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Dow Chemical (DOW) - Get Dow, Inc. Report beat third-quarter estimates and set a $2 billion stock buyback plan.

The Midland, Mich., chemical company made $512 million, or 53 cents a share, for the quarter ended Sept. 30, down from the year-ago $801 million, or 82 cents a share. Excluding a restructuring charge, Dow made 98 cents a share, 6 cents ahead of the Thomson Financial analyst consensus estimate.

Sales rose to $12.36 billion from $11.26 billion a year ago, beating the $11.99 billion Thomson target.

"This was an excellent quarter," said finance chief Geoffery Merszei, noting "record third quarter sales; solid price increases across virtually every business and in every geographic region; encouraging volume growth in our Performance segments; operating rates that were the highest since the first quarter of 2005; and record equity earnings."

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Dow said it expects "the solid demand seen by many of our businesses in the third quarter to continue into the fourth quarter, although the ongoing volatility in feedstock and energy costs creates some uncertainty in relation to the dynamics of customer buying patterns. With relative price stability and falling raw material costs as we move through the fourth quarter, we expect margin recovery in the performance businesses."