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Business Highlights

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LinkedIn's 4Q results soar past Street views

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) â¿¿ Online professional-networking service LinkedIn's fourth-quarter performance added another line to its sterling resume as a public company.

The results announced Thursday extended LinkedIn Corp.'s uninterrupted streak of exceeding analysts' projections for both earnings and revenue. It marked the seventh consecutive quarter since LinkedIn's May 2011 IPO that the company has pulled that off, to the delight of investors.

The run of pleasant surprises is one of the reasons that LinkedIn's stock has tripled from its initial public offering price of $45. The shares surged $12.11, or nearly 10 percent, to $136.20 in extended trading after the numbers came out.

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Sprint posts big 4Q loss, revenue rises

NEW YORK (AP) â¿¿ Sprint Nextel Corp., the country's third largest wireless carrier, on Thursday said it lost $1.3 billion in its fourth quarter, about the same as a year ago, as it revamped its network for a comeback versus bigger competitors.

The company's focus, and that of its investors, is on its long-term turnaround efforts rather than on short-term results. Sprint is selling 70 percent of itself to Japanese carrier Softbank Corp. for $20 billion. That deal is expected to close this summer, and provide long-ailing Sprint with a much-needed infusion of capital.

With Softbank's backing, Sprint has struck a deal to buy out the other shareholders of Clearwire Corp., which operates a wireless data network. That should give Sprint more space on the airwaves and allow it to offer high broadband speeds.

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By The Associated Press(equals)

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 42 points to 13,944.05. The Standard and Poor's 500 fell three points to 1,509.39 and the Nasdaq composite dropped three points to 3,165.13.

Benchmark crude for March delivery fell 79 cents to finish at $95.83 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. In London, Brent crude, used to price international varieties of oil, rose 51 cents to end at $117.24 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange.

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