Well, 1996 went out with a bang. The 47% earnings increase in BUSINESS WEEK's flash report on fourth-quarter corporate profits of 83 companies was by far the best performance of the year--as was the 12% revenue jump. Factor out companies with fourth-quarter 1995 losses and profit comparisons were still up a healthy 12%. Standouts this quarter include Intel (+120%) and Exxon (+49%). AT&T spinoff Lucent Technologies turned 1995's $1 billion loss into an $859 million profit. As always, there were laggards; they included Georgia-Pacific (-99%) and Motorola (-45%). And there were some high-profile losers: Eastman Kodak lost $113 million.
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