The company, which feeds the automotive, electronic, agricultural and personal protection sectors, will likely be seen this quarter as a leading indicator of the chemical industry's health.
While the strong earnings appears at first blush to be a sign the economy is improving, much of the gain came from some $300 million in cost cuts and falling sales.
Wall Street typically prefers to see profits generated by sales rather than cost cuts, but that should not be a black eye for capital-intensive companies like DuPont, Sterne Agee analyst Mark Connelly told Reuters.
The operating performance here is pretty credible, he said. When a basic material company demonstrates substantial cost reductions, it deserves some credit.
Additionally, DuPont said it is seeing demand for products slowly improve.
With a more streamlined organization, permanent fixed cost reductions, and increased productivity, DuPont is well-positioned to capitalize as markets improve, Chief Executive Ellen Kullman said in a statement.
Net income rose to $409 million, or 45 cents per share, from $367 million, or 40 cents per share, a year earlier. Analysts on average expected 33 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Revenue fell 18 percent to $5.96 billion from $7.29 billion. Analysts expected $6.14 billion.
Revenue fell across all five of the company's segments, including its safety & protection unit, which makes the Kevlar vest.
Across the globe, revenue also fell, though demand in the Asia/Pacific region rose from earlier this year, the company said.
For the full year, the company now expects earnings of $1.95 to $2.05 per share, compared with a previous estimate of $1.70 to $2.10.
The Wilmington, Delaware-based company's shares closed Monday at $34.62. The stock has traded between $16.05 and $36.17 in the past 52 weeks.
(Reporting by Ernest Scheyder; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn and Maureen Bavdek)