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In brief: Obama targets big reductions in deficit

BUDGET: US President Barack Obama's multitrillion-dollar budget, to be sent to Congress today, will project deficit reductions of $1.1 trillion (€0.81 trillion) over a decade. Two-thirds of the reductions in the budget for the year beginning October 1 will be achieved through cuts in domestic programmes, including airport and sewer grants, and public-health and forestry.

Rate of decline in construction slows


THE rate of decline in the Irish construction sector eased in January as the snow melted and homeowners and companies hired builders to repair the damage left behind by the severest winter in decades. The Ulster Bank Construction Purchasing Managers' Index posted a reading of 45.3 last month compared with 40.6 in December.

Middle East stocks up as Mubarak goes


MIDDLE East shares gained yesterday, sending Abu Dhabi's stock index to its highest level in a month, as Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's resignation bolstered investor optimism. Israeli stocks also rose for the first time in four days.

Lobby group sets out election stall


RETAIL Ireland, the IBEC lobby group that represents the retail sector, set out its election priorities yesterday, saying the key challenge facing the next government is to restore consumer confidence and boost spending. The group called for reforms to slash key business costs such as rent, labour costs and commercial rates, and an improvement in access to credit.

Losses mount up at major car dealership


PRE-TAX losses at one of the largest car dealerships in the country, the J Donohue group, increased by 9pc in 2009 to €3.9m after a major slump in revenues. Accounts just filed with the Companies Office show pre-tax losses of €3.9m to the end of December 2009 at the Co Wexford based DK Donpac Ltd following the group recording a pre-tax-loss of €3.5m in 2008.

Irish Independent