Updated from 7:47 a.m. EDT



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third-quarter earnings declined slightly as financial service declines and higher commodity prices ate into higher profit from auto sales.

Excluding items, the automaker reported a pretax operating profit of $1.9 billion, or 46 cents a share. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters had estimated 44 cents. Total company revenue rose 12% to $33.1 billion.

Pretax operating profit fell by $111 million, or 2 cents a share, from the same quarter a year earlier, as improved total automotive results were more than offset by anticipated reductions in financial services.

Net income totaled $1.6 billion, or 41 cents a share, a decline of $38 million, or 2 cents a share, from the same quarter a year earlier.

"We delivered solid results for the third quarter despite an uncertain business environment by continuing to serve our customers around the world with best-in-class vehicles," said CEO Alan Mulally, in a prepared statement.

During the quarter, Ford Credit reported pretax operating profit of $581 million, down $185 million from the same period a year earlier.

Automotive pretax operating profit was $1.3 billion, an increase of $45 billion from the same quarter a year earlier, resulting from higher net pricing, lower net interest expense and favorable volume and mix in North and South America.

Nevertheless, the division's gains were partially offset due to higher commodity costs, as well as about $350 million in unfavorable mark-to-market non-cash adjustments for commodity hedges, driven by a sharp decline in commodity prices in the latter part of September.

Total automotive revenue in the third quarter was $31.1 billion, up $4.4 billion from the same quarter a year earlier. Analysts had estimated $29.9 billion

-- Written by Ted Reed in Charlotte, N.C.

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Ted Reed

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