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Building materials maker Owens Corning on Thursday reported its operating earnings dropped nearly 20 percent as the housing market weakened and costs rose. Including a previously announced $1 billion charge to top off its asbestos litigation reserve and a $210 million pre-tax gain from an insurance settlement, the company showed a net loss for the second quarter of $425 million. Revenues in the latest quarter dipped to $1.295 billion from $1.310 billion in the year-ago quarter. The company said the decline reflected weaker demand in its roofing, siding and insulation businesses amid a slowdown in the housing market after a series of interest rate increases over the past year. The company affirmed that it expected earnings for the year, excluding special items, to come in about 20 percent below last year’s profit of $270 million.
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