* Third-quarter EPS $1.12 versus $1.06 estimate
* Sales down 2 percent to $4.5 bln
* Sees 2012 EPS $4.06 to $4.14
NEW YORK, Oct 23 Illinois Tool Works Inc reported higher-than-expected quarterly profit, helped by lower costs, favorable raw material prices and stronger demand in North America, but said international markets were 'sluggish' and trimmed its forecast.
On Tuesday it reported net earnings of $524 million, or $1.12 per share, compared with $507 million, or $1.04 per share, a year earlier.
The results were 6 cents higher than expected, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Sales dipped 2 percent to $4.50 billion, hurt by a stronger dollar, and were below Wall Street estimates of $4.58 billion.
The diversified manufacturer of construction materials, welding equipment and restaurant supplies trimmed its 2012 forecast for profit from continuing operations to a range of $4.06 to $4.14 a share, from its earlier range of $4.03 to $4.19.
Wall Street estimates were at $4.12 a share.