Google Is Watching: Morning Business Memo

Google is about to overhaul the way it treats data from its users - combining nearly all the information it has across its array of email video and social networking services. Privacy critics don't like this. There will be one main policy covering Gmail, YouTube, Google searches and Google Plus. Information the firm gathers from users on one site can be used by others.

"The investment community has never seen a company like this, inside or outside technology." That description of Apple by ISI Group analyst Brian Marshall after the company released blow out quarterly earnings. Apple shares jumped 7 percent after quarterly profits jumped 118 percent from on a year ago. Sales rose 73 percent in the last three months of 2011. Apple sold 37 million iPhones - far more than expected. For the first time the iPhone accounts for more than half of Apple's sales.

President Obama wants to allow homeowners to refinance their mortgages at lower interest rates. His proposal in the State of the Union address would cover both loans issued by government-controlled mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and private mortgage lenders. But Congress is unlikely to approve the change this year. Saying he would "not go back to the days when Wall Street was allowed to play by its own set of rules", the president announced a new "Financial Crimes Unit" made up of "highly trained investigators to crack down on large-scale fraud and protect people's investments."

For 13 straight sessions the Dow Jones index has moved fewer than a hundred points. That's the longest period of calm on the markets since April of last year. Stock averages have made strong gains since last month. The Dow Jones industrial index dropped 33 points yesterday. The S&P index lost a point

Germany's closely watched Ifo index of business optimism rose for the third month in a row in a positive sign for the largest economy in the eurozone. No deal yet on reducing Greece's debt burden. Representatives of private sector bondholders are expected to discuss today how and whether to continue talks on a bond swap after the EU toughened its demands. Banks, hedge funds and other investment firms that hold a large part of Greece's debt and are being asked to swap their existing bonds with new ones of a reduced value, longer maturity and lower interest rate.

Richard Davies Business Correspondent ABC NEWS Radio

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