NEW YORK - Fortune Brands Inc reported a quarterly profit that topped analysts' estimates on Friday and said each of its business units performed at or above its expectations, sending shares of the consumer goods company up 2.4 percent.
The maker of Jim Beam bourbon, Moen faucets and Titleist golf equipment also raised the low end of its full-year profit forecast, citing its third-quarter performance and signs of stabilization in the U.S. new-home construction market.
Also on Friday Whirlpool Corp posted better-than-expected quarterly profit and raised its full-year outlook due to downsizing and cost reductions, though the world's largest appliance maker said consumer demand was still uncertain in many markets.
Fortune said net income fell to $124.1 million, or 82 cents per share, in the third quarter, from $335.9 million, or $2.21 per share, a year earlier.
Excluding items, the company earned 77 cents per share, easily topping the analysts' average estimate of 61 cents, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Currency exchange rates hurt earnings by 7 cents per share, the company said, as the stronger U.S. dollar ate into the value of international sales.
Net sales fell 11 percent to $1.72 billion, but topped analysts' expectations of $1.63 billion.
The company's home business, which includes windows, doors, cabinets and faucets, has suffered from the collapse of the U.S. housing market and the weak economy, causing people to put off home repair projects. The alcoholic drinks business, while also affected by consumer spending, has been relatively stable.
Comparable sales -- which exclude excise taxes, foreign exchange, an accounting change, acquisitions and divestitures -- fell 4 percent in the spirits unit and 7 percent in the golf business.
Sales in the home and hardware business fell 17 percent after falling 23 percent in the second quarter and 30 percent in the first quarter.
Fortune said it expected to earn $2.10 to $2.30 per share in 2009. Its earlier forecast was for $2.00 to $2.30, excluding items.
The company affirmed its 2009 free cash flow target of $400 million after dividends and capital expenditures. It also said it is now in an undrawn position on its existing revolving credit facility and remains in a strong liquidity position.
Fortune Brands' shares, which gained 16 percent over the past three months through Thursday, rose $1.02 to $44.15 on Friday in premarket trading. (Reporting by Martinne Geller; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn, Dave Zimmerman)