* Shares down over 6 pct in early trade
* Q3 operating profit down 26 pct (Updates with market reaction, hedging details)
HELSINKI, Oct 23 (Reuters) - Finnish utility Fortum reported an unexpected fall in quarterly underlying profit due to low hydro production, sending its shares down over 6 percent in early trade on Wednesday.
Fortum’s third-quarter comparable operating profit fell 26 percent to 166 million euros ($229 million). Analysts on average expected a 11 percent rise to 247 million euros in a Reuters poll.
Fortum said low precipitation weighed on Nordic reservoir levels and hydro production in the quarter fell to 3.9 terawatt hours (TWh), close to an all-time low, compared with 6.3 TWh a year earlier.
It also said electricity consumption in the Nordic region was slightly lower than last year at 79 TWh, as a prolonged global economic slowdown weighed down industrial demand.
The company said that around 65 percent of estimated Nordic power sales for 2014 was hedged at 42 euros per megawatt hours (MWh). For 2015, around 20 percent was hedged at 41 euros per MWh.
The shares fell 6.1 percent to 15.75 euros by 0724 GMT. ($1 = 0.7260 euros) (Reporting by Ritsuko Ando, Editing by Patrick Lannin and David Cowell)