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Honda profits fall

Honda Motor Company, Japan's third biggest automaker, reported today that its profit fell 7.5% in its second fiscal quarter, saying the strong yen hurt its earnings even though its revenue rose.

But its earnings for the first half of its fiscal year edged up, and Honda raised its earnings forecast for the year.

The automaker said it earned 127.12 billion yen (£649m) in the July-September quarter, down from 137.36 billion yen (£702m) the same quarter last year.

Group sales in the quarter grew 3.8% to 2.094 trillion yen (£10.8 billion) from 2.017 trillion yen a year ago.

Honda said it earned 241.38 billion yen (£1.3 billion) in the six months ended September 30, up from 239.18 billion yen a year earlier. First half sales rose 3.5 percent to 4.167 trillion yen (£21.2 billion) from 4.025 trillion yen a year earlier.

Honda raised its profit outlook for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2005, to 447 billion yen (£2.2 billion), from its forecast in July for a profit of 417 billion yen (£2.1 billion) for the year. The forecast is about 4 percent below Honda's net profit for the last fiscal year.

For the quarter ended Sept. 30, Honda vehicle sales totaled 794,000 around the world. In Japan, sales were up 8% at 190,000, while overseas vehicle sales rose 8.1% to 604,000.

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