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Roundup: Trader Joe's recall; Ernst & Young to pay $117.6M; Small business lending up; more

| Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2012, 12:01 a.m.

Small business lending picks up in October

Small business owners borrowed more in October, a sign that they might be getting more confident about hiring. Lending to small companies rose 11 percent from September's level, according to a survey released on Monday by PayNet, which provides credit ratings on small businesses. Small business lending has been erratic recently, dropping in September after increasing in July and August. The Thomson Reuters/PayNet Small Business Lending index, which is based on new commercial loans and leases granted to small businesses, rose to 107.5 from a revised 96.4.

Trader Joe's recall: Suspect frozen chicken affects 14 states

Supermarket chain Trader Joe's is recalling boxes of a frozen chicken dinner because of possible contamination with listeria. The product, Trader Joe's Butter Chicken with Basmanti Rice, was sold to stores in 14 eastern states, including Pennsylvania, and the D.C. area. “All code dates of this product have been removed from sale and destroyed,” Trader Joe's told customers via an update on its website. “To date, we have received no reports of illness related to this product.” The affected meals were produced on Oct. 31. Customers with questions should call Trader Joe's at 626-599-3817.

Ernst & Young to pay $117.6M

Ernst & Young LLP agreed to pay $117.6 million to settle shareholder claims regarding its audits of Sino-Forest Corp., the tree-plantation company that filed for bankruptcy protection this year. The settlement was announced on the same day that the Ontario Securities Commission, Canada's top securities regulator, said in a statement that Ernst & Young's audits of Hong Kong- and Mississauga, Ontario-based Sino-Forest weren't in accordance with accounting industry standards. The class-action settlement is the largest by an auditor in Canadian history and one of the biggest worldwide. The lawsuit alleges that Sino-Forest misled investors about business and accounting practices.

Audit firms' Chinese units charged

Federal regulators have charged the Chinese affiliates of five of the biggest U.S. accounting firms with impeding the government's investigation of Chinese companies by refusing to turn over documents. The Securities and Exchange Commission said on Monday it has started proceedings against the Chinese affiliates of all so-called Big Four accounting firms — Deloitte, Ernst & Young, KPMG and Pricewaterhouse-Coopers — and a fifth major firm, BDO. Hundreds of Chinese companies trade on U.S. stock exchanges. The SEC has been investigating many of them for possible accounting fraud. The agency says the accounting firms, which audit Chinese companies, have refused to cooperate in investigations of nine companies and to provide documents.

Other business news:

• Riverset Credit Union, South Side, said it will sponsor and be the exclusive financial institution for the 2013 Dick's Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon on May 5. Pittsburgh Three Rivers Marathon Inc. expects to set a record with more than 27,000 participants. Riverset has more than 15,000 members in Allegheny, Beaver and Butler counties.

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