Business Briefs: FirstEnergy has deal to sell 11 hydropower plants

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FirstEnergy has deal to sell 11 plants

FirstEnergy Corp. has found a buyer for 11 hydropower plants across three states. The Akron-based company reported it signed an agreement with Harbon Hydro Holdings, LLC, a subsidiary of New York-based LS Power Equity Partners II LP, which develops and operates energy projects across the nation. The value of the deal was not disclosed and its closing depends on approval from federal regulators. In Pennsylvania, four plants would be impacted: the Seneca Pumped-Storage Hydro facility in Warren, Allegheny Lock & Dam 5 in Schenley, Allegheny Lock & Dam 6 in Ford City, and Lake Lynn.

Huntington Bank offers card with choice

Huntington Bank Wednesday launched a new credit card called Voice that gives customers the option of picking a card offering reward points for cash back or purchases, or one with a lower interest rate. The cards have no annual fee and no penalty rate, meaning that customers' interest rate won't go up even if they slip up and make a late payment. The cards, which carry the MasterCard logo, also offer cardholders a one-day grace period past the due date to pay their bill on time without being charged a late fee.

Tillotson Fleming to lead campaign

Kim Tillotson Fleming was named chair of United Way of Allegheny County's 2013 annual campaign. Ms. Fleming is chair and chief executive of investment firm Hefren-Tillotson. United Way raised more than $33 million in the 2012 campaign.

Automakers worldwide see sales gains

The major U.S. and Japanese automakers all posted double-digit U.S. sales gains last month as car buyers snapped up pickup trucks and small cars to lead the industry toward its best month in six years. Honda reported the biggest gain with sales up almost 27 percent over August of last year. Toyota sales rose nearly 23 percent, while Nissan was up 22 percent. At General Motors, sales were up almost 15 percent for the company's best month since September of 2008. Chrysler and Ford each reported 12 percent gains.

Toyota issues recalls for several models

Toyota is recalling 200,000 vehicles worldwide for a hybrid-system problem and another 169,000 vehicles for an engine bolt defect. The recalls affect the Lexus RX400, Lexus GS350, IS350, Crown and Mark X models.

Trade deficit up 13% in July

The Commerce Department said Wednesday that the trade deficit rose 13 percent in July to $39.1 billion. American consumers bought more foreign cars and other imported goods, while U.S. companies exported fewer long-lasting manufactured goods. Imports increased 1.6 percent to $228.6 billion. Exports slipped 0.6 percent to $189.4 billion.

Employers down on Gen Y

Employers have a decidedly negative view of the so-called millennial generation, seeing those in the demographic as having poor work habits and inflated pay demands. Many employers prize so-called Gen Y workers for their perceived facility with technology and social media. But 47 percent of the bosses surveyed said 20-somethings have a poor work ethic, 46 percent said they're easily distracted, and 51 percent said they have unrealistic compensation expectations, according to the study by research firm Millennial Branding and American Express.

U.S. competitiveness rising

The United States' competitiveness among global economies is rising again after four years of decline, though northern European countries continue to dominate the rankings published annually by the World Economic Forum. The U.S. -- the world's largest economy -- is in fifth place for overall competitiveness, up from seventh last year. The most competitive economies, the Forum said, were Switzerland, No. 1, followed by Singapore, then Finland, all three unchanged in their rank from last year. Germany moved up to fourth place, from sixth last year, reflecting high-quality infrastructure, an efficient goods market and a high capacity for innovation.

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