Updated from 9:27 a.m. EST

Dial

(DL) - Get Report

on Friday issued a profit warning, saying it expects earnings per share for the first half of 2000 to be 10%-12% lower than a year ago, representing a shortfall of 20% compared with previous expectations.

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Dial's stock plunged 3 1/4, or 22.8%, to close at 11 on Friday.

The Scottsdale, Ariz.-based maker of personal care products, including Dial soap and Purex laundry detergent, attributed the lower earnings to a host of factors, including a price war in Argentina in the detergent market, a shortfall in the sale of Armour canned meats and changes in the way one of its leading customers buys Dial products.

Dial also said its gross margin in the first half would be negatively affected by a drop in sales volumes and the rising cost of petroleum.

The company said its earnings estimates for the second half of the year remained unchanged, adding that it now expects total year 2000 earnings to grow in the range of 5%-7% compared with 1999, approximately 9% below previous forecasts.