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Originally published Tuesday, October 17, 2006 at 12:00 AM

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Business Digest

Lumera stock soars 216% on successful test

Pacific Northwest ...

Shares of Bothell nanotechnology company Lumera soared Monday after it announced a successful test of a wireless system that can be used to transmit large amounts of data through high-speed telecommunications networks.

Lumera's stock price reached a high of $5.49 on the Nasdaq before closing at $5, up $3.42, or 216.5 percent. Lumera said it expects to complete the development and testing of its multiband, millimeter-wave wireless communication system next month. Potential applications include enterprise connectivity, local area network extension and distribution of high-definition video.

Lumera said its wireless bridge could help customers such as government agencies and universities avoid the expense of digging and laying optical fiber.

Amazon.com

Analysts scorch download service

Amazon.com's video-download service is "cumbersome and difficult to understand," analysts at ThinkEquity Partners wrote in a report Monday. They issued a "source of funds"' or "`sell" recommendation on the Seattle-based online retailer and said they expect a 10 percent decline in the shares.

"Glitches, frustrations and outright goofiness remain all too common on Amazon's site ... and in its distribution," wrote Edward Weller and James Maher, analysts with the San Francisco-based firm.

They predict Amazon will be forced to invest more in technology and content because recent expenditures have had had "little apparent pay-off."

They say they may have been "too trusting" of Amazon management and note the company sustained a combined $2.8 billion in losses between 1997 and 2002. "We are almost embarrassed to admit that we would have expected something substantial to emerge from the current 'investment' cycle," they wrote.

Only two of 22 analysts have a "buy" recommendation on Amazon, whose stock fell 72 cents, or 2. 2 percent, to $32.60 Monday.

Loudeye

Nokia completes its acquisition

Cellphone giant Nokia said Monday it has completed acquisition of Seattle digital-media company Loudeye. Shareholders will receive $4.50 in cash for every share of Loudeye they own.

Loudeye had only a handful of employees in Seattle at this point; most were in Europe, and the company will become a European-focused unit of Nokia.

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Boeing

China Southern orders cargo planes

China Southern Airlines has placed an order for six Boeing cargo planes valued at $1.39 billion at list prices to expand its freighter fleet.

The Boeing 777 freighters will be delivered between November 2008 and July 2010, the Guangzhou-based airline said in a statement today. China Southern said it will pay less than the catalog price of the aircraft, without giving details.

China Southern also said its Xiamen Airlines unit ordered six Boeing 737-800 planes valued at $423 million based on the average list price.

Separately, Boeing on Monday officially launched the newest and largest version of its Boeing Business Jet, the BBJ-3, with orders for two of the planes. Based on the 737-900ER commercial jet, the BBJ-3 is a luxury corporate jet with 1,120 square feet of cabin space.

Boeing did not disclose the identity of the launch customers in its announcement Monday at the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) Convention in Orlando, Fla.

Boeing

Deal secures supply of key raw material

Boeing agreed to buy about $2.5 billion in titanium products from Allegheny Technologies to ensure a supply of a key metal for its jetliners.

The deal, which runs from 2007 through 2015, covers aerospace-grade titanium in forms such as sheet, ingot, plate and bars, Pittsburgh-based Allegheny said Monday in a statement.

The arrangement helps Boeing secure enough titanium amid soaring demand for the strong, lightweight metal that is increasingly popular in jets. Titanium accounts for 15 percent of Boeing's new 787 Dreamliner, more than twice as much as older models, according to estimates from U.K. airplane-part manufacturer GKN.

Boeing on Aug. 11 signed an agreement with Russian titanium maker VSMPO-Avisma to make titanium parts for commercial planes including the 787. VSMPO supplies about 40 percent of the titanium used by Boeing and about 60 percent of that used by bigger rival Airbus.

Onvia

Nonprofit to lease unused office space

Seattle-based Onvia, which helps companies win business with the government, said Monday that the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will lease all of its idle office space at its headquarters near downtown, improving its cash flow over the next 3 ½ years by about $2.7 million.

Onvia said it amended its lease with its landlord as a result of the Gates Foundation's decision and reduced its lease obligation by about 49,000 square feet. The company said the result will be a one-time increase in profit in the third quarter, in addition to improved cash flow over the duration of its amended lease.

Onvia said it will continue to lease about 30,000 square feet at 1260 Mercer St. through April 2010.

Wal-Mart

Retailer reportedly buys Chinese chain

Wal-Mart will spend about $1 billion in China to buy a chain of 100 hypermarkets in a deal that could vault it ahead of competitors to become the biggest food- and department-store network in China.

The Wall Street Journal cited people familiar with the transaction. A spokeswoman for Wal-Mart declined to comment Monday.

A hypermarket combines a supermarket and a department store.

Gap

Gap names new Old Navy president

Clothing chain Gap on Monday said Dawn Robertson will join the company as the president of Old Navy effective Oct. 30.

Robertson, 51, most recently served as managing director of Myer, an Australian department store. Before that, she served as president and chief merchandising officer of Federated Direct, a division of Federated Department Stores, overseeing the online and catalog businesses for Macy's and Bloomingdale's.

Robertson will oversee all aspects of Old Navy's operations. She succeeds Jenny Ming, whose last day was Sunday following a July announcement that she planned to step down.

Compiled from Seattle Times staff, Bloomberg News and The Associated Press

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