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The 15-year mortgage, a popular option for refinancing, declined to 3.04 percent. That's down from last week's 3.05 percent.

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Sears spins off Canada stake to focus on US stores

HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. (AP) â¿¿ Sears Holdings Corp. said Thursday it returned to a profit in the first quarter as it benefitted from a gain on the sale of underperforming stores. The troubled retailer also said it would spinoff a stake in its Canada unit to focus on turning around its U.S. business.

The Hoffman Estates, Ill., company, which runs Sears, Kmart and Lands' End, said it earned $189 million, or $1.78 per share, for the period ended April 28. It lost $170 million, or $1.58 per share, a year ago.

The current quarter included a $233 million gain on the sale of 11 U.S. stores, three Canadian stores and leasehold interest.

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Gap 1Q net income flat, company raises guidance

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) â¿¿ Clothing seller Gap Inc. said Thursday that sales improved at its Old Navy, Gap and Banana Republic chains, as well as online. But its first-quarter net income was unchanged from a year ago as rising costs offset those gains.

The company's adjusted results met analysts' forecasts, and Gap raised its guidance for the year.

Gap has struggled for years to reclaim its status as a fashion leader, and the results show it is making strides in its effort to get more people to shop in its stores. More than two-thirds of the company's revenue came from stores in the U.S., while 12 percent was generated online.

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Buffett's Berkshire to buy Media General papers

NEW YORK (AP) â¿¿ Billionaire Warren Buffett's company is making another foray into newspapers, agreeing to buy 63 newspapers from Media General Inc. for $142 million.

Berkshire Hathaway Inc. is also extending a loan to Media General and taking a 19.9 percent stake in the company, which will still own 18 TV stations. Media General also owns some websites, such as coupon provider DealTaker.com.

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