Weyerhaeuser's net earnings fell 86% from the same period last year, which included special items related to the company's change into a real estate investment trust, to $157 million, the company announced today. Not including special charges, which were $1.04 billion during 2010's third quarter and $91 million this year, earnings decreased only 18% to $66 million. Net sales from continuing operations rose just over $50 million to reach $1.57 billion.

Earnings from continuing operations at the Federal Way, Wash.-based company were $133 million, a huge decline from the $1.11 billion in continuing operations earnings posted a year ago. The company announced $24 million in earnings from discontinued operations, which included its hardwoods division and its Westwood Shipping Lines that were sold during the quarter. The results were a huge increase from the $4 million posted a year ago.

Weyerhaeuser's wood products segment reported a $43 million loss from continuing operations, a $10 million improvement over second quarter 2011's results. The company prefers to compare segment results by consecutive quarters. Total net sales for the segment, which included $603 million in sales from continuing operations and $27 million from discontinued operations, fell 10% from the second quarter to $630 million.

The company said it expects a larger loss from continuing operations during the fourth quarter due to seasonally weaker market conditions. It anticipates lower selling prices for lumber and oriented stand board and declining sales volumes and operating rates across all product lines.

The timberland segment posted a 12% decline in net sales between the second and third quarters to $252 million. Earnings, meanwhile, declined 45% to $62 million. The company said it also expects a larger loss in the timberland segment during the fourth quarter.

"All our businesses faced challenging markets in the third, as the U.S. housing market languished and we experienced a slowdown in demand from China," said Dan Fulton, president and CEO. "We remain focused on improving performance with today's level of demand, while being prepared to flex all of our operations as markets improve."