Dow Chemical Co., the largest U.S. chemical maker, posted a better-than-expected quarterly profit due to strong sales of chlorine, basic plastic, and lubricants, sending shares up 1.5 percent in early trading.
The results reflect improving consumer demand for a wide range of products made using Dow materials, especially in North America and Europe, where the company had been weak in recent quarters.
Dow Chief Executive Andrew Liveris said he sees "a sustained global economic recovery, led by emerging economies," adding he is bullish on growth in Brazil, Eastern Europe and the Middle East.
The company reported net income of $512 million, or 45 cents per share, compared with $711 million, or 63 cents per share, a year earlier.
Excluding one-time items, Dow earned 54 cents per share.
By that measure, analysts had expected earnings of 41 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
The one-time items include a $35 million charge to further integrate Rohm & Haas, a rival specialty chemicals maker Dow bought in April 2009.
Revenue at the Midland, Michigan-based company rose 6.8 percent to $12.87 billion. Analysts had expected $12.81 billion.
Volume rose 14 percent while pricing increased 9 percent, offsetting higher raw material costs, Dow said.
Dow rival DuPont Co. posted a higher-than-expected quarterly profit and raised its 2010 earnings forecast on Tuesday.
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