Host Marriott ( HMT) beat Wall Street estimates for the third quarter and forecast continued strong unit revenue growth through next year, although analysts viewed other aspects of its outlook as a bit lackluster. The Bethesda, Md., company said it lost $5 million, or 3 cents a share, in the quarter ended Sept. 9. That marked an improvement over its loss of $47 million, or 17 cents a share, in the third quarter of 2004. Funds from operations, which is the way Wall Street gauges the company, were 19 cents a share, 2 cents better than the 17-cent average analyst forecast from Thomson First Call. Revenue increased 7.7% to $841 million in the latest quarter from $781 million a year before. Shares of Host Marriott, the nation's largest lodging real estate investment trust, fell 40 cents, or 2.3%, to $16.69 in early trading Wednesday. Another measure of operating performance, adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, or EBITDA, increased 18.8% to $158 million in the latest quarter. The bottom line benefited from lower interest expense -- $94 million in the latest quarter, down from $108 million a year before. Revenue per available room, a key industry metric also known as revpar, increased 8% at hotels Host Marriott owned a year ago, at the high end of the company's own forecast for 6.5% to 8% growth. Revpar growth was driven by a 6.3% increase in average room rates and a 1.2 percentage-point increase in occupancy. Those numbers exclude results from the New Orleans Marriott, which was damaged by Hurricane Katrina. Host Marriott said it's unlikely that operations at the hotel would return to historical levels for a "period of time." The company still can't estimate the total extent of the property damage. Nevertheless, the company said its insurance should cover the damage and the near-term loss of business. The overall impact of Katrina on third-quarter operations wasn't significant, Host Marriott added.