Southwest packs planes, but hedging hurts results

Southwest Airlines Co. raised fares and packed its planes last summer, and the nation’s biggest discount carrier says bookings look solid for the rest of the year.

While its airline business did well during the peak travel season, Southwest posted a $140 million third-quarter loss because its fuel-hedging bets turned sour when oil prices fell this summer. It was Southwest’s first loss in two years — the last one was also due to hedging.

Without the hedging markdown and one-time expenses, Southwest would have earned $122 million, or 15 cents per share — a penny better than analysts expected.

Boston Scientific earnings fall 25 percent for quarter

Boston Scientific Corp. reported Thursday that its third-quarter profit fell 25 percent on a combination of lower product sales and thinner profit margins.

Revenue fell to $1.87 billion from $1.92 billion, mainly because of falling demand for implantable heart defibrillators. Sales of the devices declined to $503 million from $550 million in the previous period.

The company’s stock slid 25 cents, or 4.4 percent, to close at $5.39 on Thursday.

Like other medical device makers, Boston Scientific has struggled in recent years to make up for lower sales of products like defibrillators and heart stents, amid cost-cutting efforts by hospitals and medical studies suggesting the implants are overused.

Fitch raises credit rating for Ford after UAW deal

Fitch Ratings has increased Ford Motor Co.’s credit rating to BB+ because of its new four-year labor agreement with the United Auto Workers union and its recent financial performance.

The upgrade moves Ford one notch shy of Fitch’s investment-grade ratings. Higher debt ratings help a company reduce interest rates and borrowing costs.

Fitch said it may increase Ford’s credit rating again in the next 12 to 24 months if the company continues to reduce its debt.