PREVIEW-DuPont profit seen lower; investors eye potential

* Third-quarter earnings due on Tuesday, Oct 26

* Q3 EPS of 34 cents expected

* Down from year-ago EPS of 45 cents

* Shares up 39 percent year to date

By Ernest Scheyder

NEW YORK, Oct 25 (BestGrowthStock) – DuPont (DD.N: ) is expected to
post a drop in third-quarter profit (Read more your timing to make a profit.) on Tuesday, but analysts
continue to be bullish on the company, which operates in a wide
range of industries such as chemicals, biotechnology and
agriculture.

The improving global economy is boosting demand for the
company’s products, including paint and plastic for the auto
market and materials to build solar panels. However, quarterly
profit could be dented by DuPont’s aggressive spending on
research in its agricultural unit to compete with rival
Monsanto Co (MON.N: ).

Analysts expect earnings of 34 cents a share for the third
quarter, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S, down from 45
cents a share a year earlier.

The shares of DuPont, a component of the Dow Jones
Industrial average, have risen about 39 percent so far this
year, recently setting a two-year high.

By comparison, the S&P Chemicals index has risen 8.7
percent so far this year.

For a graphic contrasting DuPont with rival Dow Chemical
click on http://r.reuters.com/pyg22q

The resurgent U.S. auto market likely boosted sales of
titanium dioxide, a key material for car paint that DuPont is
currently sold out of.

“We believe that, as DuPont ekes out more efficiency gains
through de-bottlenecking, there is potential for further margin
expansion,” BB&T Capital Markets analyst Frank Mitsch said of
the company’s titanium dioxide business.

In September, DuPont said it will hit $1 billion in solar
sales this year. It previously expected to hit that mark in
2011. Executives also hope to push DuPont products into
building materials, such as windows and shingles.
[ID:nN11128498]

Another positive is the U.S. Environmental Protection
Agency recently approved the blending of 15 percent ethanol in
fuel, up from 10 percent, a development that bodes well for
DuPont’s research into biobutanol, a biofuel that can also be
used in car engines.

However, DuPont continues to spend aggressively on research
into new ways to “stack” genetic traits into seeds, which may
eat into profit.

Rival Monsanto posted a deeper quarterly loss than Wall
Street had expected, partly due to market share gains by
DuPont. [ID:nN06251158]

Last month, Chief Executive Ellen Kullman said she was not
seeing signs of a double-dip recession, a positive indicator
for the broader economy. [ID:nN14268886]

Analysts will be looking for any update on Kullman’s
broader economic outlook during the company’s conference call,
set for 9 a.m. EDT (1300 GMT) on Tuesday.
(Reporting by Ernest Scheyder; editing by Andre Grenon)

PREVIEW-DuPont profit seen lower; investors eye potential