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Roundup: Alcoa names post-split leaders for company keeping its name; General Mills sets goal to buy all-cage free eggs by 20...

| Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2015, 12:01 a.m.
A 'sold' sign is posted outside a Harbor Beach neighborhood home in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. U.S. home prices rose in September from a year earlier at the fastest pace in 13 months as a lack of houses for sale has forced buyers to bid up available properties, according to Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller 20-city home price index released Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2015. Photo taken July 22, 2015.
A 'sold' sign is posted outside a Harbor Beach neighborhood home in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. U.S. home prices rose in September from a year earlier at the fastest pace in 13 months as a lack of houses for sale has forced buyers to bid up available properties, according to Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller 20-city home price index released Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2015. Photo taken July 22, 2015.

Alcoa names post-split leaders

Alcoa Inc. said Tuesday that Roy Harvey, the president of its primary products division, will become chief executive of the business that will retain the Alcoa name and own its mining, refining, energy and smelting operations when the aluminium producer splits into two independent companies.

The company announced plans in September to separate its faster-growing segment that supplies components to the aerospace and automotive industries from its legacy mining and smelting business, which has been dogged by low prices and weak demand. CEO Klaus Kleinfeld has said he will become CEO of the unnamed parts company and chairman of Alcoa after the separation.

Ken Giacobbe, chief financial officer of Alcoa's engineered products and solutions division, was named CFO of Alcoa's parts business. William Oplinger, Alcoa's chief financial officer, will retain that position under Harvey following the split.

Separately, workers at an Alcoa smelter in New York received a reprieve from layoffs Tuesday when the company reversed a plan to shutter its Massena West plant.

The aluminum maker will get about $70 million in state incentives to lower costs at the smelter in exchange for keeping it open through March 2019 and saving 600 jobs.

Earlier this month, Alcoa announced it was closing the smelter, along with two others in Washington state, as it tries to lower expenses to deal with falling aluminum prices.

Home prices jump as supply remains low

Home prices rose in September from a year earlier at the fastest pace in 13 months as a lack of houses for sale has forced buyers to bid up available properties.

The Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller 20-city home price index, released Tuesday, increased 5.5 percent in September compared with a year ago, the largest annual gain since August 2014.

Steady job gains and low mortgage rates have propelled a solid rebound in home sales, which are on track to reach the highest level since 2007.

Consumer confidence falls hard in November

Confidence in the economy eroded this month as Americans became more worried about the job market.

A business research group said Tuesday that its consumer confidence index fell to 90.4 in November, down from 99.1 in October. The index is at its lowest level since September 2014.

The share of Americans surveyed by the Conference Board anticipating more jobs in the coming months fell. Fewer people also expect their incomes to increase. The percentage describing jobs as “plentiful” declined to 19.9 percent from 22.7 percent.

Fedex, TNT Express getmerger clearance in U.S.

Tennessee-based Fedex Corp. and Dutch counterpart TNT Express have won U.S. antitrust permission to merge, according to a listing of approved deals the Federal Trade Commission issued Tuesday.

The European Union has yet to sign off on the proposed transaction, although the companies have said they received assurances that EU antitrust regulators would allow it to go forward.

The companies announced in April that Fedex would buy TNT for $4.8 billion to better compete in Europe. The deal should catapult FedEx to second place in Europe behind Deutsche Post's DHL.

General Mills sets goal to be cage-free by 2025

General Mills has set a deadline for its conversion to all cage-free eggs by 2025.

The Minnesota-based company, whose brands include Betty Crocker, Pillsbury, Progresso soups and Yoplait yogurt, initially announced its plans to go cage-free in July. But it updated its animal welfare policy Tuesday to establish the 10-year time frame.

Josh Balk, a spokesman for the Humane Society of the United States, said it's a further sign that major food manufacturers recognize consumers are turning against the idea of confining food animals to cages.

U.S. banks' earnings rise 5.1% in 3rd quarter

American banks' earnings rose 5.1 percent in the July-September quarter from a year earlier, largely because of a drop in legal expenses for the largest financial services companies.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. said profits reached $40.4 billion, up from $38.4 billion in the third quarter of 2014.

The data illustrates the steady improvement in banks' health since the financial crisis in 2008.

U.S. delays ‘quiet car' rules for hybrids, electric cars

Regulators are delaying rules that would require electric and hybrid cars to alert sight-impaired pedestrians and bicyclists until at least mid-March, according to a recent government filing.

The decision is the latest setback for a government plan that has been in the works since 2013 to require “quiet cars” — vehicles that operate at low speeds without an internal combustion engine running — to add audio alerts at low speeds.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates the odds of a hybrid vehicle being involved in a pedestrian crash are 19 percent higher than with a traditional gas-powered vehicle.

The agency has said that if the proposal were implemented, there would be 2,800 fewer pedestrian and bicyclist injuries annually. About 125,000 pedestrians and bicyclists are injured each year.

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