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Navistar International


reported a first-quarter loss that beat analysts' expectations, but the bottom line fell sharply from a year ago as continued weak truck pricing and lower new truck shipments hurt the company's financial results.

The Chicago-based maker of trucks and diesel engines said the first-quarter loss was $35 million, or 58 cents a share, compared with earnings of $70 million, or $1.10 a share, in the same period last year. According to a poll by

First Call/Thomson Financial

, five analysts expected a loss of 61 cents a share for the latest quarter.

Quarterly revenue fell to $1.5 billion, down from $2.2 billion a year ago.

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The company also said 2001 would "still be challenging with real improvement expected in the fourth quarter." Navistar lowered its 2001 forecast for total truck industry volume to 280,000 units from 321,600 units and added that demand for heavy trucks should decline to 144,000 units, down from the previous forecast of 181,600 units.

Shares of Navistar gained 21 cents, or 0.8%, to $25.80 in recent

New York Stock Exchange


Earlier this week,



announced a joint venture with Navistar to build commercial trucks.