updated 10/26/2004 8:40:49 AM ET 2004-10-26T12:40:49

DuPont Co., the nation's second-largest chemical maker, swung to a profit in the latest third quarter from a year-ago loss as higher sales volumes and selling prices offset rising energy and raw material costs.

Quarterly income was $331 million, or 33 cents per share, up from a loss of $873 million, or 88 cents, in the year-ago period. Excluding items, the company posted earnings of $253 million, or 25 cents per share, in the latest quarter.

Net sales fell 7 percent to $5.74 billion from $6.14 billion last year, due to portfolio changes, including the divestiture of Invista after the consolidation of DuPont Dow Elastomers and the benefit of small acquisitions.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call were looking for the company to post earnings of 24 cents per share on sales of $5.5 billion.

The company reaffirmed its previous full-year earnings outlook of $2.25 to $2.35 per share, excluding special items.

Copyright 2004 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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