USG shares rise as company pares its 3Q loss

CHICAGO -- Shares of USG Corp. rose Thursday after the building products maker said its third-quarter loss shrank.

USG reported greater drywall sales and said it's seeing "modest" demand gains. USG has struggled financially since the housing downturn began in 2006, but has reported an operating profit for three straight quarters as the housing market comes back to life.

The company is also in the process of selling its European operations to a German company for about $80 million, saying that getting rid of that "lower-growth" market will help fund expansion in faster-growing markets, such as India.

In the three months ended Sept. 30, the Chicago company reported a loss of $29 million, or 28 cents per share. That's down from a loss of $115 million, or $1.09 per share, a year ago. Revenue rose 9 percent, to $828 million from $763 million

Analysts expected a much smaller loss of 11 cents per share on higher revenue of $867.9 million, according to FactSet.

But the company said that its operating profit, which adds back interest expense, came to $29 million, and share added $1.94, or 8.5 percent, to close at $24.67.