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Earnings season is out of the gates as Alcoa swung a 4th quarter profit of $159 million after losing $2.34 billion last year, thanks to strong growth in its aerospace and automotive businesses and a rebound in prices for raw aluminum. Sales rose 14% to $6.38 billion. (Wall Street Journal)

Another sign the sun maybe close to setting. Salus Capital Partners is making an unsolicited offering to loan $500 million to RadioShack in a kind of debtor-in-possession loan used by companies to fund operations in bankruptcy. RadioShack, whose sales have been dropping since 2010, said in September that a bankruptcy filing was a possibility. (Wall Street Journal)

Burgers are the “largest dine-out segment” in the U.S., with more than $72 billion in sales last year. That makes it twice the size of the pizza market, the next largest category. Burgers are “the quintessential American meal,” but are also popular overseas, with an estimated global market size of over $135 billion. (Wall Street Journal)

Oil is down $1.41 at $44.63 a barrel.  The price fall is a result of rising output, especially of U.S. shale oil. At the same time, producers from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) have not cut output, instead offering discounts to customers in an attempt to defend market share. The downward pressure on prices is so big that even record Chinese crude imports for December. (Reuters)
 

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