WALL STREET JOURNAL: Fed officials are split over an early retreat from the experimental programs created to revive the U.S. economy as minutes released from the Fed's January policy meeting show officials concerned that the current easy-money policies could lead to excessive risk-taking and instability in financial markets, the Wall Street Journal reports...Google (GOOG) has developed the first touchscreen laptops powered by its Chrome operating system to be sold later this year, sources say, as the company tries to go against Microsoft’s (MSFT) Windows operating system, the Wall Street Journal reports...REUTERS: U.S. builders (TOL, KB, DHI, PHM) broke ground on fewer homes last month but a jump in permits for future construction to a four and a half year high indicated the housing market recovery remains on track. Another report showed wholesale prices increased in January for the first time in four months, Reuters reports...The Volcker Rule is expected to be finalized as soon as this year. Major banks are already pulling back from private equity investments ahead of the rules. But not Wells Fargo (WFC). The bank invests in buyouts and venture capital deals largely on its own, with capital only from Wells Fargo itself and some employees. By avoiding equity from outside investors, the bank is considered to be engaging in "merchant banking," likely to be exempt under the new rule, Reuters reports...BLOOMBERG: Americans are eating less fast food and pizza (MCD, BKW, DPZ, YUM). Adults consumed an average of 11.3% of their daily calories from fast food in 2007-2010, a decline from 12.8% in 2003-2006, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said, Bloomberg reports...IBM (IBM) plans to release a prototype next year of an alternative rechargeable lithium-ion battery it calls “lithium air” that would mark a step forward by packing in more storage capacity. Finding a solution to the shortcomings of batteries has the potential to revolutionize everything from transportation to hand-held gadgets, Bloomberg reports.
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