In a sign that it may be finally turning its fortunes around, Motorola surprised investors Thursday by reporting a small profit for the...

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Technology

In a sign that it may be finally turning its fortunes around, Motorola surprised investors Thursday by reporting a small profit for the second quarter and revealing it had shipped more cellphones than in the first quarter. Its shares soared.

The unexpected profit was the result of a sales increase across all units from the first quarter, helped by cost cuts.

The company has laid off more than 10,000 workers since last year.

The company earned $4 million, less than 1 cent per share, in the three months ended June 30. That includes accounting charges of 2 cents per share.

Analysts polled by Thomson Financial had been expecting a loss of 3 cents per share.

In the same quarter a year ago, Motorola lost $28 million, or 2 cents per share.

Its sales fell 7.4 percent to $8.1 billion, but that exceeded the $7.7 billion that analysts were predicting.

Motorola shares rose 96 cents, or 12.5 percent, to $8.64 Thursday.

Technology

Microsoft files patent complaint

Microsoft filed a patent-infringement complaint against Taiwan’s Primax Electronics after failing to reach a licensing agreement for computer-mouse technology.

The complaint was filed Wednesday with the U.S. International Trade Commission in Washington, D.C., according to a notice on the agency’s Web site. The ITC has the power to block imports of products found to infringe U.S. patents.

Microsoft rarely files lawsuits accusing companies of violating its patents.

More than 20 companies have licensed Microsoft’s mouse technology, which is part of a broader company program to license its hardware patents, said Horacio Gutierrez, Microsoft’s general counsel for intellectual-property licensing.

Aviation

Northwest Airlines to add surcharge

Northwest Airlines confirmed on Thursday that it will add fuel surcharges of up to $80 for many domestic round-trip tickets.

The surcharge will apply to travel to about 7,000 city pairs beginning Jan. 10, Northwest spokeswoman Michelle Aguayo-Shannon said. She said Northwest is matching surcharges added by competitors in those markets.

Rick Seaney of farecompare.com wrote in a newsletter that by his count, there have been 21 fare increases this year.

Airlines have pulled back from some of the earlier increases after competitors failed to match them. If Northwest’s new surcharge sticks, it will be the largest one, Seaney said. The largest previous increase was a $70 base fire increase by United in April.

Biotechnology

Bristol-Myers makes buyout offer

Bristol-Myers Squibb on Thursday offered $4.5 billion in cash for its cancer-drug partner, biotechnology company ImClone Systems, saying the two are “a natural fit.”

The proposal offers ImClone stockholders $60 per share, a 30 percent premium to the company’s closing price of $46.44 Wednesday. Bristol-Myers, the world’s No. 14 drugmaker by revenue, already owns about 17 percent of ImClone.

The two companies have been partners since September 2001 in developing Erbitux, which is approved for treating advanced colorectal cancer and head and neck cancers.

Energy

Oil prices fall to $124 a barrel

Oil prices pulled back Thursday, wiping out some gains from the previous day’s $4-a-barrel rally, as traders bet that a cooling U.S. economy will continue to eat into U.S. demand for fuel.

At the pump, easing prices underscored Americans’ waning consumption of gasoline.

The average price of a gallon of regular slipped 1.7 cents to $3.909, according to auto club AAA, the Oil Price Information Service and Wright Express.

Light, sweet crude for September delivery fell $2.69 to settle at $124.08 in New York trading.

Prices have now fallen in four of the last seven sessions and are 14 percent off their all-time trading high above $147, reached July 11.

Compiled from The Associated Press and Bloomberg News