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Ameren (AEE) reported third-quarter earnings that beat analysts' expectations, thanks to cost controls and strong performance from its generating units over the summer, as well as solid energy trading and marketing efforts.

The utility holding company reported third-quarter earnings of $256 million, or $1.87 a share, compared with $250 million, or $1.82 a share, for the same period a year ago. The five-analyst

First Call/Thomson Financial

consensus survey produced an estimate of $1.85 a share for Ameren's third quarter.

The company estimated that earnings for the year will total $3.25 to $3.35 a share. In addition, the company estimated that earnings per share for the year ending Dec. 31, 2001, will range between $3.30 and $3.45. Analysts expect the company to earn $3.27 a share for fiscal 2000 and $3.40 a share next year.