* EPS ex-items of 61 cts tops Wall St view of 57 cts
* Revenues fall 38 pct to $14.5 bln
* Shares rise 1.3 pct in premarket trade
NEW YORK, Nov 3 (Reuters) - Marathon Oil Corp MRO.N posted a steep drop in quarterly profit on Tuesday, hurt by weak fuel demand caused by the global economic slowdown, but it beat Wall Street expectations and its shares firmed.
The Houston company had net income of $413 million, or 58 cents per share, compared with $2.06 billion, or $2.90 per share in the same period a year ago.
Excluding one-time items, Marathon earned 61 cents per share, topping the 57 cents per share that analysts on average forecast, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Revenues fell 38 percent to $14.5 billion.
Oil and gas sold in the the third quarter was 399,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boepd), the top end of its previous forecast.
Marathon shares climbed 1.3 percent in pre-market trade to $32.40 per share.
Reporting by Matt Daily, editing by Dave Zimmerman