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Today in business: 5 things you need to know
The U.S. trade deficit falls, Boeing's Dreamliner problems worsen, and more in our roundup of the business stories that are making news and driving opinion
 
A row of grounded Boeing 787 Dreamliner planes at Tokyo International Airport on Jan. 31.
A row of grounded Boeing 787 Dreamliner planes at Tokyo International Airport on Jan. 31. Adam Pretty/Getty Images

1. U.S. TRADE DEFICIT FALLS
The Commerce Department on Friday reported that the U.S. trade deficit fell 20.7 percent in December, to $38.5 billion, its lowest level in two years. The plunge was largely attributed to surging U.S. exports of petroleum, more evidence of the economic impact of the U.S.'s booming energy industry. [Bloomberg]
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2. BOEING COULD DELAY DREAMLINER DELIVERIES
Boeing warned airlines that it could delay scheduled deliveries of the company's 787 Dreamliner, the troubled aircraft that has been grounded worldwide due to battery problems. Government investigations into the aircraft are expected to take weeks, and Boeing has reportedly proposed changes to the battery's design intended to prevent the outbreak of fires. [Wall Street Journal]
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3. EUROPEAN LEADERS AGREE TO BUDGET
European leaders in Brussels reached an agreement on a seven-year budgetary framework for the European Union, which would cut spending by 3 percent from the previous budget. The budget was a victory for austerity-minded leaders like British Prime Minister David Cameron, who hailed it as "good for the U.K. and good for Europe." [BBC]
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4. MACMILLAN REACHES E-BOOK SETTLEMENT
Book publisher Macmillan reached a settlement with the Justice Department to settle charges that it had colluded with Apple and four other publishers to raise prices on e-books. Macmillan was the last publisher to settle, leaving Apple as the sole company fighting the government's charges. [CNET]
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5. HP CHANGES CHINA LABOR POLICIES
Hewlett-Packard has announced new limits on hiring students and temporary workers in China, part of an effort to clean up its labor practices in China. Apple has made similar efforts. [New York Times]

 

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