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Business news in brief

In the Region

Comcast to list contributions

Comcast Corp. said it would disclose on its website political contributions to federal, state, and local candidates, political parties, political committees, and tax-exempt organizations, under an agreement with New York state Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli. Comcast agreed after DiNapoli filed a shareholder resolution as a trustee of the New York State Common Retirement Fund. Comcast spokesman John Demming said Philadelphia-based Comcast's transparency on political contributions will now be "best in class." The disclosures will begin with 2014 political contributions. - Bob Fernandez

Pep Boys shares drop

Shares of auto service and parts chain Pep Boys - Manny, Moe & Jack fell 14.7 percent, or $1.76, to $10.21 a day after the Philadelphia-based retailer said it narrowed a fourth-quarter loss to $3.3 million, or six cents per share, from $14.5 million, or 27 cents per share, a year earlier, but added that declining tire prices hurt sales. Revenue for the quarter that ended Feb. 1 was $495.7 million, compared with $530.8 million for the year-ago period, though the company said the earlier quarter included an extra week of results. Excluding the extra week, sales at stores open at least a year were down 2.4 percent, the company said. - Reid Kanaley

IPO launch for FS Investment

FS Investment Corp., the $4.5 billion, Philadelphia-based investment company that buys high-interest-rate debt, run by investors Michael Forman's and David Adelson's Franklin Square Capital Partners, will send Forman to ring the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange on Wednesday to mark the company's initial public stock offering, under the ticker symbol "FSIC." FSIC has until now traded as a closed-end fund, through brokers and advisers charging up-front and management fees. - Joseph N. DiStefano

Local tie in bank acquisition

Patriot Financial Partners L.P., part of Ira Lubert's Philadelphia-based investment empire, is also part of a group, RKJS Bank, that agreed to buy Baltimore's First Mariner Bank out of bankruptcy for $17.9 million. First Mariner had more than $1 billion in assets at the end of December, but has been hobbled by bad loans. National Penn Bancshares Inc., of Allentown, had emerged as the winner of an auction Thursday, but withdrew its bid when the auction was reopened this week. - Harold Brubaker

Marlton bank to raise $5M

Liberty Bell Bank, of Marlton, said it planned to sell up to $5 million worth of shares for $1 each to help it meet capital requirements under an agreement reached in November with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Kenneth R. Lehman, an investor who specializes in community banks and already is Liberty Bell's largest shareholder, with a 16.95 percent stake, has agreed to buy up to 2.9 million shares. Lehman also plans to join Liberty Bell's board. Liberty Bell, which had $110 million in loans and $147 million in deposits at the end of last year, has lost a total of $6.4 million over last two years. The planned stock offering must be approved by the New Jersey Division of Banking and Insurance. - Harold Brubaker

J&J profit up 8 percent

A turnaround in Johnson & Johnson's prescription medicine business fueled by new drugs, combined with reduced production and administration expenses, lifted first-quarter profit by 8 percent. The world's biggest maker of health care products beat Wall Street expectations and raised its earnings outlook. The maker of Band-Aids and biologic drugs said net income was $4.73 billion, or $1.64 per share, up from $3.5 billion, or $1.22 per share, a year earlier. Excluding one-time items, income was $4.43 billion, or $1.54 per share. Analysts expected $1.48. The New Brunswick, N.J., company said revenue totaled $18.12 billion, up 3.5 percent. Analysts expected $18.04 billion. Shares rose $2.06, or 2.1 percent, to $99.20. - AP


Stocks rise after early losses

Stocks managed a late-afternoon rebound for the second time in two days as investors seemed to brush off a report of lower confidence among homebuilders and simmering tensions in Ukraine. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 12.37 points, or 0.68 percent, to 1,842.98. All ten industry sectors in the S&P 500 increased, led by utilities. The Dow Jones industrial average added 89.32 points, or 0.55 percent, to 16,262.56. The Nasdaq composite rose 11.47 points, or 0.29 percent, to 4,034.16. In government bond trading, the yield on the 10-year Treasury note slipped to 2.63 percent from 2.65 percent late Monday. - AP

Alibaba stake boosts Yahoo

Yahoo Inc. reported sales growth for the first time in a year and forecast further gains, as CEO Marissa Mayer continues to benefit from the company's stake in Alibaba Group Holdings Ltd. Yahoo shares soared as much as 10 percent in extended trading after the company reported first-quarter earnings, which included strong results from Alibaba. Yahoo's financials contain Alibaba results because the Web portal owns about 24 percent of the Chinese e-commerce company. Alibaba posted a 66 percent sales surge in the final quarter of 2013, ahead of a potential U.S. initial public offering. - Bloomberg News