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BRIEFLY

APPEAL DISALLOWED IN POOH CASE: Walt Disney Co. and the granddaughter of Winnie the Pooh author A.A. Milne can't appeal an adverse ruling in a copyright dispute over ownership of the children's book character until after a trial, a federal appeals court said. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco declined to hear an appeal by Disney and Clare Milne until the trial court decides the case, according to lawyers for Stephen Slesinger Inc., the Tampa family that owns licensing rights to the books. Disney appealed a ruling from a judge who said Clare Milne couldn't use a 1998 change in U.S. copyright law to reclaim rights to Winnie the Pooh. Disney and Slesinger Inc. have been fighting for 12 years over licensing rights to the character.

OFFICES SEARCHED IN PARMALAT CASE: Italian police investigating suspected fraud at collapsed food giant Parmalat asked for documents from the Milan offices of the investment firm Morgan Stanley and Nextra, the fund management unit of Italy's largest bank. Morgan Stanley was among the institutions that underwrote Parmalat's bond sales. Nextra bought about $375-million in Parmalat bonds through Morgan Stanley last year, then sold them back to the U.S. institution at a considerable capital gain, Italian news agencies said.

NORTHWEST SUED OVER DATA SHARING: Lawyers filed two class-action lawsuits against Northwest Airlines, alleging that it violated the federal electronic privacy act when it shared information about passengers with the government for a secret airport security project. Lawyers said millions of passengers could be covered by the suits, which seek damages of $1,000 per person. Northwest declined to comment. Northwest disclosed last weekend that it shared three months of passenger information with NASA for a secret data mining project that sought to assess passenger risk. NASA said it returned the data in September 2003 and its project wasn't completed.

Earnings

Republic Bancshares Inc.

The parent of Republic Bank of St. Petersburg said net income more than tripled in its fourth quarter ended Dec. 31. Republic is being bought by BB&T of Winston-Salem, N.C.

4thQtr Year Ago

Net Income $1.7-mil $524,000

Per Share 13 cents 5 cents

Year Year Ago

Net Income $10.2-mil $4.8-mil

Per Share 81 cents 42 cents

EBay Inc.

The largest Internet auctioneer said earnings in the quarter ended Dec. 31 jumped 64 percent as more people bought and listed items for sale on its Web sites during the holidays. The company raised 2004 profit and sales forecasts.

4thQtr Year Ago

Revenue $648.4-mil $413.9-mil

Net Income $142.5-mil $87-mil

Per Share 21 cents 14 cents

Year Year Ago

Revenue $2.17-bil $1.21-bil

Net Income $441.8-mil $249.9-mil

Per Share 67 cents 43 cents

First Community Bank Corp. of America

The holding company for First Community Bank of America in St. Petersburg reported a 122 percent increase in net income for the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31.

4thQtr Year Ago

Net Income $403,000 $181,000

Per Share 20 cents 18 cents

Year Year Ago

Net Income $1.47-mil $753,000

Per Share 89 cents 74 cents

Northern Trust Corp.

The Chicago personal trust manager posted a 35 percent increase in profit for its fourth quarter ended Dec. 31.

4thQtr Year Ago

Net Income $129.7-mil $96.3-mil

Per Share 58 cents 43 cents

Year Year Ago

Net Income $404.8-mil $447.1-mil

Per Share $1.80 $1.97

Synovus Financial Corp.

The Columbus, Ga., bank holding company said its 2003 earnings increased 6.5 percent on strong loan growth and good credit quality.

4thQtr Year Ago

Net Income $102.6-mil $104.4-mil

Per Share 34 cents 35 cents

Year Year Ago

Net Income $388.9-mil $365.3-mil

Per Share $1.28 $1.21

AMR Corp.

The Fort Worth, Texas, parent of American Airlines narrowed its losses in the last three months of 2003 on modest gains in revenue and cost cutting.

4thQtr Year Ago

Revenue $4.39-bil $4.23-bil

Net Income -$111-mil -$529-mil

Per Share -70 cents -$3.39

Year Year Ago

Revenue $17.44-bil $17.42-bil

Net Income -$1.23-bil -$3.51-bil

Per Share -$7.76 -$22.57

J.P. Morgan Chase & Co.

The financial services company a fourth-quarter profit well above what Wall Street analysts had expected, boosted by improvements in both corporate and consumer credit as well as the rebounding stock market.

4thQtr Year Ago

Revenue $7.93-bil $6.57-bil

Net Income $1.86-bil -$387-mil

Per Share 89 cents -20 cents

Year Year Ago

Revenue $31.72-bil $25.28-bil

Net Income $6.72-bil $1.66-bil

Per Share $3.24 80 cents

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