Business Briefs: Ryco of McKeesport settles lawsuit over use of foreign-produced steel public works projects

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Ryco settles suit

A McKeesport company has agreed to pay $429,000 to settle a lawsuit over its use of foreign-produced steel in public works projects, according to Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane. She sued Ryco and owners and officers last year, alleging that affiliates of the company violated state laws pertaining to the use of steel produced outside the United States. The lawsuit said the illegal steel was used in a number of projects including the Norwin School District, Indiana University of Pennsylvania and the Blairsville-Saltzburg School District.

Spending up in Nov.

Americans increased their spending in November by the most in five months, and their income edged up modestly. Consumer spending rose 0.5 percent from October, when spending had risen 0.4 percent, the Commerce Department said Monday. It was the best showing since June. The gain was driven by a jump in spending on long-lasting durable goods such as autos. Consumers' income rose 0.2 percent, an improvement from a 0.1 percent decline in October. Consumer spending is closely followed because it accounts for about 70 percent of economic activity.

Gas prices fall

Local gas prices fell for a second consecutive week, although it appears that trend may soon come to an end. Gas stations in Pittsburgh reported an average price of $3.38 per gallon Sunday, a drop of 0.4 cents from the previous week, according to a survey of local retailers from GasBuddy.com. But the national average climbed 2.2 cents to $3.23 per gallon, and while analysts don't predict a big hike, they believe prices have mostly bottomed out for the season.

Regulator watching closer

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Wall Street's self-funded overseer, proposed a trading-surveillance system to prevent brokers from overcharging their customers. The regulator is considering collecting trade and commission data automatically to help it spot suspicious activity, according to a statement on its website. Finra is gathering industry feedback on the proposal until February. Finra, which conducted more than 7,000 examinations of brokers last year and levied about $69 million in fines, said it's updating its regulatory system in an effort to stamp out overcharging, excessive trading and pump-and-dump schemes.

Jos. A Bank rejects offer

Jos. A. Bank is rejecting a takeover offer from competitor Men's Wearhouse, saying the $1.54 billion bid is too low. Jos. A. Bank Clothiers Inc. said Monday its board unanimously rejected the offer. The Hampstead, Md., company will continue to look into acquisition opportunities. Jos. A. Bank offered to buy its larger rival in September for $2.3 billion, or $48 per share. Men's Wearhouse turned down that offer, and then Men's Wearhouse offered to buy its rival for $1.54 billion. The deal valued Jos. A. Bank at $55 per share. A combination could create a menswear powerhouse of more than 1,700 outlets.

Also in business ...

The Pittsburgh Bartending School has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Court documents filed on Dec. 20 show the company, located in the West End, has between $50,000 and $100,000 in liabilities.


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