Archive: December, 2011
Believe it or not, Friday is a work day for many.
It may not feel like it with less congested commutes and shorter lines at the office water cooler. Those who do punch the clock on this day before Christmas Eve may in fact leave a tad early. (Should we expect a dip in the productivity numbers for December?)
But if they stop by the Macy's in the Cherry Hill Mall or Toys R Us stores on their way home, they'll encounter workforces in the midst of a nonstop retailathon. It's the second straight year nearly all Toys R Us stores are open 24 hours (until 10 p.m. Christmas Eve).
Some good news for the U.S. job market.
Weekly jobless claims moved down again to 364,000 from last week's revised 368,000, according to the Labor Department. A better indicator of the trend is the four-week moving average which was 380,250 for the week ended Dec. 17.
But while fewer people are filing initial claims for unemployment compensation, hiring remains muted.
Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, which has its North American headquarters in North Wales, has grown greatly by acquisition over the years.
It acquired Frazer's Cephalon and Japan's Taiyo in 2011 and Germany's ratiopharm in 2010.
Now Teva plans to acquire its own shares. The board of the Jerusalem-based company said it plans to buy back up to $3 billion of its ordinary shares and American depositary receipts over the next three years. Teva said the purchase would amount to 8 percent of its outstanding stock.
AstraZeneca P.L.C., which has major operations in northern Delaware, announced setbacks on a treatment for ovarian cancer and another drug to treat patients with major depressive disorder.
The company said it will not conduct Phase III clinical trials for olaparib, the cancer drug. Also, Phase III study results for TC-5214 showed the drug failed to meet the primary end point set by researchers.
As a result, AstraZeneca will take pre-tax impairment charges totaling $381.5 million in the fourth quarter. It said that will have a 21-cent "negative impact" on the company's "core" earnings per share in Q4, although AstraZeneca left its guidance unchanged at $7.20 to $7.40 per share.
Shares of Kensey Nash Corp. were down as much as 21 percent Friday morning after the medical device maker said it would enter mediation over a long-running dispute involving royalty payments.
The Exton company has been squabbling with the much bigger St. Jude Medical Inc. over how much Kensey Nash has received from sales of a product called Angio-Seal. That device is used to close wounds after heart-artery surgery.
St. Jude acquired the rights to the Kensey Nash-developed product in 1999.
This probably won't be billboard material for Occupy Wall Street, but compensation rose in 2,480 counties in the United States between 2010 and 2009, while it declined in 633.
The federal Bureau of Economic Analysis ranks the more than 3,100 counties in terms of total compensation, which is defined as salary and benefits. For example, just 5 percent of those counties have at least $10 billion in total comp.
In the Philadelphia region, eight of the nine counties meet that threshold. The City of Philadelphia (which is a county) stands at the top in terms of total comp with $46.0 billion. At the other end is Gloucester County with $5.5 billion.
Statistics involving the U.S. economy have generally painted a brighter picture lately, and Thursday's report on weekly jobless claims uses the same palette.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics said initial claims for the week ended Dec. 10 were 366,000, down 19,000 from the previous week's revised stat. A better gauge is the four-week moving average, which was 387,750.
With both national figures below 400,000 as the year comes to a close, might we hope for a 2012 job market that begins to lower the unemployment rate? It can't hurt, but many of the forecasters see the unemployment rate winding up 2012 about where it was in November --at 8.6 percent.
As Charming Shoppes shops its Fashion Bug chain, it made a move to retain the executive who runs that division.
The Bensalem retailer has promised a retention bonus of $125,000 to MaryEllen MacDowell if she stays at Fashion Bug either through the closing of a sale or April 1 -- whichever comes first.
Oh, but there's more, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.