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CORPORATE EARNINGS

General Motors Corp. reported a loss for the July-September period of $368 million, or 41 cents a share, as a strong showing in North America was offset by foreign losses. GM's third-quarter numbers included charges totaling $753 million, or $1.26 a share, related to a previously announced closing of an assembly plant in Canada and various special items at its Hughes Electronics unit. Excluding the charges, GM earned $385 million, or 85 cents a share, in the quarter. During the third quarter last year, GM earned $829 million, or $1.55 a share. There were no special charges during that quarter. Revenue for the quarter slipped to $42.48 billion from $42.69 billion a year ago.

Microsoft Corp.'s earnings in its fiscal first quarter ended Sept. 30 fell 42 percent to $1.28 billion, or 23 cents per share, compared with $2.21 billion, or 40 cents per share, in the year-ago period. The results include a hefty $1.24 billion charge, or 20 cents per share, related to investment losses, primarily in telecommunications. Excluding the investment loss, Microsoft earned 43 cents per share. Revenue was 6 percent higher, at $6.13 billion, than revenue of $5.77 billion a year ago.

Tyco International Ltd., the 200-company conglomerate that owns Graphic Controls, Scott Aviation and Advanced Refractory Technologies in the Buffalo area, said fiscal fourth-quarter net income fell 28 percent to $1.38 billion, or 70 cents a share, from $1.91 billion, or $1.12, in the year-earlier period. Sales rose 29 percent to $10.08 billion because of acquisitions. When restructuring costs at its electronics unit, early retirement of debt and asset costs are excluded, and before an accounting change, Tyco said profit would have been $1.68 billion, or 86 cents a share.

Corning Inc., the world's largest maker of optical fiber used in telecommunications networks, posted a third-quarter loss of $220 million or 24 cents a share, compared with a profit of $254 million, or 28 cents a share, the same time last year. Sales fell 21 percent to $1.509 billion from $1.916 billion. Excluding one-time items, including a previously disclosed restructuring charge of $330 million, the company earned $85 million, or 9 cents a share, down 74 percent from $317 million, or 35 cents a share, a year ago.

Southwest Airlines Co., the largest low-fare carrier, had third-quarter net income of $151 million, or 19 cents a share, down 18 percent from $184.3 million, or 23 cents adjusted for a February stock split, in the year-earlier quarter. Sales fell 9.7 percent to $1.34 billion from $1.48 billion a year ago.

United Parcel Service's third-quarter profit fell 19 percent as the largest package-delivery company moved fewer goods because of the slowing U.S. economy and the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Net income slid to $568 million, or 50 cents a share, from $702 million, or 60 cents, in the year-earlier quarter. Sales rose 1.5 percent to $7.48 billion from $7.37 billion. Total shipments fell 2.9 percent from a year ago.

Bausch & Lomb Inc. recorded a third-quarter net profit of $23.3 million, or 43 cents a share, up from $14.7 million, or 27 cents a share, in last year's third quarter. Sales fell 2 percent to $433.6 million from $443.2 million. Excluding one-time items, profits fell 57 percent to $16 million, or 30 cents a share, from $37.8 million, or 70 cents a share, a year ago.

McDonald's Corp.'s third-quarter earnings slipped 1 percent to $545.5 million, or 42 cents a share, from $548.5 million, or 41 cents a share a year earlier. Results include a $137 million after-tax gain related to taking McDonald's Japanese business public. There were also charges of about $84 million, primarily related to closing 154 underperforming restaurants. Excluding extraordinary items, McDonald's earned 38 cents per share. Revenue rose 3.5 percent to $3.88 billion, from $3.75 billion a year ago.

Merrill Lynch & Co., the nation's largest brokerage firm, reported that its profits fell by more than half in the third quarter to $422 million, or 44 cents a share, from $885 million, or 94 cents a share, a year earlier. The company said its losses from the World Trade Center attacks reduced its third-quarter earnings by $53 million, or 6 cents a share, and that it expected to recover much of that from insurance.

Boeing Co. posted a 7 percent profit increase in the third quarter despite the jolt to its commercial airplane business on Sept. 11, but said the attacks will hurt operations over the next several quarters. Net earnings were $650 million, or 80 cents a share, in the July-September quarter, up from $609 million, or 70 cents a share, in 2000. Excluding a $100 million charge for layoffs, its operating earnings were 88 cents a share. Revenues were $13.7 billion, up 15 percent from $11.9 billion a year ago.

Coca-Cola Co., the world's largest beverage company, said it earned $1.07 billion, or 43 cents per share, in the July-September period, up from $1.06 billion, or 43 cents it earned in the same quarter last year. Excluding a pretax gain of 2 cents per share from income related to a stock issue by its largest bottler, Coke earned 41 cents per share. Quarterly revenue was $5.40 billion, down from $5.41 billion in the same period of 2000.

Allstate Corp., the No. 2 U.S. auto and home insurer, said third-quarter earnings slumped 65 percent as losses mounted on homeowner policies. Net income fell to $226 million, or 32 cents a share, from $644 million, or 87 cents, a year ago. Revenue fell 4 percent to $7.17 billion.

Computer Associates International, the fifth-largest software maker, recorded a third-quarter loss of $291 million, or 50 cents a share, compared with net income of $138 million, or 23 cents, a year earlier. Sales fell to $734 million, from $1.55 billion.

EBay Inc.'s third-quarter profit surged 24 percent to $18.8 million, or 7 cents a share, from $15.2 million, or 5 cents, a year earlier. Sales rose 71 percent to $194.4 million from $113.4 million.

Gateway Inc., the second-biggest direct seller of personal computers, had a third-quarter loss of $519.7 million, or $1.61 cents a share, compared with net income of $131.8 million, or 40 cents, a year earlier. Sales fell to $1.4 billion from $2.55 billion.

Union Pacific Corp., which operates the nation's largest railroad, reported 4 percent growth in its third quarter earnings to $267 million, or $1.04 per share, compared with $256 million, or $1 per share, in earnings during the same quarter last year. Revenue fell 1 percent to $3.03 billion from $3.05 billion.

Nortel Networks said sagging demand for its telecommunications equipment contributed to a massive $3.5 billion loss during the third quarter. The results, announced Thursday, raised Nortel's total losses for the fiscal year to more than $20 billion as the Canadian company continued to struggle with the slumping high tech industry. The company lost $1.08 a share for the quarter ended Sept. 30, compared to a loss of $586 million, or 17 cents a share, the same time a year ago. Loss from ongoing operations, before charges, was $854 million, or 27 cents a share. Operating revenue dropped 45 percent to $3.69 billion from $6.73 billion a year ago.

Office Depot said third-quarter profit rose 23 percent despite lower sales because profit margins rose on notebook paper and other back-to-school supplies. The largest U.S. office-products retailer's net income rose to $62.5 million, or 20 cents a share, from $50.6 million, or 16 cents, a year earlier. Sales fell to $2.78 billion from $2.82 billion.

New York Times Co.'s third-quarter earnings fell 42 percent as the publisher of the third- largest U.S. daily newspaper reported weaker advertising sales at its newspapers and TV stations. Net income fell to $43.8 million, or 28 cents a share, from $75 million, or 45 cents, a year earlier, the New York-based company said in a statement. Revenue fell 7.7 percent to $696.9 million.

Avon Products Inc., the largest direct seller of cosmetics, said third-quarter earnings rose 8.7 percent as it sold more makeup. Net income rose to $100.3 million, or 42 cents a share, from $92.3 million, or 38 cents, a year earlier. Revenue increased 5.7 percent to $1.42 billion from $1.35 billion.

Linens 'n Things Inc., the home-accessories and housewares retailer, said third-quarter profit fell 20 percent to $14.7 million, or 36 cents a share, from $18.4 million, or 45 cents, a year earlier. Sales in the quarter rose 14 percent to $468.9 million from $410.4 million a year earlier, while same-store sales fell 4.8 percent.

Ethan Allen Interiors, the furniture maker and retailer, said fiscal first-quarter profit fell 19 percent as consumers spent less on home furnishings because of the economic slowdown. Net income fell to $16.7 million, or 42 cents a share, from $20.7 million, or 52 cents, a year earlier. Sales in the period ended Sept. 30 declined 2.1 percent to $206.7 million from $211.2 million.

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