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CVS Corp. said Tuesday it will close 200 of its pharmacies in January as it reported a 16 percent de cline in third-quarter earnings and warned that fourth- quarter profit would be well below expectations. The store closings will be distributed throughout all mar kets in which CVS operates, but specific stores have not yet been announced. The nation's largest drug store chain operator also said it will shut down one of its 10 distribution plants and one of two ProCare mail- order facilities. At least 220 layoffs will result from the plant and mail-order site closings, and about 100 of its 5,200 Rhode Island employees will also lose their jobs, spokesman Todd Andrews said. CVS reported earn ings of $124 million, or 30 cents per diluted share, for the three months ended Sept. 29, a 16 percent drop from $147 million, or 36 cents per share, a year ago. The results matched the consensus estimate of ana lysts surveyed by Thomson Financial/First Call. Sales for the third quarter were $5.4 billion, up 10.1 percent from $4.9 billion during last year's third quarter.< US Airways reported third-quarter losses of $766 million, far worse than what analysts had expected from the struggling airline. The loss, which amounts to $11.42 per share, takes into account the $331 million the airline received from the federal government as part of a congressional bailout of the airline industry. Without that money, the airline would have lost $1.10 billion in the third quarter. In the third quarter last year, US Airways reported a loss of $30 million, or 45 cents per share. Excluding unusual items, the company lost $433 million, or $6.45 a share. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial/First Call had predicted a loss of $4.36 per share. Quarterly revenue fell 16 percent, from $2.38 billion in 2000 to $1.99 billion in 2001.

Verizon Communications said a slushy economy and terrorist damage to its telephone infrastructure helped push third-quarter earnings down 46 percent. The company also cut its earnings estimates for the rest of the year. In the quarter ended Sept. 30, Verizon earned $1.88 billion, or 69 cents per share, compared to $3.47 billion, or $1.27 per share in the year-ago quarter. Magnifying the slide in income was the $1.3 billion Verizon earned in asset sales in the year-ago quarter. Excluding non-recurring items in both quarters, Verizon said profits rose 2.8 percent. The resulting earnings of 75 cents per share fell short of the 77 cents-per-share estimate of Wall Street analysts surveyed by Thomson/First Call. But the company said its figures included a 3-cent charge directly related to the terrorist attacks. The company's quarterly revenues rose to $17.00 billion, compared with $16.53 billion a year ago.

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