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topped Wall Street's earnings estimates by a penny, but the company's revenue and bottom line, excluding a big gain, dropped from the year-ago period.

Before items, the company earned 12 cents a share in the quarter, beating the consensus forecast of 11 cents. In the same quarter a year earlier, DuPont earned 47 cents.

After factoring in items, primarily a gain from the sale of DuPont Pharmaceuticals, the company earned $3.82 a share in the quarter, compared with 25 cents last year. Sales dropped to $5.2 billion from $6.3 billion.

The company expects earnings to grow in 2002 from the earnings before items of $1.19 last year. The company also forecast that its first-quarter earnings will be "substantially above" the fourth-quarter result, but below the same quarter a year earlier, when the company earned 54 cents. According to First Call, analysts are looking for a profit of 42 cents.