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Updated: Oct 26 2011, 05:32am hrs
UBS reports 39% drop in Q3 net after trading loss

UBS, Switzerlands biggest bank, posted a smaller decline in third-quarter profit than analysts expected after an accounting gain cushioned a $2.3 billion loss from unauthorised trading. Net profit fell 39% to 1.02 billion Swiss francs ($1.16 billion), the Zurich-based bank said on Tuesday, beating analysts mean estimate of 318 million francs. UBS booked an accounting gain of 1.77 billion francs, exceeding the banks forecast earlier this month, as its credit spreads widened. UBS, which announced 3,500 job cuts in August, plans to scale down its investment bank and allocate more capital to wealth management. Chief executive officer Oswald Gruebel quit following the trading loss and chief financial officer Tom Naratil told investors this month that economic uncertainty is driving clients to trade less.

BP Q3 profit falls as global output slumps

BP, the operator of the Macondo well in the Gulf of Mexico that caused the worst ever US oil spill last year, said profit declined less than expected as it increased an asset sales target 50% to $45 billion. Third-quarter earnings adjusted for one-time items and changes in inventory were $5.3 billion, down from $5.5 billion a year earlier. The average estimate of 12 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg was for profit of $5 billion on that basis. Oil and gas production fell 12% from a year earlier to 3.3 million barrels of oil equivalent a day. Chief executive officer Bob Dudley plans to increase the companys cash flow by 50% by 2014 by focussing on the most profitable production projects.

Reckitt Benckiser profit growth beats estimates

Reckitt Benckiser Group said third-quarter adjusted net profit rose 10% to 470 million, beating the 463-million average estimate of 11 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. Revenue excluding the effects of currency fluctuations, acquisitions and disposals increased 4%, the Slough, England-based company said on Tuesday in a statement. The maker of Lysol cleaners continues to target strong sales growth in the fourth quarter, chief executive officer Rakesh Kapoor.

Xerox Q3 profit rises 28% on services

Xerox, the provider of printers and business services, reported third-quarter profit climbed 28% on increasing spending by customers. Net Profit rose to $320 million from $250 million a year earlier, Norwalk, Connecticut-based Xerox said on Tuesday in a statement. Earnings, excluding some costs, rose to 26 cents a share. Analysts projected 25 cents, the average of estimates. Xerox is benefitting from its shift in focus to enterprise services after last years acquisition of Affiliated Computer Services the companys largest ever.

Novartis to cut 2,000 jobs, close Europe plants

Novartis, Europes second-biggest pharmaceutical company, plans to eliminate 2,000 jobs in Switzerland and the US and add employees in China and India to offset the effect of drug price reductions. The cuts, equivalent to about 1% of Novartiss workforce, will be implemented over three to five years, and will generate annual savings of more than $200 million a year, the Switzerland-based company said in a statement on Tuesday. Novartis plans to close a plant in Nyon, Switzerland, that makes over-the-counter drugs, and chemical sites in Basel and Torre, Italy. The company will take a fourth-quarter restructuring charge of about $300 million. Austerity measures in Europe have forced Novartis to lower prices by about 5% this year, chief executive officer Joe Jimenez said on a call with reporters on Tuesday. He declined to forecast price cuts beyond this year.

Harley-Davidson recalls motorcycles in US

Harley-Davidson is recalling about a quarter million motorcycles because their rear brake lights may stop working and brake fluid may leak, the manufacturer told the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The action covers all 2009-11 Trike, Touring and CVO Touring models, as well as some 2012 models, as per a letter dated October 19 on the agencys Web site. In all, 250,757 motorcycles are being recalled. Harley-Davidson said that the switch for the brake light was too close to the catalytic converter.