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Dow Chemical swings to 4Q profit, tops forecasts

MIDLAND, Mich. (AP) -- Shares of Dow Chemical jumped 7 percent before the opening bell after the company returned to a profitable fourth quarter, increased its dividend and tripled the size of its share-repurchase plan.

The company, based in Midland, Mich., easily topped profit and revenue expectations on Wall Street.

Sales rose in nearly all it businesses, with energy being a notable exception. Dow reported double-digit sales gains in agricultural chemicals and coatings, and it raised prices for performance plastics by 7 percent, offsetting declines in other segments.

Net income was $963 million, or 79 cents per share, compared with a loss of $716 million, or 61 cents per share, a year earlier, when the company wrote down the value of a battery business as part of a restructuring plan.

Excluding a gain on the sale of a catalysts business and other items, the company would have earned 65 cents per share. Analysts expected 43 cents per share, according to a FactSet survey.

Revenue rose 3 percent to $14.39 billion, beating the $14.14 billion forecast by analysts.

Dow raised its quarterly dividend to 37 cents per share from 32 cents per share, and it increased a share-buyback authorization to $4.5 billion from $1.5 billion.

In trading before Wednesday's opening bell, shares of Dow Chemical Co. rose $2.98 to $46.04.

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