Pacific Northwest Tom O'Keefe, founder and chairman of Tully's Coffee, said the company is weighing whether to update its securities filing...

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Pacific Northwest

Tom O’Keefe, founder and chairman of Tully’s Coffee, said the company is weighing whether to update its securities filing for a public offering.

The filing was made in April, but Tully’s indefinitely postponed the offering in August because of stock-market turmoil. It might cost less to allow the filing to expire and refile again later, O’Keefe said, after speaking Tuesday at a conference at the Washington Athletic Club presented by Staples and the Greater Seattle Chamber of Commerce.

Washington Mutual

Optimistic update gives shares a lift

Washington Mutual said Tuesday that higher-than-expected net interest income in 2008, along with its exit from subprime loans and a renewed focus on bank-branch customers, will help carry the thrift through what promises to be a difficult year.

Investors heartened by the optimism of Chief Executive Kerry Killinger at a Citi Investment Research conference Tuesday in New York sent WaMu shares up $1.14, or 6.8 percent, to close at $18.

Panasonic

Projection-TV plant to shut down

The Panasonic projection-TV assembly plant in Vancouver, Wash., will lay off its last 89 workers and close March 29, hurt by the rising popularity and falling prices of flat-panel televisions.

The plant was opened in 1986 by America Kotobuki to make TVs and VCRs. The Japanese company, later called Matsushita Kotobuki Electronics before it became Panasonic, employed 460 people at its peak in 2001.

Yahoo

Internet icon to lay off 1,000

Yahoo’s financial funk deepened at the end of 2007, prompting the slumping Internet icon to draw up plans to lay off 1,000 workers.

The Sunnyvale, Calif.-based company disclosed the upcoming 7 percent reduction in its 14,300-employee work force during a Tuesday conference call to review a 23 percent decline in its fourth-quarter profit.

Yahoo didn’t specify which areas of its operations will be trimmed. Yahoo jettisoned 650 workers in the wake of the dot-com bust seven years ago. Management indicated further details will be released by mid-February.

Countrywide Financial

Loss doesn’t scare Bank of America

The $422 million loss Countrywide Financial reported Tuesday didn’t appear to scare off Bank of America.

Bank of America Chief Executive Ken Lewis said at an investor conference in New York that the deal is still ongoing.

Countrywide’s fourth-quarter earnings fell far short of Wall Street estimates, with a loss more than double what analysts predicted. But investors didn’t run away from the nation’s mortgage lender; instead, they sent Countrywide shares up 36 cents, or 6.5 percent, to close at $6.31.

Stock in Bank of America — which has offered $4.1 billion in stock for Countrywide — rose 74 cents, or 1.8 percent, to close at $41.94 Tuesday.

Economy

Orders to factories up in December

Orders to factories for big-ticket manufactured goods jumped unexpectedly in December, good news amid signs that the U.S. economy may be tipping toward a recession.

Still, analysts said the 5.2 percent growth in orders — while potentially boosting industrial output in coming months — likely came from overseas demand and that domestic growth faced continuing threats from tight credit and mortgage markets that have forced consumers to retrench.

The Conference Board report Tuesday that consumer confidence fell sharply in January on worries over deteriorating business conditions and a weakening job market gave another sign of consumer angst.

Aviation

4th quarter better than expected

Northwest and JetBlue lost less money than expected in the fourth quarter, even in the face of high fuel prices, and JetBlue shares jumped more than 20 percent on the possibility of a passenger-sharing deal with Lufthansa.

It would have been a break-even quarter for Northwest Airlines if not for a loss on its stake in Pinnacle Airlines.

Discounter JetBlue Airways reported its first full-year profit in three years, and its shares soared on the news that it is negotiating with Deutsche Lufthansa over a “commercial agreement,” which could include booking passengers on one another’s planes. The German airline recently paid $300 million for 19 percent of JetBlue, giving the Forest Hills, N.Y., carrier much-needed cash but so far no code-sharing arrangements.

MySpace

Developer platform will be launched

The online community MySpace is introducing tools for developing games, media-sharing features and other programs that better integrate with the Internet’s leading social-networking site.

Today’s announcement follows a May decision by its smaller rival, Facebook, to open its platform to developers, a move that has proved to be a boon for music-sharing startup iLike.com, photo-sharing service Slide and countless other companies.

MySpace will formally launch the MySpace Developer Platform next Tuesday with a kickoff event and workshop at its new San Francisco office. Although developers will have all the tools they need to create and test programs, they won’t be able to integrate them right away. MySpace has yet to announce a start date for that.

3M

Earnings fall; profit beats expectations

3M, maker of Scotch tape, Post-it notes and industrial adhesives, said Tuesday that fourth-quarter earnings fell from year-ago results that included a one-time gain.

But adjusted profit exceeded expectations on Wall Street, driven by higher sales of industrial adhesives and health care products, particularly abroad.

Net income slipped to $851 million, or $1.17 per share, in the last three months of 2007 from $1.18 billion, or $1.57 per share, in the year-ago period.

Sales gained 7 percent to $6.21 billion from $5.78 billion last year, and surpassed Wall Street estimates for $6.14 billion.

The industrial and transportation unit, which sells adhesives and tapes used in the automotive sector, had 14 percent higher sales of $1.9 billion. The health care unit boosted sales by 22 percent to $1.1 billion, led by medical and oral care products.

3M shares rose 58 cents to $78.02 Tuesday.

Compiled from Seattle Times staff and The Associated Press