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BEYOND TAMPA BAY

THE BIGGEST OIL COMPANIES are failing to increase earnings as crude trades near a nine-month low, production wanes and costs rise. Exxon Mobil Thursday reported earnings that were little changed from a year earlier. Royal Dutch Shell, Chevron, BP and Total will post lower quarterly profit when they announce earnings in the coming week, analysts' estimates show. The group is disappointing investors: the companies' shares have gained an average 2.6 percent.

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WASHINGTON state's chief prosecutor says there's a catch to T-Mobile's new installment plans for cellphone buyers. One of the benefits of the new plan is that buyers can cancel their service at any time. But Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson says the company hasn't told customers that they have to pay the full remaining cost of the phone if they cancel service. Ferguson said Thursday that T-Mobile has agreed to warn customers about the lump-sum payments.

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NEW YORK TIMES CO. Chief Executive Officer Mark Thompson is taking a cue from subscription services like Netflix in a bid to transform the publisher into an Internet company that relies less on advertising. Thompson said the creation of new digital products and services was based in part on company research, which showed an appetite for lower-priced plans and specialized subscriptions for coverage of areas such as politics and technology. "It's the single most important thing we're doing in the company," he said of the digital strategy.

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MEDICAL and recreational marijuana may be legal in Colorado, but employers in the state can lawfully fire workers who test positive for the drug, even if it was used off duty, according to a court ruling Thursday. The Colorado Court of Appeals decision found there is no employment protection for medical marijuana users in the state since the drug remains barred by the federal government.

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$11.1M

GENERAL MOTORS chairman and CEO Dan Akerson's pay package last year, which rose by 44 percent, as the value of his stock awards increased due to a change in the way the automaker paid out the shares. The increase came even though GM's 2012 earnings fell $2.7 billion from 2011.

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THE BOTTOM LINE: Starbucks Corp. says its profit rose in its second fiscal quarter as the world's biggest coffee company saw sales increase in the Americas and Asia. ... Shares of beleaguered retailer J.C. Penney rose more than 6 percent in aftermarket trading on Thursday after billionaire financier George Soros disclosed a 7.9 percent stake in the company.

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