Barnes Group

(B) - Get Report

guided 2004 earnings lower for the second time in five months Wednesday, citing difficulty pushing through enough price increases to make up for surging raw material costs.

The company also plans unspecified job cuts.

Barnes, a diversified manufacturer that was founded during the Pierce administration, trades under "B" on the Big Board. It expects to earn $1.34 to $1.39 a share in 2004, down from its previous estimate of $1.60 to $1.65 a share. Analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call were expecting earnings of $1.59 a share for the year.

The company cited an "operating shortfall" and one-time charges for the miss.

"The operating shortfall relates to continued resistance by Associated Spring's automotive OEM customers to accept price increases related to raw material cost increases, primarily steel, and continued operational costs and inventory adjustments related to the Kar Products integration at Barnes Distribution," the company explained.

Barnes said the year will include charges totaling about 14 cents a share related to actions intended to offset higher raw-material costs at Associated Spring, among other things. The charge will cover unspecified personnel reductions in the first quarter of 2005.

Bristol, Conn.-based Barnes cited challenging market conditions when it cut its full-year forecast to $1.60 to $1.65 a share on July 15.

The stock closed at $27.51 Tuesday.