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Stress test firm's boss tops best paid

THE head of the firm that carried out the stress tests on Ireland's banks was the best- paid executive in the 50 largest financial companies in the US last year. Blackrock's -- the world's biggest asset management firm -- chief executive Larry Fink (58) received $23.8m (€16.9m) in salary and stock.

And he wasn't the only top financial executive to see a huge pay packet. Average compensation for Finance 50 CEOs who held the same job in 2009 rose 26pc to $11.5m in 2010 after falling for two years.

Calls for SME sector to recruit interns

MINISTER for social protection Joan Burton has called on the SME community to engage with her department and FAS to take part in a national internship scheme. Speaking at a 'Women in Business' event, Minister Burton outlined details of the new scheme which will begin in July.

"This Government has always said that the majority of sustainable jobs will be created by the private sector and we want to work with business people, entrepreneurs and the banking sector to grow Ireland's economy and create jobs. My own department is developing the National Internship Scheme, which will provide 5,000 work experience opportunities for jobseekers in the private, public or community and voluntary sectors," she said.

Fall in exports puts Japan in deficit

JAPAN'S exports dropped by 12.5pc in April, from a year earlier, after the earthquake and tsunami in March disrupted factory production. The big fall in exports pulled the country's trade balance into a deficit of 463.7bn yen (€3.97bn) last month. The deficit was smaller than economists had expected.

Japan's imports surged by 8.9pc in April from a year earlier, reflecting higher prices for commodities. The country has been forced to import large amounts of fuel, after the 11 March earthquake and tsunami crippled electricity generating plants.

US Treasury agrees sale of AIG stake

THE US Treasury has agreed to sell part of its stake in American International Group (AIG), as it winds down ownership of the global insurer.

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The government plans to sell 200 million AIG shares at $29 (€20) each, a total of $5.8bn. It stands to make as much as $7.1bn, if Wall Street banks buy more shares from the US Treasury. After the share sale, the government's ownership stake will fall to 77pc from 92pc. "Today's announcement represents an important milestone as we continue to exit our stake in AIG," Treasury Secretary Tim

During the financial crisis of 2008, the government's bail-out of AIG totalled $180bn.

Orders plunge for US durable goods

NEW orders for US durable goods fell a surprise 3.6pc in April from March. Sales of cars and of computers -- each down 4.4pc -- were among the hardest hit, with the disruption to supply chains from Japan's earthquake and tsunami the likely cause.

The weak April figure partly reflects a jump in orders the month before, with March's increase revised up to 4.4pc.

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