Chemical specialties manufacturer

Hercules

(HPC)

said Friday it is considering a range of strategic alternatives that include the sale of the company. Trading was halted for 32 minutes on the announcement and resumed at 10:59 a.m. ET.

The company posted third-quarter earnings of 13 cents a share yesterday, 7 cents below the two-analyst consensus estimate by

First Call/Thomson Financial

, which called for earnings of 20 cents a share.

In a statement this morning, Hercules said it there is no assurance earnings will meet analysts' earnings estimates. Analysts on average expect the company to earn 98 cents a share in 2000 and $1.05 a share in 2001.

Goldman Sachs

will assist the company in its decision.

Shares of Hercules were recently up 12.05%, or $1.94, to $18 on the

New York Stock Exchange

.