Sallie Mae narrows loss

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Reston-based student loan lender Sallie Mae narrowed its third quarter loss to $159 million, compared with $344 million last year.

The country’s largest student loan lender met analysts’ expectations, and set aside more money to cover losses and paid down derivative earnings.

Its student loans originations fell to $7.7 billion, compared with $8.9 billion last year as the company tightened its criteria for awarding loans.

-Richmond-based Altria Group’s third-quarter profit beat analysts’ expectations, but earnings fell 67 percent from a year ago when the company still owned its international tobacco division.

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