DETROIT -- Europe's economic woes are weighing on General Motors Co.'s profits.

The company's third-quarter net income fell 15 percent to $1.7 billion from a year earlier, dragged down by losses in Europe and South America and weak earnings in all areas except North America and China. GM said it would not be able to meet its target of breaking even in Europe this year.

Still, the gain for the quarter was GM's seventh-straight quarterly profit. Revenue rose 7.6 percent to $36.7 billion. Analysts had expected $35.9 billion.

Cisco finances showing solid progress, CEO says

NEW YORK -- Cisco Systems, the world's largest maker of computer networking gear, is showing signs of pulling a turnaround, exceeding analyst sales expectations for the second quarter in a row.

"We made very solid progress," CEO John Chambers said Wednesday.

The company had net income of $1.8 billion in its fiscal first quarter, which ended in October. That compared with $1.9 billion a year ago. Revenue grew nearly 5 percent to $11.3 billion. That was about $230 million above analyst estimates.

Cisco, a technology industry bellwether, reported earnings after U.S. stock markets had closed.

Foreclosures show sign of picking up, firm says

LOS ANGELES -- More U.S. homes entered the foreclosure process in October than the previous month, with Florida, Pennsylvania and Indiana registering some of the top monthly gains, new data show.

Some 77,733 properties received an initial default notice last month, up 10 percent from September, foreclosure listing firm RealtyTrac Inc. said.

The number of homes scheduled to be auctioned or repossessed by lenders also posted monthly increases.

All told, notices of default, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions -- warnings that can eventually lead to a home being lost to foreclosure -- hit a seven-month high in October.

The numbers are further evidence foreclosure activity is picking up.

Home prices fell in most U.S. cities in third quarter

WASHINGTON -- Home prices dropped in nearly three quarters of U.S. cities over the summer, dragged down by a decline in buyer interest and a high number of foreclosures.

The National Association of Realtors said Wednesday that the median price for previously occupied homes fell in the July-September quarter in 111 out of 150 metropolitan areas tracked by the group. Prices are compared with the same quarter from the previous year.

Fourteen cities had double-digit declines. The median price in Mobile, Ala. dropped 17.7 percent, the largest of all declines. Charleston saw a 4.7 percent drop to $201,200. Eight cities saw double-digit price increases. The largest: Grand Rapids, Mich., where the median rose 23.7 percent.

The national median home price was $169,500 in the third quarter, down 4.7 percent from the same period last year.

Fed chief: Banks need to help small businesses

WASHINGTON -- Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said Wednesday small businesses are still struggling to get loans more than two years after the recession ended. He said that banks could help them by easing overly tight lending standards.

The Fed has been holding training sessions to ensure that banks are meeting the needs of creditworthy business borrowers while maintaining appropriate lending standards, Bernanke said. Many small businesses have complained that their banks have made it too hard to get loans.

"Small businesses have played an important role in fueling past economic recoveries," Bernanke said. "We need to think carefully about how ... our nation can best provide small businesses and entrepreneurs with the support they need" to expand job growth.