Morning in brief: AIG posts $19.8bn profit on accounting change

Japan’s financial regulator tells a firm to stop trading because of suspected losses, while positive economic data helps Asian markets.

Asian shares rise overnight on the back of improved German business confidence data and steady unemployment claims numbers from the US, according to the Financial Times.

Insurance giant American International Group (AIG) posts a $19.8 billion (£12.6 billion) profit for the fourth quarter of 2011 after benefiting from a one-time accounting change, Reuters reports.

Japan’s financial watchdog tells AIJ Investment Advisors to cease its operations over worries that the investment firm has lost the bulk of the £1.5 billion in assets it runs, the BBC says.

The rift between Australian prime minister Julia Gillard and former leader Kevin Rudd threatens to hamstring the Labor government’s chances of re-election next year, according to Bloomberg.