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Summer crude prices lift oil company profits

Record crude prices this summer are translating into huge profits, as BP and Occidental Petroleum showed Tuesday, but some energy companies are bracing for tougher times.

Despite a 71 percent jump in third-quarter profit, Occidental Petroleum said Tuesday it likely would not increase capital spending next year from its current $4.7 billion level. Refiner Valero Energy Corp., meanwhile, said it was cutting spending by 33 percent this year and cutting its 2009 budget.

BP PLC, Europe’s second-biggest oil producer, said Tuesday its third-quarter earnings rose to $8.05 billion from $4.41 billion a year earlier.

Revenue rose 45 percent to $103.2 billion from $71.3 billion.

Los Angeles-based Occidental Petroleum said net income for the three months ended Sept. 30 rose to $2.27 billion, or $2.78 a share, from $1.32 billion, or $1.58 per share, a year earlier.

Revenue rose to $7.06 billion from $4.84 billion.

Valero said net income was $1.15 billion, or 2.18 a share, compared with $1.27 billion, or $2.09 a share, a year ago.

Revenue rose nearly 52 percent to $35.9 billion.

Patent judgment appeal to wait for IGT

A federal judge vacated the planned start of a patent infringement trial next week to allow slot maker International Game Technology to appeal his summary judgment ruling in favor of claims brought by slot machine rival Bally Technologies.

The trial between IGT and Bally had been set to begin Tuesday. A new start date was not announced.

Earlier this month, U.S. District Judge Robert Clive Jones ruled that several IGT patents covering bonus wheel slot machines were invalid and not infringed upon by Bally.

Zions Bancorporation

to get Treasury aid

Zions Bancorporation, the holding company of Nevada State Bank and other banks in the West, won preliminary approval to get a $1.4 billion infusion from the U.S. Treasury.

The bank also cut its quarterly dividend 26 percent.

Zions joins SunTrust Banks Inc. among institutions that announced dividend cuts as they agreed to sell preferred shares in government’s capital purchase plan.

Zions plans to pay a quarterly dividend of 32 cents later this month, compared with a 43-cent payout over the previous six quarters.

Treasury prices decline ahead of Fed meeting

Longer-term Treasurys slipped as investors absorbed more government debt supply and awaited the Fed’s decision on interest rates today.

The 10-year note fell 1.34 points to 101.22 and yielded 3.84 percent, up from 3.69 percent.

The 30-year bond fell 2.72 points to 105.03 and yielded 4.20 percent, up from 4.04 percent.

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