Amazon profits increase, but prospects dim Inc. said Wednesday that its profit climbed 48 percent in the third quarter, but the company reduced its full-year sales outlook, showing that the online retailer cannot escape the weak economy. Its shares dived. The Seattle-based company now anticipates 2008 revenue of $18.46 billion to $19.46 billion. That means the high end of its forecast is below the $19.52 billion that analysts polled by Thomson Reuters were expecting. Amazon shares fell $5.89, or 12 percent, in extended trading, after finishing regular trading down 24 cents at $49.99.

Aetna, Microsoft offer records vault

Aetna Inc. is becoming the first health insurer to team with Microsoft Corp. to give its customers an ­Internet-based vault for storing medical records they can access even if they change jobs or leave their health plan. Starting next month, Hartford, Conn.-based Aetna will allow some customers to transfer electronic personal health records to Microsoft’s HealthVault, a platform that lets care providers look at the information, if they have patient permission. The vault will give the insurer’s customers continuous access to their claims information.

Foreclosures grow by 70 percent

The number of homeowners ensnared in the foreclosure crisis grew by more than 70 percent in the third quarter of this year compared with the same period in 2007, according to new data. Nationwide, nearly 766,000 homes received at least one foreclosure-related notice from July through September, up 71 percent from a year earlier, said foreclosure listing service RealtyTrac Inc. In Snohomish County, there were 336 foreclosure properties during the quarter, one for every 805 homes in the county.

Crude oil prices continue to slide

Oil prices tumbled below $67 a barrel Wednesday after the government reported big increases in U.S. fuel supplies, more evidence that the economic turmoil is cutting energy demand. Over the last four weeks, the Energy Information Agency said, motor gasoline demand was down 4.3 percent from a year ago.

McDonald’s posts strong global sales

A jump in global sales boosted McDonald’s Corp.’s third-quarter profit by 11 percent, the company said Wednesday, a bright spot among restaurant companies as strapped consumers balk at spending their cash on dining out. The nation’s No. 1 hamburger chain cited the popularity of its sandwiches and drinks, but reiterated that it was discussing changes to its Dollar Menu because of the cost of ingredients.

Lawmakers seek help for carmakers

Michigan lawmakers intend to urge Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson today to use their regulatory powers to loosen up credit to help finance car loans. The members of Congress said in a letter that the disappearance of liquidity in credit markets “threatens to cripple these industries and the communities in which they operate.”

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(Peoples Bank)
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Photo Taken: 102312
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