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Consumer Confidential: Exxon profit soars, Nissan vehicles and Halloween lanterns recalled

October 28, 2010 | 10:23 am

Here's your Themistoclean Thursday roundup of consumer news from around the Web:

--When the going gets tough, the tough get, well, a whole lot fatter. At least that's the case with our friends at Exxon Mobil, the world's biggest oil company. Exxon says its quarterly profit soared 55% from a year before to $7.35 billion. Yes, that's more than $7 billion pocketed in just three months. The company cites higher oil prices and increased production. And since most analysts expect oil prices to rise even more as the economy stabilizes, the gravy train will undoubtedly keep stopping at Exxon's station.

--Nissan is recalling about 2 million vehicles worldwide, including 747,000 trucks and SUVs in the U.S. There's a risk that the electrical systems can go kerblooey. The recall extends to Nissan Armadas and Titans from 2004 to 2006, Infiniti QX56s from 2005 and 2006, as well as Nissan Frontiers, Pathfinders and Xterras from August 2003 and June 2006. The company says it needs to replace the electrical relays in the engine control modules -- that means the computers in the engine. The problem may cause the engine to stall. In extreme cases, a stalled engine can't be restarted.

--And another, timelier recall to tell you about: Dollar Tree is recalling about 680,000 Halloween lanterns because the bulbs within can run hot, creating a danger of fire and burns. The plastic lanterns are in the shapes of a pumpkin, ghost and skull. The Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends consumers take the Chinese-made lanterns away from children immediately, remove and properly discard the batteries, and return the lanterns to the store where purchased for a full refund.

-- David Lazarus