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Business Highlights

The increase followed a 5 percent gain in October and suggests higher sales of previously occupied homes in the coming months. There's generally a one- to two-month lag between a signed contract and a completed sale.

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UK's Pearson invests in Barnes & Noble's Nook

LONDON (AP) â¿¿ Pearson, the U.K. publisher and education company, is to take a 5 percent stake in Barnes & Noble's NOOK e-reader as technology companies seek new inroads into the potentially lucrative business of digital textbooks for schools.

Pearson PLC will pay $89.5 million cash for a 5 percent stake in NOOK Media LLC which includes the bookseller's e-reader and tablets, its digital bookstore and its 674 stores serving U.S. colleges. Barnes & Noble will hold 78.2 percent of the business and Microsoft will have about 16.8 percent, the company said Friday.

Major tech companies have looked for inroads into the industry, seeing tablets like the iPad and the NOOK as replacements for the dozens of books that students must lug to and from school each day.

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HP says government investigating troubled Autonomy unit

NEW YORK (AP) â¿¿ Autonomy, the British business software company now owned by Hewlett-Packard Co., is facing a Justice Department investigation over improper accounting under previous management, according to HP.

In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission late Thursday, HP said Justice officials had informed the company on Nov. 21 that they were opening an investigation into the allegations, which HP said in November that it had uncovered after a senior Autonomy executive came forward.

HP also reiterated that it provided information to the SEC and the U.K. Serious Fraud Office related to "accounting improprieties, disclosure failures and misrepresentations at Autonomy." HP said it was cooperating with all three government agencies.

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China court orders Apple to pay in rights dispute

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