Astoria Financial Corp.'s shares fell sharply Thursday after the Lake Success, N.Y., lender reported a 48% drop in its third-quarter earnings.

The $17 billion-asset company said after the stock market closed Wednesday that it earned $11.5 million in the quarter that ended Sept. 30, compared to $21.5 million in the same quarter last year. Its earnings per share fell 48%, to 12 cents, six cents shy of estimates of analysts polled by Thomson Reuters.

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