Orders for durable goods rose in September for the third time in four months. Home sales also increased. Orders for goods intended to last more than three years increased 0.2 percent to $195.7 billion, driven by demand for military hardware and business equipment, the Commerce Department said. New home sales rose 3.5 percent to a 1.206 million annual rate. They increased in every region but the West and were fueled by 30-year mortgage rates that have been below 6 percent since the end of July.
Google Buys Mapmaking Company
Google bought digital mapmaker Keyhole, which uses 3-D technology to provide faraway or close-up views of a region, neighborhood or specific address. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Keyhole's images are based on photos taken from satellites and airplanes.
The Supreme Court agreed to let Philip Morris USA delay paying $10.5 million in damages to a former smoker in California while the tobacco company contests the amount. The order prevents the smoker, Patricia Henley, from collecting any money until the court resolves the case.
A federal appeals court in San Francisco reversed a 2003 jury verdict that cleared Ford Motor of liability in the death of a woman and her daughter in an August 2000 rollover accident with their Ford Explorer. The court ordered a new trial. The appeals court said the trial judge shouldn't have let Ford introduce evidence on other rollover accidents.
America Online will soon begin giving McAfee VirusScan Online to its subscribers. "One of the most compelling needs for families today is to feel safer and more secure online," chief executive Jonathan F. Miller said.
J.C. Penney said chairman and chief executive Allen Questrom, 64, will be replaced by Myron E. Ullman III, 57. Ullman, a former Macy's chairman and CEO who was most recently at luxury retailer LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton, will join the company on Dec. 1.
Nortel Networks again delayed release of its financial reports but expects to have them ready by mid-November, the company said. The reports, which span several years and the first two quarters of 2004, are at the center of an accounting controversy that has resulted in several high-level firings at the telecommunications equipment maker, and criminal and regulatory investigations in Canada and the United States.
Conrad Black agreed to give up control of Hollinger International for an extra three months, through Jan. 31, in return for a company promise to give him his fair share of proceeds from the sale of London's Daily Telegraph. The company is considering whether to use about $700 million from the sale to buy back stock or pay shareholders a special dividend.
Banana tariffs of 230 euros ($290) a ton will be imposed by the European Union starting in 2006 to prevent producers in former African and Caribbean colonies from losing business to larger growers in Latin America, where many U.S. companies operate.
Kroll's Brazilian offices were raided by police as part of their investigation into allegations of illegal spying by the international security consultant during the company's investigation of a corporate dispute, the company said. Police also searched offices of Brasil Telecom Participacoes, Brazil's third-largest fixed-line operator and Kroll's client in the corporate investigation.
Shipments of personal digital assistants declined for the third consecutive quarter as vendors continued to cede the market to smaller electronics makers, the research firm IDC said. Worldwide shipments of handheld PDAs lacking telephone capabilities fell to 2.1 million units for the quarter ended Sept. 30, an 8.7 percent drop from the comparable quarter last year.
Sirius Satellite Radio said it lost $169.4 million in the third quarter, compared with a loss of $106.7 million in the comparable quarter last year. Higher expenses -- particularly for National Football League programming -- more than offset a surge in revenue.
Northrop Grumman said third-quarter profit was $278 million, up from $184 million, helped by work on a Navy destroyer and sales of military surveillance aircraft. Revenue was up 11 percent, to $7.4 billion.
ConocoPhillips said third-quarter profit increased 54 percent, to $2.01 billion, as oil prices surged. Revenue was $34. 7 billion, up 31 percent.
Procter & Gamble said first-quarter earnings rose 14 percent, to $2 billion, on growth in developing markets and increased sales in its beauty care and fabric and home care divisions. Sales increased 13 percent, to $13.7 billion.
Titan said third-quarter profit rose to $15.8 million, up from $15 million, on increased sales to the military. Revenue was $526 million, up from $468.4 million.
Comcast reported third-quarter profit of $220 million, compared with $3.18 billion in the third quarter of 2003, when it sold its interest in the shopping network QVC for $3.3 billion. Revenue was $5.10 billion, up from $4.55 billion.
Cox Communications, the country's fourth-largest cable company, earned $42 million in the third quarter, up from a loss of $215.1 million. Revenue was $1.62 billion, up from $1.46 billion.
America West Holdings, parent company of America West Airlines, lost $47.1 million in the third quarter, down from a $32.9 million profit. Revenue fell 2.3 percent, to $578.6 million.
Blockbuster reported a third-quarter loss of $1.42 billion, compared with a profit of $63.7 million during the comparable quarter of 2003. Revenue increased 1.8 percent, to $1.41 billion.
Ask Jeeves, owner of Internet search sites including Ask.com and Excite.com, said third-quarter profit increased to $10.7 million from $6.32 million. Revenue rose to $75.5 million from $27.2 million.
Bowater said its third-quarter loss had narrowed to $18.1 million from $56.7 million. Revenue for the paper-maker rose to $834 million.
Level 3 Communications reported a smaller third-quarter loss as demand rose for its Internet telephony services. Level 3 lost $171 million, up from $247 million. Revenue fell 3.9 percent, to $840 million.
Compiled from reports by the Associated Press, Bloomberg News, Dow Jones News Service and Washington Post staff writers.