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Today in business: 5 things you need to know
AIG may sue the feds, Samsung's Galaxy phones shrug off the iPhone 5, and more in our roundup of the business stories that are making news and driving opinion
Apple, Schmapple: Samsung's Galaxy smartphones reported extraordinarily strong sales to close out 2012.
Apple, Schmapple: Samsung's Galaxy smartphones reported extraordinarily strong sales to close out 2012. Sean Gallup/Getty Images

1. AIG MULLS JOINING LAWSUIT AGAINST THE GOVERNMENT
American International Group is running a "Thank you, America" ad campaign in recognition of the $182 billion bailout that kept it alive. The restored insurance company's board, however, is meeting on Wednesday to discuss whether to join shareholders in a $25 billion lawsuit claiming that the rescue's tough terms, including high interest rates and payouts to the company's Wall Street clients, amounted to a violation of Fifth Amendment protections against taking private property for public use "without just compensation." [New York Times]
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2. SAMSUNG POSTS RECORD PROFIT DESPITE APPLE CHALLENGE
Samsung Electronics' profits soared by 89 percent in the last three months of 2012, to a record $8.3 billion, thanks to strong sales of its flagship Galaxy smartphones. "Samsung was the major beneficiary of slower-than-expected sales of Apple's iPhone 5," says James Song, an analyst at Daewoo Securities Co. in Seoul. The South Korean powerhouse — the world's biggest smartphones and TV maker — has had a run of record sales for five straight months. Earnings from its mobile phone unit have roughly doubled since the same period in 2011, as gadget junkies snapped up its Galaxy S III phone and Galaxy Note II phone-cum-tablet, or "phablet." [Bloomberg]
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3. PESSIMISM HOLDS DOWN STOCKS AS EARNINGS SEASON STARTS
Stocks got off to a slow start on Tuesday at the start of an earnings season expected to show sluggish corporate growth. Aluminum maker Alcoa will kick off weeks of earnings announcements when it reports its quarterly results after the market closes. Overall, profits for the final three months are expected to be a little better than the were in the previous quarter, with economists surveyed by Reuters expecting 2.8 percent earnings growth. [Associated Press]
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4. SEARS CHAIRMAN LAMPERT TAKES OVER AS CEO
The struggling retailer announced that Chairman Edward Lampert was taking over as CEO. The company's outgoing chief executive, Louis D'Ambrosio, is stepping down for family health reasons. The board reportedly wanted Lampert to take over so its turnaround wouldn't lose momentum. "At the end of the day, there is only one person who makes the big decisions ... and that person is Mr. Lampert," says analyst Gary Balter of Credit Suisse. "Giving him an additional title does not change that reality and, in our opinion, does not change the direction of the company." [Reuters]
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5. EUROZONE UNEMPLOYMENT HITS NEW HIGH
The unemployment rate across the eurozone rose to 11.8 percent in November, an all-time high, according to newly released figures from Eurostat, the official European statistics agency. The increase was only slight — the rate was 11.7 percent in October — and there have been signs that things improved a bit in December. Still, joblessness has hit critical levels in the most debt-burdened countries in 17-nation eurozone, such as Greece, Spain, Cyprus, and Portugal. The highest rate was in Spain, which is facing a deep recession and posted an unemployment rate of 26.6 percent. [BBC News]

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