TOKYO (Dec. 20)—Yokohama Rubber Co. Ltd. reported a 31.6-percent jump in operating earnings in the first half of fiscal 2002, despite an operating loss by the firm's North American activities. For the six months ended Sept. 30, Yokohama Rubber reported operating profits of $47.4 million, on sales of $1.51 billion. The net result was a loss of $4.48 million, although this was a 90 percent improvement over the year-ago result, Yokohama said. Worldwide, tire sales increased 6.5 percent, to $1.05 billion, while the multiple business group suffered a 1.2-percent drop in sales. In North America, Yokohama reported a $1.67 million operating loss, although sales grew 15.2 percent, to $272.6 million. Yokohama did not offer an explanation for the loss. For fiscal 2002, Yokohama expects operating income to be 11 percent ahead of 2001 with sales up nearly 2 percent.