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CORPORATE EARNINGS

Quebecor World said profit in the third quarter fell 19 percent as the world's second-largest commercial printer incurred costs to close plants and fire workers. Net income dropped to $48.1 million, or 29 cents a share, from $59.7 million, or 38 cents, a year earlier. Revenue rose to $1.63 billion from $1.60 billion.

Praxair Inc., the largest producer of industrial gases in the Americas, said profit in the third quarter rose 18 percent on demand for hydrogen by crude-oil refiners and for gases by the steel and electronics industries. Net income rose to $177 million, or 53 cents a share, from $150 million, or 45 cents, a year earlier. Sales rose 18 percent to $1.67 billion.

The Penn Traffic Co. lost $266,000 on sales of $97.4 million in September, the company reported to federal bankruptcy court. The loss was less than half of what the regional grocer lost in August, but adds to the $158.3 million the company has lost since filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on May 30, 2003. The loss is tolerable because of other offsetting September revenues, said William B. Murphy, Penn Traffic's interim chief financial officer. Operating income and earnings, before taxes and other deductions, remain strong, he said. The company now has 107 supermarkets in New York, Vermont, Pennsylvania and New Hampshire under three names: P&C Foods, Quality Markets and BiLo.

Applebee's International's third-quarter profit rose 11 percent from last year, helped by higher sales per restaurant. In the quarter ended Sept. 26, Applebee's earned $28.3 million, or 34 cents a share, on revenue of $281.2 million, matching the average forecast of analysts polled by Thomson First Call. In the same period last year, it earned $25.6 million, or 30 cents a share, on revenue of $253 million.

Anheuser-Busch Cos. reported a slight rise in third-quarter earnings Wednesday, despite a general slowdown in its beer business. The brewer of Budweiser, Busch and Michelob brands earned $684 million, or 85 cents per share, during the three-month period ending Sept. 30. That compared with $664 million, or 80 cents per share, a year ago. Sales were $4.68 billion, up 4.8 percent from $4.47 billion last year.

Sirius Satellite Radio on Wednesday said it posted a wider loss for the third quarter from a year earlier, as higher expenses - particularly for National Football League programming - more than offset a surge in revenue. The company, which recently signed a five-year, $500 million programming deal with "shock jock" Howard Stern that begins in 2006, had a loss of $169.4 million, or 14 cents a share, for the quarter, compared with a loss of $106.7 million, or 11 cents a share, a year ago. Revenue for the quarter more than quadrupled to $19.1 million from $4.3 million a year ago.

Blockbuster Inc., the world's largest video-store chain, posted a third-quarter loss of $1.4 billion because it wrote down the value of some assets and spent money starting a Web-based rental service to challenge Netflix Inc. The loss of $7.82 a share compares with net income of $63.7 million, or 35 cents, a year earlier. Sales rose 1.8 percent to $1.41 billion.

Regal Entertainment Group, the country's largest owner of movie theaters, said its profit fell 37 percent in the third quarter, as box office receipts slipped. The company said its net income for the period ended Sept. 30 dropped to $27.8 million, or 19 cents a share. That's down from the prior year's $44.2 million, or 30 cents a share. Total revenue fell 3 percent to $611.3 million from $629.9 million.

Boeing Co.'s net earnings for the July-September quarter were $456 million, or 56 cents per share, up from $256 million, or 32 cents per share, a year earlier. Operating earnings were 44 cents a share. Revenues rose 8 percent to $13.2 billion from $12.2 billion.

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