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Business Highlights

Growth rose to 7.9 percent in the three months ending in December, up from the previous quarter's 7.4 percent, data showed Friday. For the year, the economy grew by 7.8 percent, which was China's weakest annual performance since the 1990s.

Retail spending and factory output rose, but analysts say China could suffer a setback if exports weaken or the government fails to maintain investment spending that is propping up the recovery.

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Government: Food allergies may be disability under law

WASHINGTON (AP) â¿¿ Allergic to gluten? What about peanuts? Federal disabilities law may be able to help.

The Justice Department said in a recent settlement with a Massachusetts college that severe food allergies can be considered a disability under the law. That gives those who suffer from such allergies a new avenue in seeking menus that fit their diet. But some say it goes too far.

The decision leaves schools, restaurants and other places that serve food more exposed to legal challenges, if they fail to honor requests by people with food allergies.

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GE earnings rise on emerging market growth

NEW YORK (AP) â¿¿ General Electric Co. has been re-energized.

Performance at all of the conglomerate's industrial segments is improving thanks to cost cutting, a shift in strategy and growth in emerging markets.

GE, based in Fairfield, Conn., reported an operating profit per share of 44 cents, a penny higher than analysts polled by FactSet expected. Perhaps more importantly for shareholders, GE's revenue rose by 4 percent to $39.3 billion and beat Wall Street expectations.

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Morgan Stanley's profit surges, stock soars

NEW YORK (AP) â¿¿ Profits roared back at investment bank Morgan Stanley in the fourth quarter, reversing a loss in the same period a year ago, when results were weighed down by a costly legal settlement.

Earnings increased sharply across the bank's business lines, and its stock jumped about 8 percent. Morgan Stanley's investment bank underwrote more stock and bond offerings and brought in more fees from advising companies on mergers and other deals. Financial advisers in the wealth management unit, who work with individual investors, generated more revenue per worker.

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