Weyerhaeuser Profit Hurt by Housing Slump

Weyerhaeuser, a major U.S. forest products company, said Wednesday its third-quarter net income fell more than 50 percent, as the slump in the U.S. housing market hurt log prices and demand for its wood products.

Net income dropped to $101 million, or 47 cents a share, compared with a year-ago profit of $224 million, or 91 cents a share, in the year-ago quarter.

Excluding items, the company posted earnings of 55 cents a share, compared with 95 cents a share, a year ago. Analysts, on average, had forecast earnings of 50 cents a share, according to Reuters Estimates.

Quarterly revenue fell 9 percent to $4.15 billion, shy of Wall Street's expectations of $4.36 billion.

Weyerhaeuser , one of the world's largest owners and managers of softwood forests, makes products like beams, roof panels and plywood that are used in housing construction.

The Federal Way, Washington-based company has been reducing production amid a U.S. housing slump and has shut down and curtailed operations at several operations because of weak demand for wood products.

Earlier this month, the National Association of Home Builders said U.S. home builder sentiment had fallen to a record low in October.

The share of U.S. residents who own their own home fell to 68.1 percent in the third quarter, the lowest level in over four years, according to a recent government report.

In the fourth quarter, the company expects earnings from single-family home closings to be significantly lower on a sequential basis, due to declining market conditions.

It also expects the operating loss from its wood products business to increase on a sequential basis, owing to a traditional seasonal slowdown and continuing pressures on volumes and prices.

Shares of Weyerhaeuser have risen about 4.3 percent in the last three months, outpacing a 1 percent gain in the Standard and Poor's Paper and Forest Products Index.