Business news briefs: Insurance rate rise sought

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Insurance rate rise sought

Two health carriers are seeking rate increases in Pennsylvania on individual health insurance plans, according to filings with the state Department of Insurance. Aetna Health Inc. is seeking an average rate increase of 16.3 percent on Individual Advantage HMO Plan subscribers. Also, Independence Blue Cross is seeking an average rate increase of 8.9 percent for its Medically Underwritten Individual HMO product.

Universal warns on earnings

Universal Stainless & Alloy Products warned that fourth-quarter earnings will fall short of analyst expectations, citing weak orders. The Bridgeville specialty metals producer said it expects to report profits of 15 to 17 cents per share for the final quarter of the year on sales of about $47 million. Analysts were forecasting earnings of 31 cents per share and sales of $60.5 million. The company's backlog of orders at the end of the year totalled $51.7 million, down from $65.9 million at the end of the third quarter.

Huntington says income up

Huntington Bank reported a 2012 full-year net income of $641 million, an increase of $98.4 million from 2011, the Columbus, Ohio-based bank announced. Fourth-quarter income at the company stayed flat from last year at $167.3 million and 19 cents per common share. The company's board of directors declared a quarterly cash dividend on its stock of 4 cents per common share.

Start-up funding declines

Funding for business start-ups declined in 2012, the first time that has happened in three years, as venture capitalists spent less money on fewer deals, according to a MoneyTree study released Friday. In all of 2012, start-up investments fell 10 percent to $26.52 billion from $29.46 billion in 2011. There were 3,698 deals completed, down 6 percent from 3,937 in 2011.

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