Earnings Reports for Oct. 23

Regional bank U.S. Bancorp said today its third-quarter operating earnings rose 0.5 percent, in line with expectations, as loan volume increased but expenses did too.

Minneapolis-based U.S. Bancorp, which this month announced it was being bought by rival Firstar Corp. in a stock deal worth almost $20 billion, earned $410.9 million, or 55 cents a diluted share, in the third quarter, excluding one-time merger charges and profits from securities sales. That compares with $409 million, or 56 cents a share, in the year-earlier period.

Results met Wall Street forecasts of 55 cents a share, according to market research firm First Call/Thomson Financial.

The bank’s net profits, including $9.6 million in merger charges and one-time securities transactions, rose to $401.3 million, or 54 cents per share, from $396.4 million, also 54 cents per share.

U.S. Bancorp’s provision for loan losses in the third quarter rose 22 percent to $173 million. Net interest income, which includes the profit the bank makes from loans, rose 4.5 percent to $883 million as loan volume continued to grow despite higher interest rates.

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Quaker Oats Q3 Profit Up 16%

Quaker Oats, maker of hot and cold cereals, said today its third-quarter earnings rose 16 percent, beating the average analyst forecast, on continued robust demand for its Gatorade sports drink.

The company also said it expects full-year 2000 earnings per share growth before items in the range of 20 percent or slightly better.

The Chicago-based food company, whose stable of products includes breakfast bars, Rice-A-Roni side dishes and Aunt Jemima pancake mixes and syrup, said earnings rose to $159.2 million, or $1.15 per diluted share, in the quarter. That compares with $137.3 million, or $1.01 a diluted share, excluding unusual items in the same period a year ago.

Analysts on average had expected the company to earn $1.11 a share, according to First Call/Thomson Financial, which tracks earnings data.

Third-quarter net sales rose to $1.48 billion from $1.38 billion a year ago.

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Gillette’s Profits Fall; Names New CEO

Gillette today reported its third-quarter earnings fell 1 percent, meeting Wall Street’s estimates, as currency problems plagued the consumer products giant.

The Boston-based maker of razors and blades, Oral B toothbrushes and Duracell batteries, also said Chairman and Chief Executive Michael Hawley was retiring immediately. Edward Degraan was named acting chief executive and Richard Pivirotto was named non-executive chairman of the board.

Gillette posted third-quarter earnings of $350 million, or 33 cents a share, from continuing operations, compared with earnings of $355 million, or 32 cents per diluted share for the same period in 1999.

Analysts surveyed by First Call/Thomson Financial had estimated Gillette would earn 33 cents a share in the third quarter.

The company has had a string of disappointing earnings reports dating back to 1999, blaming a combination of foreign exchange rates and proper inventory stocking.

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AHP’s Profits Rise 18% Before Charge

American Home Products posted today a steep rise in quarterly operating profits, matching analyst expectations, but the No. 5 U.S. drug maker said it would have to set aside additional funds for its diet drug settlement for which it has already paid billions in the “fen-phen” case.

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