Federal budget in the black for January

The federal government recorded a budget surplus in January of $55.2 billion, helped by a timing quirk that shifted benefit payments to December. The Treasury Department said Wednesday that the surplus marked an improvement from January 2015 when the government recorded a small deficit of $17.5 billion. Part of the improvement reflected the fact that $42 billion in benefit checks were sent out in December because the regular payment period fell on a weekend. For the first four months of this budget year, the deficit totaled $160.4 billion, below last year's deficit of $194.2 billion for the same period. Both the Obama administration and the Congressional Budget Office are forecasting this year's deficit to top last year's imbalance of $439.1 billion.

Asahi offers to buy brands from AB InBev

Budweiser-maker AB InBev has received a binding offer of 2.55 billion euros ($2.85 billion) for the European beer brands Grolsch, Peroni and Meantime — a sale that is meant to address regulatory concerns about its mega merger with SABMiller. The offer by Japanese brewer Asahi Group Holdings, if accepted following an employee consultation, would move AB InBev closer to completing the deal. AB InBev agreed last year to buy SABMiller for 69 billion pounds ($100 billion.) The combination would account for 29 percent of the world beer market, making it three times larger than its nearest rival. AB InBev said it would be proactive about regulatory concerns. To ease antitrust concerns in the United States, SABMiller will sell its 58 percent stake in a venture with fellow brewer Molson Coors for $12 billion.

Tesla posts 11th straight quarterly loss

Tesla Motors posted its 11th straight quarterly loss Wednesday, and its results badly missed Wall Street's forecasts. But the electric carmaker's shares soared anyway on news that its lower-priced Model 3 sedan is on schedule to be released next year. Tesla said it will unveil the much-anticipated $35,000 car on March 31 and expects to start production at the end of 2017. Tesla's shares had fallen in recent days as investors worried that the Model 3 would be delayed. Tesla said Wednesday that it's accelerating Model X SUV production and expects to produce 1,000 SUVs per week by the second quarter. Tesla shares rose 13 percent in after-hours trading to $163.07. Tesla lost $889 million, or $6.93 per share, for the full year.

MIT wins Hyperloop design competition

MIT student engineers won a competition to transform SpaceX and Tesla Motors co-founder Elon Musk's idea into a design for a Hyperloop to move pods of people at high speed. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, based in Cambridge, Mass., was named the winner following a competition among more than 1,000 college students at Texas A&M University. The Hyperloop is a high-speed ground transport concept proposed by Musk to transport "pods" of 20 to 30 people through a 12-foot diameter tube at speeds of roughly 700 mph. Delft University of Technology from the Netherlands finished second, the University of Wisconsin third and Virginia Tech fourth.

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