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Business news briefs — Jan. 21

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RETAIL

Vera Bradley at local mall

Vera Bradley is coming to Summit Mall this spring.

The popular franchise specializing in feminine luggage, handbags and accessories, will occupy a 2,190-square-foot location in Summit Mall between Teavana and Bare Minerals. The space formerly was occupied by Build-A-Bear, which will be reopening Friday in a 2,132-square-foot space near Macy’s.

“We’re excited to kick off 2014 with the announcement of such a popular new retailer,” said Kate Miller, area director of marketing and business development. “Vera Bradley is an iconic brand and we are pleased to have them join our growing list of retailers.”

UTILITIES

FirstEnergy pays dividends

The board of directors at FirstEnergy Corp. on Tuesday declared a quarterly dividend of 36 cents per share of outstanding common stock. The dividend will be payable March 1, to shareholders of record at the close of business Feb. 7. The company said the revised dividend rate equates to an indicated annual dividend of $1.44 per share. Since 2008, the company had paid a quarterly dividend of 55 cents per share, which was an annual rate of $2.20 per share.

“This dividend change is expected to preserve a solid and sustainable payment for our shareholders,” company President and Chief Executive Officer Anthony J. Alexander said. “The revised dividend also provides our company with additional financial flexibility to pursue regulated growth opportunities over the next several years.”

The Akron utility also provided earnings guidance of $2.45 to $2.85 per share for 2014 and narrowed 2013 earnings guidance to $2.95 to $3.05 per share, from $2.90 to $3.10 per share.

Share prices fell 46 cents Tuesday to close at $32.15.

AUTO INDUSTRY

Chrysler ready to recall Jeeps

Chrysler can go ahead with an unusual recall plan affecting 1.6 million Jeeps, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said. The plan involves the use of a trailer hitch intended for towing to reduce the danger of gas tank fires in rear-impact crashes.

The recall covers 1993-98 Grand Cherokee and 2002-07 Jeep Liberty sport utility vehicles that have the gas tank behind the rear axle, an unconventional location that the safety agency says makes it more vulnerable to punctures in a rear-impact crash.

COMPENSATION

Yahoo executive dismissed

In 2012, Yahoo Inc.’s board had such high hopes for Henrique de Castro that it paid him more than his boss, Marissa Mayer. Little more than a year later, he is gone, fired from his job as Mayer’s No. 2 after a disappointing performance.

All told, de Castro will walk away with at least $88 million and as much as $109 million for 15 months of work, according to an analysis of his pay package by the compensation research firm Equilar.

TRADE

Piracy thwarted in China

Chinese police seized almost 60,000 suspects involved in intellectual property infringement cases with a total estimated value of $28 billion in 2013, state media reported Tuesday.

More than 90 million tons of counterfeit and substandard goods were confiscated last year, and 1,260 criminal networks smashed, the official Xinhua News Agency said, citing Ministry of Public Security official Gao Feng.

Gao also said that during a campaign against the sale of fake drugs online, police seized a record 300 million pills worth $360 million.

China’s rampant piracy and widespread production of bogus goods is a major irritant in its relations with trading partners, including the United States.

WALL STREET

Big names drag down Dow

Stocks are ending mostly higher even as a few big-name companies pulled the Dow Jones industrial average lower.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose five points, or 0.3 percent, to end at 1,843 Tuesday. The Dow fell 44 points, or 0.3 percent, to 16,414. Weak showings from Travelers and Johnson & Johnson helped pull the index lower.

The Nasdaq composite ended up 28 points, or 0.7 percent, to 4,225.

Compiled from staff and wire reports


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