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Business Highlights

The report follows an announcement last month by Sears Holdings Corp. that its chairman and hedge fund billionaire Edward Lampert would take over as CEO. Investors are concerned whether Lampert will continue to invest in improving the shopping experience at stores.

In his annual letter to investors, Lampert sought to ease worries on Wall Street by promising that the company will continue to invest in technology, bolster its online operations and make other changes to shore up its business.

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Barnes & Noble posts 3Q loss as Nook demand slows

NEW YORK (AP) â¿¿ Physical books may have a longer shelf life than expected. Barnes & Noble posted a third-quarter loss on Thursday, partly because demand for its e-books and Nook e-book readers have plummeted.

Many have predicted the eventual demise of paper books, as e-book readers and e-book demand soared. But that trend appears to be slowing, at least with the Nook, according to Barnes & Noble CEO William Lynch. And digital "cannibalization" â¿¿ consumers buying e-books instead of paper books â¿¿ has also slowed.

The company said sales of digital media â¿¿ including digital books, digital newspapers and magazines, and apps â¿¿ rose just 7 percent during the fiscal third quarter. Sales had risen 38 percent in the second quarter and 46 percent in the first quarter.

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Freddie Mac posts $4.5 billion net income for Q4

WASHINGTON (AP) â¿¿ Mortgage giant Freddie Mac earned $4.5 billion from October through December, its fifth straight profitable quarter. The government-controlled company credited fewer delinquencies on home loans and rising home prices for the gains.

Freddie says it paid a dividend of $1.8 billion to the U.S. Treasury and requested no additional federal aid.

The fourth-quarter results compared with net income of $619 million in the same quarter of 2011.

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Chrysler to add jobs, invest $374 million in Kokomo, Ind., area

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