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Weyerhaeuser 4Q net income more than doubles

FEDERAL WAY, Wash. (AP) -- The recovering housing market is fueling business at lumber, wood products and real estate company Weyerhaeuser Co., which said Friday that its fourth-quarter net income more than doubled.

The Federal Way, Wash., company earned $143 million, or 26 cents per share, in the three months through Dec. 31, up from $65 million, or 12 cents per share, in the same quarter the year before.

Revenue rose 24 percent to $2 billion from $1.62 billion, as prices and sales volumes rose for lumber, demand rose for logs from earlier in the year and the company had a longer list of homes due to be sold.

The results beat Wall Street predictions. Analysts, on average, expected a profit of 20 cents per share on $1.83 billion in revenue, according to FactSet.

The company last year increased its dividend as it benefited from a stronger housing market. For the current quarter, it expects higher lumber volumes, better prices for logs and a slight profit from its homebuilding division. It expects lower earnings in its cellulose fibers division.

The housing market began to recover in 2012, helped by stable job gains and record-low mortgage rates. Home prices rose steadily, and builders finished their best year for residential construction since 2008. Most economists expect the housing recovery will strengthen in 2013.

For the full year 2012, Weyerhaeuser earned $385 million, or 71 cents per share, up from $331 million, or 62 cents per share, in 2011. Revenue rose to $7.06 billion from $6.22 billion.

Weyerhaeuser shares, which have gained 55 percent over the last 12 months, were unchanged before the opening bell Friday.