In the Region

Pa., N.J., Del. added 77,200 nonfarm workers in '06

Pennsylvania added 50,000 workers to nonfarm payrolls, seasonally adjusted, between December 2005 and December 2006, the U.S. Department of Labor said. New Jersey added 20,500, and Delaware's payrolls grew by 6,700. Seasonally adjusted, Delaware's unemployment rate dropped the fastest in the year, falling from 4.6 percent to 3.4 percent. New Jersey's dropped from 4.6 to 4.2 percent, and Pennsylvania's barely declined, from 4.7 percent to 4.6 percent, the U.S. Labor report said. Pennsylvania lost jobs in manufacturing, but gained them in every other sector, according to the report. New Jersey lost jobs in manufacturing, trade, transportation and utilities, but gained them in all other sectors, including financial activities, business services, government, education, and leisure and hospitality. Payrolls declined in financial activities in Delaware, but rose in all other categories. Delaware's changes in manufacturing were too small to note either way.

- Jane M. Von Bergen

Wolters Kluwer Health expands Allscripts alliance

Wolters Kluwer Health, Conshohocken, which provides medical and drug information services to physicians, announced an expansion of its alliance with a Chicago software provider. Under the agreement, Wolters Kluwer Health will work with Allscripts Healthcare Solutions Inc., a Chicago provider of clinical software, connectivity and information solutions that physicians use. Financial terms were not disclosed.

- Linda Loyd

RAIT Financial Trust offering adds 1.5 million shares

RAIT Financial Trust, a Philadelphia real estate investment trust, said that the underwriters of its public offering had exercised an over-allotment option for an additional 1.5 million shares, for a total of 11.5 million, and that the company's net proceeds from the sale would be $365.5 million, up from the original estimate announced Thursday of $317.5 million. The proceeds are scheduled for delivery today, the company said.

- Henry J. Holcomb

Bayer settles Baycol case with Pa., 29 other states

Pennsylvania and 29 other states have reached an $8 million settlement with Bayer Inc. over allegations that the drugmaker failed to adequately warn consumers about risks associated with a cholesterol-reducing drug. The company allegedly learned after introducing Baycol in the United States in February 1998 that the drug posed significantly greater health risks than other similar drugs, Pennsylvania Attorney General Tom Corbett said. Pennsylvania will receive $600,000; and Delaware, $200,000. New Jersey was not involved in the settlement.

- AP

Chrysler's CEO reviews Del. proposal to save plant

DaimlerChrysler AG's Chrysler chief executive officer, Tom LaSorda, said he reviewed an incentive proposal from Delaware designed to save one of the state's two auto-assembly plants. A decision on the Chrysler plant's future will be announced next month, LaSorda said. The plant, in Newark, makes the Dodge Durango and Chrysler Aspen sport-utility vehicles, and employs about 2,100 people.

- Bloomberg News

PPL to seek higher electricity-distribution rates

PPL Electric Utilities Corp. said it wanted to increase its electric rates in 2008. The Allentown company plans to ask the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission to approve higher distribution rates. PPL's electric-generation rate is set through 2009. PPL officials said that they were not ready to release an exact amount on the proposed increase, but that it would be less than the 7.1 percent increase of January 2005.

- Madhusmita Bora

Unisys in $110.5 million deal with Australia

Unisys Corp., Blue Bell, said it signed a four-year, $110.5 million deal with the Australian government to provide a range of computer services.

- AP


New passport rules cause few problems on first day

Few problems were reported yesterday, the first day new rules took effect requiring U.S. citizens and those from Bermuda, Canada and Mexico to have passports to fly into the United States from anywhere in the Western Hemisphere. U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials said most travelers who forgot about the new requirement were allowed to enter after receiving a warning and a passport application. But their names were entered into the agency's computer system, and they will be scrutinized if it happens again. Industry officials said they expected border agents to show leniency in enforcement of the passport rule for about 30 days.

- Tom Belden

Yahoo's 4th-quarter profit tops analysts' expectations

Yahoo Inc.'s fourth-quarter profit topped analyst expectations to end a recent streak of financial letdowns at the Internet bellwether. The company, based in Sunnyvale, Calif., said it earned $268.7 million, or 19 cents a share, during the final three months of 2006, traditionally the peak season for Web sites such as Yahoo that depend on advertising for most of their revenue. Its profit declined 61 percent, from $683.2 million, or 46 cents a share, at the same time in 2005. The two quarters did not provide an apples-to-apples comparison, because a onetime gain of $310 million boosted the 2005 results, while the 2006 figures included stock option expenses that were not recorded on Yahoo's books in the previous year.

- AP

Smaller UAL Corp. loss in 4th quarter, but shares fall

Eleven months after it left federal bankruptcy protection, the parent of United Airlines announced a narrowed fourth-quarter loss. But that was not enough to soothe angry investors, who sent the stock down after UAL Corp. fell far short of Wall Street expectations. The airline, which had to ground thousands of flights in December during a series of snowstorms, lost $61 million, or 55 cents a share, in the quarter ended Dec. 31. Revenue rose 5 percent, to $4.6 billion from $4.4 billion a year earlier, but still missed analysts' financial expectations. On average, analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial forecast a quarterly loss of 35 cents a share and revenue of $4.7 billion. Shares fell $3.94 to close at $44.81 on the Nasdaq.

- AP

Index of leading economic indicators inches higher

A gauge of future economic activity rose slightly in December as two of the economy's soft spots - the housing and job markets - showed signs of improvement, according to the Conference Board, New York, which said its index of leading economic indicators edged up 0.3 percent last month, suggesting that the economy may grow at a modest clip in the next several months.

- AP

US Airways CEO offers no sign on upping Delta bid

US Airways Group Inc. chief executive officer Doug Parker was noncommittal on whether his company would be willing to increase its bid to buy Delta Air Lines Inc. to appease Delta's creditors. "It's not a yes," Parker said when asked if US Airways would again increase its offer, now valued at $9.8 billion. But, he quickly added, "we're always willing to talk to people." Parker said Delta's official committee of unsecured creditors had not indicated that it wanted US Airways to offer more money.

- AP

CSX posts 46% rise in 4th-quarter earnings

Railroad operator CSX Corp. said it was expecting a double-digit increase in earnings this year after reporting its fourth-quarter profit rose 46 percent, due in part to pricing power and strength in shipments of coal and agricultural freight. The Jacksonville, Fla., company also reported an 8 percent yield improvement. CSX is part owner of Conrail, the Philadelphia freight railroad that CSX and Norfolk Southern Corp. divided up in 1999.

- AP