Dow Chemical Posts Surprise Profit, Calls Bottom

Dow Chemical reported a surprise quarterly profit, excluding special items, Thursday and also said that the U.S. economy has bottomed.

Dow reported a net loss from continuing operations of $435 million, or 47 cents a share, down sharply from a profit of $776 million, or 81 cents a share, in the same quarter a year ago.

But excluding certain items the company earned 5 cents a share. Analysts surveyed by Thomson predicted a loss of 8 cents a share.

Sales fell 31 percent from the same period a year ago to $11.3 billion, lower than the $13 billion analysts predicted.

"The economic outlook for the rest of 2009 appears to be stabilizing with strong growth in Asia Pacific, especially China, where domestic stimulus programs have created demand," the company said in a statement. "In our view, the United States economy has found bottom, but will be slow in recovering as unemployment continues to be a drag on consumer spending."

The company added it does not expect material improvements for the rest of 2009.