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URGENT: Video shows beheading of second American journalist

DUBAI (Reuters) - The Islamic State militant group released a video purporting to show the beheading of U.S. hostage Steven Sotloff, the SITE monitoring service reported on Tuesday. A masked figure in the video also issued a threat against a British hostage, a man the group named as David Haines, and warned governments to back off "this evil alliance of America against the Islamic State", the monitoring service said. (Reporting by William Maclean, Editing by Angus MacSwan)

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BofA says it can boost profitability of wealth management business

A Bank of America sign is pictured in Encinitas, California January 14, 2014. REUTERS/Mike Blake
A Bank of America sign is pictured in Encinitas, California January 14, 2014. REUTERS/Mike Blake

(Reuters) - Bank of America Corp believes it has ample room to increase the profitability of its wealth management division, an executive said on Tuesday.

The bank's Merrill Lynch unit could post a pre-tax margin of over 30 percent once interest rates normalize, said John Thiel, the head of wealth management, at an investor conference in Boca Raton, Florida.

The unit's margin was 26.6 percent in the fourth quarter and 26.4 percent overall in 2013.

Morgan Stanley's wealth management business, Merrill Lynch's closest competitor in terms of the profitability, recorded a pre-tax margin of 19 percent in the fourth quarter. It aims to reach a margin between 22 and 25 percent by the fourth quarter of 2015.

(Reporting by Peter Rudegeair; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli)