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3rd-quarter income slips for Zions Bancorp.

Zions Bancorp. saw its net income slip in the third quarter, compared with both the year-earlier quarter and the company-record second quarter.

The Salt Lake-based company on Thursday reported net earnings applicable to common shareholders of $132 million, or $1.22 per share. That compares with $153.7 million, or $1.42 per share, in the year-earlier quarter and $155.6 million, or $1.43 per share, for this year's second quarter.

Wall Street's consensus expectation was for the company to have earnings per share of $1.24 in the most recent quarter.

"We were pleased by the strength of loan growth during the quarter," Harris H. Simmons, chairman and chief executive officer, said in a prepared statement. "Unfortunately, these positive results were overshadowed by the effect of weaker credit conditions in the Southwestern residential real estate development markets, as well as lagging low-cost deposit growth."

The results for the third quarter were released Thursday after financial markets had closed. Zions stock fell 96 cents during the day to close at $63.82. During the past year, the price has ranged from $63.64 to $88.56.

During the quarter, Zions had on-balance-sheet net loans and leases of $37.8 billion, up about $1 billion during the quarter and up $4.1 billion from a year earlier. The growth was concentrated in the commercial lending and commercial real estate categories, principally at Zions Bank, Amegy Bank of Texas, and Vectra Bank Colorado, it said.

Average core deposits were $31.1 billion, compared with $29.4 billion in the year-earlier quarter. Net interest income was $476.6 million, compared with $446.5 million in the 2006 third quarter. Noninterest income was $145.8 million, up from $141.3 million.

For the first nine months of the year, net earnings applicable to common shareholders was $437.2 million or $4.01 per common share, compared to $436.6 million, or $4.04 per diluted common share, for the first nine months of 2006.

Zions operates more than 500 offices and about 600 ATMs in 10 states.

Southwest Airlines

Southwest Airlines Co.'s profit more than tripled in the third quarter as the nation's biggest discount carrier packed its planes fuller than ever.

Still, shares of the Dallas-based company fell 30 cents, or 2.1 percent, to $14.26 in midday trading as airline stocks fell broadly Thursday in response to another surge in oil prices.

Southwest's net income rose to $162 million, or 22 cents per share, for the three months ended Sept. 30, from $48 million, or 6 cents per share, a year earlier, the company reported Thursday.

Revenue rose 11 percent, to $2.59 billion and just above analysts' forecast of $2.58 billion.

The airline filled a record 76.6 percent of seats on the average flight during the quarter, it said.

In the third quarter, Southwest's costs as a ratio to capacity rose 3.9 percent, largely because of higher fuel prices.

Southwest continued to benefit from a bet it made years ago that fuel prices would rise. With hedging moves, Southwest was able to buy about 70 percent of its fuel at the equivalent price of $51 per barrel of oil — far below this week's high $80s oil prices.

Nucor Corp.

Nucor Corp., the second-largest U.S.-based steelmaker, said third-quarter profit fell 27 percent as costs climbed for some raw materials. The shares gained after the results exceeded analysts' estimates.

Net income fell to $381.2 million, or $1.29 a share, from $521.6 million, or $1.70, a year ago, Nucor, based in Charlotte, N.C., said Thursday in a statement. The company was expected to earn $1.16 a share, the average estimate of 12 analysts in a Bloomberg survey. Sales rose 8.3 percent to $4.26 billion.

A slump in U.S. home construction and cutbacks by auto manufacturers such as Ford Motor Co. curbed demand for sheet steel, while prices increased for scrap metal used in most of its mills. Nucor, which said last month that profit would be $1.10 to $1.15 a share, is boosting output of products such as wire mesh to cut its reliance on the cyclical steel market.

Union Pacific Corp.

Union Pacific Corp., the largest U.S. railroad, said third-quarter profit rose 27 percent on record revenue as it charged higher prices and took market share from trucks.

Net income increased to $532 million, or $2 a share, from $420 million, or $1.54, a year earlier, the company, based in Omaha, Neb., said Thursday in a statement. Sales rose 5.2 percent to $4.2 billion, a record for the period.

Higher volume in all but housing-related shipments lifted earnings per carload by 5 percent. Union Pacific carried more agricultural products and coal, bulk commodities it counted on all year, and also more automotive freight, especially parts.

"Our third-quarter performance was driven by strong results on both sides of the earnings equation, setting volume and revenue records," Chief Executive Officer James Young said in the statement.