NOKIA, Finland (Aug. 2)—Nokian Tyres P.L.C. reported operating earnings of $6.3 million for the January-June period, as both its manufacturing and retailing units were in the black. Sales grew 13 percent to $154.6 million as demand from the U.S, Eastern Europe and Russia picked up. Nokian attributed its rising earnings to price increases, an improved sales mix, lower than expected material costs and increased market shares in the Nordic markets. Nokian said demand for its passenger tires in North America picked up "considerably," whereas sales of forestry tires fell 40 percent. Sales of retread materials in North America developed favorably. Regardless of the downward economic trend, Nokian Tyres said it expects its performance to improve in the second half, and particularly in the final quarter of the year. The company will focus on the upcoming winter tire season, and hone its manufacturing business and tire chain for maximum performance. The forecast is for 10-percent sales growth and improved earnings over fiscal 2000.