Among the stories for Monday from The Associated Press:
TOKYO — Now it's official: Toyota is once again the world's top automaker. Toyota Motor Corp. released its tally for global vehicle sales for last year at a record 9.748 million vehicles — a bigger number than the estimate it gave last month of about 9.7 million vehicles. By Yuri Kageyama.
— AUTOS-FUEL CELL ALLIANCE — Ford is joining with Daimler and Renault-Nissan to speed the development of cars that run on hydrogen. The three companies expect their alliance to bring affordable hydrogen fuel cell vehicles to market as early as 2017.
MARKETS & ECONOMY:
WASHINGTON — U.S. companies placed more orders for long-lasting goods in December from November, helped by large increase in aircraft demand. But businesses pulled back on orders that indicate investment plans. The Commerce Department says that overall orders for durable goods increased 4.6 percent in December compared with November. The gains were led by a 56.4 percent increase in military aircraft orders and a 10.1 percent increase in commercial aircraft orders. By Economics Writer Martin Crutsinger.
PENDING HOME SALES
WASHINGTON — A measure of Americans who signed contracts to buy homes fell last month after reaching a 2 ½-year high in November. Sales were held back by a limited supply of available homes.The National Association of Realtors says its seasonally adjusted index for pending home sales dropped 4.3 percent to 101.7 in December. That's still 6.9 percent higher than it was a year ago. The decline signals that sales of previously occupied homes may drop in the coming months. By Christopher S. Rugaber.
NEW YORK — U.S. stocks are mixed after encouraging signs about the manufacturing sector, a key driver of economic growth.
— OIL PRICES — The price of oil rose to nearly $96 a barrel ahead of the release of U.S. data this week on jobs, home sales and the country's overall growth. By Pamela Sampson.
WASHINGTON — A bipartisan group of leading senators has reached agreement on the principles for a sweeping overhaul of the nation's immigration laws, including a path to citizenship for the 11 million illegal immigrants already in this country. By Erica Werner.
Eds: News conference scheduled for 2:30 p.m. EST.
HEALTH OVERHAUL PRIMER-MEDICAID
WASHINGTON — President Obama's Medicaid expansion lets states cover millions of poor people, but future costs are a worry. About 21 million uninsured people, most of them adults, eventually would gain health coverage if all the states agree. Adding up the Medicaid costs under the law, less than $100 billion in state spending could trigger nearly $1 trillion in federal dollars over a decade By Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar.
Caterpillar says fourth-quarter net income fell by half because of slower growth in China and economic issues in the U.S. and Europe. Still, its adjusted profit and revenue were better than analysts expected. By Josh Freed.
TOKYO — The joint U.S. and Japanese investigation into the Boeing 787's battery problems has shifted from the battery-maker to the manufacturer of a monitoring system. Japan transport ministry official Shigeru Takano said the probe into battery-maker GS Yuasa was over for now as no evidence was found it was the source of the problems. By Yuri Kageyama.
AUTOS-FUEL CELL ALLIANCE
DETROIT — Ford is joining with Daimler and Renault-Nissan to speed the development of cars that run on hydrogen. The three companies expect their alliance to bring affordable hydrogen fuel cell vehicles to market as early as 2017.
OIL BARGES HIT BRIDGE
A barge laden with 80,000 gallons of oil struck a railroad bridge in Vicksburg, Miss., over the weekend, spilling light crude into the Mississippi River and closing the waterway for miles each way, the Coast Guard said. A second barge was damaged.
— JAPAN-US-BEEF — Japan is relaxing restrictions on U.S. beef imports that had been in place due to fears of mad-cow disease.
TOKYO — Anticipating a boost from stimulus spending and a weakening yen, Japan's government raised its growth forecast, predicting the economy will emerge from recession and expand 2.5 percent in the coming fiscal year. By Elaine Kurtenbach.
YANGON, Myanmar — The World Bank announces a long-awaited deal to allow Myanmar to clear part of its huge decades-old foreign debt, opening the door for new much-needed lending to jumpstart its lagging economy. By Aye Aye Win.
BRITAIN-HIGH SPEED RAIL
LONDON — The British government unveiled details of new high-speed rail lines linking London to cities in northern England with trains traveling up to 225 miles an hour (360 kph). The government says the project, known as High Speed 2, will be the first new railway built north of London for more than a century, and will be an economic and environmental boon. But opponents claim the plan is too expensive and will ruin tracts of picturesque countryside.
— GREECE-FINANCIAL CRISIS — Striking public transport workers in Athens have defied a court order to return to work, despite a government threat to impose an emergency order that could lead to prosecution. AP photos.
— ITALY-FINANCIAL CRISIS — Italy has easily sold $5.4 billion in 24-month bonds in an auction that saw the country's borrowing rates fall, in a further sign that investors are shrugging off uncertainty ahead of elections next month and Italy's latest financial scandal.
— ITALY-MONTEPASCHI — The CEO of Monte dei Paschi di Siena says the embattled bank increased its request for government aid by $672 million after incoming managers found a document in a company safe in late October indicating trading losses.
— NETHERLANDS-SNS REAAL — SNS Reaal NV, the troubled Dutch banking and insurance group, is looking to strengthen its capital buffers through strategies including a possible share issue. AP photos.
— CARIBBEAN COPYRIGHT HAVEN — The islands of Antigua and Barbuda are threatening to strip intellectual property protections from American goods in retaliation for a U.S. embargo on the tiny Caribbean nation's online gambling industry.
— FRANCE-CAR PROTEST — A few hundred French striking autoworkers are disrupting production at a key Peugeot Citroen plant north of Paris, protesting layoffs linked to its pending closure. AP photos.
— FINLAND-FINNAIR — Finnair CEO Mika Vehvilainen has announced he will step down on Feb. 28 to head the international cargo handling company Cargotec.
— ALGERIA-PIPELINE ATTACK — A security official says gunmen attacked a gas pipeline in northern Algeria and killed two guards but were driven off.