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Canadian military member challenges government in court over housing costs

HALIFAX - A 24-year veteran of the Canadian military is taking the federal government to court Tuesday to recover thousands of dollars he lost on his home when he was posted to another base and got little compensation through a program that he says has caused financial hardship for dozens of members. Maj. Marcus Brauer will be in federal court to seek a judicial review of a decision by the Treasury Board that concluded he should receive only $15,000 for a $88,000 loss he took on the sale of his house in Alberta when he moved to Halifax in 2007.

Australia services index drops to 48.9 in March: AIG

SYDNEY (Reuters) - A private survey of Australia's service sector showed a sharp pullback in March after an outsized gain the previous month, with firms citing concerns about potential spending cuts in the government's May budget. The Australian Industry Group's performance of services index (PSI) fell 6.2 points to 48.9 in March, so undoing all of February's jump. Measures of sales, employment and inventories all dropped back below 50, though new orders held up better at 51.8.

Body Central raises doubt about continuing as going concern

(Reuters) - Women's apparel retailer Body Central Corp <BODY.O> raised doubt about its ability to continue as a going concern after it reported its third straight quarterly loss and negative cash flows from operations. The company's shares fell as much as 22 percent to $1.27 in extended trading. The company said it was working on a better assortment in its stores to win back shoppers in their mid 20's to mid 30's.

Asian shares mostly lower, Shanghai leads losses

Asian markets closed mostly lower on Tuesday ahead of the release of key US data later as a strong lead from Wall Street was offset by profit-taking, while Chinese shares were hit by fresh liquidity concerns. Tokyo jumped 1.44 percent, or 213.92 points, to 15,051.60 and Seoul added 0.81 percent, or 15.81 points, to close at 1,964.86. However, Hong Kong lost 0.32 percent, or 71.36 points to end at 22,317.20, Shanghai gave up earlier gains and closed 2.04 percent lower, shedding 42.47 points to 2,034.22, and Sydney eased 0.12 percent, or 6.4 points, to 5,433.8.

US stocks jump amid confidence in economy

US stocks Friday vaulted higher as investors shrugged off a report showing poor industrial output last month as mainly weather-related. The Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped 126.80 (0.79 percent) to 16,154.39. The broad-based S&P 500 rose 8.80 (0.48 percent) to 1,838.63, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index tacked on 3.35 (0.08 percent) to 4,244.03. US industrial output unexpectedly fell 0.3 percent in January. But the Federal Reserve said the decline was partly due to "the severe weather that curtailed production in some regions of the country."

AIG posts a 4Q profit, increases dividend; cutting about 1,900 jobs, 3 per cent of workforce

NEW YORK, N.Y. - American International Group Inc. moved to a profit for its fourth quarter and increased its dividend, while saying that it is cutting 3 per cent of its workforce to better focus its business. AIG took a $265 million severance charge during the quarter related to the reductions, which will primarily be in its property casualty business. The company would not say how many jobs will be cut or where they are located. Based on AIG's global workforce of 63,000, the jobs eliminated work out to about 1,900. The cuts were disclosed in a company memo.

AIG posts fourth-quarter profit, raises dividend

(Reuters) - Insurer American International Group Inc <AIG.N> posted a fourth-quarter profit, compared with a year-earlier loss, and raised its quarterly dividend. AIG shares rose 3 percent in extended trading. The company reported net income of $1.98 billion, or $1.34 per share, for the quarter ended December 31, compared with a loss of $3.96 billion, or $2.68 per share, a year earlier.

Chinese investment in US doubled in 2013

China's investment in the United States doubled to $14 billion last year despite sometimes rocky political ties, with private firms leading the way, said a study out Tuesday. About half of the value consisted of Shuanghui International's takeover of prominent pork producer Smithfield Foods, a $7.1 billion deal that marked the largest ever Chinese acquisition of a US company.

US stocks boosted by pair of corporate deals, signs of strength in manufacturing

NEW YORK, N.Y. - Stocks are rallying at midday, powered by two big corporate deals and news that suggests the economy is getting stronger. As of noon (1700 GMT), the Dow Jones industrial average was up 145 points at 15,901. The Standard All 10 industry groups in the S LSI Corp. rose after chipmaker Avago Technologies said it was buying the company for $6.6 billion. AIG was up after it announced the sale of its aircraft leasing business for about $5.4 billion.

AerCap buys AIG's aircraft leasing arm

Insurer AIG announced Monday the sale of its aircraft leasing unit International Lease Finance Corp. to AerCap for $5.4 billion, making the Dutch company the leader in the global leasing industry. The sale of the unit came a year after AIG announced the planned sale of ILFC to a Chinese consortium, a deal that fell through after the buyers failed to make the key down payment. AerCap will pay AIG $3.0 billion in cash and give it 97.6 million shares, a 46 percent stake in AerCap worth $2.4 billion at the closing price of $24.93 on Friday.
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