Business news briefs: Local gas prices follow national trend, decline

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Average gas prices in Pittsburgh fell 0.6 cents per gallon last week, matching a national trend where gas prices have remained relatively stagnant. The average price for a gallon of gas in Pittsburgh was $3.51 locally, according to a survey of 731 area stations by GasBuddy.com. Nationally, prices were unmoved at $3.27, but prices could start climbing in the next few weeks as refineries start early preparations for their summer gas blends.

After sale of Downtown HQ, regional Red Cross to move

The American Red Cross of Southwestern Pennsylvania has sold its Downtown headquarters for $1.67 million. The sale, which closed last week, clears the way for the Red Cross to move its offices to a building it owns at 2767 Liberty Ave. in the Strip District, where there is more parking space for the agency's response vehicles and for its volunteers. Lauren Ashley, a Red Cross spokeswoman, said the agency hopes to make the move by June. Representatives for the buyer, 201 Ninth Street Associates LP, could not be reached for comment.

EDMC reports inquiries from 12 states

Downtown-based Education Management Corp. filed a notice with the Securities and Exchange Commission that it received inquiries from 12 states regarding the company's business practices, including student recruitment, job placement statistics for graduates and student loans. The Pennsylvania Attorney General told the company it will be the point of contact for all of the states. Career Education Corp. in Schaumburg, Ill., received similar inquiries.

Home sales climb in 2013 despite lackluster December

U.S. sales of new homes fell in December, but sales for all of 2013 climbed to the highest level in five years. Sales of new homes dropped 7 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 414,000, the Commerce Department reported Monday. For the whole year, sales were up 16.4 percent to 428,000, the highest level since 2008. The median price of a new home was $270,200 in December, up 4.6 percent from a year ago. Analysts expect housing will keep recovering in 2014 but they don't look for the sales gains to be as large as they were in 2013.

Brazilian nationals face charges over insider case

Criminal charges have been filed in a New York City court against two Brazilian nationals who allegedly traded on inside information before private equity firm 3G Capital Partners acquired Miami fast-food chain Burger King in 2010. The charges accuse Waldyr Prado, a former financial adviser at a large U.S. brokerage firm, and Igor Cornelsen, director of a British Virgin Islands investment company, with securities fraud. Earlier this month, the Securities and Exchange Commission announced it had won a judgment ordering Mr. Prado to pay back his gains and penalties of more than $5 million.

NHTSA launches probe over brake failures

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is investigating complaints that power-assisted brakes can fail in Toyota Camry gas-electric hybrids from the 2007 and 2008 model years. Toyota spokesman John Hanson said the company is cooperating with the investigation.

AT&T says no intention to initiate bid on Vodafone

AT&T says it does not intend to make an offer soon for British cell phone company Vodafone. The announcement means AT&T is restricted from initiating a bid on Vodafone in the next six months, according to British takeover rules. But the Dallas company can respond to an offer initiated by Vodafone, or it can make a bid in response to an offer from another company.

Nonprofit survey shows no push to hire more workers

Businesses expect their companies to perform better this year, but that optimism still isn't translating into a push to hire more workers, according to a new survey released Monday from the National Association for Business Economics.


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