IN BRIEF

NEW YORK

EBay’s quarterly profits top analysts’ forecasts

EBay Inc. posted a third-quarter profit that beat analyst forecasts Wednesday, but its lower-than-expected fourth-quarter forecast suggested the online auction site operator is not immune from the slowing economy.

EBay earned $492 million, or 38 cents per share, in the quarter ended Sept. 30. A year earlier, eBay had a loss of $936 million, or 69 cents per share, stemming from charges to its Skype telecommunications unit.

Excluding one-time items, eBay earned 46 cents per share — 5 cents higher than analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected.

Revenue rose 12 percent to $2.12 billion.

Going forward, eBay forecast a fourth-quarter profit of 25 cents to 27 cents per share; eBay earned 39 cents per share in the fourth quarter of 2007.

Winter gas bills will increase by pennies

Southern Nevadans will shell out a few cents more each month under new rates that state regulators approved Wednesday for Southwest Gas Corp. The typical winter bill will increase Nov. 1 by 7 cents to $78.46 for a consumer using 6,500 cubic feet of natural gas monthly during the winter.

“It is good news for Nevadans that natural gas is stabilizing after what we saw this summer when prices were skyrocketing,” Public Utilities Commissioner Sam Thompson said. “Of course, this is always subject to change because natural gas prices have been very volatile.”

Southwest Gas shares fell $3, or 11.24 percent, Wednesday to close at $23.68 on the New York Stock Exchange.

NEW YORK

Cartel cuts demand forecast; oil prices slip

Oil prices closed below $75 a barrel for the first time in nearly 14 months Wednesday after OPEC, fearing that a severe global economic slowdown is unavoidable, slashed its 2009 petroleum demand forecast.

Light, sweet crude for November delivery fell $4.09, or 5.2 percent, to settle at $74.54 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It was crude’s lowest settlement prices since Aug. 31, 2007.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries said rich nations in 2009 are expected to need only 400,000 barrels a day more oil than this year, whereas demand from developing countries will increase by an estimated 1.1 million barrels.

DNEW YORK

Treasury prices rise as demand increases

Treasury prices rose Wednesday as the stock market tumbled.

The 10-year note rose 0.88 points to 100.16 and yielded 3.98 percent, down from 4.03 late Tuesday but still up from last week.

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