Business Briefs: Judge will review order to return Highmark documents

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Judge will review order to return Highmark documents

Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas Judge Christine Ward has told Highmark and UPMC that she will reconsider her March 1 order requiring UPMC to return sensitive Highmark business documents while the two parties develop a list of documents that should remain confidential. Attorneys for the two parties met informally with the judge on Wednesday. Highmark has been demanding that UPMC return documents it was inadvertently given during a November hearing at which Highmark successfully blocked West Penn Allegheny Health System from soliciting other affiliation partners.

PNC awaits regulators' decision on dividends

PNC Financial Services Group is among the big banks expected to hear today from federal regulators about whether they can raise their quarterly common stock dividends. PNC, Pittsburgh's biggest bank, increased its quarterly dividend last spring by 14 percent, to 40 cents per share, up from 35 cents. The financial services giant had been paying 66 cents per share before slashing the payout to 10 cents during the financial crisis.

Federated CEO was paid less

Federated Investors president and CEO J. Christopher Donahue's 2012 compensation was valued at $4.3 million, down 7 percent from a year ago. His pay package included a $787,500 salary, the same amount he received in 2011, as well as stock awards valued at $1.1 million. The figures were disclosed in a proxy statement being sent to investors in advance of the Downtown investment firm's April 25 shareholder meeting in Pittsburgh.

Inventories rose in January

The Commerce Department said Wednesday that business stockpiles grew 1 percent in January. That's up from 0.3 percent growth in December and the biggest gain since May 2011. Total business sales fell 0.3 percent in January after a slight 0.1 percent rise in December.

Consumer spending uptick

Americans spent at the fastest pace in five months in February, boosting retail spending 1.1 percent compared with January. About half the jump reflected higher gasoline prices, but even excluding gas purchases, retail sales rose 0.6 percent. The report Wednesday from the Commerce Department showed core retail sales, which exclude the volatile categories of gas, autos and building supply stores, rose 0.4 percent in February.

Minus fuel, import prices flat

The Labor Department says import prices rose 1.1 percent in February after a 0.6 percent gain the previous month. Fuel imports jumped 4.9 percent. Excluding fuel, import prices were flat. Export prices rose 0.8 percent in February, pushed up by higher prices for agricultural goods.

Nissan issues sensor recall

Nissan is recalling five of its 2013 models in the U.S. because a faulty sensor can permanently turn off the front-seat passenger air bag. The recall covers the Altima, the Leaf electric car, Pathfinder SUV and the Sentra compact. Also covered is the Infiniti JX35 SUV. Nissan says its dealers will inspect the sensors in April and replace them free of charge if necessary.

One-time CEO will replace Camilleri at Philip Morris

Philip Morris International Inc. said Wednesday that CEO Louis C. Camilleri will step down and be replaced by the man who led it before it became an independent company. Chief operating officer Andre Calantzopoulos will become CEO immediately after the company's annual shareholder meeting May 8. He also was nominated for election to the board. Mr. Camilleri will remain in his current job of chairman, the company said.

Also in business...

Mylan Inc. said it reached a settlement agreement in a lawsuit with Shionogi Inc. and Andrx over the generic version of Shionogi's Fortamet tablets used to lower blood sugar levels. Under the agreement, which is subject to review by regulators, Mylan may launch the generic version on Aug. 1, or earlier under certain conditions. Other terms were confidential, Mylan said. ... The ExOne Co. named JoEllen Lyons Dillon chief legal officer and corporate secretary of the North Huntingdon 3D-printing company.

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