Among the earnings stories for Thursday, Nov. 12, from AP Financial News: SEATTLE (AP) ¿ Department store operator Nordstrom Inc. said that its profit rose 17 percent in the third quarter even though its costs were higher than expected as shoppers began spending more. DALLAS (AP) ¿ Struggling movie rental retailer Blockbuster Inc. said that its third-quarter loss surged more than fivefold as more consumers rented movies by mail or through competitors' vending kiosks instead of driving to its stores. NEW YORK (AP) ¿ Shoppers' focus on staples such as socks and underwear is driving murky holiday outlooks at Wal-Mart and Kohl's, even as both posted higher third-quarter earnings. LOS ANGELES (AP) ¿ The Walt Disney Co. posted a surprise 18 percent increase in fourth-quarter earnings in a sign the company is beginning to emerge from an advertising market hit hard by the recession. NEW YORK (AP) ¿ Oil shipper Knightsbridge Tankers Ltd. said that profit fell in the third quarter as charter rates for its carriers declined. NEW YORK (AP) ¿ BCE Inc., Canada's largest telecommunications company, said its third-quarter profit more than doubled, helped by lower restructuring costs and taxes. MINNEAPOLIS (AP) ¿ Shares of Alliant Techsystems Inc. rose modestly after it said its fiscal second-quarter profit climbed 18 percent, helped by stronger sales of ammunition for security forces in Afghanistan. BETHESDA, Md. (AP) ¿ Satellite phone company Iridium Communications Inc. posted a profit of $15 million for its latest quarter, down 11 percent from a year ago.