Business Briefs: Parents will spend more to send kids to school

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Parents will spend more to send kids to school

Huntingdon Bank’s annual “Backpack Index,” a guide to how much it will cost to equip a child for school, found that parents will be paying more this year as school districts cut back. Parents of middle schoolers will see their costs jump by 20 percent to $918 this year, the bank said, and parents can expect to pay $642 for elementary school kids, up 11 percent from last year, and $1,284 for high school students, up 5 percent from 2013.

Baby gear maker 4moms to use Ansys simulations

4moms, a Strip District-based manufacturer of high-tech baby gear, has enlisted the help of Southpointe-based engineering simulation technology company Ansys for its latest suite of products. 4moms decided to use Ansys simulations for product designs after the company created a successful crash test simulation for a soon-to-be released infant car seat.

In fiscal education push, Citizens awards nonprofits

Citizens Bank said it will award $82,600 to six nonprofits in Western Pennsylvania as part of an initiative to promote personal finance education. The nonprofits that will receive grants through the Citizens Helping Citizens Manage Money Program are the Urban League of Pittsburgh, Dress For Success Pittsburgh, St. Martin Center, Mon Valley Initiative, Neighborhood Housing Services and East Liberty Development. Citizens is donating a total $1.5 million for the program in 11 states.

Local earnings

• Allegheny Technologies reported a second-quarter loss, as startup costs related to a new processing plant in Brackenridge and the Pittsburgh specialty metal producer’s titanium sponge plant in Utah offset higher sales. The company lost $4 million, or 3 cents per share, during the quarter, vs. a profit of $4.4 million, or 4 cents per share, in the same quarter a year ago. Sales rose 6 percent to $1.12 billion. Analysts had expected the specialty metals producer to break even on sales of $1.06 billion.

• FNB Corp., parent company of First National Bank of Pennsylvania, saw profits for the second quarter increase 12 percent, to $32.8 million from $29.2 million a year earlier, as revenue also rose. Per-share earnings were flat at 20 cents per share due to more shares outstanding in the most recent period. Net interest income, essentially profit on loans, grew 18 percent to $114.2 million, while noninterest income rose 7 percent to $39.2 million. Results were released Tuesday after the close of the stock market. Executives were scheduled to discuss the bank’s performance in a conference call with analysts today.

• Waltham, Mass.-based Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc., which has about 1,600 employees in the Pittsburgh area, reported $3.9 billion in revenue for the second quarter, a 22 percent increase over the same period a year ago, and adjusted operating income was up 35 percent year over year. The scientific instrument maker also reported that it had completed its acquisition of Life Technologies.

Consumer prices up 0.3 percent in June

Consumer prices rose 0.3 percent in June following a 0.4 percent rise in May, the Labor Department reported Tuesday. Energy prices were up 1.6 percent, reflecting a sharp 3.3 percent rise in gasoline costs. But food costs edged up just 0.1 percent, the smallest gain since January. Core prices, which exclude volatile food and energy, were up just 0.1 percent. Over the past 12 months, core prices are up 1.9 percent, an indication of moderate inflation. Overall prices have risen 2.1 percent in the past 12 months.

Sales of existing homes hit 8-month high

Sales of previously owned homes climbed in June to an eight-month high. Sales increased 2.6 percent to a 5.04 million annual rate last month, figures from the National Association of Realtors showed Tuesday.The median price of an existing home increased 4.3 percent to $223,300 in June from $214,000 a year before.

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