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Beckman Coulter


reported third-quarter earnings that beat analysts' expectations by a penny, but cautioned that currency fluctuations could hurt sales in the next period.

The company, which sells products to life science and clinical laboratories, reported third-quarter earnings of $29.1 million, or 93 cents a

diluted share. Analysts expected the company to earn 92 cents a share, according to

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First Call/Thomson Financial

. Beckman earned $24.4 million, or 82 cents a share, in the year-ago period.

Sales rose 4% to $457.8 million from $440.1 million.

The company said fourth-quarter sales comparisons may be "tougher" because of stockpiling associated with the year 2000 in the prior-year period. Additionally, currency will have a more significant impact on sales. At its current level, the euro could cut fourth-quarter sales growth five to six percentage points, but the company said its hedging program will minimize the effect on earnings.

Sales growth for the year 2000 should be about 4%, or 6% in constant currency. Earnings will grow 15% to 17%, higher than previously stated, primarily because of nonoperating income. For 2001, the company expects sales to increase 5% to 6% and earnings to grow 12% to 14%.