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German Trade Surplus Soars to All-Time High in 2013

Germany's trade surplus soared to a new record high in 2013, although export momentum tailed off at the end of the year, official data showed on Friday.

Europe's biggest economy notched up a trade surplus of 198.9 billion euros ($270 billion) in 2013, the highest since foreign trade data have been compiled.

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Google Buys 5.94% Stake in Lenovo

Google bought a 5.94 percent stake in Lenovo for $750 million on the same day it agreed to sell handset maker Motorola to the Chinese technology giant, a report said Friday.

The U.S. Internet firm acquired 618.3 million shares in the PC maker at $1.213 each when Lenovo bought Motorola for $2.91 billion last Thursday, according to Dow Jones Newswires.

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Australia Central Bank Upgrades Growth Forecasts

Australia's central bank lifted its economic growth forecasts Friday as the local currency weakens and lower interest rates boost spending, but it sounded a warning on inflation and said unemployment would rise.

The Reserve Bank of Australia said it now expected the economy to expand 2.75 percent in the year to June 30 and between 2.25 and 3.25 percent in the year to December 31. That compares with November's forecasts of 2.5 percent and 2.0-3.0 percent.

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Credit Suisse Doubles Net Profit in 2013 but Disappoints

Swiss banking giant Credit Suisse more than doubled its net profit last year, but still missed expectations amid big legal charges, a results statement showed on Thursday.

In 2013, the bank saw its net profit balloon to 3.06 billion Swiss francs ($3.38 billion 2.50 billion euros), up from 1.34 billion a year earlier.

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Vodafone Announces Revenue Fall

British mobile phone giant Vodafone announced on Thursday a drop in quarterly revenue as strains across its European operations offset solid progress in emerging markets.

Group revenue slipped 1.5 percent to £9.587 billion ($15.621 billion, 11.553 billion euros) in the group's third quarter, or three months to the end of 2013, compared with the equivalent period a year earlier, Vodafone said in a statement.

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Low Inflation Fuels ECB Rate Speculation

The European Central Bank sits down to its regular monthly policy meeting Thursday amid speculation that weaker-than-expected eurozone inflation data could prompt a cut in interest rates.

Data compiled by the EU's statistics agency Eurostat last week showed that eurozone inflation slowed to 0.7 percent in January from 0.8 percent in December, way below the ECB's target of just below 2.0 percent.

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Sony Cuts 5,000 Jobs, Exits PC Business and Tips $1 bn Loss

Sony on Thursday warned it would book a $1.08 billion annual loss and cut 5,000 jobs while exiting the stagnant PC market this year as the once-mighty electronics giant struggles to reinvent itself in the digital age.

The shock news comes a week after Moody's downgraded the firm's credit rating to junk, saying the maker of Bravia televisions and the PlayStation games console had more work to do in repairing its battered balance sheet.

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Kuwait MPs Order Probes of Airbus Deal, Power Plant

Kuwait's parliament on Wednesday ordered probes into a $2.5 billion (1.8 billion euro) power plant contract and a deal with Airbus to purchase 25 aircraft and lease 12 others.

Twenty-one MPs out of 36 present approved a proposal to ask the parliament's legal committee to investigate "all deals" being undertaken by state-owned Kuwait Airways Company (KAC).

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Survey: Eurozone Business Activity Best since June 2011

Eurozone private sector business activity in January showed the best performance since June 2011, fresh evidence that a modest recovery is gaining traction, a key survey showed on Wednesday.

Markit Economics said its Eurozone Composite Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) for January rose to 52.9 points from 52.1 in December, the seventh monthly rise in a row.

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Rating Agency Cautious over Sochi's Legacy

A major international ratings agency expects the local government in Sochi, Russia, to struggle with the cost of maintaining the Olympic venues despite the massive state investment.

Moody's said in a report published on Wednesday that Sochi and the Krasnodar region have benefited from the government funding but are likely to be tight for money in the longer term.

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