Airborne Freight

(ABF)

reported a wider-than-expected third-quarter loss, citing higher jet fuel prices and the continued lack of growth in its core domestic business.

The delivery company, which operates under the name

Airborne Express

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, posted a loss of $5.5 million, or 11 cents a share, compared with earnings of $21.6 million, or 44 cents a share, last year. A

First Call/Thomson Financial

poll of 13 analysts called for a loss of 7 cents a share.

Revenue for the quarter increased 2.4% to $804.5 million from $785.3 million in the third quarter of 1999.

Airborne said it expects fourth-quarter revenue to moderately improve from the third quarter. Analysts on average expect the company to post earnings of 2 cents a share in the fourth quarter.