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Business news in brief

A roadside vendor in Bangladesh wears sunglasses to attract customers to his shop in the capital city of Dhaka. AP
A roadside vendor in Bangladesh wears sunglasses to attract customers to his shop in the capital city of Dhaka. APRead more

In the Region

Lenfest funds tech training

Philadelphia Opportunities Industrialization Center has launched a program with a $150,000 grant from the Lenfest Foundation to train older teens and young adults for Web development and information technology jobs, the city-based nonprofit OIC said Monday. There are an estimated 14,000 unfilled information technology jobs in the Philadelphia area, the group said in a statement. The core part of the program is a 12-week boot camp to teach participants HTML and other Web protocol. Participants will be recruited from the Parkway Center City High School. H.F. "Gerry" Lenfest owns Philadelphia Media Network, parent company of The Inquirer, the Philadelphia Daily News, and - Bob Fernandez

AIG unit sells S.J. complexes

American International Group's real estate affiliate has sold a 12-property apartment portfolio, which includes five South Jersey developments, for about $165.4 million, according to real estate services firm HFF Inc., which helped broker the sale. The properties include the Woodlane development in Burlington County; the Willows, Chateau Ridge and Fox Ridge communities in Camden County; and the Woodbury apartments in Gloucester County, HFF said. Also included are properties in Essex County, N.J.; Dauphin, Lancaster and Lehigh Counties, Pa.; and New Castle County, Del., - Jacob Adelman

Gigabit Xfinity advances

Comcast Corp. says it has delivered gigabit-speed Internet to a home in the Philadelphia area, taking one step closer to bringing the developmental super-fast speeds to customers. The company says that by the end of 2016 it expects to offer the speeds to residential customers. A gigabit is 1,000 megabits a second. - Bob Fernandez

Coal down but still river king

Coal shipments on the Monongahela, Ohio and Allegheny Rivers have fallen 22 percent over the last decade to about 21 million tons in 2014. But it remains the major commodity shipped on the three rivers in the Pittsburgh area, accounting for 70 percent of the barge shipments, according to the Port of Pittsburgh Commission. - Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Dorman CEO signs job contract

Dorman Products Inc., the Colmar supplier of automotive parts and hardware, reached a three-year employment deal with CEO Mathias J. Barton. He will earn $600,000 a year in base salary and other compensation, according to the company's filing on Monday with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Dorman also entered into an employment contract with Steven Berman, who will serve as executive chairman through March 31, 2019, with a base salary of $360,000 a year. - Bob Fernandez


Chesapeake tanked in '15

Chesapeake Energy Corp. is having its worst year since 1998 after halting dividend payouts, slashing drilling budgets, and cutting one of every six employees failed to rescue the energy explorer from the deepest gas-market rout in 16 years. Chesapeake, based in Oklahoma City, lost 79 percent of its market value this year, on pace for 2015's weakest performance in the Standard & Poor's 500 Index. CEO Doug Lawler may be running out of options to revive Chesapeake's fortunes less than three years after activist investors led by Carl Icahn handpicked him to replace deposed co-founder and CEO Aubrey McClendon. - Bloomberg News

Weather boosts lobster haul

New England lobster fishing has continued deep into December because of unseasonably balmy weather and an abundance of the clawed critters. The extra fishing hasn't done much to change the price of lobsters, which are selling in the range of $8 to $10 a pound in Maine, typical for this time of year. But some lobster fishers in Maine, the biggest lobster-producing state, also fish for scallops and haven't made the transition to the winter scalloping. As a result, Maine scallops - which usually cost about $20 a pound - have been slightly more expensive, sometimes selling in the $25-a-pound range, and some retailers are low on supply. - Associated Press

McMuffin fattens chain's sales

McDonald's Corp.'s decision this fall to offer breakfast items all day in the U.S. market is one reason the fast-food giant is ending 2015 on a notable upswing after starting the year in a deep slump. Under the guidance of Steve Easterbrook, who took over as McDonald's chief executive in March, the chain's U.S. comparable-store sales - that is, sales at restaurants open at least one year - are rising again from year-earlier levels for the first time since 2013. McDonald's stock has soared about 25 percent since late August to record highs, making it one of the top-performing stocks in the Dow Jones industrial average this year. - Los Angeles Times