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Today in business: 5 things you need to know
Stocks fall, Bank of America's mortgage business is questioned, and more in our roundup of the business stories that are making news and driving opinion
A pipe-making factory in California: U.S. factory orders rose significantly less than expected in December.
A pipe-making factory in California: U.S. factory orders rose significantly less than expected in December. Beth Schlanker/ZUMA Press/Corbis

1. STOCKS FALL ON DISAPPOINTING FACTORY REPORT
The Commerce Department on Monday reported that orders placed with factories rose 1.8 percent in December 2012, significantly less than economists had expected. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell nearly 100 points in the immediate aftermath of the report, which suggested that U.S. economic activity could be slowing. Orders for durable goods — big-ticket items like cars, televisions, and washers — rose 4.3 percent in December. [The Financial Times]
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2. BANK OF AMERICA'S MORTGAGE BUSINESS SCRUTINIZED
The New York Times reports that Bank of America modified home loans in a way that hurt investors during the run-up to the 2008 financial crisis, contradicting claims by the bank that it had resolved such accusations in an $8.5 billion settlement involving its Countrywide mortgage unit. The Times says court documents show that BofA continued to modify these loans after it bought Countrywide in 2008, possibly shortchanging hundreds of investors. The new revelations could potentially upend the $8.5 billion settlement, and force BofA to shell out more cash in compensation to investors. [The New York Times]
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3. JAPAN AIRLINES TO LOSE $7.5 MILLION ON DREAMLINER GROUNDING
Japan Airlines reported that it would lose $7.5 million through March for grounding its fleet of Boeing 787 Dreamliners, which are currently being inspected by officials for possible engine and design problems. In other Dreamliner news, The Wall Street Journal reported that Air India flew three Dreamliners to the city of Mumbai for inspection; while the planes were free of passengers, it's reportedly the first time any airline has flown the Dreamliner since aviation regulators around the world agreed to ground them. [The Wall Street Journal]
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4. NEW BRITISH LAW WOULD ALLOW BREAKUP OF BIG BANKS
George Osborne, Britain's chancellor of the Exchequer, on Monday said the government was considering passing a law that would allow the breakup of big banks that failed to protect their traditional banking activity from risky investment practices. "Our country has paid a higher price than any other major economy for what went so badly wrong in our banking system," said Osborne. "The anger people feel is very real." Analysts say the government of Prime Minister David Cameron has been forced to respond to growing public outrage at British banks, many of which were most recently involved in a scandal to rig a key global interest rate. [Reuters]
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5. BERLUSCONI CAMPAIGN PROPOSAL DRIVES DOWN STOCKS
The Italian stock market plunged on Monday, after former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi pledged to offer Italian voters a tax rebate that would cost the government $5.4 billion. The plan is part of Berlusconi's campaign to win back power in national elections scheduled for Feb. 24-25; he is running on a platform to roll back unpopular austerity measures that nevertheless brought Italy back from the brink of bankruptcy at the height of the euro crisis. Current Prime Minister Mario Monti, a technocrat who ushers in the austerity reforms, called Berlusconi's proposal a "friendly attempt at corruption." [Bloomberg]

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