The Blackstone Group (BX) posted third-quarter loss of $44.4 million, or 12 cents per share, from a $176.2 million loss a year earlier, or 61 cents a share. The private equity firm reported an increase of economic net income to $339 million in 3Q from $275 million one year ago, the company's preferred method to report earnings. It includes unrealized gains/losses and direct compensation. It excludes charges from the firm's 2007 initial public offering and other acquisition charges. The firm's revenue increased year-over-year for the three months ending Sept. 30, up 23.8% to $784 million from $597 million in 2009. Blackstone said revenue improved due to "an increase in the carrying value of the underlying portfolio investments" in its private equity and real estate segments. Blackstone posted real estate revenue of $257.8 million, up from $100.2 million in the third quarter of last year. The net returns for carry funds in this division were 16.9% compared to negative 2% one year ago, while the net return for the real estate debt hedge funds was 3.3% for the third quarter of 2010 compared to 7.8% in the third quarter of 2009. Write to Christine Ricciardi. The author holds no relevant investments.