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CORPORATE EARNINGS

FedEx Corp. reported fourth-quarter profits Thursday that were half the year-ago results, blaming reduced demand for its express services and reorganization costs. The results met analysts' reduced expectations. The Memphis-based package delivery company reported net earnings of $113 million, or 38 cents per share for the fiscal quarter ended May 31. That compares with earnings a year ago of $245 million, or 85 cents per share. The fourth-quarter results included $124 million in charges, including $93 million to scale back the company's MD10 aircraft conversion program and $22 million to reorganize operations at the FedEx Supply Chain Services program. Excluding those expenses, the company earned 64 cents per share. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial/First Call had been expecting earnings, excluding the one-time charges, of 52 cents per share. That forecast was revised downward from April 4 when the company warned it would likely fall short of projections of 85 cents to 90 cents a share.

Nike Inc. reported Thursday its profits rose 30 percent in the fourth fiscal quarter, a steeper rise than analysts expected that was attributed to savings on marketing outlays this spring. The footwear and apparel giant said that its earnings for the current quarter would be lower than a year ago, citing excess inventory from slower-than-expected sales. The Beaverton, Ore.-based company said it earned $163 million, or 60 cents a share, for the fourth quarter ended May 31, up from $126 million, or 46 cents per share, a year earlier, beating Wall Street expectations by a penny a share. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial/First Call were expecting Nike to earn 59 cents a share for the quarter. Sales for the quarter rose to $2.5 billion from last year's $2.3 billion, or about an 8 percent increase.

General Mills said strong cereal sales helped boost its fourth-quarter profits. For the period ended May 27, Minneapolis-based General Mills earned $146 million, or 50 cents per share, compared with $109 million, or 37 cents, a year earlier. Excluding one-time items, the company met Wall Street's forecasts of 42 cents per share. Revenue in the fourth quarter increased 7 percent to $1.8 billion as sales of cereals such as Cheerios, Kix and Wheaties rebounded from recent sluggishness. The company's cereal line accounts for almost half of its total revenue and about a third of all U.S. cereal sales. General Mills also sold more products in the fourth quarter compared with a year earlier. Its unit volume climbed 6 percent, better than analysts' expectations of a 4 percent increase. Volume in its convenience food category posted a particularly strong gain of 11 percent thanks in large part to the company's new Milk 'n Cereal Bars. The division also makes Yoplait Yogurt and Nature Valley granola bars.

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