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BC-APFN-Business News Digest

SMALL BUSINESS OPTIMISM

NEW YORK â¿¿ Small business owners have started 2013 with low expectations for the economy and their companies. That's the finding of a survey released Tuesday by the National Federation of Independent Business. HFR 730 a.m. TUESDAY FEB. 12.

LEW-TREASURY

WASHINGTON â¿¿ The to-do list that awaits Jacob Lew, President Barack Obama's choice to be Treasury secretary, is daunting. Bridge disputes in Congress on taxes and spending. Shrink budget deficits. Manage tense economic ties with China. Press Europe to reduce debts while fighting a recession. Defend the U.S. financial overhaul law. Prevent a global currency war. and those are just the obvious challenges. Lew's job isn't quite as perilous as the one that greeted the now-departed Timothy Geithner four years ago. But if the Senate backs Lew's nomination after a committee hearing Wednesday, he will likely have to marshal all his strengths as a budget specialist and perhaps overcome inexperience in some areas to achieve significant success. By Martin Crutsinger.

STATE OF UNION-ECONOMY

WASHINGTON â¿¿ As President Barack Obama delivers his State of the Union speech Tuesday night, he presides over an economy much healthier than the one he inherited four years ago. Yet growth remains slow and unemployment high. In early 2009, the U.S. economy was in the midst of a full-blown panic sparked by the collapse of a housing bubble. Companies were slashing jobs. The unemployment rate was surging. Auto sales in January 2009 had reached a 26-year low. Now, companies are hiring modestly but steadily. Employers added an average of 181,000 jobs a month in 2012 and 175,000 in 2011. Still, unemployment remains far higher than the 5 percent to 6 percent that economists regard as normal. By Christopher S. Rugaber and Paul Wiseman.

EARNINGS:

EARNS-COCA COLA

The Coca-Cola Co. reports quarterly financial results. By Candice Choi.

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