Business Roundup for Friday, January 17.

A construction worker stands on the roof of an under construction condo complex (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

NEW YORK (AP) — More weak earnings results are keeping stocks in check in early trading. Shares of United Parcel Service are down after UPS warned investors that its fourth-quarter income would be lower than previously anticipated. The major indexes have been mixed in the first hour of trading. The Dow is up modestly, while the broader indexes are lower.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Home construction last year was the strongest it's been since the housing bubble burst in 2007. The Commerce Department says builders started 923,000 homes and apartments in 2013, up more than 18 percent from 2012. Things slowed a bit in December, with the pace dropping nearly 10 percent from the month before. But November's rate was the fastest in five years.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Production at U.S. factories continues to increase. The Federal Reserve reports factory output rose 0.4 percent in December, as manufacturers cranked out more cars and trucks, appliances and processed food. It was the fifth straight monthly gain. Overall industrial production, which includes mining and utilities along with manufacturing, increased 0.3 percent in December. Output is now 22 percent above its recession low hit in June 2009.

NEW YORK (AP) — Legal costs related to mortgage-backed securities are hurting Morgan Stanley's bottom line. The New York investment bank says its earnings fell in the fourth quarter. It brought in $433 million, less than half of what it earned in the fourth quarter of 2012. Still, when litigation costs and a tax benefit are excluded, the bank earned 50 cents a share, beating analysts' forecasts.

NEW YORK (AP) — General Electric has posted increased revenue and profit for the fourth quarter. Rising sales in emerging markets, higher banking profit, and stronger global sales of aircraft engines and oil and gas drilling equipment all boosted revenue. For the year, GE's profit rose despite a slight drop in revenue. GE is making a transition from a sprawling conglomerate to a more focused industrial company that builds and services complex equipment such as CT-scanners, locomotives and gas-fired turbines.

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — International stock markets traded mixed today with a patchy performance in Asia and early gains in Europe and U.S. futures a day after losses on Wall Street. Benchmark crude oil rose to near $94.50 a barrel. The dollar gained against the euro but fell against the yen.

WASHINGTON (AP) — In the latest clash over technology and privacy, the Supreme Court could announce as early as today whether it will hear appeals involving warrantless cellphone searches that led to criminal convictions and lengthy prison terms. The court decided 40 years ago that police don't need a search warrant to look through anything an arrested person is carrying. But that was long before smartphones gave people the ability to have massive amounts of data at their fingertips.

AMSTERDAM (AP) — Royal Dutch Shell PLC has issued a profit warning for the fourth quarter. Shell says results will be worse than most analysts are expecting due to a mix of lower than expected production, higher than expected costs, and a worse than expected performance by its refining division. The company gave provisional, unaudited figures of net profit of $1.8 billion for the quarter, down from $6.7 billion a year ago.

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