Loews Corp , run by the billionaire Tisch family, posted quarterly earnings below analysts' estimates for the third time in a row, hurt by a fall in its investment income and higher catastrophe losses at its biggest holding CNA Financial .

The company, which has interests ranging from insurance and luxury hotels to energy exploration and natural gas pipelines, said net investment income for the third quarter almost halved to $333 million from the year ago.

Catastrophe losses at CNA, in which Loews has a 90 percent stake, were $32 million after-tax, compared with $8 million a year ago.

Most insurers, including rivals Chubb Corp and Travelers , have seen their profits dented by high catastrophe losses due to Hurricane Irene.

Net income attributable to Loews rose to $162 million, or 40 cents per share, from $36 million, or 9 cents per share, a year ago.

Revenue fell 7 percent to $3.43 billion.

Analysts, on average, had expected earnings of 66 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

CNA posted a profit of $75 million, or 28 cents a share, compared with a loss of $140 million, or 59 cents per share, a year ago. Net operating income was 34 cents a share.

Analysts had expected CNA to earn 24 cents a share.

Earlier in the month, Diamond Offshore, in which Loews has a 50.4 percent stake, reported a better-than-expected quarterly profit, helped by higher dayrates and utilization for its deepwater rigs.

Loews said it had repurchased shares worth $690 million for the nine months ended September.

Shares of Loews, which has a market value of $16.74 billion, closed at $41.28 on Friday on the New York Stock Exchange. They have gained almost 25 percent from a year-low of $32.91 earlier this month. Shares of CNA last closed at $26.13.

(Reporting by Tanya Agrawal and Sharanya Hrishikesh in Bangalore; Editing by Maju Samuel, Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)