Dow Chemical ( DOW) reported third-quarter earnings of $428 million, or 46 cents a share, above year-earlier earnings of $403 million, or 42 cents a share. Excluding items such as charges of 12 cents a share from the impact of hurricanes, the chemical manufacturer said it earned 60 cents a share compared with 84 cents a year earlier. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters expected the company to earn 57 cents a share in the most recent quarter. Sales rose 13% to $15.4 billion, driven mostly by price increases of 22%. The company said purchased feedstock and energy costs surged 48%, an increase of $2.6 billion from last year. The increase was the largest year-over-year in the company's history and the third consecutive quarter in which these costs reached new highs. "Our ability to take proactive measures, including the implementation of two broad-based price increases and aggressive cost controls, allowed us to post solid results against worsening market conditions, record high raw material costs and two hurricanes on the U.S. Gulf Coast," said Andrew Liveris, chairman and CEO, in a statement Thursday. Liveris said it's likely there will be a global recession through most of 2009, but that Dow is "well-positioned, however, to weather this increasingly difficult economic downturn."