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In brief

Air Products profit slips

Air Products & Chemicals Inc., which supplies oxygen and other gases to the industrial and medical sectors, saw its fiscal second-quarter profit drop 36 percent as the continued decline in the global manufacturing industry cut into its sales.

For the quarter ended March 31, Air Products earned $205.6 million, or 97 cents per share, down from $314.3 million, or $1.43 per share, in the same quarter last year.

Sales fell 23 percent to $1.96 billion from $2.54 billion.

Air Products, which in December said it employed 158 people at its Hanover Township facility, attributed the drop in sales to weaker volumes, unfavorable currency exchange and lower natural gas and raw material cost passthrough.

CHS exec rated tops

Wayne Smith, chief executive officer of Community Health Systems Inc., was named the top health care facility CEO by Institutional Investor in the magazine’s seventh annual ranking of leaders of publicly traded companies. The rankings are determined from survey responses by stock analysts, portfolio managers and other investment professionals.

Community Health Systems is expected to close its purchase of Wyoming Valley Health Care System at the end of April.

Apple earnings a surprise

Strong sales of the iPhone helped Apple Inc. lift its quarterly profit 15 percent, well ahead of Wall Street’s expectations Wednesday despite the global economic downturn.

For the three months ended March 28, Apple’s fiscal second-quarter earnings rose to $1.21 billion, $1.33 per share. In the same period last year Apple earned $1.05 billion, or $1.16 per share.

Sales increased 9 percent to $8.16 billion, topping analyst expectations for $7.96 billion.

Travel brokers drop fees

Airline booking fees charged by Travelocity, Orbitz and Expedia are on vacation through May.

The fees generally run around $7 per transaction — just enough to send many travelers to airline Web sites. But in April, first Expedia (the biggest online travel agent) and then Travelocity and Orbitz suspended airline booking fees on tickets bought through May 31. Priceline.com had already dropped airline booking fees almost two years earlier.

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