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lowered its 2009 profit outlook, citing lower sales, sending shares down in Wednesday trading.

Previously, Monsanto expected earnings per share between $4.40 and $4.50. It now EPS of about $4.40 for the fiscal year ending in August. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters had forecast $4.58 per share for the fiscal year.

Monsanto shares were down 5.3% to $80.74 late Wednesday morning.

Monsanto cut its forecast for gross profit at its Roundup and glyphosate business to $2 billion from $2.4 billion. The company said cooler, wetter weather in parts of the U.S. delayed the use of Roundup and other herbicide products. Competition also has hurt sales volume, Monsanto said.

Monsanto now expects fiscal third-quarter earnings of $1.15 per share. Analysts had expected $1.56 per share.

Monsanto earnings still would be growing 20% year over year, even at the lowered outlook, the fifth straight year of 20% or better earnings growth.

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