Dow Chemical Co
The results were a mixed bag for the nation's largest chemical maker, which supplies base products for thousands of everyday items such as paints, plastics and electronics.
While sales fell from the same period last year, they rose sequentially due to slow, but steady, growth in demand.
However the physical volume of chemicals sold, as well as the prices at which they were sold, both fell during the period.
What you see here is a company that has a lot of leverage and that is basically struggling to maintain its financial performance and also to deal with a very difficult global environment, Greenwich Consultants analyst Mike Judd told Reuters.
Also, global market conditions likely will not improve in 2010, the company warned in a statement.
Fundamentally, the best earnings occurred in the third quarter, Judd said. The fourth quarter will be seasonably weaker, and after that, who knows.
CUTS BOOSTING RESULTS
Like many of its peers, Dow relied on aggressive cost cuts to bolster profits, a tactic that makes many on Wall Street anxious.
While the cuts -- about $380 million during the period -- were necessitated by the recession, they also were brought on by Dow's purchase of specialty chemicals maker Rohm & Haas last spring.
That company has now been fully integrated into Dow, and the loan used to pay for the deal has been repaid, the company said.
For the quarter, the company posted net income of $711 million, or 63 cents per share, up from $428 million, or 46 cents per share, a year earlier.
Excluding one-time items, such as the sale of stakes in a Dutch refinery and a Malaysian petroleum producer, earnings were 24 cents per share.
By that measure, analysts had expected earnings of 10 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S estimates.
Revenue fell 22 percent to $12.05 billion, but still beat analysts' expectations of $11.85 billion.
Shares rose 25 cents to $25.75 in premarket trading.
(Reporting by Ernest Scheyder; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn, Gerald E. McCormick, Dave Zimmerman)