, benefiting from a gain in the third quarter, said earnings rose 61% to $335.9 million, or $2.21 a share, from $208.9 million, or $1.33 a share, a year earlier.
Excluding items, earnings in the quarter fell to $1.11 a share from $1.34 a share a year earlier. Analysts surveyed by
expected third-quarter earnings of $1.07 a share.
Net sales fell 10.4% to $1.92 billion in the quarter.
Fortune Brands said sales growth in brands such as Jim Beam, Titleist and Master Lock, plus productivity initiatives and cost controls, helped it achieve earnings within its previously announced target range.
The company said for the fourth quarter it's targeting per-share earnings before items to be down at a low-30s-to-high-40s percentage rate vs. $1.39 a share a year earlier.