FMC Cuts '09 Outlook, Shares Tumble 12%

FMC reduces its earnings forecast for 2009 while reporting first-quarter earnings in line with Wall Street targets.
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Chemical maker

FMC

(FMC) - Get Report

lowered its earnings guidance for the rest of the year, citing higher raw-materials costs and weakening sales volumes in its industrial chemicals business -- an outlook that weighed its shares down by as much as 12% Tuesday.

The company, in reporting first-quarter earnings that met Wall Street estimates Tuesday morning, said it now expects second-quarter earnings per share of $1.10 to $1.20 and full-year EPS of $4.40 to $4.80. That's below analysts' current targets of $1.36 and $4.86, respectively.

Specifically, the company said that it sees earnings in its industrial chemicals division coming in at 40% to 50% below year-ago levels. Higher selling prices, FMC said, will not be enough to offset lower volumes and higher raw-material and energy costs.

In its pre-market press release, FMC said it earned $69.1 million, or 94 cents a share, in the first quarter, down from the year-ago period's $93.9 million, or $1.23 a share.

Excluding restructuring charges and other one-time items, the company said it earned $1.22 a share, up from last year's $1.19.

First-quarter revenue slid 8% to $690.5 million from $750.2 million.

FMC shares were trading Tuesday afternoon at $44.94, down $6.23, or 12%, on more than quadruple daily average volume.

Shares of other chemical companies were also under pressure Tuesday.

DuPont

(DD) - Get Report

stock was off 2.5%,

Dow Chemical

(DOW) - Get Report

was down 1.7%, and

Air Products & Chemicals

(APD) - Get Report

had slid 2.3%.

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