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Journal notes stock picks by county woman

Helen DiPaola of Mukilteo is the winner of the Wall Street Journal’s 24th Investment Dartboard contest. DiPaola, a recovery room nurse, selected Bothell’s ICOS as her stock pick in the annual contest. ICOS, which is in the process of being acquired by Eli Lilly &Co., saw its stock rise 54 percent during the last six months of 2006. Diana Shipping, picked by a California man, was the runner-up, increasing in value by 47 percent. One of the stocks picked by throwing darts – CDC (China) – increased by 116 percent during the six-month period. The contest matches reader selections with stocks picked by tossing darts.

Improvement grant for Arlington Airport

The state Department of Transportation has awarded Arlington Municipal Airport a $2,495.32 grant for designing improvements to Taxiways C and D. The grant is part of $183,312 awarded to 19 different airport improvement projects in Washington.

Boeing’s top pilot prepares to retire

John Cashman, who used a flight simulator rather than the actual aircraft to make a barrel roll in the Boeing 777 before it went into service, is about to retire as Boeing’s chief test pilot. Cashman, who joined Boeing after earning an aerospace engineering degree at the University of Michigan in 1966, turns 63, the mandatory retirement age for the company’s test pilots, on Jan. 31. He also has been Boeing’s director of flight operations since October 1997.

Xbox 360 console keeps head start

Sony Corp., beset by supply issues, sold 490,700 PlayStation 3 game consoles in the United States in December, according to figures released by the research firm NPD Group. Combined with NPD’s earlier estimate of PS3 sales in November, that indicates Sony sold 687,700 PS3s from the Nov. 17 U.S. launch to the end of the year. Sony has said it shipped 1 million PS3s to North America in 2006, but that figure includes Mexico and Canada, and some of the units may not have reached stores in time to be sold. NPD said Microsoft Corp. sold 1.1 million of its competing Xbox 360 console in December, while Nintendo Co. sold 604,200 units of its new console, the Wii. Like Sony, Nintendo contended with supply shortages. Analysts are closely watching sales of the new generation of consoles because they could indicate which platform becomes the dominant one. The Xbox 360, which came out last year, has had a head start.

GE to purchase Brit aerospace firm

General Electric Co., the world’s largest aircraft engine maker, agreed Monday to buy the aerospace business of Smiths Group PLC, Britain’s third-largest aerospace company, for $4.8 billion in cash. Smiths will return $2.1 billion to shareholders, the London-based company said in a statement. GE and Smiths also announced plans for a joint venture called Smiths GE Detection. The market reacted enthusiastically, pushing Smiths shares up more than 15 percent to 1,135 pence ($22.24) on the London Stock Exchange. The company has been under shareholder pressure to break itself up, but has resisted.

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