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BUSINESS IN BRIEF

Buck-A-Book chain to close all five locations in Mass.

The Buck-A-Book chain of book and gift stores is closing its five Massachusetts locations and plans to lay off most of its nearly 125 employees. Buck-A-Book's Quincy store closed Friday, and stores in Dedham, Saugus, Bourne, and at Boston's Downtown Crossing are expected to close in coming weeks after liquidation sales are completed. Most of the nearly 125 full- and part-time employees at the stores and the company's Dighton headquarters will be laid off. The cuts are the latest round of closures since the 15-year-old company sought bankruptcy protection in 2001 and later emerged from Chapter 11. Buck-A-Book once had as many as 30 stores. (AP)

Lung cancer test designed to help decide treatment

Genzyme Corp. will market a test designed to help predict which lung cancer patients may respond best to some therapies. Genentech Inc.'s Tarceva and AstraZeneca PLC's Iressa effectively treat about 20 percent of patients with nonsmall cell lung cancer, the most deadly form, studies show. The trick is to identify ahead of time which patient may be helped. The $975 test examines the genetics of tumors removed for biopsy for mutations that make them susceptible to treatment, Cambridge-based Genzyme said. The results may also help Genentech and AstraZeneca win regulatory approval for use of their drugs as initial therapies. They currently are approved for use only after other drugs fail. (Bloomberg)

Natural gas distributor in Spanish ad campaign

Natural gas distributor KeySpan said it is launching a bilingual marketing campaign targeted at Hispanic customers. The campaign, which was created in conjunction with Argus, a Boston marketing agency, will focus on persuading Hispanic customers to convert to natural gas heating systems. It will include both print and broadcast advertising in Spanish-language media. Bilingual direct mail brochures offering special financing incentives for current gas customers also will be featured. KeySpan, the largest natural gas distributor in the Northeast, said the push to connect with the Hispanic market will extend beyond advertising and current bilingual efforts in customer service operations. The company also will begin offering the option of having Spanish-speaking contractors complete work for customers opting to convert to natural gas heating systems. KeySpan's campaign follows a similar effort this year aimed at Chinese-speaking customers. (Nathan Hurst)

Daily Hampshire Gazette sold to N.H. publisher

The Daily Hampshire Gazette, the oldest continually published newspaper in Massachusetts, is being sold to the Concord, N.H.-based Newspapers of New England. The sale was revealed by Gazette publisher Peter DeRose, whose family has owned the newspaper since 1929. The purchase price was not disclosed. The transaction, which is expected to be completed by January, also includes the sale of the weekly Amherst Bulletin, the Gazette's smaller sister paper. The privately owned Newspapers of New England publishes the Concord Monitor in New Hampshire. It also owns the Recorder in Greenfield, Mass., about 20 miles north of the Gazette's Northampton newsroom. (AP)

Berkshire Partners teams to acquire Party City

Buyout firms Berkshire Partners LLC and Weston Presidio agreed to acquire Party City Corp., the largest US party supply retailer, for about $360 million. The firms will pay $17.50 for each share, 43 percent more than its closing price Monday. The transaction includes the cost of employee stock options and warrants, the companies said. Boston-based Berkshire Partners, with capital under management of $3.5 billion, and Weston Presidio, with about $3.3 billion, expect to close the acquisition by the start of next year. (Bloomberg)

Shoemaker's net income rises 24 in 3d quarter

Stride Rite Corp.'s fiscal third-quarter profit rose 24 percent on improved sales, and the company expects fourth-quarter earnings to be reduced by the $170-million acquisition of Saucony. Lexington-based Stride Rite said third-quarter net income rose to $7.7 million, or 21 cents a share, from $6.2 million, or 16 cents a share, a year earlier. Third-quarter sales rose 4 percent to $146.2 million from $140.4 million. (Dow Jones)

THE NATION
Greenspan: Bursting asset bubbles inevitable

Asset bubbles fueled by ''market exuberance" invariably burst and policy makers cannot safely pierce them, Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan said in what some economists took as a warning to bond market and housing speculators. In a speech in Chicago he again defended the Fed's decision not to deflate the late-1990s stock market bubble and said a successful monetary policy can fall victim to its success by reducing economic volatility that then fosters greater risk-taking. (Reuters)

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