MIDLAND, Michigan ( TheStreet) -- Dow Chemical ( DOW) said third-quarter earnings declined but topped analysts' estimates when certain items are excluded.

Dow, the chemicals maker, earned $512 million, or 45 cents a share, in the third quarter, down from $711 million, or 63 cents, a year earlier.

Excluding items, earnings were 54 cents; analysts expected Dow to earn 41 cents in the quarter.

Sales rose to $12.87 billion from $12.05 billion a year earlier. Sales rose 23% if divestitures are excluded.

Dow said sales in emerging markets rose 19%. Volume in the quarter rose 14% and prices jumped 9% from a year earlier.

"Dow's portfolio delivered strong volume gains in most of our operating segments as well as across every geographic area in the third quarter, giving us confidence that a sustained global economic recovery, led by emerging economies, is firming despite headwinds such as sovereign debt, high unemployment or asset bubble formation," said CEO Andrew Liveris, in a statement Thursday.

Liveris said growth in developed countries "will be at a slightly lower rate than experienced in the first half of the year."

-- Written by Joseph Woelfel

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