A strong performance in the US has helped Toyota Motor, the globe's number three auto firm by unit sales, to a sharp rise in profits.

For its fiscal first half (ended September 30), Toyota posted a 23% year-on-year surge in net earnings to ¥524.5 billion ($4.8bn; €4.2bn; £2.9bn). Group sales rose 8% to ¥8.2 trillion, while operating profits jumped 12% to ¥767.8bn.

Third-quarter earnings have tripled at US radio, concert and outdoor giant Clear Channel Communications.

The media mammoth reported net earnings of $636m, up from $212.5m in Q3 last year. Profits by pre-tax items were worth around $686m, mostly connected with the disposal of Clear Channel's shares in Univision Communications.

Sales climbed 8.5% to $2.54bn. Radio revenues stayed largely flat at $963.6m, but the group's concert arm saw turnover leap 19% to $936.2m, while outdoor advertising was up 14% to $540.1m.

President/chief operating officer Mark Mays declared that 2004 was shaping up to be "an especially promising year."

Data sourced from: The Wall Street Journal Online; additional content by WARC staff