Business news briefs: Wabtec acquires maker of specialty rubber products

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Wilmerding-based Wabtec Corp. has acquired Longwood Industries, a manufacturer of specialty rubber products for transportation, oil and gas and industrial markets. Longwood, which has annual sales of about $70 million, is based in Greensboro, N.C., and has about 450 employees.

Area community development institution given $1.3 million

The Progress Fund, a Greensburg-based community development financial institution, received $1.35 million from the U.S. Department of Treasury to provide loans to entrepreneurs and small businesses in rural counties in Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia and Ohio.

Trade agency targets drug, health insurance scam

The Federal Trade Commission has moved to shut down a medical discount scheme that scammed seniors across the country by offering phony discounts on prescription drugs and by pretending to be affiliated with Medicare, Social Security or medical insurance plans. Victims were duped into turning over bank account numbers, which were used to debit money from their accounts, according to the FTC.

Burger King serves up fry with fewer calories

Burger King launched a new crinkle-cut french fry Tuesday that it says has about 20 percent fewer calories than its regular fries. The chain says a small order of the new "Satisfries" clocks in at 270 calories because of a new batter that doesn't absorb as much oil. By comparison, a small order of its regular fries has 340 calories.

Smithfield shareholders OK sale to Chinese firm

Shareholders of Smithfield Foods Inc. on Tuesday approved a plan to sell the world's largest pork producer and processor to a Chinese company. The Smithfield, Va.-based company said more than 96 percent of the votes cast during a special meeting in Richmond were in favor of Shuanghui International Holdings Ltd.'s $34 per share offer, or $4.72 billion in cash. The deal is expected to close Thursday.

U.S. home prices jump in July, report says

U.S. home prices rose 12.4 percent in July compared with a year ago, according to the Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller 20-city home price index reported Tuesday. The index does not include Pittsburgh.

Report shows confidence in U.S. economy decreases

Americans' confidence in the economy fell slightly in September from August, as many became less optimistic about hiring and pay increases over the next six months. The Conference Board, a New York-based private research group, said Tuesday that its consumer confidence index dropped to 79.7 in September. That's down from August's reading of 81.8. A reading of 90 coincides with a healthy economy.

Toys R US to ramp up seasonal hiring

Toys R Us plans to hire 45,000 seasonal workers at its stores and distribution centers, the same number as last year, as it ramps up for the all-important holiday season.

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