Diners help McDonald’s post profitable quarter

Consumers helped bring McDonald’s Corp. back to profitability in the second quarter by spending on breakfast biscuits, chicken sandwiches and drinks despite the tough economy in the United States.

McDonald’s earned $1.19 billion, or $1.04 a share, compared with a loss of $711 million, or 60 cents a share, a year earlier.

The Oak Brook, Ill.-based company said revenue rose 4 percent to $6.08 billion.

Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters Research had expected earnings of 86 cents a share on revenue of $5.92 billion.


Pechanga Resort will lay off 400 workers

The Pechanga Resort and Casino in Temecula plans to lay off about 400 of its 4,700 workers, blaming tough economic times.

The casino, the second-largest private employer in Riverside County, draws customers from across Southern California.

Amy Minniear, president of Pechanga Development Corp., on Tuesday called the layoffs “the most difficult decision” they have had to make since beginning operations.

Second-quarter loss slims for Pulte Homes

Pulte Homes said Wednesday its second-quarter loss narrowed from a year ago as the home builder booked fewer charges on land and unsold inventory despite a worsening housing market.

“The operating environment for home building continued to deteriorate during the second quarter of 2008,” Richard Dugas Jr., Pulte’s president and chief executive, said in a statement. “Buyer confidence remains under pressure, both from the weakness in housing as well as concerns about the overall economy.”

The Bloomfield Hills, Mich.-based company said it lost $158.4 million, or 63 cents per share, in the three months ended June 30. That compares with a loss of $507.6 million, or $2.01 per share, a year earlier.

Revenue fell 19.3 percent to $1.63 billion from $2.02 billion.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial were expecting Pulte to post a loss of 69 cents per share on sales of $1.56 billion. The earnings estimates typically exclude one-time items.


Costco warns profits will miss expectations

Costco Wholesale Corp., the largest U.S. warehouse-club chain, had the biggest drop in almost five years in Nasdaq trading after saying fourth-quarter profit would be “well below” analysts’ estimates because of energy costs.

Earnings for the quarter will miss the $1-a-share consensus estimate of analysts surveyed by First Call, Costco said Wednesday in a statement. Analysts polled by Bloomberg also predicted $1 profit, excluding one-time items. The chain said it had to pay more to buy gasoline for its stations and for transporting goods.

Costco shares fell $8.57, or 11.9 percent, to close at $63.43 on the Nasdaq National Market.

Nokia, Qualcomm sign licensing agreement

Nokia Oyj, the world’s biggest maker of wireless phones, and chipmaker Qualcomm signed a new licensing agreement, ending global litigation and resolving concerns about the future of Qualcomm’s licensing program.

The 15-year agreement covers different mobile-phone standards and resolves all litigation, including a Nokia complaint pending before the European Commission. Nokia will get a license to all of Qualcomm patents and agreed not to use any of its patents against Qualcomm, the companies said in a statement.

Financial terms weren’t disclosed. Nokia will pay an upfront fee and ongoing royalties to Qualcomm.


Amazon profits more than double in quarter showed Wednesday that it wasn’t being hurt by economic weakness and high fuel prices, reporting second-quarter earnings that more than doubled and surpassed analysts’ expectations. The Internet retailer also raised its full-year revenue projections.

Amazon earned $158 million, or 37 cents per share, for the quarter ended June 30, up from $78 million, or 19 cents per share, a year earlier.

Revenue rose 41 percent to $4.06 billion. North American sales jumped 35 percent.

Analysts polled by Thomson Financial had expected earnings of 26 cents per share on $3.96 billion in revenue in the quarter.


Treasury prices dip as trader optimism grows

Treasury prices fell for a second straight session Wednesday as investors grew increasingly optimistic about the ability of banks and brokerages to weather the credit crisis.

In late trading, the 10-year Treasury note fell 0.06 points to 98.6. Its yield rose to 4.12 percent from 4.10 percent on Tuesday, according to BGCantor Market Data. Yields move in the opposite direction as prices.

The 30-year long bond — typically the most sensitive to inflation worries — fell 0.28 points to 95.19. Its yield rose to 4.68 percent from 4.66 percent Tuesday.

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