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TOP STORIES

GM quarterly profit misses estimate, shares drop

DETROIT - General Motors reported a weaker-than-expected fourth-quarter profit on Thursday as results in North America, Asia and South America disappointed, sending shares down about 2 percent in morning trading. (AUTOS-GM/RESULTS (UPDATE 2), expect by 1800 GMT/1 PM ET, By Ben Klayman and Deepa Seetharaman, 900 words)

ECB holds rates to assess deflation threat

FRANKFURT - The European Central Bank leaves interest rates unchanged, holding off policy action while it waits for new economic forecasts next month to assess the deflation threat facing the euro zone. (ECB/RATES (UPDATE 2), moved, by Sakari Suoninen, 640 words)

+ See also:

- BRITAIN-BOE/ (UPDATE 1), moved, by Andy Bruce and William Schomberg, 530 words

Noble Energy's weak production forecast surprises Wall Street

Oil and natural gas producer Noble Energy posted a lower-than-expected profit and surprised Wall Street with a weak production forecast. (NOBLEENERGY-RESULTS/ (UPDATE 2), expect by 1700 GMT/Noon ET, by Ernest Scheyder, 500 words)

ECB, U.S. data help buoy global stocks, euro

LONDON/NEW YORK - The euro rose against the dollar after the European Central Bank gave no sign of an imminent interest rate cut while better-than-expected U.S. unemployment data helped lift major world stock prices. (MARKETS-GLOBAL/ (WRAPUP 4), moved, by Natsuko Waki and Steven C. Johnson, 500 words)

EXCLUSIVE

Cash-hungry Alstom points to IPO for rail arm as early as June

PARIS - Cash-hungry engineering firm Alstom may use a stock market listing to sell a stake in its transport business as early as June if a trade buyer cannot be found sooner for the maker of France's iconic high-speed trains, its transport chief says. (ALSTOM-TRANSPORT/ (EXCLUSIVE, PICTURE), moved, by Natalie Huet and Benjamin Mallet, 1,120 words)

MARKETS

Stocks rise, forint hits one-week high

LONDON - Emerging markets rises, taking back some losses ahead of a European Central Bank meeting and key U.S. jobs data this week, while a signal that Hungary's easing cycle may be nearly over lifted the forint. (MARKETS-EMERGING/ (WRAPUP 2), moved, by Carolyn Cohn, 680 words)

ECONOMY

EU asks Britain to explain new "allowances" in bankers' pay

LONDON/BRUSSELS - The European Commission has asked the Bank of England to explain how new allowances in British bankers' pay comply with an EU bonus cap, an official at the bloc's executive says, a new flashpoint of friction over the reach of financial control. (EU-BRITAIN/BANKS, moved, by Huw Jones and John O'Donnell, 545 words)

French manufacturers revise up investment expectations - survey

PARIS - French manufacturing companies are raising their investment expectations for this year, a survey shows, in good news for the government as it struggles to engineer an economic recovery. (FRANCE-ECONOMY/, moved, 250 words)

COMPANIES

U.S. retailers' sales chilled by weather, low consumer confidence

January was a tough end to a tough holiday season for U.S. retailers. Shoppers last month continued to pinch their pennies, seeking out bargains and paying fewer visits to stores. (USA-RETAIL/JANUARY, moved, by Phil Wahba, 600 lines)

Investors dump Twitter stock as results divide Wall Street

Twitter shares fell almost 25 percent, wiping out about $9.8 billion in market value, after the company reported a sharp slowdown in user growth. (TWITTER-RESULTS/RESEARCH (UPDATE 1), moved, by Saqib Iqbal Ahmed, 400 words)

AOL revenue beats estimates as ad sales jump

AOL reports a better-than-expected 13 percent rise in quarterly revenue, helped by higher ad sales and cited its best growth in decade. (AOL-RESULTS/ (UPDATE 2), moving shortly, by Jennifer Saba and Sruthi Ramakrishnan, 400 words)

As losses mount, Sony's Hirai seeks cure for TV business in spinoff

TOKYO - Sony Corp Chief Executive Offer Kazuo Hirai is seeking to cure a TV business that has lost $7.8 billion over a decade by isolating it to speed up decisions on future strategy. (SONY-EARNINGS/ (UPDATE 2), moved, by Sophie Knight and Reiji Murai, 950 words)

AstraZeneca profits heading south as patent losses bite

LONDON - AstraZeneca expects earnings to keep falling in 2014 as generic competition to its popular heartburn and ulcer drug Nexium takes a big bite out of U.S. profits from late May. (ASTRAZENECA-EARNINGS/ (UPDATE 2), moved, by Ben Hirschler, 790 words)

+ See also:

- SANOFI-RESULTS/ (UPDATE 1), moved, by Natalie Huet, 530 words

- CIRCASSIA-IPO/ (UPDATE 1), moved, by Paul Sandle, 450 words

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