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Stocks in Motion: Maytag

Updated from 11:37 a.m. EST

Shares of Maytag (MYG) were among the NYSE's losers Friday, falling 10.5% after the appliance maker posted fourth-quarter earnings and sales that were below estimates and cut 2005 earnings guidance.

Excluding items, the company earned 8 cents a share on sales of $1.16 billion. Analysts polled by Thomson First Call were expecting earnings of 17 cents a share on sales of $1.19 billion. Lower Hoover floor care sales, lower sales of vending equipment in commercial products, and higher steel and energy-related costs hurt the company's recent quarter. Looking ahead, Maytag now expects 2005 earnings of $1.10 to $1.30 a share, below previous guidance of $1.50 to $1.60 a share. Both estimates include 5 cents in restructuring charges.

The dour outlook comes less than two weeks after Maytag announced the departure of two high-level executives, William Beer and Thomas Briatico. Both men had played pivotal roles in Maytag's "One Company" restructuring initiative. The restructuring combined systems, facilities and personnel from Maytag Appliances, Hoover, and Maytag's corporate office all in an effort "to form a leaner, more efficient organizational structure," Maytag said. Shares traded down $1.79 to $15.26.

Escalade (ESCA) fell 7.9% after the company warned that 2004 earnings would fall significantly below year-ago results. The maker and marketer of sporting goods said it expects 2004 earnings of $7.8 million, or 60 cents a share. A year ago, the company earned $14.85 million, or $2.29 a share. The shortfall is due to "unexpected excess inventory adjustments; adjustments to the restructuring costs recorded in the third quarter; and legal and other costs associated with the company's European operations," it said. Escalade expects to post full results on Feb. 11. Shares traded down $1.20 to $13.95.

Shares of Olin (OLN) rose 4.6% after the chemical company posted fourth-quarter earnings above expectations. The company earned $22.8 million, or 32 cents a share, on sales of $487.3 million. Analysts were expecting earnings of 25 cents a share on sales of $487.5 million. An improved pricing environment, especially for the company's chlorine and caustic soda, contributed to the solid fourth-quarter results. Looking ahead, Olin expects first-quarter earnings of 40 cents a share, as earnings in Olin's chlor alkali business continue to improve. Shares traded up 97 cents to $21.99.

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