Pacific Northwest Cisco Systems agreed to buy Pure Networks, a closely held Seattle-based software maker, for about $120 million. Pure Networks already teams...

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Cisco buying Pure Networks

Cisco Systems agreed to buy Pure Networks, a closely held Seattle-based software maker, for about $120 million.

Pure Networks already teams with Cisco, providing programs that let consumers set up and manage home networks. The transaction should close next quarter, San Jose, Calif.-based Cisco said Wednesday.

Pure Networks employees will remain in Seattle and be integrated into Cisco’s Linksys division, formed from a home-router maker Cisco acquired in 2003.


Skeptical analysts batter WaMu stock

Washington Mutual stock fell 20.1 percent after the biggest U.S. savings and loan failed to convince some analysts that it has enough cash to weather more declines in the housing market.

Piper Jaffray analyst Robert Napoli cut his rating to “sell” in a report Wednesday because the Seattle-based lender’s balance sheet is “burdened with high-risk mortgage loans.”

Napoli and analysts at Merrill Lynch and Friedman Billings Ramsey Group said Washington Mutual may need more capital.

Washington Mutual Chief Executive Kerry Killinger reported a $3.3 billion second-quarter loss Tuesday.

A $7 billion cash infusion led by TPG coupled with plans to save $1 billion annually by trimming its mortgage business gives WaMu enough money to handle the slump, Killinger said.

“The housing market continues to deteriorate; we’re seeing no stabilization out there at all,” Friedman Billings Ramsey analyst Paul Miller said Wednesday. “At some point WaMu is going to have to come back to the capital markets.”

WaMu shares fell $1.17 to $4.65 Wednesday.

Truck maker

Exec VP becomes Paccar president

Paccar named Jim Cardillo to succeed Tom Plimpton as president and said finance chief Mike Tembreull will retire in January.

Cardillo, 59, currently executive vice president, takes his new job Sept. 1, the Bellevue-based truck maker said Wednesday. He joined Paccar in 2004.

Tembreull, 61, has been vice chairman and principal financial officer since 1995 and has worked at Paccar for 38 years. Paccar didn’t say who would replace him.

Plimpton, 59, will join the board and succeed Tembreull as vice chairman.


First in weeks: Oil below $125

Oil prices shed nearly $4 Wednesday, tumbling below $125 a barrel for the first time since early June on growing fears that high prices and the weak economy are destroying demand.

Light, sweet crude for September delivery dropped $3.98 to settle at $124.44 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, crude’s lowest finish since June 4. The August contract expired Tuesday at $127.95.

At the gas pump, prices continued to let up. Regular gasoline dropped more than a penny to an average of $4.0402 a gallon nationwide, according to auto club AAA, the Oil Price Information Service and Wright Express. That is down more than 7 cents from last Thursday’s all-time high. Diesel slipped 0.6 cent to $4.802.


Toyota beats GM globally in 1st half

General Motors, pummeled by falling U.S. sales and high gas prices, lost the global-sales lead to Toyota in the first half of this year, but the churning market makes it difficult to predict which automaker will end the year on top.

Toyota sold 4,817,941 vehicles globally during the first six months of the year, company spokesman Hideaki Homma said Wednesday, beating GM by 277,532 vehicles. Toyota said its global sales rose 2 percent from the same period the year before, while GM’s sales fell 3 percent.

It’s the second time Toyota has beaten GM in sales in the first half of the year. In 2007, Toyota outsold GM by about 50,000 vehicles, although GM eked out a win for the full year, retaining its 77-year position as the world’s largest automaker by sales.


Chrysler to cut 1,000 salaried jobs

Chrysler said Wednesday it will cut 1,000 salaried jobs worldwide by Sept. 30 as it tries to return to profitability amid a severe downturn in U.S. sales.

The automaker announced the cuts in a letter to employees. Chrysler spokesman David Elshoff said the company hopes most of the cuts will be accomplished through early retirements, attrition and voluntary separation programs, but he said involuntary layoffs will be considered if the company fails to meet its targets.

Chrysler’s U.S. sales fell 22 percent in the first six months of this year as customers shunned its trucks and sport-utility vehicles in favor of smaller, more fuel-efficient cars. Industrywide U.S. sales were down 10 percent, but the decline hit Chrysler harder because trucks and SUVs make up 72 percent of the company’s U.S. sales.

Food services

McDonald’s gains; menu may change

Consumers helped bring McDonald’s back to profitability in the second quarter by spending on breakfast biscuits, chicken sandwiches and drinks despite the tough economy in the U.S.

But the nation’s No. 1 hamburger chain also warned Wednesday that it expects beef and chicken costs to rise substantially in the U.S. and Europe through the rest of this year, and is testing several options that may change the makeup of its popular dollar menu.

McDonald’s earned $1.19 billion in the second quarter, including a gain from the sale of its stake in sandwich chain Pret A Manger, solidly besting Wall Street estimates.

A year earlier, the company posted a loss of $711.7 million stemming from charges on the sale of its Latin America and Caribbean businesses.

Compiled from The Associated Press AND Bloomberg News