Business briefs

July 3, 2014 

Chamber plans July Leads Lunch

GULFPORT -- Members of the Mississippi Gulf Coast Chamber of Commerce can participate in the Leads Lunch at 11:30 a.m. July 11 at the Knight Nonprofit Center, Seaway Road.

Participation is limited to one person per specific business category. The cost is $20.

Details: 604-0014 or

PetSmart surges after being targeted by activist

NEW YORK -- PetSmart shares surged after hedge fund Jana Partners disclosed an activist stake in the pet-care company and urged it to undertake a strategic review, including a potential sale.

Jana, the $10 billion firm run by Barry Rosenstein that's known for pushing corporate managements to make changes, acquired about 9.9 percent of Phoenix-based PetSmart in stock and options, according to a regulatory filing Thursday, and "expects to have discussions" with management, the board and other investors.

Shares of PetSmart surged 13 percent to $67.28 at the close in New York.

Vegas hotels get overhauls in sign of upswing

LAS VEGAS -- Two major resorts here are set to be overhauled and rebranded, another sign the entertainment capital is emerging from its recession doldrums.

Caesars Entertainment announced Tuesday it's investing $223 million to overhaul The Quad, an aging 2,256-room hotel on the Strip, and will rename it the LINQ Hotel & Casino effective Oct. 30.

Timeshare company Westgate Resorts said it has purchased the LVH, formerly was known as the Las Vegas Hilton, which hosted more than 800 Elvis Presley concerts in the 1970s. The property, about a block east of the Strip, will be renamed Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino and 200 of the nearly 3,000 rooms and suites will be converted to timeshare villas.

Average rate dips on 30-year mortgages

WASHINGTON -- Average U.S. mortgage rates are near historically low levels.

According to mortgage company Freddie Mac, the nationwide average rate for a 30-year loan dipped to 4.12 percent, down from 4.14 last week. The average for the 15-year mortgage, which had taken a big dip the previous week, was unchanged this week at 3.22 percent. Rates on one-year adjustable mortgages averaged 2.38 percent this week, down from 2.40 percent last week.

Mortgage rates are slightly lower than they were at the same time last year, having fallen recently after climbing last summer when the Federal Reserve began talking about trimming back the monthly bond purchases it has been using to keep long-term rates low.

-- Staff, wire reports

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