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AIG bid to buy back toxic assets could help market

American International Group’s bid to take back $15.7 billion in risky mortgage bonds may inject fresh confidence in a market where investors had started to question a nearly two-year rally. AIG said on Thursday it made the offer to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York for the residential mortgage-backed securities it gave up at the height of the financial crisis. The Fed on Friday confirmed it received AIG’s (AIG.N) offer for the bonds, held in Maiden Lane II, an entity formed in late 2008 as part of AIG’s bailout. For more than a year, the insurer has been preparing
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Carnival cruise line hit by rising fuel prices

Cruise operator Carnival Corp. cut its full-year earnings outlook Friday because of rising fuel prices and itinerary changes in the Middle East and North Africa. Carnival also said Friday that its first-quarter earnings will come in at 19 cents per share. Analysts surveyed by FactSet were expecting for earnings of 20 cents per share. Carnival’s first-quarter forecast was for earnings between 15 cents and 19 cents per share. The cruise operator now anticipates full-year earnings of $2.50 to $2.60 per share. That’s down from a prior range of $2.90 to $3.10 per share. Analysts expect earnings of $2.94 per share
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Obama, McConnell agree & disagree on budget cuts

President Barack Obama and the Senate’s top Republican both declared on Friday they want to take on the huge entitlement programs driving America’s long-term deficits — but their lines of attack differed sharply and that could lead to a showdown over government borrowing. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell warned that GOP senators would not vote to increase the federal debt limit unless Obama agreed to significant long-term budget savings that could include cost curbs for Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, laying down a high-stakes marker just weeks before the limit is reached. Obama said he also wants to tackle military
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Obama breaks promise on White House transparency

President Barack Obama once promised that negotiations over his health care overhaul would be carried out openly, in front of TV cameras and microphones. Tell that to the White House now. Republican congressional investigators got the brush-off this week after pressing for details of meetings between White House officials and interest groups, including drug companies and hospitals that provided critical backing for Obama’s health insurance expansion. Complying with the records request from the House Energy and Commerce Committee “would constitute a vast and expensive undertaking” and could “implicate longstanding executive branch confidentiality interests,” White House lawyer Robert Bauer said in
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