updated 7/29/2004 11:53:57 AM ET 2004-07-29T15:53:57

Boosted by an increase in volume, Dow Chemical Co. saw profits soar 74 percent in the second quarter, the company said Thursday.

The Midland-based chemical giant’s earnings totaled $685 million, or 72 cents per share, for the quarter ended June 30, compared to $393 million, or 43 cents a share, in the same quarter last year.

Analysts polled by Thomson First Call had forecast earnings of 67 cents per share.

Sales rose to $9.8 billion, up from $8.2 billion a year ago, thanks to increased volumes, particularly in Asia Pacific and Latin America. The company continues to struggle with high feedstock and energy costs, which increased 21 percent from a year ago.

“Improving industry fundamentals allowed for broad-based price increases, leading to modest margin expansion. Favorable business results, combined with a strong performance by Dow’s joint ventures, led to a significant improvement in earnings,” chief financial officer J. Pedro Reinhard said in a statement.

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