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DELTA PILOTS LOSING HOPE: Delta Air Lines' pilots union warned its members Thursday that hope is fading fast on reaching an acceptable deal over wage concessions the airline says it needs to survive. Delta's union received an offer earlier Thursday from the airline that was similar to an earlier one. The union says the company is seeking a 30 percent pay cut from pilots. The union has offered a cut of 9 percent and to forego a 4.5 percent raise due in May.

FED DEBATED LANGUAGE DEC. 9: Federal Reserve policy makers debated Dec. 9 whether to stop saying they would hold interest rates low for a "considerable period," before deciding to keep the phrase amid growth with low inflation and minimal hiring, minutes of the meeting show. The wording remained intact until Wednesday, when the Fed instead said it can "be patient" before raising its benchmark overnight bank lending rate. Minutes of the December meeting released Thursday show a "number of members" argued that deleting the phrase "would serve to enhance the committee's flexibility to adjust monetary policy at a later date."

MICROSOFT POSTS REWARD: Microsoft Corp. promised Thursday to pay $250,000 to anyone who helps authorities find and prosecute the author of the fast-spreading computer virus "Mydoom.B." The cash reward is the third announced by Microsoft since November. The virus, spread by e-mail, causes victims to launch an electronic attack starting Tuesday against Microsoft's own Web site, and prevents victims from visiting the Web sites of leading antivirus companies. Among the only clues to the identity of the author was a mysterious message inside the virus: "Andy; I'm just doing my job, nothing personal, sorry."

SEEKING FINANCIAL LITERACY: The man who signs dollar bills and the man who controls how many are in circulation teamed up Thursday to promote ways Americans can make smarter financial decisions. Treasury Secretary John Snow and Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan kicked off the first meeting of an interagency commission to educate consumers on how to invest and spend their money. Greenspan said it's important for people get the education and skills to work with new technology, however challenging it may be to master. "I'm a great struggler," Greenspan said of his own technological prowess. "I hope I succeed on occasion."

Earnings Verizon Communications Inc.

Verizon Wireless expanded its industry-leading share of the cell phone market, but parent company Verizon Communications lost $1.46-billion in the fourth quarter as it cut 21,000 jobs through a voluntary buyout that cost nearly $3-billion. It still beat analysts' expectations.

Also Thursday, Verizon opened a new front in the battle to stop its core residential customers from fleeing to rival phone companies and cable television operators, revealing that its new partnership with DirecTV will start selling satellite TV service in Rhode Island next week.

4th Qtr Year Ago

Revenue $17.28-bil $17.15-bil

Net Income -$1.46-bil $2.29-bil

Per Share -58 cents 83 cents

2003 2002

Revenue $67.75-bil $67.30-bil

Net Income $3.08-bil $4.08-bil

Per Share $1.11 $1.49

Nicholas Financial Inc.

The Clearwater auto finance company reported record revenue and earnings for the third quarter ended Dec. 31. Income rose 29 percent on an 18 percent gain in revenue. Chief executive Peter Vosotas said Ohio branches opened over the past two years have begun to have a positive impact on earnings while the company's loan losses and interest expenses were lower than anticipated.

3rd Qtr Year Ago

Revenue $6.4-mil $5.4-mil

Net Income $1.3-mil $1.0-mil

Per Share 24 cents 19 cents

Paradyne Networks Inc.

The Largo modem maker narrowed its losses from a year ago in the quarter ended Dec. 31 as some shipments increased by triple digits over the third quarter.

4th Qtr Year Ago

Revenue $22.2-mil $23.6-mil

Net Income -$1.4-mil -$12.2-mil

Per Share -3 cents -8 cents

2003 2002

Revenue $81.3-mil $112.3-mil

Net Income -$12.0-mil -$17.2-mil

Per Share -25 cents -23 cents

Boeing Co.

A billion-dollar tax refund enabled Boeing to nearly double its fourth quarter earnings and beat analysts' estimates, capping a rocky 2003 in which ethics controversies shook the company and defense contracting overtook commercial airplanes as its biggest business.

4th Qtr Year Ago

Revenue $13.2-bil $13.7-bil

Net Income $1.11-bil $590-mil

Per Share $1.37 73 cents

2003 2002

Revenue $50.5-bil $54.1-bil

Net Income $698-mil $492-mil

Per Share 86 cents 61 cents

Honeywell International

The aerospace and high-tech manufacturer turned a modest fourth quarter profit on slightly higher sales, rebounding from a huge loss a year earlier, when it had nearly $3-billion in one-time charges. The current results matched analysts' estimates.

4th Qtr Year Ago

Revenue $6.19-bil $5.86-bil

Net Income $407-mil -$1.47-bil

Per Share 47 cents -$1.78

2003 2002

Revenue $23.1-bil $22.3-bil

Net Income $1.32-bil -$220-mil

Per Share $1.54 -27 cents

Exxon Mobil Corp.

Exxon Mobil saw fourth quarter earnings jump 63 percent as it benefited from higher prices for crude oil and natural gas. The world's largest publicly traded oil company easily beat the forecast of analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call.

4th Qtr Year Ago

Revenue $65.95-bil $56.21-bil

Net Income $6.65-bil $4.09-bil

Per Share $1.01 60 cents

2003 2002

Revenue $246.74-bil $204.51-bil

Net Income $21.51-bil $11.46-bil

Per Share $3.23 $1.68

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.

The No. 2 cruise operator swung to a $20-million loss in the fourth quarter, more than expected by analysts, but the company's shares jumped Thursday on news that more passengers are making plans to travel this year.

4th Qtr Year Ago

Revenue $878-mil $781-mil

Net Income -$20-mil $38.3-mil

Per Share -10 cents 20 cents

2003 2002

Revenue $3.78-bil $3.43-bil

Net Income $280.7-mil $351.3-mil

Per Share $1.42 $1.46

JetBlue Airways Corp.

The New York-based low-cost airline said Thursday that fourth quarter profit rose 29 percent from a year ago as it added planes. The results matched Wall Street's expectations.

4th Qtr Year Ago

Revenue $262.9-mil $187.3-mil

Net Income $19.5-mil $15.2-mil

Per Share 17 cents 15 cents

2003 2002

Revenue $998.3-mil $635.2-mil

Net Income $103.9-mil $54.9-mil

Per Share 97 cents 56 cents

Sears, Roebuck & Co.

Sears posted a record $2.75-billion profit for the fourth quarter, thanks to the sale of its credit-card unit to Citigroup. But with retail sales sagging, the company lowered its estimate for earnings in the first quarter and all of 2004.

4th Qtr Year Ago

Revenue $12.25-bil $12.52-bil

Net Income $2.75-bil $848-mil

Per Share $10.84 $2.67

2003 2002

Revenue $41.12-bil $41.37-bil

Net Income $3.4-bil $1.38-bil

Per Share $11.86 $4.29

Bristol-Myers Squibb Co.

The maker of cholesterol-lowering agent Pravachol and anticlotting medicine Plavix said Thursday its profit jumped 15 percent on strong sales in the fourth quarter but still failed to meet analysts' earnings expectations.

4th Qtr Year Ago

Revenue $5.57-bil $4.79-bil

Net Income $429-mil $374-mil

Per Share 22 cents 19 cents

2003 2002

Revenue $20.76-bil $18.12-bil

Net Income $2.95-bil $2.07-bil

Per Share $1.51 $1.07

Eli Lilly & Co.

The Indianapolis drugmaker's profit edged up 1 percent, meeting analysts' estimates for the fourth quarter.

4th Qtr Year Ago

Revenue $3.47-bil $2.96-bil

Net Income $747.2-mil $736.3-mil

Per Share 69 cents 68 cents

2003 2002

Revenue $12.58-bil $11.08-bil

Net Income $2.56-bil $2.71-bil

Per Share $2.37 $2.50

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