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Updated from 9:45 a.m. EDT


(BA) - Get The Boeing Company Report

, the world's largest maker of commercial jets, announced Wednesday that it posted a 28% rise in third-quarter profit, finishing ahead of Wall Street's estimates, despite an 11% drop in revenue.

Boeing said earnings in the latest quarter were $609 million, or 70 cents a share, compared with $477 million, or 52 cents a share, a year earlier. Revenue, however, declined 11% to $11.9 billion, compared with $13.3 billion a year ago.

Excluding non-recurring items, Boeing reported earnings of 72 cents a share, compared with earnings of 56 cents a share in 1999. Analysts polled by

First Call/Thomson Financial

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had expected earnings of 67 cents a share.

Increased overall profits came in spite of revenue weakness in Boeing's commercial airplanes group, which recorded $7.5 billion in revenue, down 13% from $8.6 billion in 1999. However, the unit had operating earnings in the latest quarter of $739 million, up from $534 million.

"We continue to see significant performance improvements across our commercial airplane business," Boeing Chairman and Chief Executive Phil Condit said in a statement.

In the latest quarter, the Seattle-based company delivered 117 commercial airplanes, bringing its nine-month total to 359.

At the same time, Boeing's space and communications business incurred an operating loss of $14 million for the third quarter on revenue of $1.6 billion, compared with an operating profit of $137 million on revenue of $1.7 billion a year ago.

During the third quarter, Boeing repurchased 10.6 million shares, bringing the total number of shares repurchased for the first nine months of the year to 19.3 million.

Boeing finished Wednesday regular trading up 25 cents at $60.75.