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Money Links: Labor's sweat is companies' gain; the 'war' on Toyota; Buffett's Berkshire is AAA no more

February 4, 2010 | 11:56 am

--- Worker productivity surges again: Non-farm productivity rose at a strong 6.2% annual rate in the fourth quarter, as companies continued to do more with less. No wonder fourth-quarter corporate earnings are coming in so far ahead of expectations. But what about labor’s piece of the pie?

--- The “war” on Toyota: “The United States is turning Toyota’s recall into a massive national industrial advantage,” says a Canadian business columnist.

--- Another subprime mea culpa . . . without the mea culpa: Money manager State Street Corp. agrees to pay another $300 million to resolve SEC charges that the firm mislead investors about their exposure to subprime investments in a money-market-like fund in 2007. But as usual in SEC settlements, State Street doesn’t admit or deny the allegations.

--- Buffett loses last AAA debt rating: Standard & Poor’s cuts the billionaire’s Berkshire Hathaway Corp. to AA-plus, citing an $8-billion jump in the company’s debt load tied to the purchase of railroad Burlington Northern.

-- Tom Petruno