MILAN, Italy (Aug. 4)—Pirelli S.p.A. reported improved first-half financial results on "increasingly good" tire division results and despite turmoil in the cable sector. Tire division operating earnings rose 14.4 percent to $141 million, shoring up the group's earnings, which edged up 3.2 percent to $309 million, despite a loss in the telecommunications cable sector. Tire sector sales inched up slightly to $1.68 billion, although Pirelli said the increase would have been closer to 14 percent when the exchange rate fluctuation is factored out. Tire tonnage sales were up 8 percent, the company said. Management expects the tire and energy cables sectors to continue improving throughout the second half and the telecom cables business to break even by the fourth quarter.