Business & labor at a glance

No change are seen in local financial stock prices

Local bank stocks were unchanged following trading on Tuesday. First Niles Financial stood pat to close at $9 per share, while Cortland Bancorp, which gained $1.99 per share on Monday, saw no change Tuesday to close at $17.99 a share.

Pension group names new deputy chief counsel

WASHINGTON — The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. announced the appointment of Deputy Chief Counsel Karen Morris as chief of negotiations and restructuring, where her focus will be on preserving traditional pension plans.

Morris will direct the activities of the agency’s Office of Negotiations and Restructuring, overseeing its actuarial, corporate engagement, financial analysis, multi-employer and standard termination functions.

She has served in a variety of roles during her career at PPGC, including serving as the acting head of the Office of Negotiations and Restructuring the past six months.

Morris received her law degree from Georgetown University Law Center, where she served as an editor of the Georgetown Journal of Legal Ethics, and her Bachelor of Science degree in accounting from the University of Maryland. She replaced Sanford Rich, who left the agency in January.

Business inventories rise

WASHINGTON — U.S. businesses boosted their stockpiles by a slight amount in September while their sales increased by the most in three months.

The Commerce Department says business inventories edged up 0.1 percent in September, slower than the 0.2 percent gain seen in August. Sales were up a solid 0.7 percent.

Staff, wire reports

, double the 0.3 percent rise in August. It was the best showing since a 1 percent gain in June.

The gain in sales was evidence that the economy is gaining strength after a sluggish period at the beginning of the year.

Overall economic growth, as measured by the gross domestic product, increased at an annual rate of 2.9 percent in the July-September quarter, double the 1.4 percent GDP gain in the second quarter.