Business news briefs: Alcoa, Phinergy make deal

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Alcoa has signed an agreement with Phinergy to help the Israeli company further develop its electric vehicle battery. The battery, which also can be used in generators and other applications, uses air and water to release energy stored in aluminum. Alcoa's research will be done at its Technical Center in Westmoreland County.

Macy's job cuts are underway

Macy's is eliminating 32 positions in its Downtown location, as part of organizational changes by the Cincinnati-based retailer. The company last month notified state and local officials of the planned job cuts, which involve management and administrative jobs, according to the state Department of Labor and Industry. Although the notice said 69 jobs were affected, a company spokesman said several positions are being combined and a total of 32 positions will be cut.

Car-sharing firm comes here

Car-sharing company Lyft, which pairs passengers and drivers using their own vehicles via a smartphone app, is coming to Pittsburgh. The San Francisco-based company will hold a launch party at Clear Story on the South Side from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Friday.

Rue21 launches swimwear line

Just in time for spring break, Cranberry-based teen clothing retailer rue21 is launching a swimwear line. The value-priced chain, which has more than 1,000 stores nationally, says the swimwear line, to be called rueblue by rue21, will be priced from $14.99 to $19.99.

Banks get top security grades

Banks are doing much better than retailers at credit card security, a review of Pittsburgh-based PNC Bank and 23 of the other top credit card issuers in the country found. The report, by Javelin Strategy & Research, ranked Bank of America as best in class for the seventh straight year. In individual categories, USAA earned the top spot for fraud prevention, while Wells Fargo was tops in detection. PNC placed in the top five for resolution, which was led by Associated Bank and SunTrust. Issuers in the resolution category earned high marks for prompt reversal of fraudulent charges and follow-up care from customer service. For more on the report visit www.javelinstrategy.com.

Earnings

• Universal Stainless & Alloy Products reported a fourth-quarter loss of $2.9 million, or 41 cents per share, on sales of $40.3 million. In the year-ago quarter, the company earned $1.1 million, or 16 cents per share, on sales of $47.2 million. The results included a tax-related charge that reduced results by 14 cents per share. For all of 2013, Universal Stainless lost $4.1 million, or 58 cents per share, vs. earnings of $14.6 million, or $2.02 per share, in 2012. Sales fell 28 percent to $180.8 million.

• Education Management Corp. reported third-quarter net income of $1.1 million, or 1 cent per diluted share, vs. net income of $31.1 million, or 25 cents per diluted share, in the same quarter a year ago. The Downtown for-profit educator that operates Art Institutes reported the average enrolled student body was approximately 122,990, a 6.5 percent decline from 131,480 in the prior year quarter.

• GlaxoSmithKline says fourth-quarter earnings nearly tripled and sales rose 5 percent. Net income rose to 2.5 billion pounds ($4.1 billion) from 848 million pounds a year earlier, thanks partly to profits on the sale of some businesses.

Agency pushes union rules

The National Labor Relations Board proposed rules Wednesday that would allow unions to hold workplace elections more quickly by simplifying procedures, setting shorter deadlines and requiring businesses to hand over lists of employee phone numbers and emails to union leaders. The board approved similar rules more than two years ago, but business groups challenged them in court and a federal judge ruled in 2012 that the NLRB failed to follow proper voting procedures.

Purchasing managers index up

The Institute for Supply Management, a trade group of purchasing managers, said Wednesday that its service-sector index rose to 54 in January from 53 in December. Any reading above 50 indicates expansion.

AB InBev acquiring Blue Point

Anheuser Busch InBev's U.S. arm is buying Patchogue, N.Y., craft brewer Blue Point Brewing Co. Financial terms were not disclosed. Blue Point makes more than 40 craft beers, including Toasted Lager and Hoptical Illusion. The deal is expected to close early in the second quarter.


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