Southwest Airlines

The low-fare airline lost money for the first time in 17 years as falling oil prices forced it to write down the value of its fuel-hedging transactions in the third quarter.

Southwest said Thursday it lost $120 million in the three months ended Sept. 30 even as revenue jumped 11.7 percent. It took $247 million in charges, mostly to write down fuel-hedging contracts that are less valuable since oil prices plunged by nearly half since July.

Without the charges, Southwest managed its 70th straight quarter of operating profit -- $69 million, or 9 cents per share, which was 2 cents per share better than Wall Street expected, according to analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call.

Citigroup Inc.

The New York-based bank said Thursday it lost $2.8 billion, or 60 cents per share, in the third quarter, compared with a profit of $2.2 billion, or 44 cents per share, a year ago. The deficit for the July-to-September period -- Citigroup's fourth-straight quarterly loss -- brings total losses over the past 12 months to $20.2 billion.

The shortfall for the quarter was narrower than anticipated: Analysts polled by Thomson First Call had expected a loss of 70 cents per share.

Citi wrote down $4.4 billion in investments, plus another $612 million from a settlement related to auction-rate securities; recorded $4.9 billion in credit losses, and took a $3.9 billion charge to boost reserves. The bank has written down the value of investments tied to souring mortgages and other bad debt by some $51 billion since this time last year.

Merrill Lynch & Co.

The New York-based investment bank said Thursday its third-quarter loss widened as it took more than $12 billion in charges and write-downs tied to the sale of mortgage investments and fallout from the continued credit crisis. Revenue in the company's wealth management division also decreased.

Overall, Merrill, which agreed to be acquired by Bank of America Corp., lost $5.2 billion, or $5.58 per share, in the third quarter, compared with a loss of $2.2 billion, or $2.82 per share, a year earlier. Analysts polled by Thomson First Call forecast a loss of $5.22 per share.

Harley-Davidson Inc.

The Milwaukee-based motorcycle maker said Thursday its third-quarter profit fell 37 percent to $166.5 million, or 71 cents per share, from $265 million, or $1.07 per share, in the same quarter last year. It was its fifth-straight decrease in quarterly earnings. Revenue fell 8 percent to $1.42 billion from $1.54 billion in the third quarter of 2007.

Nucor Corp.

The Charlotte, N.C.-based steelmaker's third-quarter profit nearly doubled. Nucor reported profit of $734.6 million, or $2.31 per share, for the period ended Sept. 27. That compares with $381.2 million, or $1.29 per share, in the year-earlier period.

Quarterly sales jumped 75 percent to a record $7.45 billion from $4.26 billion a year ago.

ASSOCIATED PRESS