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December 28 2012, 07:26AM

A roundup of news in finance, economics and business from around the world:


WASHINGTON - US President Barack Obama has arrived back in Washington in a last-ditch effort to avoid the so-called "fiscal cliff", even as key figures in any deal - House Republicans - stayed home.

NEW YORK - Apple CEO Tim Cook got a relatively modest $US4.2 million ($A4.1 million) in pay for the latest fiscal year, after the company's board set him up with stock now worth $US510 million for taking the reins in 2011.

WASHINGTON - US consumer confidence fell sharply in December to its lowest level since August amid uncertainty about the "fiscal cliff" crisis, the Conference Board says.

WASHINGTON - US jobless claims fell by 12,000 last week, according to government data - figures that were better than expected, but which were affected by the Christmas holiday.

FRANKFURT - German sportswear and equipment maker Adidas has achieved record sales of more than 14.5 billion euros ($A18.6 billion) in 2012 and sales will rise further next year, its chief executive says.

FRANKFURT - German top-of-the-range carmaker BMW has sold a record 1.8 million vehicles in 2012, chief financial officer Friedrich Eichiner says.

HANOI - Japan's biggest bank Mitsubishi UFJ has bought a 20 per cent stake worth $US743 million ($A719.37 million) in state-owned VietinBank, the largest merger or acquisition deal ever in Vietnam's banking sector.

TOKYO - A Japanese security company plans to rent out a private drone that takes off when intruder alarms are tripped and records footage of break-ins as they happen, a spokeswoman says.

TOKYO - Toyota says it has agreed to pay about $US1.1 billion ($A1.07 billion) to settle a class action lawsuit launched by US vehicle owners affected by a series of mass recalls from the Japanese carmaker.

ORLANDO, Florida - The company behind the water shows featuring killer whales, dolphins and other animals at SeaWorld on Thursday said it was planning to go public.


SYDNEY - Labor's 2013 federal election headquarters will be moved from Sydney to Melbourne in what MPs say is an attempt to counter the potential loss of marginal seats in Victoria and to distance itself from the party's woes in NSW.

PERTH - A number of sheds and fences have been destroyed in a bushfire east of Perth.