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Associated Press

Posted on January 18, 2013 at 3:00 PM

Business News at 3:30 p.m.

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NEW THIS DIGEST:

— Adds: ALZHEIMER'S DRUG, DEBT LIMIT, MORTGAGE SETTLEMENT-HSBC

— Updates: OIL PRICES

TOP STORIES

BOEING 787-BATTERIES

WASHINGTON — Aviation safety and battery experts say it's likely that fires on two Boeing 787 Dreamliners were caused by overcharged lithium ion batteries. The fires forced regulators to ground the planes and left Boeing with the task of proving that the batteries are safe before the 787s can get back in the air. By Joan Lowy.

AP photos.

With:

BOEING 787-PASSENGERS

DALLAS — Some frequent fliers say they aren't worried about safety aboard Boeing's problem-plagued 787 aircraft, while many less-seasoned travelers are often unaware of what model of plane they flying on. That makes it anyone's guess whether Boeing, or the airlines that use its planes, will pay a price for uncertainty surrounding the 787, which has been grounded worldwide. By Airlines Writer David Koenig.

AP photos, videos.

— JAPAN-BOEING 787 — The burned insides of a battery in the Boeing 787 aircraft indicate it operated at a voltage above its design limit, a Japanese investigator says. U.S. officials join Japan's probe into the incident at the center of a worldwide grounding of plane.

FED-2007 TRANSCRIPTS

WASHINGTON — Federal Reserve officials in 2007 underestimated the scope of the approaching financial crisis and how it would tip the U.S. economy into the worst recession since the Great Depression, transcripts of the Fed's policy meetings that year show. The meetings occurred as the country was on the brink of the worst financial crisis since the 1930s. As the year went on, Fed officials shifted their focus away from the risk of inflation as they slowly began to recognize the severity of the crisis. By Martin Crutsinger and Christopher S. Rugaber.

CHINA-ECONOMY

BEIJING — China's economy is finally rebounding from its deepest slump since the 2008 global crisis, but the shaky recovery could be vulnerable to a new downturn in global trade. By Business Writer Joe McDonald.

AP photos.

With:

— CHINA-INCOME GAP — China's government has reported the scale of the yawning gulf between its rich and poor for the first time in 12 years and says it urgently needs to narrow the politically explosive gap.

TV-WINFREY'S OWN

NEW YORK — While Oprah Winfrey's interview with Lance Armstrong showcased a hero athlete tumbling from the heights, it also showed a famous media figure on the way back. Winfrey's OWN network is showing signs of life after a rocky start. By Television Writer David Bauder.

AP photos.

FOOD ALLERGIES-DISABILITIES

WASHINGTON — 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 those allergies a new tool in their attempt to find menus that fit their diet. But some say the decision goes too far. By Mary Clare Jalonick.

AP photo.

MARKETS & ECONOMY:

WALL STREET WEEK AHEAD

With fourth-quarter earnings seasons hitting its stride, investors are returning to the familiar comfort of cold, hard numbers after months dominated by outside news events like gridlock in Washington. Tech companies' earnings are expected to decline from last year as demand overseas weakens. Insurers may get flogged by Superstorm Sandy. Here's a guide to what professional investors will be watching as earnings news arrives. By Business Writer Daniel Wagner.

DEBT LIMIT

WASHINGTON — The Republican-controlled House will vote next week to permit the government to borrow more money to meet its obligations, a move aimed at heading off a market-rattling confrontation with President Barack Obama over the so-called debt limit. By Andrew Taylor.

AP Photos.

— STATE UNEMPLOYMENT — Unemployment rates fell in less than half of U.S. states last month, as steady but slow hiring is making only gradual improvement in the job market. With: STATE UNEMPLOYMENT-GLANCE.

WALL STREET

NEW YORK — A mixed batch of earnings reports from some of Corporate America's biggest names nudges the stock market lower. General Electric and Morgan Stanley rise after turning in better report cards, while a 27 percent drop in earnings sinks Intel's stock. By Matthew Craft.

AP photo.

— OIL PRICES — Oil rises above $95 and remains near 4-month high on China data, raised demand forecast

EARNINGS:

EARNS-GENERAL ELECTRIC

NEW YORK — Growth in developing economies fuels earnings at General Electric's industrial segments, lifting the conglomerate's fourth-quarter net income 8 percent to $4 billion. By Energy Writer Jonathan Fahey.

AP photo

— EARNS-MORGAN STANLEY — Profits roar back at Morgan Stanley in the fourth quarter, reversing a loss in the same period a year ago, when the investment bank's results were weighed down by a costly legal settlement. AP photo

— INDIA-EARNS-WIPRO — Wipro says October-December profit rose 18 percent as global businesses' cost-cutting drives them to Indian outsourcers.

— MORTGAGE SETTLEMENT-HSBC — British bank HSBC will pay $249 million to settle federal complaints that its U.S. division wrongfully foreclosed on homeowners who should have been allowed to stay in their homes.

INDUSTRY:

TOYOTA LAWSUITS

LOS ANGELES — Toyota settles with family members of two people killed in a sudden-acceleration crash in Utah in a lawsuit that was to go to court next month and serve as a test case for a group of hundreds more that are pending. By Andrew Dalton.

AP photo.

ALZHEIMER'S DRUG

Researchers have chosen an experimental drug by Eli Lilly & Co. for a large federally funded study testing whether it's possible to prevent Alzheimer's disease in older people at high risk of developing it. By Chief Medical Writer Marilynn Marchione.

— PFIZER-ANIMAL HEALTH IPO — Pfizer Inc. is spinning off its animal health business through an initial public offering that could raise more than $2 billion.

TECHNOLOGY & MEDIA:

VENTURE FUNDING

NEW YORK — A new study shows that funding for business startups declined in 2012, the first time that's happened in three years, as venture capitalists spent less money on fewer deals. By Technology Writer Barbara Ortutay.

INTERNATIONAL:

ALGERIA-KIDNAPPING

ALGIERS, Algeria — Algeria's state news service says nearly 100 out of the 132 foreign hostages kidnapped by Islamist militants have been freed from a gas plant in the Sahara desert. By Karim Kabir and Paul Schemm.

AP photos.

With:

IRAQ-OIL

BAGHDAD — Genel Energy, a firm led by former BP boss Tony Hayward that recently started shipping oil from Iraq's self-rule Kurdish region, plans to increase the amount it exports from the enclave despite Baghdad's opposition. The exports risk provoking lawsuits from the central government and are likely to exacerbate tensions between Baghdad and the Kurds. By Adam Schreck.

GERMANY-HELPING CYPRUS

BERLIN — When it came to helping out Greece, Ireland and Portugal, Germany grudgingly went along with its European partners and backed hundreds of billions in rescue loans. But now that tiny Cyprus is in trouble, German politicians appear in no mood to help, which could put the Mediterranean island country on the path to bankruptcy and out of the eurozone. By Juergen Baetz.

AP photo.

— GERMANY-BANK ROBBERY — German police say they have received dozens of tips after releasing images of the 45-meter (150-foot) tunnel dug by robbers into the safe deposit room of a Berlin bank last weekend.

— JAPAN-ECONOMY — A government adviser hails the new Japanese leader's "Abenomics" monetary policies, says the dollar can rise further before triggering inflation risks in Japan.

— EUROPE-FINANCIAL CRISIS — The outgoing leader of the group of finance ministers from the 17 countries that use the euro endorses Dutch finance minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem as a good candidate to take over his job.

— SPAIN-FINANCIAL CRISIS — The level of bad debt in Spain's banks rises to a record of 11.38 percent in November.

— INDIA-EARNS-RELIANCE — India's Reliance Industries says December quarter profit surged 24 percent to $1 billion.

______

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CENTERPIECE

Obama's first-term

The trading has ceased during President Obama's first term. A look at the final tally for the Standard & Poor's 500 index and how it stacks up against recent presidents.

COMPANY SPOTLIGHT

Chipotle likely to raise prices

Be prepared to pay a bit more at Chipotle. The Mexican food chain said this week that it's likely to raise prices later this year due to rising food costs.

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