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NEW THIS DIGEST:

â¿¿ Adds: COMCAST-NBC-GENERAL ELECTRIC, DRUG SAFETY-FDA, HFR, WELLPOINT-CEO, YAHOO-CEO

â¿¿ Updates: WALL STREET

TOP STORIES:

STATE OF UNION-ECONOMY

WASHINGTON â¿¿ The U.S. economy, the expected focus of night's State of the Union speech, is much healthier than it was four years ago. Yet growth remains slow and unemployment high. By Economics Writer Christopher S. Rugaber and Paul Wiseman.

AP photo.

COMCAST-NBC-GENERAL ELECTRIC

LOS ANGELES â¿¿ Comcast says that it's buying General Electric's 49 percent stake in the NBCUniversal joint venture for $16.7 billion several years early, as the company takes advantage of low borrowing costs and what CEO Brian Roberts called a "very attractive price." By Business Writer Ryan Nakashima.

AP photo.

With:

â¿¿ EARNS-COMCAST â¿¿ Comcast's fourth-quarter net income rises 18 percent.

APPLE-CEO

Apple CEO Tim Cook is calling a shareholder lawsuit against the company a "silly sideshow," even as he said he is open to looking at the shareholder's proposals for sharing more cash with investors. Investor David Einhorn sued Apple Inc. last week, saying a proposal slated for a vote at the company's annual meeting in two weeks would make it more difficult to enact his plan to reward shareholders by distributing a new class of shares. By Technology Writer Peter Svensson.

AP photo.

With:

â¿¿ APPLE-CEO-CASH-BALANCE â¿¿ The amount of cash and securities held by Apple at the end of each fiscal year.

G7-EXCHANGE RATES

BRUSSELS â¿¿ The Group of Seven leading industrial nations, which includes the U.S., Japan and Germany, seeks to defuse escalating tensions about an impending "currency war," warning that volatile movements in exchange rates can adversely hit the global economy. Exchange rates and the threat of a "currency war" are expected to feature heavily at the Group of 20 meeting of finance chiefs in Moscow on Feb. 15-16. By Pan Pylas.

With:

ASIA CURRENCIES-Q&A

SEOUL, South Korea â¿¿ Japan's weak yen is turning the tables on its Asian exporting rival South Korea. For several years, South Korean manufacturers such as Hyundai and Samsung Electronics increased their market share at the expense of Japanese rivals partly because South Korea's currency, the won, was weak while the yen was rising against the dollar and other currencies. That situation is now reversing. By Business Writers Youkyung Lee and Elaine Kurtenbach.

Also:

â¿¿ JAPAN-CHEAP YEN â¿¿ As the yen weakens, famous Japanese exporters from Toyota to Nintendo are getting a boost â¿¿ but the favorable exchange rate also carries risks by insulating some companies from pressure to overhaul their businesses. AP photos.

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. 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 Economics Writer Martin Crutsinger.

AP photo.

MARIJUANA-CONSUMER SAFETY

DENVER â¿¿ Marijuana may be creeping out of the black market, but the drug, at least for now, will retain a distinctly underground feel: Users may not know what's in it. As Colorado and Washington ponder regulations setting up first-ever commercial pot sales, the states are scrambling to come up with safety controls. From potency and labeling to pesticide standards and mold safeguards, consumer safety and marijuana is a new challenge for states that can't look to federal authorities for help. By Kristen Wyatt.

AP photos.

CARIBBEAN-SELLING CITIZENSHIP

KINGSTON, Jamaica â¿¿ Palestinian Hadi Mezawi has never set foot on the Caribbean island of Dominica. But he's one of its newest citizens. Turmoil in the Middle East and North Africa has led to a surge of interest in programs that let investors buy citizenship in return for a healthy contribution or investment. Nowhere is it easier or faster than in the minuscule Eastern Caribbean nations of Dominica and St. Kitts & Nevis. By David McFadden.

AP photos.

MARKETS AND ECONOMY:

BUDGET DEFICIT

WASHINGTON â¿¿ The federal government reports a rare surplus for January and is on track to run its smallest annual budget deficit since President Barack Obama took office. By Economics Writer Martin Crutsinger.

With:

â¿¿ BUDGET FIGHT â¿¿ Finger-pointing trumps problem-solving as automatic budget cuts loom.

â¿¿ JOB OPENINGS â¿¿ The government reports on JOLTS â¿¿ the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey â¿¿ for December. Hiring was much stronger at the end of the year than it first estimated.

â¿¿ SMALLBIZ-SMALL BUSINESS OPTIMISM â¿¿ Survey: Small business owners still pessimistic, worried about the economy and their sales.

WALL STREET

NEW YORK â¿¿ The Dow rises to its highest close of the year, ending 146 points from a record. Stocks gain after impressive results from two big consumer brands. By Business Writer Steve Rothwell.

AP photo.

â¿¿ OIL PRICES â¿¿ The price of oil rises as OPEC increased its forecast for global demand and the Group of Seven industrial nations pledged not to devalue their currencies.

EARNINGS:

EARNS-COCA COLA

NEW YORK â¿¿ Coca-Cola's fourth-quarter profit rises 13 percent as the world's biggest beverage company sells more of its drinks in emerging markets, offsetting a decline in Europe and a modest performance in the U.S. By Food Industry Writer Candice Choi.

AP photo.

EARNS-MCGRAW-HILL

WASHINGTON â¿¿ Standard & Poor's is prepared to spend years beating back a federal lawsuit that accuses the company of giving falsely high ratings to mortgage investments that helped trigger the financial crisis, executives say. By Business Writer Daniel Wagner.

AP photo.

BRITAIN-EARNS-BARCLAYS

LONDON â¿¿ Be honest. Or be gone. That's the message from the new chief executive at Barclays, the British bank that paid a $453 million fine for manipulating a key global interest rate. As he tries to put a brave face on 3,700 new job cuts and growing financial losses, CEO Anthony Jenkins says that ethics matter as much as a given quarter's bottom line. By Danica Kirka.

AP photos.

EARNS-GOODYEAR

CLEVELAND â¿¿ Goodyear tops Wall Street expectations for the fourth quarter, but shares slide as Europe drags down the tire maker's outlook for 2013. By Thomas J. Sheeran.

AP photo.

With:

â¿¿ FRANCE-PROTESTS â¿¿ Flares and tear gas in standoff between French police and workers protesting Goodyear layoffs. AP photos

â¿¿ EARNS-MICHELIN â¿¿ Tire maker Michelin says its profit rose 7.5 percent last year despite a struggling car market in Europe, and expects to keep up volumes this year.

â¿¿ EARNS-REYNOLDS AMERICAN â¿¿ Reynolds American's fourth-quarter net income falls 54 percent on pension, trademark and other costs. Higher sales of smokeless tobacco offset cigarette volume declines. AP photo.

INDUSTRY:

DRUG SAFETY-FDA, HFR

WASHINGTON â¿¿ The Food and Drug Administration is not receiving key information from drugmakers about whether some of the riskiest prescription drugs on the market are being used safely by doctors and patients, according a new report by government inspectors. By Health Writer Matthew Perrone. Eds: Hold for release until 12:01 a.m. EST Wednesday.

â¿¿ TOMATO PRICE-FIXING â¿¿ The former owner of a California tomato processing company is sentenced to six years in federal prison for engaging in a price-fixing scam that authorities say involved bribing purchasing managers at food giants including Kraft Foods Inc. and Frito-Lay.

â¿¿ WELLPOINT-CEO â¿¿ Health insurer WellPoint is picking a veteran hospital executive who has never run a public company to become its next CEO.

â¿¿ BOEING 787-BATTERY SHIPMENTS â¿¿ A U.N. agency that sets global aviation safety standards is moving to prevent aircraft batteries like the one that caught fire on a Boeing 787 last month from being shipped as cargo on passenger planes.

WISCONSIN JOBS-MINING

ODANAH, Wis. â¿¿ For generations the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa has carved out a hardscrabble existence in the evergreen forests and sloughs along what's known as the Big Water, living off wild rice, fish and game. Now, tribal members find themselves in the path of a major job-creation effort. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and the Republican-controlled Legislature are pushing to bring a huge iron mine to the Bad River's doorstep and revive an industry that has been dormant for nearly 50 years. By Todd Richmond.

AP photos.

â¿¿ DISABLED CRUISE SHIP â¿¿ A second tug boat reaches a disabled cruise ship drifting in the Gulf of Mexico since a weekend fire knocked out power and crippled the ocean liner's water and plumbing systems. AP photos.

â¿¿ BRITAIN-UBS â¿¿ U.K. regulator fines UBS nearly $15 million for exposing its customers to high-risk investments and for failing to deal properly with complaints that followed.

â¿¿ CANADA-NEXEN-CNOOC â¿¿ Canadian energy producer Nexen says a U.S. government agency has given the final approval required for its $15.1 billion acquisition by China's state-owned CNOOC.

â¿¿ SPAIN-IBERIA STRIKE â¿¿ Spanish airline Iberia presents a plan to cut almost a fifth of its workforce â¿¿ 3,800 workers â¿¿ a week ahead of a first round of strikes by labor unions.

â¿¿ LEAN CUISINE-RECALL â¿¿ Nestle issues recall for Lean Cuisine mushroom ravioli after reports of glass shards found.

TECHNOLOGY & MEDIA:

INTEL-TV

Intel Corp. says that it will sell a set-top box that brings Internet-delivered movies and shows to a TV set this year. By Technology Writer Peter Svensson.

â¿¿ YAHOO-CEO â¿¿ Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer says company will pare its mobile applications to about 12 programs.

â¿¿ NETFLIX-DREAMWORKS ANIMATION â¿¿ Streaming video provider Netflix adds more kids content with DreamWorks Animation cartoon.

â¿¿ TICKETMASTER-TICKET TRANSFER â¿¿ Ticketmaster will now allow fans to transfer tickets to friends or family digitally at no extra charge.

INTERNATIONAL:

â¿¿ EUROPE-HORSEMEAT â¿¿ Britain's police and food safety regulator raids a slaughterhouse and a meat processing firm suspected of selling horsemeat labeled as beef for kebabs and burgers.

â¿¿ ITALY-FINMECCANICA â¿¿ Italian police arrest the chief executive of Italy's largest defense and aerospace group, Finmeccanica, as part of an investigation into alleged international corruption.

â¿¿ BRITAIN-OLYMPIC SECURITY â¿¿ London Olympic organizers say agreement reached with G4S over failure to provide security.

â¿¿ EUROPE-FINANCIAL CRISIS â¿¿ Senior EU official: No plans to force private depositors in Cypriot banks to take losses. AP photos.

â¿¿ INDIA-ECONOMY â¿¿ India's industrial output drops 0.6 percent in December; slide for 2nd month adds to gloom.

â¿¿ CHINA-US-SANCTIONS â¿¿ China protests U.S. sanctions on companies over alleged arms deals with Iran, North Korea, Syria.

___

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CENTERPIECE

Go with the flow

Investors are flirting with stocks once again. And if the flirtation turns into a long-term commitment, it could mean big gains for asset management companies.

COMPANY SPOTLIGHT

Netflix teams up with DreamWorks

Netflix continues to take on the competition. The subscription video provide said Tuesday it will team up with DreamWorks Animation to create its first original cartoon series for kids. Netflix stock is up more than 90 percent this year.

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