BENTON HARBOR, Mich. (AP) _ Whirlpool Corp. said Wednesday it lost $218 million in the third quarter because of charges related to plans to pare 4,700 jobs and make other changes.

The appliance maker said the loss amounted to $2.90 per share. Its net income amounted to $21 million, or 28 cents per share, in the third quarter of 1996 after a one-time charge.

This year's third-quarter results included a $361 million charge for restructuring and a $36 million charge to provide a reserve for some Whirlpool Financial Corp. aerospace assets.

The company's stock fell 6 1/4 cents to close at $65.87 1/2 on the New York Stock Exchange.

Whirlpool plans to sell Whirlpool Financial, its consumer financing arm, to Transamerica Corp. for $1.35 billion. Whirlpool Financial National Bank, a credit-card operation, is also part of the deal.

When all charges are stripped from the third quarters of 1997 and 1996, profit from ongoing operations was up 55 percent to $62 million, or 82 cents per share, although sales slipped 5 percent to $2 billion.

From January through September, sales totaled $6.1 billion, down about 5 percent from the same period a year ago.

When the one-time charges are included, Whirlpool lost $107 million in the first nine months of 1997, compared with a profit of $111 million a year ago.

When the charges are excluded, earnings were $173 million this year compared with $130 million a year ago.