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CORPORATE EARNINGS

MCI Communications Corp., which is the object of a huge takeover battle between WorldCom and GTE, on Thursday reported it lost $182 million in the third quarter, hurt by customers who didn't pay their bills. MCI's loss came to 26 cents per share. That compared to a profit of $304 million, or 44 cents per share, in the year-ago quarter. Revenues rose 2.9 percent to $4.82 billion from $4.69 billion. Xerox Corp.'s earnings rose 28 percent in the third quarter, driven by strong sales of color and digital copiers and printers. The company said Thursday it earned $320 million, or 92 cents per share, in the three months ended Sept. 30 compared with $250 million, or 71 cents per share, a year ago. Revenues rose 5 percent to $4.38 billion from $4.16 billion a year ago.

Delta Air Lines reported a 6.7 percent increase in its profit for the latest quarter to $254 million, or $3.34 a share, compared with $238 million, or $3.09 a share, a year earlier. Operating revenue for the quarter increased 3.5 percent to $3.6 billion from $3.4 billion a year ago.

Wendy's International Inc. posted a 13 percent increase in earnings for its third quarter. The nation's third-biggest hamburger chain earned $53 million, or 39 cents per share, in the three months ended Sept. 30, up from $46.9 million, or 36 cents per share, a year ago. Revenue rose to $525.5 million from $506.6 million a year ago.

CSX Corp. said Thursday its third-quarter earnings dropped 7 percent because of expenses involving its acquisition of part of Conrail. Net income for the period ended Sept. 26 was $206 million, or 95 cents a share, down from $222 million, or $1.04 a share, a year ago. Operating revenue of $2.65 billion remained level with the 1996 period.

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