Business news briefs: Furniture stores help with Sandy relief
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Pittsburgh area furniture stores are joining forces to support Hurricane Sandy relief efforts by asking customers to make a donation of $1 or more to the American Red Cross through December. In addition, a number of the stores are contributing directly to the cause. The following retailers have committed to the fundraising effort: Bradley Michaels, Colonial Modern, Levin Furniture, PerLora, Room Concepts, Today's Home and Weiss House.
It's hard to know what to believe in the Twitterverse -- even when it comes from Twitter. Many Twitter users got emails from the social media company Thursday saying their passwords had been reset because their accounts may have been hacked. Then Twitter said it just made a mistake and "unintentionally reset passwords of a larger number of accounts, beyond those that we believed to have been compromised." Twitter did not say how many accounts were actually affected.
The number of people seeking unemployment benefits fell last week by 8,000 to a seasonally adjusted 355,000, but officials cautioned that the figures were distorted by Superstorm Sandy. The Labor Department said Thursday that the four-week average of applications, a less volatile measure, rose by 3,250 to 370,500.
Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday that the average rate on the 30-year fixed mortgage rose to 3.40 percent from 3.39 percent last week. The average on the 15-year fixed mortgage slipped to 2.69 percent for 2.70 percent.
McDonald's Corp. said Thursday that a key sales figure fell for the first time in nearly a decade in October, as it faced the double whammy of a challenging economy abroad and intensifying competition at home as longtime rivals such as Burger King, Wendy's and Taco Bell have improved menus. McDonald's, based in Oak Brook, Ill., says global revenue at restaurants open at least 13 months fell 1.8 percent for the month. The last time it dropped was in March 2003.
• Koppers Holdings Inc. said third-quarter profits dropped by 29 percent because of higher raw material costs, a sluggish European economy and unexpected charges related to physical plant disruptions at facilities in Australia and the Netherlands. Net income fell to $16 million, or 77 cents per share, from $22.4 million, or $1.08 per share in the year-ago quarter. Sales improved by 2 percent to $387.9 million, from $381.2 million a year ago.
Walter Turner, chief executive of the Downtown-based manufacturer of carbon chemicals and wood treatment products, said despite the decline in profits, he expects a strong fourth quarter and improved earnings for the full year. Sales for Koppers' wood treatment products for the railroad and utility industries jumped by 8 percent because of high demand, he said, while the carbon chemicals segment was hurt by a pitch tank leak at an Australian plant and a plant outage in Uithoorn, Netherlands.
• FirstEnergy Corp. attributed a 30 percent drop in third-quarter earnings to a weak economy and mild weather. The Akron, Ohio-based utility company reported net income including special items of $425 million, or $1.02 per common share, down from net income of $530 million, or $1.27 per share, a year ago. Revenues slipped to $4.3 billion from $4.7 billion in the year-ago quarter.
In a conference call with analysts Thursday, FirstEnergy executives said cost-cutting measures will likely include eliminating 300 to 400 jobs next year. About one-third of its customers were impacted by Hurricane Sandy, and the company expects to spend $500 million on storm-related repairs.
Mylan Inc. said it and Famy Care Ltd. reached a settlement agreement with Janssen Pharmaceuticals resolving patent litigation over the generic version of Janssen's Ortho Tri-Cyclen Lo birth control tablets. Under terms of the deal, which needs regulatory review, Mylan will be licensed to sell the generic version on Dec. 31, 2015, or earlier under certain circumstances. Other terms were confidential, Mylan said. ... In January, the 77kids stores sold to a private company by South Side retailer American Eagle Outfitters are expected to change names to Ruum.
First Published November 9, 2012 12:00 am