Business briefs: Bittersweet chocolate

The Hershey Co. (HSY), the largest U.S. candy maker, said its third-quarter profit tumbled 66 percent as it spent heavily to streamline its operations and struggled with aggressive competition and slackening sales. Hershey also slashed its 2007 forecast. But Nestle SA (NESN) said sales rose 9 percent for the first nine months of the year as it saw strong growth.

Bank of America

The nation’s second-largest bank, said Thursday that its profit fell 32 percent in Q3 as trading losses and write-downs on a wide variety of loans offset solid revenue growth in most businesses. As a result, Bank of America Corp. (BAC) is planning potentially major strategic changes to its investment bank, the division that dragged down the company’s profits.

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