Business briefs

Lumera Corp. reported a 39 percent drop in earnings for the quarter ending Sept. 30, officials said. The Bothell telecommunications firm recorded $624,000 in earnings for the period, compared with $1.03 million for the same period in 2006. Lumera’s net loss totaled $4.8 million or 24 cents per share for the quarter, compared with $2.7 million or 16 cents per share for the same period in 2006.

Toyota, GM report increases in sales

Ford’s U.S. sales fell 9.3 percent in October, leaving it slightly behind rival Toyota, which reported a 4.5 percent sales increase for last month. General Motors Corp. saw its sales rise 3.3 percent. Its car sales were flat compared with last October and truck sales were up 5.8 percent. Chrysler LLC’s sales declined 9 percent. The figures came the same day it announced plans to cut up to 12,000 jobs, or up to 15 percent of its work force.

Washington Post earnings slide

Newspaper publisher The Washington Post Co., which owns The Herald, said Thursday its third-quarter profit edged down 1 percent, as a 50 percent drop in newspaper profits weighed down the company’s bottom line. Earnings slipped to $72.2 million, or $7.60 per share, compared with $73.1 million, or $7.60 per share, in the prior year. Per-share results for the Washington, D.C.-based company reflected fewer outstanding shares in the latest quarter resulting from the company’s repurchase of $42 million in stock earlier in the year. Thomson Financial had predicted earnings of $6.63 per share.

Round-trip airline fares rise by $20

American Airlines sparked a new round of widespread airfare increases Thursday by raising U.S. round-trip prices $20, the biggest in a recent series of hikes carriers have pushed through as oil prices surged. The nation’s biggest carrier said Thursday it raised fares in an attempt to recover some of the costs associated with the rising price of crude oil and jet fuel. Delta Air Lines and Alaska Airlines followed.

Comcast to offer 7 new channels

Comcast announced plans to launch seven new channels in Western Washington between now and Dec. 6, including five high-definition channels. They include: National Geographic HD, NFL Network HD, A&E HD, USA HD, History Channel HD, as well as Fox Business and CSPAN 3. At the same time, Comcast will also launch new On-Demand programming including the Film Festival Channel and Seattle Comedy Open Mic.

Boeing appoints new representative

The Boeing Co. has appointed Fred Kiga to lead the company’s state and local government relations for the Northwest region. Kiga will work with state and local governments regarding policies that affect Boeing in Washington, Oregon, Montana and Hawaii. Kiga comes to Boeing with more than two decades of experience, including work with the Russell Investment Group, the state Department of Revenue and Arthur Andersen LLP. He also served as chief of staff for former Gov. Gary Locke.

From Herald staff and news services

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