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Briefs

Displaced workers to get aid

The Indiana Department of Workforce Development on Friday announced that money and services will be offered to workers displaced from Cequent Performance Products Inc. in Huntington.

The federal Trade Adjustment Assistance program offers training, job search assistance, relocation allowances and weekly pay after employment insurance benefits run out. To qualify, a worker must have lost his job because of foreign imports or an employer’s decision to shift production out of the country.

Temp workers leased from Pro Services are also eligible for benefits, according to the announcement.

The ruling, issued Jan. 28, applies to workers who lost jobs or hours beginning Jan. 8, 2012, through the following two years.

For more information, contact the nearest WorkOne center or go to www.in.gov/dwd/WorkOne/.

Regional home sales see surge in January

Northeast Indiana existing home sales rose nearly 17 percent in January, a report Friday from the Upstate Alliance of Realtors shows.

Upstate, which tracks data from Allen, Adams, DeKalb, Huntington, Noble, Wells and Whitley counties, said 398 homes sold last month, up from 341 in January 2012.

The average January sales price of $114,672 is a 6.6 percent increase from $107,539 in the same month last year.

Fed chairman says economy still weak

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said Friday the U.S. economy is far from operating at full strength and reiterated his commitment to record easing.

“With unemployment at almost 8 percent, we are still far from the fully healthy and vibrant conditions that we would like to see,” Bernanke said at a meeting in Moscow of his counterparts from the Group of 20. “The United States is using domestic policy tools to advance domestic objectives.”

Still, consumer confidence rose in February to a three-month high, which may help to preserve recent gains in household spending.

The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan preliminary index of consumer sentiment climbed to 76.3 this month from 73.8 in January. The gauge was projected to rise to 74.8, according to the median forecast in a Bloomberg survey.

Increased property values, a strengthening job market and stocks at five-year highs are providing a boost to Americans’ balance sheets.

AEPís income off in fourth quarter

American Electric Power said Friday that fourth-quarter net income shrank on some special costs for the utility, but its adjusted results beat market expectations.

AEP earned $21 million, or 5 cents a share, for the period that ended Dec. 31. That compares with $308 million, or 64 cents a share, in the same quarter of the prior year. After adjusting for impairments tied to an Ohio plant, restructuring charges and other one-time items, it made 50 cents a share from continuing operations.

Revenue increased to $3.6 billion from $3.4 billion.

Analysts polled by FactSet expected the company to earn 45 cents a share on revenue of $3.5 billion.

President and CEO Nicholas Akins said the company struggled with sluggish demand during the quarter and customers switching to different suppliers.

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