In the Region
Casey seeks rail inspectors
U.S. Sen. Robert P. Casey (D., Pa.) asked the Obama administration Thursday to hire more railroad bridge inspectors because of growing concerns about the transportation of crude oil by freight trains. Railroad companies are responsible for inspecting and maintaining their bridges, with oversight by the Federal Railroad Administration and the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission. The FRA has one bridge inspector for Pennsylvania's 919 rail bridges, including 261 in the five-county Philadelphia region. In a letter to the FRA's acting administrator, Sarah Feinberg, Casey said he would help get additional funding for inspectors "to make sure these bridges are safe for railroad employees, passengers and surrounding communities." - Paul Nussbaum
Quaker Chemical buys firm
Quaker Chemical Corp., of Conshohocken, said that it paid $32.4 million to acquire Verkol S.A., a specialty grease and lubricants manufacturer in Spain. Verkol had $33 million in revenue last year. Quaker, which also makes lubricants and other processing fluids used mainly in metal-processing industries, such as can manufacturing and die casting, had $766 million in 2014 revenue. Verkol employs 64 people. Quaker employed nearly 2,000 at the end of last year. - Harold Brubaker
UHS hikes earnings target
Universal Health Services Inc., a King of Prussia company that owns 24 acute-care hospitals and 202 mental-health facilities nationwide, boosted its full-year earnings-per-share target by 9 percent because of strong trends in the first half of the year, the company said. The new target range is $6.75 to $7.15 per share, up from $6.15 to $6.55 per share. Universal's second-quarter revenue was $2.28 billion, up 11 percent from $2.05 billion in the same period a year ago. Its net income was $201 million, up 21 percent from $167 million. - Harold Brubaker
Trading fraud crackdown asked
The Obama administration asked the Supreme Court to reinstate securities fraud convictions against two hedge-fund portfolio managers, saying a federal appeals court ruling in the financiers' favor makes it harder to prosecute insider trading. The justices should reverse the December ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in New York and reinstate the convictions of Anthony Chiasson, of New York, and Todd Newman, of Massachusetts, Solicitor General Donald Verrilli Jr. said in his Supreme Court filing. Chiasson cofounded Greenwich, Conn.-based Level Global Investors. He had been sentenced to 61/2 years in prison, and ordered to pay a $5 million fine and forfeit $1.38 million. Newman worked for Stamford, Conn.-based Diamondback Capital Management. He had received 41/2 years, and was fined $1 million and ordered to forfeit $737,724. The former portfolio managers were convicted in December 2012. The Supreme Court will not decide whether to hear the case before fall.
- Associated Press
Google balks at French order
Google Inc. pushed back against France's data privacy authority for ordering the search engine giant to extend the "right to be forgotten" to its websites globally. France's data protection authority, CNIL, should withdraw its ultimatum threatening Google with fines unless it delists requested links across its network, Google said in a blog post. "We respectfully disagree with the CNIL's assertion of global authority on this issue," Peter Fleischer, Google's global privacy counsel, said in the post. The French regulator's order from last month "is a troubling development that risks serious chilling effects on the Web."
- Bloomberg News
Fiat Chrysler boosts profit
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles said that it earned a profit of $364 million during the second quarter despite an $88.5 million onetime charge to cover the cost of a payment to the federal government. The charge was a result of a consent agreement the automaker signed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration last week to settle recall issues. The quarterly profit was still a 69 percent increase over the $215 million during the same period last year. The automaker's profit equated to 21 cents per share, beating the expectations of analysts, who expected the automaker to earn 19 cents per share for the quarter, according to the average estimate by MarketWatch.
- Detroit Free Press
Big win for World Wrestling
World Wrestling Entertainment Inc. soared more than 24 percent, the most ever, after second-quarter results beat analysts' estimates. WWE rose 17 percent to $19.36 at 4 p.m. in New York after reaching $20.50 intraday to mark the biggest gain since the company first sold stock to the public in October 1999. Profit growth was driven primarily by the expansion of WWE Network subscribers, chief strategy and financial officer George Barrios said in a statement. The number of total subscribers in the second quarter reached more than 1.2 million, up 75 percent from a year earlier.
- Bloomberg News
Expedia Inc. rose as much as 8.9 percent after second-quarter sales and profit topped analysts' estimates for the travel-services website. Expedia reported profit, excluding certain items, of 89 cents a share, compared with the 85-cent average of analysts' estimates. Revenue increased 11 percent to $1.66 billion, beating the $1.65 billion average of analysts' estimates compiled by Bloomberg. In May, Expedia sold its stake in a Chinese online travel company. Gross bookings increased 20 percent and room night growth gained 35 percent. Expedia shares jumped as high as $117.20 in extended trading after rising less than 1 percent to close at $107.61 in New York.
- Bloomberg News