WORLD FINANCE UPDATE:
The Australian dollar has hit new lows overnight following the release of disappointing jobs figures that highlighted the weakness in the labour market.
At 0630 AEDT on Friday, the Australian dollar was trading at 88.13 US cents, down from 88.14 cents on Thursday.
And the Australian share market looks set to open flat after disappointing earnings from Citigroup and Best Buy's poor holiday sales pulled Wall Street back from its previous day's solid gains.
At 0645 AEDT on Friday, the March share price index futures contract was down one point at 5,270.
WASHINGTON - New claims for US unemployment insurance fell last week, according to government data that points to the slowly recovering jobs market.
WASHINGTON - US consumer prices jumped 0.3 per cent in December after two basically flat months mainly due to higher energy prices, the Labor Department says.
MADRID - Spain has easily raised more funds from debt markets, with yields falling for three-year bonds, amid strong demand from investors.
DUBLIN - Ireland's official inflation slowed in December from the previous month, official data shows, sparking deflation concerns.
BERLIN - Germany, Europe's top economy, could notch up growth of 2.0 per cent or more this year if investment picks up and the eurozone stabilises, the powerful BDI industry federation says.
LONDON - ARC Ratings, five credit ratings agencies mainly from emerging markets, have launched a rival to the sector's main players including Fitch and Moody's.
NEW BRUNSWICK, New Jersey - Johnson & Johnson is being offered $US4.15 billion ($A4.67 billion) by The Carlyle Group for its Ortho-Clinical Diagnostics business.
NEW YORK - US banking giant Citigroup says quarterly earnings more than doubled on lower expenses, but results sharply missed expectations due to lower revenues from fixed-income trading and mortgage finance.
NEW YORK - Goldman Sachs says its fourth-quarter profit has dropped 21 per cent as revenue from mortgages and trading in bonds and other securities weakens.
ZURICH - Richemont, the world's second-largest luxury goods firm that owns Cartier and Montblanc, says the strength of the euro has hit its sales in the final quarter of last year.