Daily Briefing

DAILY BRIEFING

October 31, 2008

Exxon profit up record 58 percent for quarter

In what will probably be the high-water mark for corporate profits for a while, Exxon Mobil reported yesterday that it broke its own record for the largest quarterly profit ever by a U.S. company, as oil prices hit a record over the summer and gasoline soared well above $4 a gallon across the nation. Exxon and other oil companies have seen their profits soar thanks to rising oil prices, but the last quarter might signal the end of the boom years. Oil prices have plummeted in recent months, falling 53 percent from their peak just three months ago, because of slowing economies and lower oil demand. In the third quarter, Exxon's profit rose 58 percent, to $14.8 billion, from $9.41 billion in the quarter a year ago.

New York Times News Service

Ciena lays off as many as 19 at Linthicum

Ciena Corp. laid off 56 employees yesterday, including as many as 19 at its Linthicum headquarters, the communications networking company said. Suzanne DuLong, a Ciena spokeswoman, said yesterday that layoffs were companywide and included facilities in Atlanta; Boston; Spokane, Wash.; San Jose, Calif.; and Ottawa. Fewer than 3 percent of the 650 Maryland employees lost jobs, she said.In early September, Bloomberg News reported that Ciena's revenue forecast for the fourth quarter, which ends today, trailed analysts' estimates as customers delayed orders.

Lorraine Mirabella

Columbia's COPT has 20% earnings rise

Corporate Office Properties Trust saw a 20 percent boost in third-quarter earnings to $8.9 million, or 19 cents per share, from $7.4 million, or 15 cents per share, in the third quarter of 2007, the Columbia-based office developer and owner reported. The real estate investment trust said late Wednesday that its diluted funds from operations (FFO) increased 10.3 percent to $36.2 million, or 64 cents per share, compared with third-quarter 2007 results of $32.4 million, or 58 cents per share. The office landlord, which counts government and defense-related businesses among its tenants, said its portfolio was more than 94 percent leased as of the end of the quarter Sept. 30.

Lorraine Mirabella

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