Questar's Net Rises

Shares fall on soft guidance.
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posted a 45% rise in third-quarter 2006 earnings and raised its guidance for this year.

The Salt Lake City-based energy company earned $95.1 million, or $1.08 a share, in the quarter, compared with $65.8 million, or 75 cents a share, a year ago. Third-quarter results included a $15.8 million or 18 cents a share after-tax gain from the sale of assets, an $8.7 million or 10 cents a share after-tax charge related to unsuccessful exploratory wells in Wyoming and Utah, and a $3.2 million or 4 cents a share after-tax charge for unrealized mark-to-market losses on natural gas basis swaps. Analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call were expecting 89 cents a share in the most recent quarter.

Third-quarter revenue fell 4.8% from a year-ago period to $555.14 million as against analysts' expectation of $556.1 million.

The company raised its full year earnings guidance to $4.65 to $4.75 a share due to increased production and better than previously forecast Rockies and Midcontinent natural gas prices in Questar E&P. Analysts polled by Thomson First Call estimate earnings of $4.78 a share. For the year 2007 the company expects earnings of $5.20 to $5.50 a share, against analysts' expectation of $5.72 a share.

Third-quarter operating margin rose 610 basis points to 25.7%.

Shares fell $2.62 to $83.20.

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