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Societe Generale Profits Soar

French lender Societe Generale capped a strong recovery in 2010, with net profit soaring nearly six-fold to 3.92 billion Euros ($5.29 billion) as bad loan provisions fell and it cut costs.

The results were in line with analyst forecasts. The group, whose reputation was dented badly by a massive 2008 rogue trader scandal, posted profits of some 3.0 billion Euros over the three quarters to September.

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GM Unveils New Hatchback

The South Korean unit of U.S. auto giant GM on Wednesday unveiled a new hatchback as part of an ambitious plan to introduce eight models this year to expand its domestic and global market share.

The Chevrolet Aveo comes on the heels of the Orlando sports utility vehicle unveiled earlier this month.

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Armenia and Iran to Build Fuel Pipeline

Construction will begin this year of a pipeline taking oil from Iran to Armenia, boosting the isolated ex-Soviet state's energy security, the Armenian energy minister said on Tuesday.

The 365-kilometre (227-mile) pipeline from the Iranian city of Tabriz to Eraskh in Armenia follows the opening of a gas pipeline from Iran and will provide the country with an alternative to Russian energy imports, which were disrupted by the Georgia-Russia war in 2008.

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Oil prices Climb, Brent Close to $104

World oil prices rose on Tuesday, with Brent crude close to $104 on unrest in the Middle East and robust Chinese demand, analysts said.

Brent North Sea crude for delivery in April gained 74 cents to $103.82 a barrel in early London trade.

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New-found Oil Set to Change Uganda's Economy

Whoever wins this week's presidential election in Uganda will have to manage national reserves of 2.5 billion barrels of oil, a recent find that has transformed the country's financial outlook.

President Yuweri Museveni is expected to win re-election in Friday's poll but will face the toughest challenge yet to his 25-year rule from veteran opposition leader Kizza Besigye, according to analysts.

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Bassil Signs Fuel Price List without Raising Costs

Caretaker Energy Minister Jebran Bassil on Friday signed the fuel price list without raising the cost of gasoline to consumers.

A statement issued by the Energy Ministry said Bassil kept gasoline prices of all grades the same.

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Egypt Crisis Pushes Dollar Higher

The greenback strengthened Friday as tensions in Egypt led traders to seek out safer assets, while decisions by Britain and South Korea to leave interest rates on hold also provided support.

The Euro edged down $1.3570 in early Asian trade, from $1.3601 late Thursday in New York, while the greenback as up at 83.37 yen from 83.20 yen.

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Toyota to Build Cars in Russian Far East

Toyota Motor will tie up with trading house Mitsui&Co and Russian automaker Sollers to assemble passenger cars in the Far East port city of Vladivostok, the Nikkei daily said Thursday.

Toyota will provide parts and production technologies, with the vehicles to be assembled by a joint venture to be built by Mitsui and Sollers, the Nikkei said.

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Despite Market Fears Regional Investors See Opportunities Beyond the Turmoil

Viewed from the ongoing pace of televised news, the tumult on Egypt's streets seems ready to engulf the entire Middle East. Indeed, only days after thousands of protestors filled downtown Cairo's main thoroughfare to demand an end to Hosni Mubarak's rule, Yemen's President Ali Abdullah Saleh announced he would be stepping down at the end of his term, and his son would not run for office, while Jordan's King Abdullah II fired his cabinet, appointed a new Prime Minister, and vowed political reform. Rumblings of protest also echoed in Algeria, Oman and Morocco.

Undoubtedly, the popular uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt have brought extraordinary change to Arab politics, challenging regimes to alter the way they govern, and providing new political freedoms for the people. But while many foreign investors have deemed the Middle East North Africa (MENA) region's new political uncertainty as a risk -- Moody's downgraded Egypt's credit ratings to Ba2 with a negative outlook, and other credit ratings agencies followed suit -- regional businesses and investors have taken a different approach. They believe that political changes that usher in more democratic governments in the region will pave the way for long-term stability and growth.

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Nissan Quarterly Profit Jumps 78 Percent

Nissan reported a 78 percent jump in quarterly profit and raised its full-year forecasts Wednesday as vehicle sales grew in North America, Europe and Asia, offsetting a weak performance in Japan.

Nissan's October-December net profit totaled 80.07 billion Yen ($976.4 million), up from 44.97 billion Yen a year earlier. Sales for its fiscal third quarter rose 5.3 percent to 2.103 trillion Yen ($25.6 billion).

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