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Business news in brief

In the Region

Flights canceled ahead of deadline

Spirit Airlines Inc.

, which has operations in Atlantic City, says it has begun canceling some flights as a strike deadline approaches this weekend. Also, a check by the Associated Press shows that Spirit is not selling tickets for flights on Saturday or Sunday. It was not clear what Spirit's plans were for passengers who had previously bought tickets to fly those days. Spirit pilots could walk off the job as soon as 12:01 a.m. Saturday. A Spirit spokeswoman said Spirit had canceled some flights to protect customers from the effect of a strike. She said the airline was offering travel alternatives to customers. Negotiations between Spirit and its pilots were continuing in Washington.

- AP

Kushner reported interested in stake

Kushner Cos.

is seeking to buy

American International Group Inc.'s

equity stake in about 17,000 apartments, almost three years after selling the units near the property market's peak, a person with knowledge of the bid said. Most of the apartments are in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Kushner offered $165 million to $190 million for the equity interest, said the person, who asked not to be named because the talks continue. AIG and

Morgan Properties

, King of Prussia, agreed in 2007 to buy the 86 complexes for $1.9 billion, mostly in debt.

- Bloomberg News

J&J buys Calif. pastry maker

J&J Snack Foods Corp.

, Pennsauken, said Thursday that it bought

California Churros Corp.

, a privately held company that had about $11 million in sales last year. California Churros will remain in Colton, Calif., and the founding Martinez family is expected to remain with the business. J&J Snack already has a line of churros, a fried pastry. The price was not disclosed. J&J had revenue of $653 million in its latest fiscal year.

- Harold Brubaker

Penn Va. buys W.Va. coal reserves

Penn Virginia Resource Partners L.P.

says it has bought an additional 10 million tons of coal reserves in West Virginia. The Radnor company said it paid $17.7 million for the reserves in northern West Virginia. Penn Virginia said the reserves were in the Pittsburgh seam, but it gave no other details. Coal from the Pittsburgh seam is usually burned at electric power plants.

- AP

ETC receives $3.5 million contract

Environmental Tectonics Corp.,

Southampton, said it won a contract worth more than $3.5 million to make three industrial sterilization systems for an unidentified multinational company. The systems will use ethylene oxide, the most common means of sterilizing medical devices.

- Paul Schweizer

Mace to sell two Texas car washes

Mace Security International Inc.

, Horsham, has announced agreements to sell two of its car washes in Texas for a combined $3.8 million. One property, in Lubbock, will bring in $1.7 million, and the other, in Arlington, will go for $2.1 million. Mace also said it completed June 2 the sale of another car wash in Lubbock for $650,000.

- Paul Schweizer

Sands casino fined by board

Sands Resort Casino Bethlehem

was hit with a $48,000 fine for allowing underage people to enter its casino floor and gamble, drink, or both, the state said. The

Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board

said that it was the Sands' first fine since it opened in May 2009 and that the company reported each instance to the state. The events happened between June 1, 2009, and Jan. 23, 2010.

- Roslyn Rudolph


U.S. trade deficit higher

The U.S. trade deficit rose to the highest level in 16 months as exports fell for the second time in three months, a potentially worrisome sign that Europe's debt troubles are starting to crimp U.S. manufacturers. The

Commerce Department

said the trade deficit widened to $40.3 billion in April, up 0.6 percent from March. U.S. exports fell 0.6 percent while imports declined 0.4 percent.

- AP

Slower growth for budget deficit

The budget deficit through the first eight months of the government's budget year is running slightly below last year's record-setting pace. In its monthly budget report, the

Treasury Department

said Thursday that the deficit in May totaled $135.9 billion. That's down 28.3 percent from May 2009. Much of the improvement reflected calendar differences that boosted receipts and lowered government benefit payments for the month.

- AP

SEC puts in 'circuit breaker' rules


Securities and Exchange Commission

approved rules that will halt trading in Standard & Poor's 500 index stocks during periods of volatility, a response to the May 6 plunge that wiped out $862 billion in 20 minutes. The circuit-breaker test, scheduled to last through Dec. 10, will pause trading for five minutes when a company's stock rises or falls 10 percent in five minutes or less. The

New York Stock Exchange

said it would begin implementing the curbs Friday.

- Bloomberg News

Congress presses over currency

Treasury Secretary

Timothy Geithner

faced congressional complaints over what critics said was the administration's failure to take a tougher stance on Chinese trade issues. Democrats and Republicans on the

Senate Finance Committee

warned Geithner that Congress' patience was wearing thin. U.S. manufacturers say the Chinese currency is undervalued as much as 40 percent against the dollar. That makes Chinese products cheaper for U.S. consumers and American goods costlier in the Chinese market.

- AP

Calif. Boeing workers back at work

Boeing Co.

workers who assemble C-17 planes in Long Beach, Calif., returned to work Thursday after a monthlong strike. Union members voted, 823-544, Wednesday in favor of the nearly five-year contract. The deal extends Boeing's last proposal by one year and reduces worker health-care contributions from the previous offer, which caused nearly all 1,700 unionized workers to walk out May 11.

- AP

FTC closes 'robocall' maker


Federal Trade Commission

says it has shut down a Los Angeles-area company that was the source of more than 370 million illegal "robocalls" over the last year, many of them familiar to consumers who got a recorded call from "Stacey at account holder services," or from someone claiming to know a car owner's warranty was about to expire. The FTC said its attorneys in Chicago got a federal court order putting

SBN Peripherals Inc.

under control of a receiver.

- Jeff Gelles