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Business Highlights

By The Associated Press

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US gains 157,000 jobs; jobless rate rises to 7.9 percent

WASHINGTON (AP) â¿¿ The U.S. job market is proving sturdier than expected at a time when the economy is under pressure from Washington gridlock and the threat of government spending cuts.

Employers added 157,000 jobs in January, and hiring was much stronger at the end of last year than the government had previously estimated.

The Labor Department's estimated job gains for the final two months of 2012 â¿¿ a period when the economy was being threatened by the fiscal cliff â¿¿ rose from 161,000 to 247,000 for November and from 155,000 to 196,000 for December.

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Dow ends above 14,000 for 1st time since Oct. 2007

NEW YORK (AP) â¿¿ The Dow closed above 14,000 on Friday for the first time in more than five years.

It was just a number on a board, but it was enough to raise the hopes of some investors and cause others concern about an overheated market. And it brought reminders of a different era, back before the financial crisis rocked the world economy.

The Dow Jones industrial average, a stock market index that is traditionally considered a benchmark for how the entire market is faring, had been rising fairly steadily for about a month. On Friday, strong auto sales and optimism about U.S. job growth pushed it over the mark. The Dow is now just 155 points away from its record close.

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Detroit, Toyota see big US sales gains in January

DETROIT (AP) â¿¿ American consumers ignored tax increases and trudged through winter weather to buy new cars and trucks at an unusually strong pace last month.

Analysts said it will likely be the best January in five years once all automakers report sales. Toyota posted a 27-percent increase, while Ford sales jumped 22 percent. GM and Chrysler each reported 16 percent gains compared with a year earlier.

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