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Business news in brief

Jacqueline Larma / Associated Press file

In the Region

Comcast exec in top 10 for pay

A survey of chief executive officer pay commissioned by the Associated Press lists Brian Roberts, head of Philadelphia-based Comcast Corp., as the sixth-highest-paid chief executive in 2012. The survey by research firm Equilar Inc. of regulatory filings for 323 CEOs of S&P 500 companies said Roberts earned $29.1 million, up 8 percent from the prior year. The list was topped by Leslie Moonves at CBS Corp. with $60.3 million. The median pay for all the CEOs in 2012 was $9.7 million, according to the survey. - AP

Cigna in claim settlement

The Pennsylvania Insurance Department announced a settlement with Cigna Corp. that will require three Cigna subsidiaries to reevaluate certain disability claims. State examinations showed the subsidiaries "were lax and not using available information to appropriately process disability income insurance claims," Insurance Commissioner Michael Consedine said in a statement. The companies have set aside a $48 million reserve to cover possible additional payments for closed claims and $29 million for open claims, the Insurance Department said. "This regulatory settlement agreement grew out of a normal cycle of review by state regulators," Cigna spokeswoman Amy Turkington said. "As part of the settlement, we are voluntarily agreeing to review an isolated subset of past long-term disability claim files from 2009 and 2010 (also from 2008 in California only) under updated standards," she said. Three other states participating in the settlement were Connecticut, Maine, and Massachusetts. - Harold Brubaker

Meeting on forest drilling set

Pennsylvania conservation officials will hold a public meeting June 3 in Williamsport on Marcellus Shale drilling plans in Loyalsock State Forest, a recreation area in Lycoming County. Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary Richard Allan, who initially resisted pressure to hold a public meeting on the Loyalsock drilling plans, announced that the meeting would be from 4 to 6 p.m. June 3 in Wendle Hall at Lycoming College. Activists are pressuring the state to restrict drilling on 17,000 acres in the state forest where the state does not own the mineral rights, but controls the surface access because of an unusual deed restriction. More information on the department's meeting is at - Andrew Maykuth

Nursing school to close

The Philadelphia-based NewCourtland School of Practical Nursing, which opened in 2010, will close after it graduates its final class in July, the nonprofit operator said. The nonprofit had built, staffed and fitted out the school partly to recruit LPNs for its former network of seven Philadelphia-area nursing homes. Soon after opening, NewCourtland reduced its need for LPNs when it sold five of the homes to MidAtlantic Health Care and transferred the sixth, in West Philadelphia, to operator Tryko Partners. It does not need as many LPNs for those facilities. - Joseph N. DiStefano


Tesla pays off U.S. loan

Tesla Motors, which makes a highly acclaimed $70,000 electric car, has paid off a start-up loan from the U.S. government nine years early. The Palo Alto, Calif., company said it wired a $451.8 million payment to the government on Wednesday. The money paid off a $465 million loan Tesla got from the Department of Energy in 2010 to foster development of advanced-technology vehicles. The repayment is good for Tesla's image because the company no longer owes taxpayers money. And the government quickly touted the payment as an example of a success from an Energy Department loan program used to start clean-energy companies. The $34 billion loan portfolio has seen several high-profile defaults, including solar panel maker Solyndra, plus a potential default by electric-car maker Fisker Automotive. - AP

Home sales edge up

Sales of previously occupied U.S. homes edged up in April to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.97 million in April, the highest level in 31/2 years. That is up from 4.94 million in March, according to the National Association of Realtors. The number of homes for sale rose 12 percent in April from March to 2.16 million. The increase partly reflects the beginning of the spring selling season. Prices are up too. More Americans are interested in purchasing homes: buyer traffic has risen 31 percent in the last year, the Realtors' group said. The median price of a home for sale jumped 11 percent last month from April 2012 to $192,800. That's the highest in nearly five years. - AP

Penney loan bigger than expected

J.C. Penney Co. said it secured a $2.25 billion loan, $500 million more than it had expected. The Plano, Texas-based retailer has been burning through cash and struggling to win back customers. The company last month fired its CEO, Ron Johnson, after his ambitious turnaround plan backfired and caused sales to plummet. Penney brought back Johnson's predecessor, Mike Ullman, to take over the top spot. Proceeds from loan will be used to fund the company's operations and pay off some debt, Penney said. - AP

Target earnings down 29%

Discount retailer Target Corp. said first-quarter earnings fell 29 percent and cut its forecast for profit this year as higher taxes and cooler temperatures hampered sales. Net income in the quarter ended May 4 dropped to $498 million, or 77 cents a share, from $697 million, or $1.04, a year earlier, the Minneapolis-based company said. Analysts projected 84 cents, according to Bloomberg. Sales rose 1 percent to $16.7 billion, trailing the $16.8 billion average estimate. Shares closed down $2.86, or 4 percent, at $68.40. - Bloomberg News