Toyota anounces new recall for Lexus Avalon

Toyota is recalling 1.53 million Lexus, Avalon and other car models, mostly in the U.S. and Japan, for brake fluid and fuel pump problems, the latest in a string of quality lapses for the world’s No. 1 automaker. Toyota Motor Corp. said Thursday it will call back for repairs about 740,000 cars in the U.S. and 599,000 in Japan. The remainder are in Europe and other markets around the world. Over the past year, Toyota has recalled more than 10 million cars and trucks worldwide for a variety of problems, from faulty gas pedals and floor mats that can trap accelerators, to braking problems in its Prius hybrid.

Undisclosed buyers order 50 more 737s

Boeing Co. says unidentified customers have ordered 50 more 737s. Just last week Boeing said unidentified customers had ordered 30 of the planes, which it makes more of than any other. On Thursday, it added the orders for 50 more. Boeing has said it will raise production rates to 38 per month by mid-2013. Airlines and leasing companies have ordered 432 of the planes so far this year. That’s out of a total of 472 orders for all commercial planes. The 737 has a list price of between $51 million and $87 million, although discounts are common. Different versions of the 737 can carry from 110 to more than 200 passengers, usually on domestic flights. It competes with the Airbus A320 built in Europe.

SonoSite posts improved earnings

Bothell-based SonoSite Inc., which sells portable ultrasound equipment, reported operating income before interest and taxes of $7.3 million for the third quarter ending Sept. 30. The income is before $2.2 million in charges. The $5.1 in total income for the quarter amounts to about 7 percent revenue, the company said. SonoSite reported a 28 percent increase in revenue to $68.5 million, including $8.7 million from VisualSonics, a recently acquired company. CEO Kevin Goodwin said VisualSonics is off to a strong start and on track to meet projected six-month revenue expectations. Including the charges, the company reported earnings of 7 cents a share for the quarter, compared to a loss of 1 cent a share a year ago.

New money fund for social startups

Betting that the future of the Web is in social apps and services, venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, along with Amazon, Facebook and Zynga, are launching a $250 million fund to help such startups grow. KPCB partner Bing Gordon will head the fund, which the firm unveiled Thursday. Called “sFund,” it’s reminiscent of Kleiner Perkins’ “iFund” of two years ago to help launch Apple’s gadgets. “We’re at the beginning of a new era for social Internet innovators who are reimagining and reinventing a Web of people and places, looking beyond documents and websites,” said KPCB partner John Doerr. “There’s never been a better time than now to start a new social venture.”

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