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Today in business: 5 things you need to know
American and US Airways inch toward merger, Apple tests an iWatch, and more in our roundup of the business stories that are making news and driving opinion
Combined, American Airlines and US Airways would be the nation's largest airline.
Combined, American Airlines and US Airways would be the nation's largest airline. Joe Raedle/Getty Images

1. AMERICAN AND US AIRWAYS NEAR MERGER DEAL
American Airlines and US Airways are reportedly likely to announce a merger this week after months of negotiations. The $11 billion deal would create the nation's largest airline, vaulting the combined company ahead of Delta and United, which have grown through their own mergers. If American and US Airways do tie the knot, they'll cap a decade of consolidation, leaving the once-fragmented industry with just three main carriers, a few low-cost national competitors, such as Southwest and Jet Blue, and a smattering of regional airlines. [New York Times]
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2. AN IPHONE WATCH?
Apple is testing a watch-style device with some of the functions of its hugely popular iPhone, according to The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times. The Journal's source says the company has talked to manufacturer Foxconn about putting together the wearable gadget. Picture "a watch that doubled as a computer, two-way radio, mapping device, or television," says Nick Bilton at the Times. "Dick Tracy had one. As did Inspector Gadget and James Bond." It's unclear what iPhone features the smartwatch would offer, and analysts say the device would be unlikely to serve as an adequate substitute for an iPhone. "That means it could be little more than a second display or microphone for those Apple fans that feel the need to carry another of the firm's products at all times," says Lawrence Latif at The Inquirer. [The Inquirer, New York Times]
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3. CHINA BEATS OUT U.S. AS GLOBAL TRADE LEADER
China has overtaken the U.S. to become the world's biggest trading nation, according to recent figures from both nations. The sum of China's exports and imports of goods last year reached $3.87 trillion, according to figures released by China's customs administration. U.S. figures show that American imports and exports totaled $3.82 trillion. China's boom is transforming the world's trading blocs — for example, Germany might export twice as much from China than it does from France by the end of the decade, says Jim O'Neill of Goldman Sachs. "For so many countries around the world," he says, "China is becoming rapidly the most important bilateral trade partner." [Bloomberg]
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4. DANISH PHARMACEUTICAL COMPANY'S INSULIN DRUG HITS A SNAG
U.S. regulators put the brakes on Novo Nordisk's new long-acting insulin Tresiba by demanding more clinical tests on the drug to assess possible heart risks. Shares in the Danish drugmaker dropped by 12 percent early Monday, because the move will make it harder for the company — Denmark's largest corporation and the world's top insulin maker — to meet its financial goals. Shares of rival Sanofi gained four percent. [Reuters]
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5. GOOGLE SHARES WEIGHED DOWN BY EXECUTIVE'S RUMORED STOCK SALE
Google shares declined by 0.9 percent early Monday following reports that the company's executive chairman, Eric Schmidt, plans to sell off 3.2 million of his 7.6 million shares in the internet search giant. The sale would net Schmidt $2.51 billion at Friday's closing price of $785.37. In a Friday SEC filing, Google said that Schmidt's plan to unload 42 percent of his stock was part of a long-term effort to diversify his assets. [Reuters, Forbes]

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