Business Briefs: 6/5/14

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Nova Chemical Corp.’s debt outlook improves

Fitch Ratings revised the outlook on Nova Chemical Corp.’s $861 million in debt to positive from stable. Fitch said the improvement is based on higher earnings margins that resulted in part from upgrades made to plants in Canada, and because the company is sourcing ethane directly from the Marcellus and Williston shale basins. Nova, which has an executive center in Moon and a plant in Beaver County, makes specialty chemicals and plastics used in consumer and industrial packaging.  

McKees Rocks lounge ordered to close

Craig’s Cocktails on Chartiers Avenue in McKees Rocks was ordered to close this week by the Allegheny County Health Department for failure to allow access for an inspection.

Shareholders OK American Eagle compensation plan

American Eagle Outfitters shareholders voted to approve the South Side company’s compensation plan for executive officers at its annual meeting held in New York last week, according to a regulatory filing. In addition, three directors were elected to new terms — interim CEO Jay L. Schottenstein; Roger S. Markfield, chief creative officer; and Michael G. Jesselson, head of a New York private investment corporation. 

Allegheny Health Network neurosurgeon promoted

Neurosurgeon Donald Whiting has been named chairman of the Allegheny Health Network’s Department of Neurosurgery. Dr. Whiting has served as vice-chair of the Department of Neurosurgery since 2007 and is director of the hospital’s Center for Spasticity and Movement Disorders and Division of Neuromodulation.

$105M GlaxoSmithKline settlement announced

Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane announced Wednesday that she and 44 other state attorneys general had reached a $105 million settlement with GlaxoSmithKline over allegations of misrepresentations in Glaxo’s marketing of its asthma drug, Advair, and two antidepressants, Paxil and Wellbutrin. Pennsylvania’s share will be $4.1 million. Ohio was also party to the settlement and will receive $2.89 million.

Productivity dropped as labor costs rise

The Labor Department says productivity — the amount of output per hour of work — declined at an annual rate of 3.2 percent in the first quarter, the weakest showing since the beginning months of the recession in 2008. Unit labor costs rose at a 5.7 percent rate, the fastest pace in more than a year.

Sam's Club to offer credit card with microchip

Sam’s Club on Wednesday said it will become the first mass retailer in the U.S. to offer a credit card using a fraud-deterring microchip. The warehouse club, owned by Wal-Mart Stores Inc., said the card will be co-branded with MasterCard and will be available this month.

New Terminal 2 opens at Heathrow Airport

The long-awaited new Terminal 2 building has opened at London Heathrow Airport. The first flight, a United Airlines Boeing 767 from Chicago, landed Wednesday.

Barclays, Goldman, Merrill fined $1 million each

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority said Wednesday that it fined investment banks Barclays, Goldman Sachs and Merrill Lynch $1 million each for providing incomplete and inaccurate information about trades the companies conducted. Barclays, Goldman Sachs and Merrill Lynch, which is a unit of Bank of America Corp., declined to comment.

Trade deficit widened to $47.2 billion in April

The U.S. trade deficit jumped to a two-year high in April, as exports declined and imports surged to a record high. The deficit rose to $47.2 billion in April, up 6.9 percent from March, the Commerce Department said Wednesday. Exports dropped 0.2 percent to $195.4 billion. Meanwhile, imports climbed 1.2 percent to an all-time high of $240.6 billion, reflecting record shipment levels of foreign-made cars, food, computers and other goods.

Service sector expands in May

The Institute for Supply Management said Wednesday that its service-sector index rose to 56.3 in May, the best reading since August 2013. The figure is an improvement from the 55.2 posted in April. Any figure above 50 indicates expansion.

From staff and wire services

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