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US businesses added to their stocks of merchandise more vigorously than anticipated in February, signaling strong demand. The Commerce Department said the value of inventories at retailers, wholesalers, and manufacturers increased 0.4 percent to a seasonally adjusted $1.091 trillion after being unchanged in January. It was the strongest monthly addition since a matching 0.4 percent rise in November - and twice as strong as Wall Street economists had forecast.

Losses at financially troubled Nissan Motors, the No. 2 automaker in Japan, will likely be closer to $290 million for the 1998 fiscal year than the previously forecast $250 million, Tokyo's Yomiuri newspaper reported. It said company chairman Yoshifumi Tsuji was expected to accept responsibility for the performance and resign. Nissan's losses were blamed mostly on domestic sales, which fell 10.6 percent during the fiscal year.

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