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Business Highlights

The Commerce Department said Monday that overall orders for durable goods increased 4.6 percent in December compared with November. The gains were led by a 56.4 percent increase in military aircraft orders and a 10.1 percent increase in commercial aircraft orders.

Orders rose in other major categories, including machinery, communications equipment and primary metals.

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Tight inventory slows US pending home sales

WASHINGTON (AP) ⿿ A measure of Americans who signed contracts to buy homes fell last month after reaching a 2 ½-year high in November. Sales were held back by a limited supply of available homes.

The National Association of Realtors said Monday that its seasonally adjusted index for pending home sales dropped 4.3 percent in December from November to 101.7. That's still 6.9 percent higher than a year ago.

The decline signals that sales of previously occupied homes may cool off 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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Yahoo's 4Q report shows more signs of progress

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) â¿¿ Yahoo showed more signs of progress during the fourth quarter as the Internet company took advantage of higher ad prices and rising earnings from its international investments to deliver numbers that exceeded analyst forecasts.

The results announced Monday covered Yahoo's first full quarter under CEO Marissa Mayer. Yahoo Inc. lured Mayer away from Google Inc. in mid-July in its latest attempt to snap out of a funk that had depressed its revenue and stock price.

The company fared well enough in the final three months of last year to produce its first full-year gain in revenue since 2008.

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Caterpillar sees uncertain 2013 after tough 4Q

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) â¿¿ Caterpillar said on Monday that its 2013 profit could shrink if the world's economy doesn't pick up in the second half of the year, as mining companies and builders remain cautious about buying new gear.

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