Roundup: Investors put money into stock funds; US Airways Presdient nets $1.37M; more

| Saturday, Jan. 12, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

Mutual funds have 2nd-biggest week ever

Investor deposits with global equity mutual funds in the first week of January were higher than any other period except one, a sign they may be coming back to stocks after withdrawing cash for the past six years. About $22 billion flowed into equity funds around the world in the week ended Jan. 9, according to data compiled by research firm EPFR Global going back to 1996. Emerging-market equity funds took in the most money on record. The MSCI All-Country World Index jumped 3.1 percent in the first week of 2013 and the Standard & Poor's 500 Index reached a five-year high yesterday on signs the global economy is gaining momentum. “An improving backdrop is causing investors to reappraise equities,” said Graham Bishop, an equity strategist at Exane BNP Paribas in London. “Equities are well placed to benefit as the recent flow data implies.”

US Airways' Kirby gains $1.37M

US Airways Group Inc. President Scott Kirby, who has helped lead the carrier's push for a merger with bankrupt AMR Corp.'s American Airlines, earned a $1.37 million profit from a sale of the company's stock. The disposal of 114,862 US Airways shares occurred on Jan. 8 when the stock hit the $15 trigger price set last year when Kirby created the so-called Rule 10b5-1 plan, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing. The shares were valued at $3.10 when placed in the plan, the filing said.

Apple CEO: China biggest market

Apple expects China to overtake the United States as its biggest market, CEO Tim Cook told a Chinese government news agency. “China is currently our second-largest market. I believe it will become our first. I believe strongly that it will,” the Xinhua News Agency quoted Cook as saying. The report gave no details of when Cook thought China might pass the United States. Apple has said sales in China more than doubled in 2010 and 2011 though growth has slowed in the past year. Apple's iPhones, iPads and other gadgets are popular with China's highest-earning consumers but its fast-growing smartphone market is dominated by handsets that use rival Google Inc.'s Android system.

Other business news

• Oilfield services company Baker Hughes Inc. said the number of rigs actively exploring for oil and natural gas dropped by one for a second consecutive week to settle at 1,761. The Houston-based company said in its weekly report Friday that 1,323 rigs were exploring for oil and 434 for gas. Four were listed as miscellaneous. A year ago, Baker Hughes counted 1,987 working rigs. Pennsylvania lost six rigs while Colorado and Texas each dropped two. Arkansas and New Mexico remained unchanged.

• Bridgeway Capital, a community development financial institution based Downtown, said Friday it's expanding its microloan-making territory northward to Erie, Crawford, Mercer, Lawrence, Venango and Clarion counties. The microloans, whose maximum is $50,000, are backed by the Small Business Administration. Bridgeway Capital already makes microloans in Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler and Indiana counties.

• Susan Balla, executive director of the Chamber of Commerce Inc., will retire on Feb. 15 from the head of the organization, which represents businesses in 16 municipalities in the North Hills. Balla has led the group since October 2009, when it was formed from the merger of the Cranberry and Northern Allegheny County chambers of commerce.

— Staff and wire reports

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