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* Q4 adj EPS $0.01 vs est $0.24
* Sales down 10 pct
* Sees adj EPS up 25 pct or more in 2010
* Shares down as much as 7 pct (Adds analyst comments, updates share movement)
By Divya Sharma
BANGALORE, Feb 17 (Reuters) - Building materials maker Owens Corning (OC.N) posted quarterly results below analysts' estimates, as lower U.S. housing starts hurt its building materials segment, and said it expects weak insulation demand in the first quarter, sending its shares down 7 percent.
The company expects new residential construction-related demand in its insulation business, which is about 33 percent of sales, to be weaker in the first quarter, compared with last year, it said in a statement.
However, it will increase production levels in its composites business, which is about 38 percent of revenue, to meet demand in 2010, the company said.
Sixty percent of the company's composites business comes from international markets and global demand, which began recovering in the second half of 2009, will continue to improve, Stifel Nicolaus analyst John Baugh said.
Owens Corning expects adjusted earnings per share to grow by 25 percent or more in 2010. The company reported 2009 adjusted earnings of $1.14 per share.
A smaller loss in the company's insulation segment and a shift from losses to break-even in composites will drive earnings growth in 2010, said Baugh, who has a "hold" rating on the stock.
For the fourth quarter, the company posted a loss of $21 million, or 17 cents a share, compared with $34 million, or 27 cents a share, a year ago.
Excluding items, the company earned 1 cent a share.
Net sales fell 10 percent to $1.16 billion, while building materials sales fell 16 percent to $746 million. Analysts on average were expecting earnings of 24 cents a share, before special items, on revenue of $1.15 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Shares of the company were down 6 percent at $24.87 Wednesday afternoon on the New York Stock Exchange. They touched a low of $24.44 earlier in the session. (Reporting by Divya Sharma in Bangalore; Editing by Maju Samuel, Anne Pallivathuckal)