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CORPORATE EARNINGS

Verizon Communications earned $1.76 billion, or 63 cents a share, in the first quarter, as Verizon Wireless improved on its already industry-leading performance and the DSL business posted its fastest growth yet. In the same period last year, Verizon earned $1.20 billion, or 43 cents per share, weighed down by $446 million in costs to cover early retirement packages as the company reduced its work force by 21,000 employees. Revenues totaled $18.18 billion in the most recent quarter, up from $17.06 billion in the year-ago period.

Visteon Corp., the world's second-largest auto parts maker, posted a first-quarter loss due to lower sales to former parent company Ford Motor Co., higher steel costs and price reductions. The loss was $188 million, or $1.49 per share, compared with net income of $20 million, or 16 cents per share, a year ago. Sales edged up to $4.99 billion from $4.97 billion last year.

Praxair Inc., the largest producer of industrial gases in the Americas, said first-quarter profit rose 19 percent as crude-oil refiners bought more hydrogen to make cleaner-burning fuels. Net income climbed to $195 million, or 59 cents a share, from $164 million, or 49 cents, a year earlier. Sales gained 19 percent to $1.83 billion.

DuPont Co., the nation's third-largest chemical maker, said first-quarter earnings grew sharply from a year ago as improved margins offset increased energy and raw materials costs. Net income rose to $967 million, or 96 cents per share, for the quarter ended March 31 from $668 million, or 66 cents per share, a year ago. Total revenue fell to $7.83 billion from $8.21 billion in the first quarter of 2004.

Occidental Petroleum Corp. said higher oil and gas prices drove up its first quarter profits by 74 percent. Quarterly income grew to $846 million, or $2.11 per share, from $487 million, or $1.24 per share, in the year-ago period. Excluding one-time items, core earnings amounted to $866 million, or $2.16 per share, the company said. Net sales of $3.3 billion were 29 percent greater than the $2.65 billion of a year ago. By segment, oil and gas sales expanded 31 percent to $2.22 billion, while chemical sales rose 27 percent to $1.06 billion.

Waste Management Inc., North America's largest trash hauler, said first-quarter profit fell 1.3 percent as rising costs outpaced price increases. Net income dropped to $150 million from $152 million a year earlier. . Per-share profit was unchanged at 26 cents as the company bought back 3.4 million shares for $99 million. Revenue climbed 4.9 percent to $3.04 billion.

AirTran Holdings Inc. on said it swung to a first-quarter loss as the low-fare carrier contended with escalating fuel costs. The parent of AirTran Airways posted a quarterly loss of $8 million, or 9 cents per share, compared to earnings of $4.1 million, or 5 cents a share, a year earlier. Revenue in the quarter totaled $299.7 million, up 24 percent from $241.4 million last year.

Corning Inc., spurred by higher demand for fiber-optics equipment and ultra-thin glass used in flat-screen computers and televisions, posted first-quarter profit of $249 million, or 17 cents a share, up from $55 million, or 4 cents a share, in last year's first quarter. Sales surged 24 percent to $1.05 billion from $844 million a year ago.

Cooper Cameron Corp., a maker of oil and gas pressure control equipment, reported a 65 percent jump in its first-quarter profit, driven by strong oil rig activity in North America and overseas. The company earned $28.6 million, or 53 cents per share, compared with $17.3 million, or 31 cents per share, in the year-ago quarter. Revenue rose 18 percent to $547.9 million from $462.5 million a year ago.