percent in its fiscal first quarter because of costs of opening more than 200 new stores. The Deerfield, Ill., company saidit planned to slow the opening of new stores to save $500 million amid the U.S. recession.Read moreRUSSEL A. DANIELS / Associated Press, file

In the Region

Area law firms merging

Two area law firms,

Archer & Greiner P.C.


Pelino & Lentz P.C.

, announced that they would merge Jan. 1, forming a 156-lawyer firm using the Archer & Greiner name. Archer & Greiner, with headquarters in Haddonfield, is by far the larger of the two firms, with 155 lawyers. Three Pelino & Lentz lawyers are being laid off. The firms will consolidate their Philadelphia office at One Liberty Place, where Pelino & Lentz is located. Archer & Greiner is a full-service firm with lawyers who specialize in labor, corporate services, real estate and family law.

- Stacey Burling

Lockheed finishes system

Lockheed Martin Corp.

said it had completed and delivered a high-performance communications system for the GEO-2 spacecraft, a satellite that is scheduled to be launched in 2011 into a geosynchronous orbit and that will play a key role in the Air Force's Space-Based Infrared System. Lockheed said the communications system, which was developed and tested at the company's facilities in Newtown, "will deliver anti-jam, survivable communications and data" collected by the satellite to military officials on the ground. The multibillion-dollar Space-Based Infrared System is designed to detect the launch of missiles that threaten the United States.

- Jeff Gelles

Study: N.J. relies on immigrants

Immigrants make up 28 percent of New Jersey's workforce, account for nearly a quarter of all earnings, and represent one-fifth of the state's business owners, according to a new report by

Rutgers University

. An analysis by the Eagleton Institute Program on Immigration and Democracy says that New Jersey's 1.7 million foreign-born population has no negative impact on the state's economy overall. Immigrants account for 20 percent of the state's population but make up a higher percentage of the workforce because more of them are of working age.

- AP

Drugmaker stops contributions

GlaxoSmithKline P.L.C.

, the European drugmaker with major operations in the Philadelphia area, will stop contributing to U.S. political campaigns after this year. It gave $761,670 to U.S. candidates through political action committees during the most recent two-year election cycle and was the second-biggest spender among pharmaceutical companies behind

Pfizer Inc.

, according to the

Center for Responsive Politics

, a Washington-based group that tracks political giving. "We continue to believe that it is important for GSK to be engaged in policy debates and the political process," chief executive officer

Andrew Witty

said in an e-mailed statement. "However, we need to ensure that there is no implication whatsoever that corporate political contributions provide us with any special privileges." Separately, the Associated Press reported that GlaxoSmithKline has agreed to buy

Bristol-Myers Squibb Pakistan Ltd.

and certain associated trademarks for about $36.5 million, bolstering its emerging- markets business.

- Bloomberg News

J.G. Wentworth sells $74.6M in notes

J.G. Wentworth Inc.

, Bryn Mawr, said it had completed the sale of notes worth $74.6 million. Wentworth is a specialty-finance company that buys future payments on assets that cannot easily be converted into cash, such as annuities and life insurance policies. Since 1992, Wentworth said, it has purchased $3 billion of future-payment obligations from consumers. Completion of the note sale reflects the confidence of institutional investors in Wentworth even in the current depressed market for asset-backed securities, said

John Calamari

, the company's chief financial officer. There have been few asset-backed deals in the current quarter, compared with 1,142 such deals last year, he said.

- Paul Schweizer

Morphotek to fund tumor research

Morphotek Inc.

announced that it had signed a sponsored research agreement with the

University of Pennsylvania

for tumor-related research. The Exton biopharmaceutical company, which is a subsidiary of

Eisai Corp. of North America

, did not announce terms. The research will aim to find a way to counteract the loss of oxygen in tumors, which leads to increased resistance of tumors

to radiation and chemotherapy


- Roslyn Rudolph

Reading firm receives contract

Fidelity Technologies Corp.

, Reading, said in a statement that it had received a $5.5 million contract to build 50 Call For Fire Trainers (CFFT) simulators for the

U.S. Army


Army National Guard

. The simulators are intended to help soldiers on the ground "call for fire," accurately directing artillery, mortar and naval gunfire and bombing missions at enemy positions, the statement said.

- Rhonda Dickey


AIG to sell unit for $742 million

American International Group Inc.

said that it would sell its Hartford Steam Boiler unit to German reinsurer

Munich Re

for $742 million as the embattled New York-based insurer divests itself of units to pay back a U.S. government bailout loan. HSB is a specialty unit focused on engineering insurance and inspection. It has an office in Valley Forge with more than 200 employees.

- AP

Two-year notes at record lows

The interest rate on two-year Treasury notes has dropped below 1 percent to the lowest level on record. The

Treasury Department

said it had auctioned $38 billion in two-year notes at a yield of 0.922 percent, an all-time low. The rate was down from 1.269 percent at the last auction of two-year notes on Nov. 24.

- AP

Yields mixed in T-bill auction


Treasury Department

auctioned $27 billion in three-month bills at a discount rate of 0.040 percent, down from 0.050 percent last week. An additional $27 billion in six-month bills was auctioned at a discount rate of 0.285 percent, up from 0.270 percent 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 $9,999.00, while a six-month bill sold for $9,985.67.

- AP

Yields fall for one-year bills


Federal Reserve

said yesterday that the average yield for one-year Treasury bills, a popular index for making changes in adjustable-rate mortgages, fell to 0.45 percent last week from 0.50 percent the previous week.

- AP