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CHINA CONNECTION: Strong sales of Mercedes luxury cars in China and the U.S. helped German automaker Daimler AG post a stronger than expected 57 percent increase in fourth quarter profits. The company made net profit of euro1.78 billion ($2.36 billion), ahead of the average forecast compiled by FactSet of euro1.30 billion.

MONEY MAKERS: Daimler's Mercedes van business and its financial services division saw strong operating profit increases.

BUMPS AHEAD? Daimler issued a cautious outlook, saying that the debt crisis afflicting the 17-nation eurozone would mean a flat market in Western Europe.